By this point I’m sure you’ve got your Halloween plans locked down, but what about the week’s other ghostly holiday, El Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), which is coming up on November 1 and 2?
As per usual, here at What the Fork we’re mainly interested in what tasty treats the two-day festival has to offer, and the holiday’s signature food item, pan de muerto (“bread of the dead”), is well worth seeking out — a not-too-sweet respite from your trick-or-treat-fueled sugar rush.
This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Sunday, September 30, and for billions of Chinese people around the world that means one thing: mooncake time.
The newest arrival to Emeryville’s Powell Street Plaza is a franchise of Nothing Bundt Cakes (5745 Christie Ave.), a Las Vegas-based chain of bakeries serving, you guessed it, nothing but bundt cakes — “modern yet nostalgic” versions of those ’70s throwbacks, in a variety of sizes.
In the world of artisan sweets, you hear a lot about pâtissiers and chocolatiers, and even makers of specialty doughnuts are having their moment in the sun. What you don’t hear about much is the humble candy bar.
But that may change soon enough if Oakland’s Shiyuan Deng has her way. Since last fall, the self-taught confectioner has been selling an all-natural, 100 percent handmade version of a Snickers bar — a product she’s dubbed the Ramona Bar, after the protagonist of the popular Beverly Cleary children’s books — at high-end Bay Area food shops.
Let’s get this out of the way: Mani Niall was Michael Jackson’s personal chef for a few years in the ‘80s. It wasn’t a career-defining moment, and his other accomplishments have been a lot more substantive — starting an iconic artisan bakery, blazing trails for restricted-diet eaters, writing three cookbooks, etc. But if the King of Pop gets his name out there, he’s not complaining.
Maybe yes, maybe no — not that Akiva Resnikoff can actually say. Resnikoff is the guy behind The Cookie Department, an Emeryville-based maker of functional cookies that launched in 2009. They’re available mostly at East Bay cafes (Fellini Coffeebar in Berkeley, for one), also gyms, and the snack counter at the Grand Lake Theater.
Nothing like cupcakes to brighten up an emerging microhood, a proposition that neighbors of Actual Café should soon be able to test. James and the Giant Cupcake’s Eurydice Manning told What the Fork her first retail shop and bakery should be ready to open this Friday, July 8, pending final inspections.
The East Bay’s most traditional ice cream maker is now churning one of its most untraditional flavors: molé.
Back in 2007, the Express discovered Fruitvale frozen dessert maker Luis Abundis, still the only guy in the Bay Area we know who’s turning out nieves de garrafa, ices made the way they were before the rise of the crank freezer, which is to say completely by hand. Abundis has a smile only slightly less impressive than his upper-body strength. Standing at his garrafa — a metal canister wedged inside a wooden bucket filled with ice and salt — he turns out multiple batches of ices every day, beating house-made mixes with a hand-held paddle till they freeze.