Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Grease Trap: Levende Beats Tamarindo to a Prime Corner in Old Oakland

by John Birdsall
Wed, Jan 24, 2007 at 3:27 PM

The Chron's Inside Scoop gets right what we got wrong. The corner of Washington and Eighth Street in Old Oakland, once home to the defunct Rex Bar & Grill, will soon morph into Levende East, sister restaurant to three-year-old Levende Lounge, a clubby South of Market joint. A previous report that Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana was about to ink a lease for the space proved way premature. Levende co-owner Ben Doren confirms there was a ton of competition for the space, which faces both B restaurant and Jesso's Seafood Restaurant and Bar.

Doren hopes to open in ten weeks. Unlike its SF sib, Levende East will open for lunch. Chef Aren Caccamo, whose menu fuses French, Latin, and Asian tastes on small plates, will tend to both kitchens. "We're just excited to be in a place where there's foot traffic," says Doren, who lives in Oakland. So do his business partners, Kiri Eschelle and Dirk Cahl.

Pimpin' Chuck

On her wine blog, Corkheads, Contra Costa Times staffer Jessica Yadegaran wags a finger at a reader who brags about pouring Two-Buck Chuck, the proprietary "extreme value" wine from Trader Joe's, into fancy bottles just before company arrives. Here's the reader: "Charles Shaw is a taste wine. I pour it into expensive wine bottles that I have left over. My guests can't tell the difference." Our advice: Put away the funnel and pick up Wineau.

Flogging Deliciously

The Oakland Tribune scores recipes from Joyce Goldstein, one of our favorite Bay Area food writers. Goldstein is cofounder of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, a totally cool organization that supports women working in restaurant kitchens, most of which remain stubbornly steeped in testosterone. She's also a former chef at Caf� Chez Panisse. Today's Trib piece is about pomegranates, including a recipe for making an approximation of pomegranate molasses (the delicious Lebanese condiment) using POM Wonderful juice. Okay, so we're lukewarm about recipes written to promote a particular brand, but Goldstein's food is so good we're willing to overlook a little mercenary activity. Flog on, Joyce.

UPDATE: Okay, we admit it: We were wrong twice. It wasn't the Chron that broke the news about Levende East after all. Last Friday, Ryan Tate (staff reporter for San Francisco Business Times) blogged about it on SFCovers.com (as well as the news that Ozumo is moving into one of the four retail slots in the Broadway Grand development across from Luka's Taproom).

Back to 92510, the East Bay Express news blog.

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