I ask the guy at the counter of Stags Lunchette if they have a takeout (or even an online) menu. “No, we change it every couple of weeks,” he says.
I could stare up at the board and decipher the intriguing list of sandwiches currently on offer at this a bustling little place in downtown Oakland. Instead, I do something distinctly un-Canadian and start asking customers, seated at high tables in the darkened space, what they’re eating. One woman has turned a grilled wild mushroom tartine into a heaping salad, which she is jealously guarding with a fork. A nearby guy is tucking into a heaping smoked meatloaf sandwich, which he says is great, especially if you like extra bacon.
I decide to test them on a simple grilled cheese sandwich, which in Stags’s hands (hooves?) is a not-so-simple mix of Belfiore mozza and Wykes aged white cheddar. And how can I resist adding some whiskey bacon chutney, bringing this gourmet comfort-food total to $7, including a little spring salad and wee gerkins.
I could tell you what to order. But by the time you read this, you’ll have to do your own detective work on a fresh menu. Just make sure you go. I can tell you it’s damn good.
362 17 Street, Oakland, California
Weekdays 8 am-3 pm, Saturday 9 am-3 pm. Closed Sunday