Monday, September 30, 2013

Oasis Food Market Plots New Restaurant and Hookah Lounge

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM

In the four years since it opened, the Oasis Food Market (3045 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) has, true to its name, functioned as a home away from home for the area’s Middle Eastern community — and anyone else who has an abiding love for lamb shawarma, baklava, and hard-to-find Middle Eastern spices sold in bulk.

Now, the folks who own the popular cafe/grocery store/halal butcher shop are about to open a second restaurant in Oakland, this time in the Adams Point neighborhood. Oasis Lounge (344 Grand Ave.) will be located in the same building as the Lake Merritt Supermarket convenience store, which is also owned by Oasis Food Market. And while the original Oasis is mostly known as an ethnic food market that happens to have an excellent takeout counter, Oasis Lounge will be a full-service sit-down restaurant and hookah lounge — a place where customers can have a nice dinner and, if they feel so inclined, indulge in the smoking of vaporized flavored tobacco (or shisha).

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

California Beer Bill Would Permit Growler Refills at Breweries

by Sam Levin
Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Will Jerry Brown make life a little bit easier for beer drinkers?

Currently sitting on the governor’s desk is Assembly Bill 647, legislation that would allow craft beer lovers in California to refill their purchased growlers at different breweries. The proposal, which received unanimous support from Republican and Democratic lawmakers last month, establishes labeling guidelines for breweries that want to give customers the option of using growlers from other businesses. Current law says these jugs, which typically hold four pints of beer, can only be reused at the location of purchase.

Good for beer drinkers, breweries, and the environment!

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Mid-Week Menu: Iyasare to Replace O Chame, I Squared Reinvented as Homespun Fare, and Miss Ollie’s Roasts a Whole Hog

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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

1) Details continue to emerge about former Yoshi’s chef Sho Kamio’s new restaurant, which will replace O Chame (1830 4th St.) in Berkeley. Inside Scoop reports that the restaurant will be called Iyasare and that it will focus on the cuisine of Japan’s Tohoku region. Features will include takeout bento boxes, Japanese-style charcuterie, and tabletop grilling. The restaurant is still on track to open next month.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Brief Guide to Eat Real

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 8:00 AM

The fifth annual Eat Real Festival — Oakland’s preeminent three-day celebration of street food, local small-batch booze, sustainable ingredient sourcing, and DIY food arts — kicks off in Jack London Square at 1 p.m. this Friday, September 27.

If you’ve attended any of Eat Real’s previous incarnations, you know the drill: Admission is free; street parking tends, quite frankly, to be a bit of a madhouse; and all of the street food items (from more than fifty different vendors) will be priced at $5 or less. That said, this year’s festival will boast several new features, including an overarching focus on offal — i.e., organ meats and other underused cuts (see details on the "Offal Wonderful” event here) — and a number of new food artisans. Here are some highlights:

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Bay Area Chefs and Butchers Say Offal Is Wonderful

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

For the past few years, diners at meat-focused restaurants in the Bay Area have have seen offal cuts (organs and other so-called “nasty bits”) slowly enter the mainstream — a multiplicity of snouts and jowls and trotters and hearts. Now, with the launch of Offal Wonderful, a week-long promotional campaign celebrating “the fabulousness of the inside of every animal” that will run from September 23-29, it’s official: Offal is most definitely in.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Syhabout and Lamoreaux Team Up on The Dock, Authentic Bagel Company Plans an Expansion, and Marrow Tables Dinner Service

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 7:46 AM

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

1) With one new restaurant (the Rockridge gastropub/“eating house” Box and Bells) already on the way, West Oakland native son James Syhabout has formally announced plans for another, long-rumored project, Inside Scoop reports. This time Syhabout is partnering with Adam Lamoreaux of Linden Street Brewery (95 Linden Street) to open a restaurant and beer garden called The Dock, located in the same West Oakland building that houses Lamoreaux’s brewery. Syhabout told Inside Scoop that the menu will simply consist of cuisine that goes well with beer — he’ll draw from various global culinary traditions, with an emphasis on foods diners will be able to eat with their hands. The Dock will have a full liquor license and a sixty-car parking lot. No word yet on a specific timetable for opening.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Now Open: The Berkeley Kitchens

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

A year ago, Jonah Hendrickson first told What the Fork about his ambitious plans for The Berkeley Kitchens, a commercial kitchen facility that the real estate developer claimed would be the first of its kind: a 26,000-square-foot historic West Berkeley building filled with stand-alone kitchen units, each of them leased to some up-and-coming food entrepreneur. Participating food artisans would be able to avoid the hourly rental fees and inconvenient time slots offered by many conventional commercial kitchens. Even more importantly, they’d finally have a space they could truly call their own.

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Buying Freshly Slaughtered Chicken in Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM

As focused as the East Bay’s food-obsessed are on the quality of their meat, you don’t hear too much talk about the issue of freshness — which is to say, your typical Whole Foods or farmers’ market customer is more likely to ask about a chicken’s lineage or its diet than about exactly when the bird was killed.

So I was intrigued when I read a Chowhound discussion about Saba Live Poultry (845 Kennedy St.), which is located in a sparse warehouse district in East Oakland. Here, in a Halal-certified facility that’s relatively clean and well maintained (given that it’s lined with cages filled with live animals), you can buy live chickens ($8-$14), geese ($35), guinea hens ($20), pigeons ($10), and quail ($3). Fresh shipments come in a few times a week, and sometimes there are also rabbits ($15-$20) and lambs (which are butchered first and then sold by weight).

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Monday, September 16, 2013

A Sneak Peek at Plum's Five-Course Tasting Menu, Debuting Tonight

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 2:37 PM

As noted last week, changes are afoot at Daniel Patterson's pair of high-profile Oakland restaurants, Haven (44 Webster St.) and Plum (2214 Broadway). Haven chef Kim Alter has replaced Manfred Wrembel as the chef at Plum, and Chris Johnson — until recently the sous chef at Patterson's San Francisco flagship restaurant, Coi — has taken Alter's place at Haven.

Tonight marks chef Kim Alter's debut at Plum, and one of the changes she will be introducing is a nightly five-course tasting menu priced at $65 (plus an additional $30 for the wine pairing).

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: The Hog’s Apothecary Is Open, a Taiwanese Noodle Shop Is Coming to Uptown, and Chef Shuffles at Plum and Haven

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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

1) After months of anticipation, Hog’s Apothecary (375 40th St.) quietly opened on Monday, according to early reports on Twitter, Yelp, and beyond. After we previewed the North Oakland sausage-and-beer joint earlier this year, co-owners John Streit and Bradford Earle upped the ante by hiring Sayre Piotrkowski, a certified cicerone (i.e. beer service’s version of a sommelier), to run their beer program. At last count, Hog’s Apothecary has got at least 33 beers on tap, to go along with a selection of housemade sausages and other beer-friendly foods. No official word yet on whether Streit and Earle will be able to keep food prices as low as they’d initially planned (with most items under $10).

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