Monday, June 30, 2014

Sketch Ice Cream Says Goodbye One Last Time

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Less than two years after Berkeley’s Sketch Ice Cream (2080 4th St.) reopened on Fourth Street, the popular soft-serve ice cream specialist is saying goodbye again. Last week, owners Eric Shelton and Ruthie Planar-Shelton announced that Sunday, July 6 will be the last day for their retail store — and this time the farewell looks like it will be final.

“This will be the end of the road for Sketch,” the husband-and-wife tandem wrote on the shop’s Facebook page.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

B-Dama’s Original Piedmont Avenue Location Is Closing

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 5:30 PM

A transfer-of-ownership sign posted outside of Oakland’s B-Dama (4301 Piedmont Ave.), the popular Japanese izakaya, confirmed what chef-owner Chikara Ono hinted at earlier this month: When the restaurant opens its new location in Swan’s Marketplace next month, it will mark a move rather than an expansion.

Ono told What the Fork that he has sold the lease on the Piedmont Avenue spot, which will eventually reopen as a Thai restaurant.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pop-Up Alert: Abura-ya Brings Japanese Fried Chicken to Downtown Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Whether you’re talking Taiwanese popcorn chicken, herb-stuffed Caribbean birds, or the double-fried and gochujang-tossed goodness known as “KFC,” there’s no question: Oakland’s international fried-chicken scene is on the rise.

The latest newcomer is Abura-ya, a pop-up that specializes in the Japanese style of fried chicken known as karaage. The restaurant — whose name means “oil shop” in Japanese — has been popping up four nights a week at Garden House (380 15th St.), a salad-centric lunch spot in Downtown Oakland.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mid-Week Menu: Parklets in North Berkeley, Sake and Cheese in Uptown Oakland, and a Food Truck for Dogs

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM

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

1) Berkeley doesn’t currently have any parklets, but if all goes well the city will soon have at least two of the curbside mini-parks, both in North Berkeley, Berkeleyside Nosh reports. The first is slated to open outside of the Cheese Board Collective (1520 Shattuck Ave.) sometime this fall and should provide an outdoor-seating alternative for customers who otherwise tend to crowd onto the grassy median on that stretch of North Shattuck. The other parklet will be located outside of Philz Coffee and Guerilla Cafe, at 1600-1620 Shattuck Avenue. The latter project is being organized by the North Shattuck Association, which has launched a $15,000 Kickstarter campaign to help pay for the parklet.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Where Modern Gastronomy and Paleo Dining Meet

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Remember those dark days when simply having a gluten-free-friendly restaurant was considered a major breakthrough? Yrmis Barroeta and Bobby Chang want to take healthy eating and catering to those with dietary restrictions to the next level. Toward that end, Mission Heirloom, their new Berkeley-based food business, promises not only to be gluten-free, but also grain- and soy-free — with a little bit of molecular gastronomy mixed in for good measure.

This fall, Barroeta and Chang will open Mission Heirloom Garden Cafe, a brick-and-mortar restaurant located in North Berkeley, at 2085 Vine Street, the former home of the Vegi Food Chinese vegetarian restaurant.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Now Open in Berkeley (and Serving Monday Brunch): Handlebar

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Burger enthusiasts, beer lovers, and connoisseurs of whimsical facial hair have a new go-to spot in West Berkeley: Handlebar (984 University Ave.), a new restaurant and bar from the Fivetenburger food-truck entrepreneur (and noted mustache wearer) Roland Robles, quietly opened for business last week, as first reported by Berkeleyside Nosh.

The project is a collaboration between Robles and Jennifer Seidman, who owns nearby Acme Bar (2115 San Pablo Ave.). The concept, simply put, is tasty American comfort food, nothing too elaborate or fancy — just good food to snack on while you’re watching the World Cup, Robles said by phone this morning.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mid-Week Menu: Perdition Smokehouse’s Opening, a Lawsuit to Halt Comal’s Elmwood Spin-Off, and Restaurants Where You Can Watch the World Cup

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 10:46 AM

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

1) This week’s high-profile restaurant opening is Downtown Berkeley’s Perdition Smokehouse (2050 University Ave.), which, after a brief delay, has announced that its first day of business will be Friday, June 20. According to Inside Scoop, the Texas-style barbecue joint from The Trappist’s Chuck Stilphen and Mikkeller Bar chef Mike O’Brien will open with a streamlined dinner menu — hush puppies, chile verde, five kinds of meat (brisket, pork shoulder, pork ribs, turkey breast, and hot links), five side dishes, and three sandwich options. Initial opening hours will be 5 p.m. to midnight.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New B-Dama Nears Completion

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM

The long-awaited second location of the popular Japanese izakaya B-Dama (4301 Piedmont Ave., Oakland), inside Swan’s Marketplace in Old Oakland, should be ready to open sometime in July, according to owner Chikara Ono. Ono said that construction on the space is complete, and he’s just waiting for the fire and health department inspections and beer/wine license to come through.

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The Oral History of Cocktails

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM

We are living in a golden age for the cocktail, especially here in the Bay Area, where it seems like a new craft distillery opens every few weeks, and the best mixologists get treated like rock stars.

And yet, according to oral historian Shanna Farrell, the story of the modern cocktail movement remains largely untold. That’s a task that oral historians are uniquely suited to take on, Farrell said. So she and other researchers at UC Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) have launched an ambitious new project that will attempt to document the history of the West Coast cocktail. They’ll conduct long-form interviews — as many as 25 hours with each subject — with bartenders, bar owners, distillers, and historians.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Welcome Back, PieTisserie

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Great news for fans of flaky, all-butter pie crusts: After an extended hiatus, PieTisserie, the self-taught baking savant Jaynelle St. Jean’s pie shop, will return to business at a new brick-and-mortar location in Oakland, near Lake Merritt. The new PieTisserie will open — hopefully later this summer — at 1605 2nd Avenue, just a few doors down from the beer garden Portal, in a space previously occupied by a clothing boutique.

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