The California Department of Health is warning consumers not to eat oysters from Drakes Bay Oyster Company, because they may contain bacteria that causes serious illness. Drakes Bay Oyster Company is the same business that's been locked in a nasty dispute with the National Park Service over its oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore. As the Express has reported, US Senator Dianne Feinstein is a strong backer of the oyster farm and wants the federal government to extend its lease at Drakes Estero in Point Reyes — a move that would be unprecedented because Drakes Estero has been designated by Congress to become the first marine wilderness on the West Coast.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Occupy protesters shifted their focus to foreclosures yesterday, as demonstrators throughout the nation, including Oakland, helped those who have lost their homes to re-occupy them, the Chron reports. The Occupy Our Homes demonstrations also included protests at banks and foreclosure auctions on the county courthouse steps. So far, the Obama administration’s feeble attempts to help homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages avoid foreclosure have failed.
Show your favorite local bars, clubs, and coffeehouses some love in our second-annual survey, the results of which will be published in a special issue next week. N.B., THERE ARE PRIZES. Specifically, you could win $250 in gift certificates to a handful of local bars — that is approximately one million beers, free of charge, just for you. Polls close tomorrow at noon; scoot on over here to get the proverbial party started.
At last night's city planning commission meeting, Oakland quietly took its first steps toward allowing commercial urban agriculture on private land. Tucked amidst a packed agenda featuring fifteen separate items was a provision to amend the city's Planning Code to allow crop-growing as a home occupation — meaning it would be legal to sell produce grown on private residential land, provided the activity did not result in noise, traffic, or smell nuisances. Three members of the public delivered opinions, all in favor, and the planning commission issued its stamp of approval and moved the item along to city council.
Imagine growing a mushroom from used coffee grounds. Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora did just that as Cal undergrads in 2009, experimenting with the procedure in their fraternity house kitchen, and it worked well enough to inspire them to launch a company. Two years later, Back to the Roots’ business selling organic oyster mushroom-growing kits to home consumers is growing quickly, and thanks to a $50,000 grant from MillerCoors, it recently moved from its cramped Emeryville quarters to a 10,000 square-foot warehouse on Adeline Street in West Oakland.
Daniel Patterson’s Oakland outpost, Plum, is the latest local gastronomic darling to turn the attentions of its talented chefs — to say nothing of its sous vide immersion circulators and Pacojets — toward that most maligned of meals: the weekend brunch.
Anthony Bourdain, that curmudgeon of the culinary world, has written that restaurant brunches are “a dumping ground for the odd bits left over from Friday and Saturday nights” and “punishment block for the B-Team cooks.” Fortunately, the Bay Area is chock full of restaurants that fly in the face of that kind of thinking — Canteen in San Francisco and Oakland’s Camino immediately come to mind. And at Plum, where Chef Charlie Parker has been heading up the kitchen since December, the brunch menu is just two weeks old and perhaps a work in progress. But the food, already, verges on magical.
And is it USDA organic?
East Bay chocolatiers won big at the fifth annual San Francisco Chocolate Salon — but of course they did.
Are classic New York-style delis — for lack of a less ethnic term, "Jewish delis" — going extinct?
Very sad news coming from The Trib this morning: Jesus "Chuy" Campos, a prominent East Bay restaurateur, was shot outside his Oakland business around 5:30 this morning in what looks like an attempted robbery. Campos, who was active in the local business community and who had served as President of the Fruitvale Merchant's Association, had been operating his popular International Avenue "Mexicatessan" since 1986; five years ago, he opened a sister restaurant on Webster Street in Alameda.
“It was always Campos’ dream to have restaurant, not just for himself, but to build a business for his family,” Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente told the Trib. “It was an unbelievable story. He went from nothing, not even speaking English, to owning a block. And for it to end this way is just not right. People don’t have any respect for human life. We have to get these people off the street.”
In a statement to the Chron, Mayor Jean Quan praised Campos' involvement in the community. "Mr. Campos was well known for his generosity and will be missed by many. He was very dedicated to our community and attended the Fruitvale merchants meeting just two days ago with the express goal of making the area safer," she said.
According again to Harry Harris at the Trib, Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the shooter's arrest. Anyone with information can call police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.