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Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

This is the new Oakland. They (always white, always with might) have the money and the power and the "in." Uber is leading the way. Within 5 years West Oakland will probably have a Whole Foods, wiping out local community farmers markets and these hipster high-so restaurants with their fake rustic/poverty porn ovens and grills will be everywhere. There is just no end to this parade of slick, well-heeled, heavily financed celebrity chef wannabes and their Moet swilling tech millionaire followers. When's this sh*t going to end? Looks like they've just begun.

Posted by Brian Lucas on 08/29/2016 at 9:01 AM

Re: “In Oakland Hills Race, A Battle of Ideologies

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Posted by Remedios Atkins on 08/28/2016 at 6:33 PM

Re: “JP Morgan Chase's Home Loans in Oakland Mostly Went to White and Wealthy Residents

Great article here! This suggests that Chase may have made some effort to live up to the city counsel's urging them to make more loans to under-served communities.By the way, my children needed OPM OF-306 last month and saw a great service that hosts a searchable forms database . If others require OPM OF-306 too , here's "http://pdf.ac/7VzAfS".

Posted by Leanna Lauber 1 on 08/27/2016 at 4:58 PM

Re: “Top Ramen For Life: The Student Loan Crisis

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Posted by Serena Ann on 08/27/2016 at 1:26 AM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

Very thoughtful article with lots to ponder. The Bruce Cost/Barbara Tropp feud comes to mind when two whites argued about being the better Chineese cook (both were sensational) and Trader Vic with his faux Polynesia. James Beard introducing his audience to pu-pu platters in his cookbooks. French and American chefs incorporating fusion flavors in the eighties. The Romans are in the midst of that now. I think the issue is sensitivity and respect and as Russ said if it brings people to the table everyone should benefit.

Posted by Dennis Lapuyade on 08/27/2016 at 12:35 AM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

Luke makes many good points here about privilege, the comfort zone and expectations of audiences, etc. However, I do think the media plays an even larger role than Luke states. Los Angeles has Jonathan Gold, who is as adventurous and knowledgeable about all kinds of cuisine as any critic in existence. Many really great places, a majority of which are run by immigrants cooking food from their culture, are given business-altering attention by Gold's writing. This has a cascade effect, in that illuminating the often challenging Southern Thai cooking of Jitlada then opens up people's palates and minds to other Thai places doing unfamiliar things. Is Luv2Eat Thai a huge success within its first year (!) without the groundwork of Jitlada and Jonathan Gold? I doubt it.

The Bay Area (and primarily SF) has traditionally been covered by Michael Bauer and collectively the places he writes about are very different than Gold's portfolio. This has undoubtedly informed the palates of the Bay Area. Why is it a big surprise, then, that people prefer Comal to El Paisa when nobody even bothers to review El Paisa (until Luke did so last year, 7 years after it opened)? For years, Chowhound was a far better place to learn about interesting eateries than any of the normal media outlets (and its descent into uselessness is a sad story for another day). But CH fame isn't enough by any stretch to lead thousands of people to try a place or cuisine or dish that's outside their comfort zone, to turn Jitlada into JITLADA. It's not impossible: Burma Superstar has turned everybody into a tea leaf salad expert; Turtle Tower is the reference for many people's pho ga. These places are out there, but we need help separating the good from the mediocre.

Therefore, the way to balance the scales is for media members who have a broad audience to considerably expand what kind of restaurant is considered “review worthy”, and to write knowledgeably, adventurously and engagingly about them. This is not a small thing to ask. Who will take the time to understand and explain the characteristics of Jiangsu cuisine, and where to go to experience it? Who has the depth to say that this Sinaloan mariscos place stands above the others? Gold certainly wasn't born with an innate understanding of homestyle Korean food, but he can write about Soban with enough authority and enthusiasm that some people will go check it out, and some fraction of them will have a great experience and tell their friends, and so on. Whoever the Bay Area's Jonathan Gold is, she or he will need a lot of time to build trust and an audience. Maybe it's a group effort. Luke is clearly doing his part and I thank him for his efforts. I believe he's easily the best critic we have right now, and maybe in time he will be enough if he is given a platform with a wider geographic range. There's definitely a market for this type of criticism -- we just need the right guidance.

N.B. The South Bay is filled with places that are known mainly only to the immigrant populations that they serve. Would someone please start writing intelligently about them?

Posted by Peter Chang on 08/26/2016 at 5:06 PM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

I guess Apple shouldn't make smartphones either because they are culturally an Illinois, Espoo and Seoul thing

Posted by Dave Campbell 1 on 08/25/2016 at 8:33 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

@Charlie Pine

Could you provide links to the Berkeley studies please? Your description suggests they only looked at the price-change of soda (i.e. half the tax showed up in price increase of soda), rather than any other goods.

Also, with regard to personal attacks, I cited the prof's credentials in response to your claim that he "might know law, but he clearly does not understand the first thing about comparative price elasticities." You said he doesn't know economics, I responded by showing that he does. I did not introduce the tactic of personal attacks.

Posted by Tommy Katz on 08/25/2016 at 4:36 PM

Re: “Oakland's Street-Repair Deficit is Deep. The Mayor Says a $600 Million Bond Needed to Address the Problem.

Bonds are public debt, plain and simple. While they are a legitimate source of revenue for needed new infrastructure projects, cities and states need to plan for maintenace costs using revenue, not MORE DEBT.
As for Mayor Schaaf's plan for affordable housing. She wants to use rent control and more rent control to push small property owners (buildings with 1 to 4 units) into financial distress and then take them over as "NOAH's" (See Schaaf's "Housing Blueprint") using funds from measures A1 and KK (more bonds). Can the City really handle all the expenses associated with owning old buildings - the lead paint, galvanized plumbing, knob-and-tube wiring, not to mention buildings aquired due to financial distress will not be in great shape in many other ways.
Schaaf's plan will push Oakland deeper into debt and saddle it with old buildings (newer construction is not rent controlled per state law). Oakland needs more housing. Not to push small property owners out of business.

Posted by Ilona Nesmith Clark on 08/25/2016 at 4:31 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

@ Tommy Katz: The grocer compares whether he will lose less revenue if he a) raises the price of a quart of soda 32 cents or b) raises the price of that bottle 12 cents, the price of diapers 17 cents, etc. Two studies of Berkeley sugared beverage prices found that about half the tax showed up in the prices of those beverages. *** As for ad hominem argument, you introduced that tactic by citing the professor's credentials.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 08/25/2016 at 4:04 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

@charlie Pine

It seems like you'd rather make ad hominem attacks than address the issues.

The micro-economics here aren't challenging: changing the marginal cost of one good (sugary drinks) won't impact the price that a retailer charges for another good (e.g. produce).

For an illustration of this, look at cigarette prices: the cost of a pack of cigarettes has skyrocketed as states impose more taxes on cigarettes. The price of Tic-tacs and other goods sold at gas stations (or other cigarette retailers) didn't change when cigarette taxes were implemented.

Posted by Tommy Katz on 08/25/2016 at 3:35 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

@Tommy Katz: You're right, the professor might well know about price elasticity - in which case he simply threw out fog because he favors this tax on the poor. Maybe that is his lawyer side in action. As for the argument about why wasn't the price raised before the tax, the tax would changes the grocer's calculations of price and net revenue - go study it if you're interested.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 08/25/2016 at 2:47 PM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

Here's my opinion of all of this. Frankly it shouldn't matter what the chef looks like as long as the food is good. This is America and we tend to forget the goal of this country is to be a melting pot. Sure we have moments where we fail at it but for the most part we do a good job and the fact of the matter is we try. Unlike most other countries in this world where diversity isn't an issue because they just stick to themselves. Where the beauty of America working properly is in the kitchen. Rather than questioning the ethnic background of our chefs and their cuisines, we should embrace it. If you go to any of these places on a given night (which I do) the audience they serve too is diverse as well as their staffs. When you are dining at these places it's during that time everyone can agree regardless of where they are from can agree that food is delicious and should be appreciated in all its forms. Much like we should appreciate each other as Americans. Honestly if our politics and beliefs were run like the kitchens across the country then the world would be a better place. If we were all supposed to cook and eat what our ethnic backgrounds are "meant" to do then we are in essence forgetting the heart of what this country is built on which is being the melting pot, in the kitchen and out of it.

Posted by Joco Fernan on 08/25/2016 at 1:43 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

At Charlie Pine:

You say: "Prof. Auerbach might know law, but he clearly does not understand the first thing about comparative price elasticities, taught to students in micro-economics class."

Given that he is the former chair of UC Berkeley's economics department, was deputy chief of staff on the U.S. Joint Committee of Taxation, was the President of the National Tax Association, and has a Ph.D in economics from Harvard, I think he might know something about price elasticity.

Aside from his credentials, you didn't refute Prof. Auerbach's point: if store owners could raise the prices of other goods to make more profit, why didn't they do this regardless of the soda tax?

Posted by Tommy Katz on 08/25/2016 at 1:21 PM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

My issue with this article is that there are several great black chefs in Oakland that own restaurant's, popups, trucks or are caterers and no one EVER asks us what we think about all of these restaurants that also have a play on soul food too. Where do the African American Chefs come into play or EVEN get recognized!

Posted by Aaronette Leboothang King on 08/25/2016 at 11:51 AM

Re: “Oakland's Street-Repair Deficit is Deep. The Mayor Says a $600 Million Bond Needed to Address the Problem.

I couldn't help but notice that street repairs in my already-adequately-paved neighborhood near Lake Merritt are ongoing, while West Grand Ave. is like the surface of the freaking moon, nearly shaking apart the bus I take to work every day.

Could it be that there's a resource allocation problem? Are "nicer" neighborhoods with more lobbying power grabbing more of the money away from the torn-up neighborhoods that actually need it? It sure looks like it from here.

Posted by Max Chanowitz on 08/25/2016 at 11:13 AM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

I appreciate comments by Alexis and Fremont here. The issue of usurping other people's cultural heritage and profiting - both egotistically and materially - by assimilating elements for the appreciation of higher class people makes me sad, even as a middle class white man from the Fruitvale. Yet, while I highly value origin and history, I also am burdened with a tongue schooled in locally-grown, grass-fed, sustainable, bla bla, the value of which I cherish supporting in my defiance of industrial corporate food production. The race issue in Tsai's article is symptomatic of our shared American problem rooted in wealth differences, wealth is glamorized, envied, disdained, yet tacitly accepted. While I feel conflicted about Ramen Shop/Tacubayu/Comal/etc, I also can appreciate the audience that has enabled this creative and disciplined expression of food. While I lament the influx of bearded gentry into our Bay oasis, I cherish the educated/artistic/activist culture that existed before and laid the groundwork for appreciation of values in food.

Posted by Bankito on 08/25/2016 at 9:27 AM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

"Moore, on the other hand, said he only hopes that The Kebabery might act as a kind of gateway for the type of customer who will drive out of their way to dine at a Russell Moore restaurant, but might never set foot in any of the Bay Area's many excellent traditional kebab restaurants."

This is exactly the problem isn't it? That is exactly what's going to happen because he is making a "low/dirty" cuisine "safe" for white palettes. And the presence of his restaurant in this neighborhood is making a "low/dirty" neighborhood safe for people who would have never set foot there. He clearly has no interest in catering to the traditionally working class, primarily colored residents in this neighborhood. Rather, he is another person looking to capitalize on the comparatively lower rents in North/West Oakland because he knows that his upper class white clientele will follow. And when they do, they will have the same "epiphany" that West Oakland is actually not as bad as they thought it was and that it's "actually pretty cool and gritty". More hip restaurants by popular chefs and coffee shops will come (as if there aren't enough) and people with money will follow along with higher rents, continuing the rampent spread of gentrification in West Oakland.

In Moores case, The Kebabery itself isn't the problem. It's the location, and the lie that he is telling himself and the community that his intention is to contribute to the the existing neighborhood. Unless we're talking truly accessible price points and a truly welcoming and unpretentious vibe, I will continue to see this as exploitative.

Posted by Christina Young on 08/25/2016 at 9:19 AM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

HELLO WOW another new restaurant, so many coming in to West Oakland,and no local people will get jobs, or afford to eat. Over the years I've tried to get to know people and try for a job--no luck. a few weeks ago, that guy from NY was right--'what's next ? more outsiders, so locals lose out

al brown-chef-creole

Posted by Alan Brown on 08/25/2016 at 9:11 AM

Re: “Oakland's Street-Repair Deficit is Deep. The Mayor Says a $600 Million Bond Needed to Address the Problem.

The City of Oakland has Wells Fargo in court for predatory lending...
Jerry Brown permitted the banks to engage in this criminal activity while he was Attorney General...
Brown cut city services while he was Mayor of Oakland and put Oakland in a deeper hole with the refinance of the predatory loan that the city had made with Goldman Sachs the year before he became Mayor...
At the same time that the bank was engaged in stealing homes in Oakland, they were engaged in a relationship with El Chapo Guzman's drug cartel...
The relationship generated $378 billion over an 18 month period...
Wells has been allowed to keep the profits from the predatory lending as well as from the relationship with Guzman.
All of the other banks have been given the same preferential treatment. this is why there is such a disparity in wealth and income in America...
Wells Fargo should be force to give Oakland $378 billion!!!
Read Facebook for the rest of this story,
"Real Estate Crisis or Government Sanctioned Racketeering?"
Regards, Allen Sanford

Posted by Allen Sanford on 08/25/2016 at 5:11 AM

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