Mezze & Dolce

Light Mediterranean Meals Paired with Ample Dessert

Inspiration: Bruschetta at Encuentro (Oakland, CA)

Good Avocado

Bruschetta. Crostini. Toast. I’m not sure I understand the difference between these various kinds of crispy sliced bread topped with a smattering of fresh ingredients. What I do know is that the “Bruschetta” at Oakland’s Encuentro is always the star of the show, and it’s got me thinking about all kinds of toasty little concoctions to make in my own kitchen.

Encuentro is a vegetarian wine bar just a mile from our house, in the newly revived Jack London Square. It’s bright, open windows and sleek wooden tables give the space a modern but cozy feel – the kind that’s perfect for a romantic weeknight dinner or catching up with a visiting friend. Perhaps that’s why Encuentro has become our go-to spot for hosting both omnivorous and vegetarian guests.

The Encuentro menu features three options, each evolving with the seasons. This year’s summer collection included Seared Stone Fruit with Golden Balsamic Reduction, Hazelnut Oil, Goat Cheese, Mint, and Chives (pictured below) as well as a Cherry Tomato and Thai Basil, with Miso, Black Garlic, and Cashew Cream. I mean, couldn’t you eat a meal of just those two options? But the absolute highlight is always their standard bruschetta, the Avocado, Olive Oil and Cilantro with Chili Jam and Black Salt. Somehow Encuentro has tapped into the best of the five basic tastes – sweet, salty, and sour. The chili jam is sweet and spicy (shouldn’t spicy be a basic taste, too?), the black salt crystals are coarse and tingly, the avocado always a perfectly ripe and creamy base for such assertive ingredients.

So how’s this bruschetta inspiration shaking up my kitchen? Well, I’m on a bit of a toasty kick. For a recent new (and soon-to-be!) parents gathering in my building, I made a simple crostini of sliced avocado, nigella seeds, and this months inspiring ingredient, sumac. I have plans to “Encuentro-ify” these crostini even more with the addition of sweetened pomegranate molasses. But if you’re looking to try out some crostini right now, we’ve already got a couple featured here on M & D: Crostini with Pesto White Bean Spread, Artichokes, and Arugula, and Tomato, Za’atar Crostini. Now tell us, what’s your favorite toasty delight?  –jaime

Good plums

Good Salad

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3 comments on “Inspiration: Bruschetta at Encuentro (Oakland, CA)

  1. Pingback: Mezze: Avocado Crostini with Pomegranate Drizzle & Nigella | Mezze & Dolce

  2. Pingback: Grilled Leek and White Bean Panzanella with Preserved Lemon | Mezze & Dolce

  3. Pingback: Inspiration: Interview with Chef Lacey Sher of Encuentro | Mezze & Dolce

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2013 by in M & D Inspiration, Restaurant, SF/Bay Area (Jaime's Home).

About Jacque & Jaime

Jaime and Jacque are two gals who discovered a mutual passion for Mediterranean flavors and ingredients and never turned back. They started Mezze & Dolce to share this love, their recipes, and their inspirations with the world. Follow them at www.mezzeanddolce.com.

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