Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mid-Week Menu: Portal, Township, and So Many Ways to Indulge Your Summertime Sweet Tooth

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) As noted on East Bay Dish, Portal (1611 2nd Ave.) opened on Lake Merritt about a week and a half ago, serving vegetable-heavy Northern Californian cuisine with lots of international influences. Co-owner Jennifer Tucci told me one of the restaurant’s biggest selling points is its large (~80-seat) outdoor patio overlooking Lake Merritt. She added that while the restaurant isn’t vegetarian per se, any meat or fish that’s served is sustainably sourced — all of the produce, too, is organic and local. Portal just started serving brunch this past weekend, and on Thursday, August 23, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the restaurant will be holding a grand opening party with live music, a DJ, and some Lagunitas beer specials.

The brunch menu at Portal includes eggs benedict (via Facebook)
  • The brunch menu at Portal includes eggs benedict. (via Facebook)
2) Last week’s MWM included a short mention of a new restaurant in Oakland called Township (1542 Broadway), a project of the urban farmer (and founder of City Girl Farms) Abeni Ramsey. This week, Grist has an interview with Ramsey in which she discusses her farming background and her involvement in the local food justice movement. Included are a couple (but not too many) additional nuggets about the restaurant: It’ll be “uber local,” and she and partner Ibrahim Baaqee are hoping to open next April.

3) After much anticipation, the Temescal brick-and-mortar home of Doughnut Dolly (482B 49th St.) is opening TODAY, August 15, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., or whenever owner Hannah Hoffman sells out of her “naughty” cream- and jam-filled delicacies. (The caveat is no joke: The one time I made a special trip to attempt to buy some of Hoffman’s doughnuts, I found out that she’d sold out within 45 minutes of opening.)

In other doughnut news, Oakland North has a story about Uptown’s Donut Savant, whose “donut wholes” are a weakness of mine.

Doughnut Dollys new digs (via Facebook)
  • Doughnut Dolly's new digs (via Facebook)
4) In case all those gourmet doughnuts aren’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, there’s more — oh so much more: Eater notes that Sketch Ice Cream will make its triumphant return to Fourth Street (but in its shiny new digs at 2080 4th St.) on August 24. Meanwhile, Red Mango now has a location at the Bay Street Center in Emeryville — the only Bay Area outpost for the froyo mega-chain. And Pican is running a special “Peach Fest” menu until the end of the month — available as a prix-fixe or a la carte.

Finally, if all of that isn’t enough, Oakland North posted links to stories about several more of the refreshing summer treats available around town. Go get 'em before the summer's gone.

5) Tablehopper has the scoop on a new ramen joint in Oakland Chinatown: SOBO Ramen (388 9th St. #186 — part of the complex attached to the big parking garage) will feature a 24-hour broth made from pork bones and chicken bones (both organic). A soft opening starts tonight at 5 p.m.

6) Berkeleyside has the details about a new bakery opening in the former Bread Garden space (2912 Domingo Ave.). It’ll be called Fournée Bakery, and the new owner is pastry chef Frank Sally.

7) Also by way of Berkeleyside: a story and a video about the “hidden costs” of cheap beef, courtesy of the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting.

8) For higher-quality meat, consider checking out Belcampo Meat Co.’s next "Meat Up", scheduled for next Wednesday, 8/22, outside the Jack London Square Blue Bottle coffee shop (300 Webster St.). From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., the Belcampo folks will be selling a duck sausage sandwich on an Acme bun with pickled cabbage and tomato salad ($9).

9) One more fun get-together: East Bay Dish notes that there will be a Lunch Beat event on Thursday, August 16, at The Event Center (420 14th St.). The gist of it is that it’s a monthly lunchtime dance party — Cafe 15 will be supplying the food, and a DJ will be supplying the funky beats. Looks like today’s the last day to buy tickets in advance, though you can also pay at the door (but with no guarantee of food).

10) Last but not least, check out our coverage of the Bay Area's first Puerto Rican food truck and chef Jesse Branstetter's new gig.

Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I'll read ‘em all.

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