Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.
1) Inside Scoop has the latest on James Syhabout’s new project in the just-shuttered Somerset space (5912 College Ave.). The restaurant will be called Box and Bells, and some menu ideas that Syhabout and chef Daniel Coe are bandying about include such curiosity-piquers as potato boxty (a kind of pancake, apparently) with salt cod and herbs, fried chicken with raw oyster mayonnaise (raw oyster whaaat??), and cote du boef with a fricassee of snails. According to Inside Scoop, there will be a series of preview dinners at Syhabout’s other spin-off, Hawker Fare, probably starting in January.
Relegated to the status of "healthy" toast option at the local greasy spoon, or — worse yet — weird pasta dishes that “real” Italians snub their noses at, whole wheat has long been an awkward stepchild of the health food movement: a boon for school cafeterias and diabetics, perhaps, but for finicky gourmands? Whole wheat just didn’t seem to have a place.
Here’s what Bob Klein, the owner of Oakland’s Oliveto Restaurant (5655 College Ave.), wants you to know: Most of what’s marketed as “whole wheat” isn’t really whole wheat at all. What’s more, he argues, once you’ve eaten, say, a pizza or pasta made from the real stuff, it’ll put to rest the notion that you need any other reason beyond sheer deliciousness to make whole wheat a regular part of your diet.
Whatever the reason, whether my poor sleep habits or the fickle weather, I woke up the other day with a wicked head cold. So, 80-degree forecasts for the week notwithstanding, I’ve been on the hunt for “sick food” — for something to conjure Mom’s ministrations during childhood bouts with flu: bowls of comfortingly bland congee or Chinese-herb-infused chicken soup, or their Western analogues. Where to go?