Friday, November 30, 2012

A First Look at Uptown’s Sweet Bar, Home of the ‘Fauxnut’

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 4:58 PM

After a sneak-peek soft opening yesterday, today is the first full day of business for Uptown Oakland’s Sweet Bar (2355 Broadway), the highly anticipated artisan bakery from Mani Niall, the man perhaps best known for being a former personal chef to Michael Jackson.

When I stopped by this morning to check it out, who else would be on the speakers but the King of Pop? It turns out that today happens to be the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Thriller — a landmark event for American pop music, of course, but also one Niall credits with landing him that initial personal chef gig, and ultimately helping to launch his career in the food biz.

All and all, a fortuitous day to start this new project.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mid-Week Menu: Sea Salt’s New Name, a Former Express Critic’s Holiday Market, and Camino’s Crabby Mondays

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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

1) As noted a couple of weeks ago, Berkeley’s Sea Salt (2512 San Pablo Ave.) has been sold, and Diablo Dish offers a few additional details: The restaurant will operate as Sea Salt through the end of the year, but in January it will close for a week and then reopen as Eat, under the direction of the same chef, Quyen Vu, but with a less seafood-intensive menu. Then, probably sometime over the summer, the restaurant’s side dining room will be converted into a cocktail lounge — thus the eventual name, Eat + Lounge.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finally Available in Oakland: An Authentic Bialy

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Connoisseurs might differ in their opinion on which of the Bay Area’s new crop of artisan bagel shops is best, but this much is indisputable: Up until a few weeks ago, it was nearly impossible to get a hold of a respectable bialy — that lesser known, mostly unheralded cousin of the bagel — in the East Bay.

Fortunately, Beauty’s Bagel Shop (3838 Telegraph Ave.) has rectified that situation: For the past several weekends, the shop has been selling small batches of bialys, and I’m happy to report that they’re as tasty and as authentic a version as I’ve had out here on the West Coast.

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This Winter, Scream Sorbet Does Breakfast (with Bagels!)

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Winter is the cruelest season — especially if you're an ice cream shop or other purveyor of frozen treats. Even here in (relatively) balmy Northern California, the late-burning morning fog, sporadic rain, and chilly evenings don't tend to put a person in the mood for a cooling scoop of chocolate or vanilla.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mid-Week Menu: Pop-Up Meatballs, Victory Burger, and Berkeley’s New Underground Breakfast Club

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM

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

1) Everyone seems to love a good pop-up dinner these days, and the one that Oakland’s Hopscotch (1915 San Pablo Ave.) is hosting in a couple of weeks sounds like a doozy: On Monday, December 3, from 5 p.m. until midnight, the proprietors of NYC’s Meatball Shop, Michael Chernow and Daniel Holtzman — formerly the chef at San Francisco’s SPQR — will be on hand to cook up a variety of meatballs and Italian heroes. First come, first served.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Chicken and Waffles Pop up in Temescal

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Hey Temescalians, here’s an antidote for your Monday morning blues: Today, Beauty’s Bagel Shop (3838 Telegraph Ave.) will play host to a chicken and waffles spot called Ronca’s Kitchen — a new weekly pop-up enterprise serving legitimately tasty waffles and a Bakesale-Betty-worthy fried chicken sandwich you don’t have to stand in line outside for.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Coming Soon: SO MANY NEW BARS

by Ellen Cushing
Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Look, new places to get inebriated! Let's take a journey together, dear reader:

PARLIAMENT, 811 Washington St., Oakland: According to this place's paperwork, it will be a slightly head-spinning coffeeshop/bar/nightclub hybrid, with the coffeeshop portion of the operation running from 6 a.m.-3 p.m., and then the bar taking over thereafter for a happy hour followed by "a disc jockey, playing music appealing primarily to customers in their 20s and 30s." I couldn't track down the owners, Christopher Newell, Davina Dickens and Jason Bradford, but based on the state of construction at the previously-vacant Old Oakland storefront, I'm estimating it'll be about two or three months until it's open.

LOST AND FOUND BEER GARDEN, 2040 Telegraph Ave., Oakland: This latest venture from the husband-and-wife team of nightlife genuises behind The Layover will be "a beer garden-slash-cafe with emphasis on the garden," according to co-owner Christi Vaughn, but it's also got a distinct good-times-for-a-good cause thing going on: In addition to having twenty beers on tap, a smallish food menu, and plenty of room, the (kid-friendly) space will also act as a job-creation and training hub for organizations that support at-risk youth and recently released felons. "It'll be one of the most relaxing, beautiful places in downtown," Christi said. "If you're into nature, at least." Opening is, appropriately, planned for springtime.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mid-Week Menu: Oysters and Caribbean Food Come to Swan’s Market, the Krikorians Sell Sea Salt, and Le Rose Bistro Moves to Concord

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 7:48 AM

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

1) Looks like Miss Ollie’s (901 Washington St.) is finally almost ready to open up shop at Swan’s Market in Old Oakland. Eater has a preview based on recent updates to the Caribbean restaurant’s Facebook page, where chef-owner Sarah Kirnon has been documenting her progress: vintage enamel dinner plates procured, tabletops and Wolf range installed, floor polished, etc. The working menu includes fried chicken (on Tuesdays), curried goat (on Wednesdays), cou cou (a cornmeal porridge and the national dish of Barbados) with steamed fish and spicy tomato broth, and crispy aubergine with tamarind sauce.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Now Open in Oakland: Grand Lake Kitchen

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Last week, Oakland’s Lake Merritt neighborhood welcomed the newest addition to its ever-improving dining scene: Grand Lake Kitchen (576 Grand Ave.), a deli specializing in sandwiches, soups, and a variety of prepared-food items.

It’s the first restaurant venture for husband-and-wife owners Dave Wasem and May Seto — previously, Wasem was a sous chef at San Francisco’s Park Tavern; Seto was general manager at Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina, also in San Francisco.

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The Politics of Cooking: A Night of Edible Education at UC Berkeley

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 8:00 AM

If there’s such a thing as food-nerd heaven, maybe it’s a college course taught by Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food, etc.), one of America’s foremost thinkers on the ethics and politics of food, playing host to a rock-star lineup of speakers that includes farmers, food activists, and some of the Bay Area’s most-respected chefs. That’s the gist of Edible Education 103: Telling Stories About Food and Agriculture, a sixteen-week class on food politics sponsored by Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project and open to all UC Berkeley students: Yes, the revolution will be brought to you by Chez Panisse, and there will (occasionally) be refreshments.

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