What the Fork previously noted the recent death of Soleil Banguid, beloved chef of Soleil’s African Cuisine, which for too short a time served some of the tastiest West African dishes around at the unlikeliest location — a bluegrass and country western bar in Alameda called The Frog and Fiddle (1544 Webster St.). Now comes word on the bar’s new plans for its kitchen program: Paul Skrentny, the paella-centric caterer and longtime standby at Oakland’s Guest Chef — having logged seven two-week pop-up stints — has taken over indefinitely.
Jason Kwon, chef-owner of Berkeley’s Joshu-ya Brasserie, has taken over Ann’s Kitchen (2498 Telegraph Ave.), the casual breakfast and brunch spot around the corner from his other restaurant.
Kwon said he’s been running Ann’s for about a month now without making any changes, though he did start a new initiative to donate 10 percent of the restaurant’s proceeds to Build Hope International, a Christian nonprofit based in Alameda. Sometime this summer Kwon plans to close Ann’s and reopen the restaurant as the Bleecker Street Bistro.
Well, that was fast.
Despite plans to stay open until at least March 10, cash-strapped Scream Sorbet (5030 Telegraph Ave.) closed this afternoon, shut down by the Alameda County Health Department.
Via email, reader Sheila Addison (who'd planned to stock up on pints while she still had the chance) informed What the Fork that a health department employee had locked the door — taping up a big red "closed" sign — right as she walked up to the Telegraph Ave. store at around 3:45 p.m. today.
A recent thread on the online food discussion forum Chowhound reported shocking news for East Bay frozen-dessert enthusiasts: Temescal’s Scream Sorbet (5030 Telegraph Ave.) will be going out of business, as soon as early next month.
The fish tacos, they are a comin’: It’s been a year since rumors started circulating that Cholita Linda, the popular Bay Area farmers’ market vendor, was planning to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood.
Now, husband-and-wife owners Murat Sozeri and Vanessa Chavez are finally making it official: Construction on their new 4923-27 Telegraph Avenue restaurant, which will also be called Cholita Linda, has started in earnest. Chavez and Sozeri are optimistic that the 1,800-square-foot restaurant, with room to seat 45 diners, will be ready to open by the early summer.
Bargain hunters and appreciators of prix-fixe dining, take note: This month, Oakland and Berkeley are hosting their very own Restaurant Week. In other words, your favorite dining establishment — or maybe that new place you keep meaning to check out — might be one of a few dozen restaurants that will offer special two- or three-course set menus, priced at a slight (or, occasionally, a significant) discount, during the promotional period.
First up is Berkeley, whose very first Restaurant Week kicks off this Sunday, January 13, and will run for the whole week, through January 20. Meanwhile, Oakland’s week-and-a-half-long Restaurant Week will run from January 18 to 27.
When Oakland passed its interim mobile food vending policy a year ago, allowing food trucks to hawk their wares legally outside of the Fruitvale for the first time, the people rejoiced — many of them happy, in particular, to finally get some decent lunch options near downtown workplaces, at least a couple days a week. But what everyone really wanted to know was: When was Off the Grid — the granddaddy of all food truck parties, at least here in the Bay Area — coming to Oakland?
Finally, we have an answer: On Friday, January 25 — and every Friday after that — from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Off the Grid will pop up outside the Oakland Museum of California. The weekly event will feature a lineup of ten mobile food vendors (with room to expand to as many as twelve), all parked on a single block of 10th Street, between Oak and Fallon, which will be closed off to traffic.
A suspicious fire that took place early on Saturday, December 8, not only shut Alameda’s American Oak (2319 Santa Clara Ave.) down indefinitely, it also put the gastropub and whiskey saloon’s entire staff out of work just two weeks before Christmas — a tough break if there ever was one.
Last week, Oakland’s Lake Merritt neighborhood welcomed the newest addition to its ever-improving dining scene: Grand Lake Kitchen (576 Grand Ave.), a deli specializing in sandwiches, soups, and a variety of prepared-food items.
It’s the first restaurant venture for husband-and-wife owners Dave Wasem and May Seto — previously, Wasem was a sous chef at San Francisco’s Park Tavern; Seto was general manager at Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina, also in San Francisco.
Finally, after a ten-year wait, West Oakland is getting a new full-service grocery store: If all goes according to plan, People’s Community Market (PCM) will open by the end of 2013 — a culmination of the decade that its CEO, Brahm Ahmadi, has spent working to get the project off the ground.
Last Thursday, Ahmadi, who founded the affiliated nonprofit People’s Grocery, kicked off an ambitious investment campaign with a “Front Porch” community gathering and pitch session held at the Numi Tea Garden in East Oakland’s warehouse district.