Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fruitvale Gets an Urban Farm Store

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 1:15 PM

When Birgitt Evans first started gardening thirty years ago, she had to purchase nearly everything — the seeds, the fertilizer, and equipment — from a mail-order catalog. You would think that things would be much easier now, in a day and age when a magazine called Modern Farmer is the most talked-about new publication and when entire schools are dedicated to the art and science of urban homesteading (including one based right here in the East Bay).

To a certain extent, they are. But according to Evans, an Alameda County Master Gardener, urban farmers in the Bay Area still have to go to six or seven different stores to get everything they need — and they still end up having to mail-order a few specialized items. So Evans and fellow DIY enthusiast (and chicken- and beekeeping expert) Yolanda Burrell decided to do something about it. Their new urban farm store, Pollinate (2727 Fruitvale Ave.), is designed to be a one-stop-shop for gardeners and animal husbandry practitioners of all different skill levels. Located in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, Pollinate launched in late March, but this weekend will be the store’s official grand opening.

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Uptown Oakland’s Marrow: An Early Look

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Last week, Jon Kosorek of Jon’s Street Eats, one of the OGs of the Bay Area gourmet food truck scene, launched a new brick-and-mortar lunch spot in Uptown Oakland. Marrow (325 19th St.) will focus on whole-animal cookery (what Kosorek calls “classic food the way it was supposed to be”), with Kosorek and his team breaking down and cooking their way through one responsibly sourced animal at a time.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Trueburger Expands, Vegi Food to Close, Barkada Pops Up

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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

1) On the heels of last week’s news about Blue Bottle’s new Oakland cafe, Berkeleyside Nosh reports that the Uptown burger spot Trueburger is opening a new restaurant at 4101 Broadway — just a couple of blocks away from the Blue Bottle. According to Trueburger’s Facebook page, the new location — a former carpet store — will open toward the end of the year.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lanesplitter Workers Quit in Protest

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Last week at the Temescal district location of Lanesplitter Pizza, two employees quit their jobs in dramatic fashion: At around 8 p.m. on Monday night, when the Telegraph Avenue restaurant was at close to full capacity, the servers cut the music, stood up in front, and announced that they were walking off the job.

“This is the culmination of many conversations with management that haven't been heard,” one of the servers told What the Fork, paraphrasing what she said that night. “We hope that people will get in contact with management to show that the community is on our side.”

Then, the two proceeded to leave — to resounding applause from customers, by their account —and headed over to Lanesplitter’s other two pub locations, in Berkeley and Emeryville, where they made similar announcements. Finally, one of the servers put up a post on the Oakland forum of the social media site Reddit, under the pseudonym “Amanda Swift,” in which she outlined a series of grievances that included alleged misogyny, emotional abuse, and a deceptively inaccessible employee health care program.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: A Super-Sized Blue Bottle Cafe in Oakland, a Food Truck Garden in West Berkeley, and a New C.R.E.A.M. Shop in Walnut Creek

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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

1) According to Inside Scoop, Blue Bottle Coffee just signed the lease on the location for a new Oakland cafe — one that will not only be the company’s biggest cafe, it will have as much square footage (2,000) as all of the other Blue Bottle cafes on the West Coast combined! The new shop will be located at the corner of Broadway and 42nd St., in the old W.C. Morse building (a former auto showroom). The timeline’s still unclear at this point, but it sounds like the cafe will probably open sometime later this year.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oakland Veg Week Goes Gourmet

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Like any good politically-conscious vegan, Kristie Middleton can rattle off all of the usual reasons that reducing meat consumption will make the world a better place — reasons having to do with personal health, animal welfare, and the environment.

But when the second annual Oakland Veg Week — a week-long celebration of vegetarian eating — kicks off next week (April 22 to 28), Middleton, who coordinates the volunteer-run event, said there will be another obvious, if less widely touted, emphasis: simply put, that vegetarian and vegan dishes can be just as delicious — as worthy of being swooned over by picky gourmands — as their meat-laden counterparts. After all, Middleton said, what better way is there to introduce omnivores to the benefits of a plant-based diet than by serving them a whole bunch of tasty vegetarian food?

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PieTisserie Serves Pie for Breakfast

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 7:30 AM

I’ve written before about the pies that Jaynelle St. Jean is putting out at PieTisserie (444 Oak St., Oakland), the pie shop located inside Mexican restaurant Nido — each one a not-too-sweet, impossibly crisp-bottomed beauty. But here’s an inside tip: On weekday mornings, from 8 to 10 a.m., St. Jean serves savory breakfast mini-pies that worth seeking out in their own right. Five dollars buys a pie and a cup of coffee — in other words, a home-cooked, grab-and-go breakfast for marginally more than you’d pay for a fast-food “value” meal.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Lunch at Juhu Beach Club, Delay for Box and Bells, and a Guide to Drinking in Berkeley

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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

1) Juhu Beach Club (5179 Telegraph Ave.), Top Chef alum Preeti Mistry’s new restaurant in Temescal, has garnered quite a following since it opened last month. This Friday, April 12, the purveyor of Indian street snacks will launch lunch service. The sandwich-heavy lunch menu will feature three new slider-like pavs, including the Bollywood Baller (a lamb meatball sandwich) and the Pork Vindalated (a spicy, vinegary pulled-pork sandwich). During lunch, the pavs will also be available in a deluxe size ($9), or as part of a mix-and-match combo meal. Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

KronnerBurger Flagship Restaurant May Launch in Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Confirming long-reported rumors, burger maestro Chris Kronner said he’s actively seeking to expand KronnerBurger — currently a permanent pop-up restaurant that shares a space with the San Francisco nightclub Bruno’s — to Oakland.

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A New Ecovillage Farm, Twenty Minutes from Downtown Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 1:20 PM

If you’re a sustainable farming advocate or an eco-conscious dreamer of some other stripe, perhaps you’ve thought about what it would be like to buy a big plot of land with a group of like-minded compatriots — to move off the grid, to grow organic crops, and to live in such a way as not to harm the Earth or one’s fellow man. To start anew, as it were.

Toward that end, thousands of ecovillages have been started around the world. Most of them — especially those with a significant farming component — have, for better or worse, required members to abscond to some remote, isolated plot of land in the countryside.

Now, a new ecovillage farm in the East Bay hopes to provide a new model. The founders of Wild and Radish are planning to build a sustainable urban farm and residential community on a ten-acre plot of land in El Sobrante, a small (2.8-square-mile) municipality that’s just twenty minutes from downtown Oakland.

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