Last week we checked out Spot Bagel, a new wholesale company reviving the pre-Noah’s tradition of boiling bagels, and pioneering some post-Noah’s future that references the farm-to-table ethos of Alice Waters. They’re available in Berkeley at Saul's Deli and both Berkeley Bowl markets.
Meeting reskeds, checking Facebook to see who’s been owling over the weekend — a lot of laptop work gets done mornings at Pizzaiolo, during the informal coffee and pastry breakfast that started there in 2008. Last month saw the launch of Boot and Shoe Café (3308 Grand Ave.), the slightly better organized equivalent at Pizzaiolo’s spinoff in Grand Lake. The wall between Boot and Shoe Service and the former Café DiBartolo has been breached both front and back, in the brick-walled outer reaches of Boot and Shoe’s perennially jammed bar.
The bagel is toast. Or has been, until a new generation began the long road back to revival. On the artisan end of the revival continuum: the East Bay’s Beauty’s Bagel Shop (makers of Montreal-style boiled, wood-fire baked bagels), which is gearing up for an actual shop, reportedly in Oakland. At the more scaled-up end is Spot Bagel, a strictly wholesale startup based in Burlingame that began rolling out product last weekend. Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen on Shattuck began offering them earlier this week, along with Berkeley Bowl West. The original Berkeley Bowl expects to start stocking them Friday.
Downtown Berkeley got a taste of populist luxury last month with the opening of Phil’s Sliders, Hugh Groman’s storefront café devoted to the mini burger. And while there’s no denying that the Marin Sun Farms beef patties and Valrhona chocolate in the shakes sets Phil’s apart from Nation’s basic, there’s something else on the short, sweet menu here that'll make you put your slider down: tater tots.
It’d been a while since I’d driven up 23rd Street in Richmond. Like East Oakland, it’s a string of taco trucks, Laundromats, remittance centers, carnicerias, and auto body shops, scrappy entrepreneurs of businesses that can seem held together by little more than Bondo and the daily needs of people in the neighborhood. Crusty old Andy’s Donut Stop, you still serving raised old fashioneds at 3 a.m. for guys about to hit the early shift or headed home from the swing shift? Still ladling out footy-smelling bowls of caldo de res, Pepito’s Deli? The guy cooking chickens over mesquite, sill setting up in an empty lot, grill anchored to the uneven ground with cinder blocks?
Mary Gutierrez is on a mission. Every day but Sunday — the Lord’s day — she fires up her wood grill and smoker in a nameless Oakland carwash lot at MacArthur Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Way to hawk tamales for Jesus.
How many fried chicken sandwiches does Bakesale Betty sell on a typical day? Maybe 900, reckons Betty, aka Alison Barakat. But if you’re vegetarian, your options at Betty’s two Oakland shops pretty much consisted egg salad, or a heap of jalapeno-spiked coleslaw alone, heaped on an Acme torpedo roll. Until about two months ago, that is.
Japan’s best-known street food: takoyaki, pan-fried batter balls filled with bits of baby octopus. Takoyaki are a product of Osaka in the 1930s, then spread to greater south-central Japan and beyond.