Monday, March 31, 2014

Update: Mid-Week Menu: Pi Dan Crowdfunds to Keep Owner’s Dream Alive, Next Door Replaced by 44 Restaurant, and Sanctuary Bistro Finds a Berkeley Home

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 9:00 PM

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

1) Heartbreaking news from the folks behind Pi Dan Noodle House (412 22nd St.), the Taiwanese noodle house that was planned for Uptown Oakland: A little over two weeks ago, just a month before Pi Dan was scheduled to open, Allison Chen, the restaurant’s 28-year-old owner, died unexpectedly. Now, her boyfriend, Jameson Tyler, and business partners have launched a $75,000 crowdfunding campaign to try to keep Chen’s dream of bringing Taiwanese beef noodle soup to Oakland alive.

William Lo, who now heads the restaurant’s management team, told What the Fork that the restaurant needs closer to $150,000 in order to open, most of which will go toward completing construction (based on a modern design by the same firm that designed Sightglass Coffee and The Mill) and purchasing equipment and custom furniture. He's seeking larger-scale investors to help cover the rest of that sum. Pi Dan Noodle House's new target opening date is June 1.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Home Cooking, Streamlined for the Corporate Grind

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM

In the arms race to capture the hearts and minds of the epicurean office drones, the trend has been for food-delivery services to continually up the speed-and-convenience ante: gourmet meals delivered to your doorstep ten minutes after a smartphone swipe, or dispensed from a vending machine, or shuttled over from your favorite high-end restaurant by a personal courier.

With most of these services, the underlying assumption seems to be that today’s office workers (and tech workers, in particular) simply don’t have the time or the inclination to cook for themselves. So it’s interesting that Tomato Sherpa, a Berkeley-based company that launched last August, has gone in somewhat of the opposite direction. Instead of delivering pre-cooked meals, Tomato Sherpa creates carefully designed recipe “kits” — meats, vegetables, herbs, and spices divvied up into precise two- or four-serving portions, which are then packed into insulated tote bags designed to keep everything fresh until the customer is ready to cook. Each meat-based recipe kit is priced at $12 per serving, while vegetarian meals cost $10 per serving; subscribers get a slightly discounted rate.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Box and Bells Unveils Brunch Menu

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 7:00 AM

As reported last week, Box and Bells (5912 College Ave., Oakland), James Syhabout's staff meal-inspired Rockridge gastropub, is launching Saturday and Sunday brunch service this week. Starting on Saturday, March 28, brunch will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be breakfast cocktails, sausage gravy, and pan de mie French toast. No reservations; first-come, first-served.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mid-Week Menu: Box and Bells Starts Brunch Service, Bites in Uptown and the Berkeley Southside Off the Grid Get the Axe, and Alice Waters Wants to Bring Edible Schoolyard to the UCs

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

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

1) Rockridge’s weekend brunch crowd should note that a big-time player is entering the scrum: Box and Bells (5912 College Ave., Oakland) will launch weekend brunch service at the end of the month. Starting on Saturday, March 29, the restaurant will serve brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

North Oakland to Get a Neighborhood Butcher Shop and Whole-Animal Restaurant

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM

The food writers of the East Bay are surely in the midst of penning a half-dozen trend pieces on North Oakland’s recent gourmet renaissance, which seems to span every current food fad: mac ’n’ cheese, beer and sausages, third-wave coffee, and upscale fast-food burgers. Now comes news of yet another exciting food destination on its way: a neighborhood butcher shop and whole-animal-focused restaurant called Clove & Hoof (4001 Broadway), located on the burgeoning stretch of Broadway known, variously, as the Mosswood or Lower Temescal, in the former Temescal Produce Market spot.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

A Peek at Haven’s New, Budget-Friendly Happy Hour Menu

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Fine dining can be a fickle thing, but everyone loves a good happy hour: At least that’s what Haven (44 Webster St., Oakland), Daniel Patterson’s evolving Jack London Square restaurant, is banking on when it launches a new expanded happy hour program tonight (Monday, March 17).

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mid-Week Menu: A Vegan Specialty Shop Opens, Padi Closes, and Bar Dogwood Plans a Sister Bar

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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

1) Berkeleyside Nosh has the scoop on Republic of V (1624 University Ave.), a new vegan boutique and specialty shop that just opened in Berkeley. The all-vegan one-stop shop carries snacks, groceries, apparel, beauty products, books, and more. This Sunday, March 16, from 3-9 p.m., Republic of V is hosting a grand opening celebration at the store and at the Monkey House art space a few doors down at 1638 University Avenue. There will be vegan food samples, vegan team trivia, a vegan spelling bee — vegan entertainments aplenty. The Monkey House, where most of the festivities will take place, is BYOB.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Social Change Via Iced Tea

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

It started as a joke: South Berkeley residents Caroline Sandifer and Trey Jalbert were talking about how they wanted to host a get-together for local grassroots organizers when Sandifer asked, what if they invited everyone over for “cookies and ‘solidari-tea’”?

Goofy pun notwithstanding, the thought stuck. Jalbert — a part time community organizer and full-time grad student — and Sandifer, who had been working for an environmental-education nonprofit, had long commiserated about the challenges many small nonprofits face. “What if we could use tea to fundraise for all of the awesome grassroots nonprofits in the Bay Area?” Jalbert asked.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Local 123 Joins the Third-Wave Roasting Game

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Local 123 (2049 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley) has been at the leading edge of the East Bay coffee scene since it opened in 2009. Last week, the West Berkeley stalwart added another arrow to its formidable third-wave coffee quiver: As of March 1, the cafe has been selling espresso drinks and drip coffee brewed with beans from its newly-launched house brand, One Twenty Three Coffee Roasters.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mid-Week Menu: A North Oakland Corner Store, a Downtown Tiki Bar, and Two New East Bay Burger Joints

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

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

1) This Friday, March 7, North Oakland is getting a new corner store — or Corner Market (6040 Telegraph Ave.), to be exact. Owner Rebecca Stevens is a chef whose recent experience includes stints at Poulet and Local 123, both in Berkeley. She told What the Fork that Corner Market will be a general store, selling everything from potato chips to pantry basics, fresh produce, and cleaning products. To start out there will be a particular emphasis on snacks — things like Crispy Cat candy bars, Chocolove chocolate bars, Ya-Ya's Popcorn, Seasnax, and Justin's Nut Butters squeeze packs. While Corner Market will sell a few “artisanal” items, like Honey Badger’s Illegal BBQ Sauce (made, by one of her friends, in Oakland) and honey provided by local beekeepers, Stevens said that in general, because she wants to serve North Oakland, she’ll probably avoid carrying too many high-end products.

An early shot of the interior at Corner Market (via Instagram, @cornermarketnorthoakland).
  • An early shot of the interior at Corner Market (via Instagram, @cornermarketnorthoakland).
Produce will be local and seasonal but not necessarily organic. Stevens said she also eventually hopes to offer drip coffee, house-made pastries, and kombucha on tap. Check out the Corner Market Facebook page for updates.

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