Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mid-Week Menu: China Village, Grease Box, and James Syhabout’s New Restaurant

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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

1) Call it a mini-empire: James Syhabout’s third Oakland restaurant will open in Rockridge sometime next year. According to Inside Scoop, the chef’s newest project will be located at 5912 College Ave., in the 70-seat space recently vacated by Somerset. Details are still sketchy, but the basic concept is fun and casual with a full bar. The kitchen will be headed up by Benjamin Coe, who currently cooks at Commis.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mooncake Time

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM

This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Sunday, September 30, and for billions of Chinese people around the world that means one thing: mooncake time.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

BART Ads Plug ‘Meatless Mondays’

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 8:00 AM

If you’ve ridden BART his month, there’s a decent chance you spotted a new ad that’s meant to prick the conscience: an image of happy piglets frolicking in an open field juxtaposed with a shot of a few sickly-looking pigs locked up in cages.

“95% of people want farm animals to be treated well. 99% of farm animals are not,” the tagline reads. “Help end cruelty by participating in Meatless Mondays.”

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mid-Week Menu: Splash Pad Pod, Nido, and the Return of Sochia Kojima

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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

1) This weekend the fourth annual Eat Real Festival hits Jack London Square with a lineup of over sixty food vendors and a slew of assorted contests and chef demos. Yesterday, I previewed a few of this year’s highlights, but I think this bit of news bears repeating: The festival will mark the debut of Youki, an all-organic ramen venture from Sachio Kojima, the San Francisco sushi legend. From what I can gather, in the Nineties and early Aughts, when Kojima was behind the counter at his first restaurant, Kabuto A&S, he was maybe the most well-respected sushi chef in the city. More recently, Kojima did a short stint at Hecho (the sushi-and-tequila joint near Union Square), but it looks like ramen is his new thing. No word yet on whether Youki will morph into a brick-and-mortar operation.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What to Do (and Eat) at this Weekend’s Eat Real Festival

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM

It’s that time of year again: The fourth annual Eat Real Festival kicks off at 1:00 p.m. this Friday at Jack London Square. At this point, the three-day extravaganza of (local, organic, and sustainable) street food, local brews, and assorted food-related DIY demos almost needs no introduction. If you’ve attended any of the previous years, you know the drill: Map out a game plan and bring plenty of cash. The best part is that entry is free and all of the street food items are priced at $5 or less.

But with more than 60 different vendors and lines that can stretch to ungodly lengths, we figured we’d help you make the most of your time. Here are a few recommendations, with an emphasis on things that are new to the festival this year:

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Butcher's Guild Holds a Meat Retreat

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Thirty top butchers from around the country will descend on Oakland’s Jack London Square this Wednesday for what’s billed as an unprecedented gathering of sustainability-minded meat professionals.

The first-ever Butcher’s Guild Retreat will feature two days of intensive meat education, as participants hone their skills in wielding cleavers and handsaws — but also learn about marketing and managing profit margins.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

[UPDATED] Mid-Week Menu: Berkeley’s T-Rex Sold (Jimmy Bean's to Follow?), Uptown’s Bakesale Betty Closed

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

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

1) The observant restaurant watchers at Chowhound were the first to spy changes afoot in Haig and Cindy Krikorians’ K2 restaurant mini-empire, citing a rumored ownership switch both at BBQ joint T-Rex and the casual cafe Jimmy Bean’s. Inside Scoop confirms that Matt Sturm, co-owner of San Francisco’s Fly Bar and Solstice, has purchased T-Rex — he offers the assurance that “Everything will stay the same.”

Meanwhile, a phone call over to Jimmy Bean’s confirmed that a new ownership team will likely be announced there, too, within the next few weeks. Stay tuned for further details.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Historic West Berkeley Building to Be Reborn as ‘Berkeley Kitchens’

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

A long-abandoned historic building at the corner of West Berkeley’s Eighth and Carlton streets (2701 8th St.) is about to see new life as what the owner says will be a first-of-its-kind food production facility. Construction is underway on what will eventually be twelve commercial incubator kitchens under a single roof, each one leased to some up-and-coming food entrepreneur — jam makers, confectioners, nut butterers, and the like.

The tentative name for this unique facility: The Berkeley Kitchens.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rent-A-Food-Cart

by Luke Tsai
Sat, Sep 8, 2012 at 9:07 AM

The conventional wisdom is that starting a food truck or food cart business is far less expensive than opening a restaurant, and that’s true. But the fact is, it’s expensive to start any food business from the ground up. For many first-time mobile food entrepreneurs, the thousands (often tens of thousands) of dollars in overhead and permitting fees that you need to pay up front make it a cost-prohibitive proposition.

Here’s a novel idea: What if instead of having to buy their own cart, aspiring food vendors could just rent a cart — one that’s fully equipped and permitted? The 25th Street Collective, a sustainable business incubator and artisans’ collective based in Uptown Oakland, is hoping they’ll be able to make such a rent-a-cart program a reality.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Cool Kickstarter Alert: "901 Very Good Cocktails"

by Ellen Cushing
Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Unless you are a professional bartender — and maybe not even then?! — Stew Ellington has made more cocktails than you. Like, more than 1,000, as his habit has morphed from hobby to obsession to flat-out para-professional pursuit, starting with a fateful early-Sixties-themed cocktail party, and ending with '901 Very Good Cocktails,' his new Kickstarter Project and, hopefully, self-published recipe book.

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