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B-Side BBQ, Oakland's best barbeque restaurant

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World travelers heading for the Bay Area and who love food (and who doesn't?) should be sure to check out Oakland's B-Side BBQ. That's because the food here is head-noddingly good. I’ll admit that this discovery was courtesy of California naming January “Dine-In” month.

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The city of Oakland participates by organizing its own “Restaurant Week” (currently running through January 26th). I was scanning the 50 or so Oakland restaurants that are offering special prix fixe menus to lure new customers, when I saw the name “B-Side BBQ," With a title like that, who could resist?

I didn’t know much about B-Side going in. I was too busy conjuring up images of traditional barbecue joints with smoky meat, white bread, and low ambience. I walked in and was taken completely by surprise. This isn’t your father’s, brother’s, or any other’s, barbecue joint. This is barbecue created by the 2013 California Chef of the Year, Tanya Holland. Realizing this after my arrival, my expectations were raised.

To cut to the chase, they were met. And, if truth be told, they were actually exceeded. Read to see why.

If you are dining with a friend, be sure to share the Dark & Stormy St. Louis Ribs.

Chef Holland uses small batch sustainable meats, so she starts with good quality ingredients. This rub-based rib also features a barbecue glaze that is inspired by the Dark & Stormy cocktail, using fresh ginger and a stout beer (in place of rum).

The result is a complimentary union of meat, smoke and spice that immediately makes you forget all other ribs you've tried.

The sides could be A-list meals in their own right. The Mac and Cheese blends cream and sharp cheddar harmoniously. The bread-crumbs (made from leftover Acme pan di mie) also add to a top-notch mac experience.

The Smoked Mashed Yams are a dazzling, deceptively simple dish made from mashed yams, butter and maple...and then something extra. But what is it? It turns out that Holland adds smoke from her Hickory and Apple wood fired rotisserie smoker. This is a must order side!

Continued in Part 2

Follow Sheila on Twitter (@Sheilamba)

See the video that accompanies this article

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