Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Hawker Fare Aims to Reopen, Nan Yang and O Chame Say Goodbye, and Pucquio Peruvian and Tian Jing Dumplings Debut in Oakland

By Luke Tsai
Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I’m back after a quick vacation last week, but the food beat stops for no man. Without further ado, here’s a super-sized edition of the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Tablehopper reports that the former Guest Chef location in Rockridge, 5337 College Ave., now has a new tenant: Pucquio, a restaurant specializing in contemporary Peruvian street food. Pucquio, which actually did a pop-up stint at Guest Chef back in the day, has been open for dinner for about a week now. Take a look at a sample menu, which features a ton of seafood, both hot and cold preparations, including several different cebiches.

2) Oakland’s Hawker Fare (2300 Webster St.) is closed temporarily due to damage caused by masked vandals who set trash cans on fire outside the restaurant early on Saturday morning, Inside Scoop reports. The fires melted the restaurant’s electrical meters, necessitating a significant repair job. It’s unclear if the arson was connected to the ongoing Trayvon Martin-related protests, but owner James Syhabout told Inside Scoop he couldn’t think of any other possible motive. KPIX reporter Christin Ayers tweeted a (somewhat blurry) security cam photo of two alleged vandals — in any case, if you have information about the suspects, please pass it along to the relevant authorities. The good news is that the repairs seem to be moving along rather quickly, and Syhabout is aiming to reopen Hawker Fare on Thursday.

3) Also damaged during the initial wave of protests two weekends ago was Uptown Oakland’s Bar Dogwood (1644 Telegraph Ave.), which had its huge 10-ft. by 12-ft. windows smashed, also by masked vandals. In happier, unrelated news, Diablo Dish notes that Dogwood — purveyor of fancy cocktails and what is, in our humble opinion, the best grilled cheese sandwich in town — will soon be expanding into the retail space next door.

A picture of things to come at Shakewell: Wild snapper, sweet peas, baby radish, flowers
  • A picture of things to come at Shakewell: Wild snapper, sweet peas, baby radish, flowers
4) Two Top Chef alums plan to open Shakewell Bar & Kitchen, a casual Mediterranean-inspired “Americlectic” restaurant, in Oakland’s Lakeshore neighborhood, according to Zagat. Chef Jen Biesty and pastry chef Tim Nugent (both formerly of Scala’s Bistro in San Francisco) are hoping to raise $100,000 via Kickstarter to get the project off the ground. Check out the pitch, and contribute if you feel so inclined. Biesty and Nugent have brought out the big guns — namely, several of their Top Chef compatriots, who recorded videos endorsing the campaign. It sounds like the restaurant’s menu will have lots of Spanish and Middle Eastern influences. Stay tuned for further details.

5) Padi, the Berkeley Indonesian restaurant whose fiery sambal and other Sumatran-style specialties got a rave review from the Express this past winter, has opened a second location in San Leandro, at 16695 E. 14th St. According to Padi’s website, the new spot boasts free parking, an on-site Indonesian grocery store, and, on Sundays only starting at 9 a.m., a traditional Indonesian Chinese breakfast menu: curry chicken porridge, two styles of noodle soup, curry vegetable soup with rice cake, and fried rice noodle with coconut rice.

6) Chowhound posters have the scoop on Oakland Chinatown’s Tian Jin Dumplings (989 Franklin St., Suite B), a new takeout spot specializing in handmade dumplings, buns, and a handful of other northern Chinese dough-based specialties. Check out Chowhound user zippo’s pretty slideshow, which includes a good shot of the concise menu, which also includes a few varieties of frozen dumplings.

7) Local Cafe (4395 Piedmont Ave., Oakland) has closed after a little less than two years of business. Taking over the space is Pizzaiolo and Boot and Shoe Service vet Colin Etezadi, who plans to reopen the restaurant in September as Slicer Pizzeria, a seasonally-focused pizza restaurant. Etezadi is familiar with the location: He consulted on Local Cafe’s opening menu and served as the chef for the restaurant’s first few months.

8) Meanwhile, in Rockridge, Nan Yang, the Bay Area’s first Burmese restaurant — open since 1983 — has also closed. Last month Inside Scoop ran a nice profile of chef-owner Philip Chu, who has finally decided to hang up his chef’s whites — Chu turns 80 next month. According to Diablo Dish, the Nan Yang space will be filled by Red Den, which is rumored to be a high-end Chinese restaurant.

(via Facebook)
  • (via Facebook)
9) Tablehopper notes yet another Oakland closure: Rico’s Diner (400 15th St.), the downtown lunch spot that served many a fine chocolate banana milkshake and chicken-fried steak in its day. R.I.P.

10) As if that wasn’t enough bad news, Inside Scoop reports that Berkeley’s O Chame (1830 4th St.) has announced that it will close this weekend. After 23 years, Sunday will be the restaurant’s last day of service — plan accordingly if you want to go in for one last bowl of udon. Chef-owner David Vardy on the sudden decision: “We kind of had to.”

11) The owners of longtime East Bay farmers’ market favorite Morell’s Bread have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 to equip their new West Berkeley bakery, which baker Eduardo Morell hopes to open on October 1. The bakery will be located in The Berkeley Kitchens, a commercial kitchen facility that What the Fork previewed last year. Morell, a Berkeley resident, told Berkeleyside Nosh that the new bakery won’t be a full-on retail shop, but that the zoning regulations do allow “incidental retail” sales to people passing by the kitchen.

12) Tribune Tavern (401 13th St., Oakland) will be launching weekend brunch service this Saturday, July 27. The menu will include dishes like colcannon potato hash with bacon and eggs, griddled pork belly and grits, and duck confit with aged cheddar and crème fraîche. Brunch will be served Saturdays and Sundays, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

parlour.jpg
13) It appears that a restaurant called Parlour Woodfire Pizza is opening in Uptown Oakland on 19th St., between Bar 355 (355 19th St.) and The Rotisserie Deli (361 19th St.). No details at this point, but it looked to me like quite a bit of construction work remains to be done.

14) Finally, a couple of a food-and-drink related events for you to check out this weekend: The event organizer Food Social will be hosting a BBQ Block Party at The New Parish (579 18th St., Oakland), on Saturday, July 27, from 1 to 7 p.m. Seven local food startups will be featured; tickets are $5 and include a free beer. Also on Saturday, the East Bay Vintners’ Alliance is hosting an event called Urban Wine Xperience, from 1 to 5 p.m., at the Jack London Pavilion (98 Broadway, Oakland). At least fifteen East Bay urban wineries are participating, each one paired up with a local restaurant or food purveyor that will prepare food pairings for the wines. Admission is $60 ($15 for just food with no wine tasting).

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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