Oakland, Berkeley, And East Bay News, Events, Restaurants, Music, & Arts
There's a much more pressing problem in our own back yard: the Bay Area's many live animal food markets. California annually imports some TWO MILLION non-native American bullfrogs for human consumption (commercially-raised). Plus an additional 300,000 to 400,000 non-native freshwater turtles, all taken from the wild in states East of the Rockies, depleting local populations. These markets are common in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and Los Angeles, mostly in various "Chinatowns." Often illegally released into they wild, they prey upon and displace our native species.
Worse, the majority of the bullfrogs (60+ %) test positive for the dreaded chytrid fungus (Batrachrochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd), which has caused the extinctions of 200+ species of frogs and other amphibians worldwide in recent years.
ALL of the market frogs & turtles are diseased and/or parasitized, though it is ILLEGAL to sell such products: E. coli, pasturella, salmonella, blood parasite, giardia, et al. Many of the animals are stacked four and five deep, often without food or water, and butchered while fully conscious.
Now THERE's an issue where the Berkeley and Oakland City Councils could REALLY make a difference. Follow the money.
Eric Mills, coordinator
ACTION FOR ANIMALS
I can't wait for a branch group of Direct Action in Mumbai to take exception to Americans devouring cows.
Do something real people.
In South Korea, which has a strong and long duration of Western cultural influence, dog restaurants remain somewhat common and a choice for older Koreans who are feeling under-the-weather. The trauma of the dog being beaten adds stress-related chemicals to the flesh, which in turn are supposed to provide health benefits to the people who eat it. It is pricey meat. However, dog eating is not popular with younger Koreans and small dogs are increasinglng finding their way into apartment dweller homes as pets. Kudos for Berkeley City for flexing their soft power, but don't expect this practice in Asia to go away in the near future.
I have made this place a regular weekly excursion. Food is delish.
There are many animal rescues in CA, Hope for Paws and MarleyMutts to name two, which are working with rescues in China and Korea to stop this practice. But what they can do is just a drop in the bucket compared to the dogs that are languishing in small cages waiting to be killed and eaten. Particular types of dogs are also being bread as a food source (they look like a combo Samoyed/Husky). It's quite sad when you think about it. A tiny number of these animals are "saved" by rescues and shipped here - but should we really be doing this with the amount of dogs in shelters needing to be "saved" from extermination as well.
I appreciate Kriss Worthington for putting this item on the agenda. It brings grotesque practices such as those described to the fore, and creates political pressure that may eventually be effective.
Thanks, Luke! Have followed the Miliki story a bit, but was never sure whether that was the same chef. I certainly hope they find a way to make it.
As for Mama's needing an update: only a few details, perhaps, like fixing the stools (and maybe some fresh paint)! When it comes to retro/camp, that place is already the real deal!
Oakland doesn't need a Mama's Redux with Edison lightbulbs and faux-industrial fixtures, any more than it needs yet another hipster beer garden to replace Miliki. Stick with the genuine article!
Love Mama's grits and hash, but man that place needs a serious update. Getting very tired and worn in a not-good way.
Well, Sam, he already had the space and has been operating there since well before Uber decided to move there. That area serves a lot of people, not just the new white folk. I applaud Patterson for learning more about the community he serves, closing the pricey destination Plum restaurant (yes, Plumbar is still there, a scaled back version with more affordable food), and trying something that might actually appeal to the broader base of customers in that area. As to the "he is only employing people to help make his profit" ...well, yes. But a lot of hot Oakland restaurants are not at all concerned with employing or training people in the actual community, or providing healthy, tasty, affordable food. Could he change his business model and do more? Maybe. But he could have bailed on Oakland entirely and instead is is doing something.
Why all the hate? I tell you what, when someone, maybe you Sam, can open a healthy, cheap, profit sharing, community, sustainable, local, unionized, happy happy fast food joint, I will be the first to go. But until then, I'm heading to Local. It's a fantastic vision & we should all support it. And if Patterson & Choi make a few bucks along the way, don't they kind of deserve it? I mean, I hope they do well so they will keep the vision going & who knows? Maybe they will convert to employee owned in the future.
It won't happen if we throw a bunch of hate on them & they fail. So, I say, go!
I am very excited to try LocoL but my only question is why is the price for everything in the Oakland storefront one dollar more than everything at the Watts location? I feel as though they are trying to exploit the tech profits of the bay area. A dollar may not be a huge difference to the new influx of gentrification but to the original inhabitants of Oakland a dollar can make a big decision on where they spend their money. Especially if you're trying to feed a low-income family which I feel is their mission.
Michael's comment proves it - Tea Party Republican folks love LOCOL! haha
Sam-profit is good. The only obligation of a business is to obey the law-health codes, minimum wage requirements, and pay taxes to the minimum levels needed and make a return for their investors. Their menu, their locations, and their slogans is their own business, not the damn government's or these elusive "communities" people proclaim. I'm a teacher- don't eat out much, but like simple and low priced food.
had dinner there last night, olivetos, with my family! Bravissimo! Incredible meats, pastas, etc. For a special occasion or just for the hell of it, this is the place to go. Very nice and quiet upstairs with terrific service. That young chef, jonah, cooks beyond his years.
the brooklyn foodie
I'm really confused about what their "revolution" means...
Is it a stretch to think they are using vague positive, social slogans to simply push their brand? How well would a new low production cost fast-food franchise do these days, especially in CA without dropping vague slogans like "building community", "empowering", and so forth? What do they actually mean? My guesses:
It seems like they kinda use Republican "job creator" rhetoric as one of their benefits. What's going on here is that you are paying people to make profit for you. If this was purely about "community", you'd use a cooperative ownership model. But, nah, it is about profit...even if they pay their workers slightly more than minimum wage.
Next, you dropped one of your initial locations in arguably the most white, gentrified area in Oakland (a block from the new Uber HQ). There are loads of restaurants affordable to techies and hospital execs who live and work around here. If part of Locol's mission is about solving the food desert issue, why build one of your few locations in one of the richest parts of the Bay Area?
The whole line about "teaching job skills" is also bogus. Every company from Walmart to TGI Fridays acts like employees who are underpaid and don't benefit from profit sharing are actually "developing job skills" or whatever. Bogus corporate sloganeering that actually means "you are benefiting from exploitation."
Not selling sodas, and the political discussion on "soda taxes" is paternalistic and frequently has racist undertones. Another item that I wouldn't say is suspect at best and far from "revolutionary."
Without any clear benefit to any of the Bay Area's most deserving communities, their "revolution" seems like nothing more than to make the owners rich. Revolutionizing their pocket books.
Hey Mitchell, my understanding is that the Full House chef has since moved onto Miliki (whose own future is a big question mark). But yes, Marino said he wants to find a new owner who will keep the staff — though of course it may be impossible to guarantee it.
Has he held onto the former chef from the Full House Café? Any talk of whether the staff (as well as the recipes) might be part of the package when he sells?
Great review on LocoL. It's very cool to see new retail food business find success in areas like Oakland. Here's a few tips on opening a retail food business: https://businessfirstfamily.com/retail-food-business/
Thanks for sharing,
The food was as described bland for the price. Burger & Fries with Club Soda ( no refill) was $18 + some change before tip. I ate at the bar. I did not think the food was worth the money. But then I am 67 and do not know who the target market is.
As a falafel fiend (and alternative press newshound) living in the "financially innovative" CARTOPIA of Portland, Ore aka Po'Town, I appreciate the coverage of brave Gail Lillian's attempt to make a go of both her LIBA Falafel food cart and her brick & mortar restaurant. However, reporter Luke Tsai is way off-base to jump on the national Chamber of Commerce line that LABOR SHORTAGES are causing U.S. businesses to suffer. THERE IS NO LABOR SHORTAGE for any type of job in our diverse U.S.
Up here in Po'town one of our otherwise admirable alternative weeklies, namely the PORTLAND MERCURY (sister indie of Seattle's alt weekly THE STRANGER) also ran a food feature this week by Andrea Damewood trying to explain the latest "financial innovation" of 'Pop-ups' in the restaurant biz by blaming this phantom LABOR SHORTAGE. Damewood explains:
"The result is a ballooning number of pop-ups, carts, and other low-cost entries into the food scene, like Cho's hybrid restaurant Han Oak, or Mae, chef Maya Lovelace's twice-weekly Southern feast run out of the back of Northeast Portland's Old Salt Marketplace."
A Commenter using the moniker GB1 weighed in before me briefly noting:
"The only labor shortage described in the article is line cooks. There are many people looking for work in this city, the easy solution is to train your own line cooks, which restaurants used to do."
My own reply to GB1's concise analysis and response to the national canard of any actual U.S. LABOR SHORTAGE is as follows:
GB1's Comment above about there being NO LABOR SHORTAGE, however, NO LINE COOK training anymore seems about right. Yet, it begs the question: With all the culinary academies turning out graduates, and not much access to start-up capital available, how low is the pay being offered to line cooks?
Not only can nobody live on $9.25 per hour minimum wage in Po'town, but with the remedy we've chosen of phasing in the climb to $15.00 per hour being years away, no current or new venture seems likely to survive to see what a $15.00 minimum wage will mean in 2022, or whenever the few states phasing in token minimum wage increases take effect.
Unlike Seattle, where with the sensible exception of businesses with fewer than 50 employees their $15.00 minimum wage enacted 4 years ago has created more money circulation on the city's streets (unlike the FEDERAL RESERVE's QUANTITATIVE EASING or QE I and II that only fed the banks and other lenders who did not improve cash circulation on Main Street, only on Wall Street). Even the PUGET BUSINESS JOURNAL which cried Cassandra in greeting Seattle-Tacoma Socialist Alternative council member Kshama Sawant when she and her fellow labor activists launched the $15.00 NOW! minimum wage movement, the same PUGET BUSINESS JOURNAL went back after 2 years to study the results and headlined their own admission of error in screaming there'd be a mass exodus of locally-owned businesses from Seattle by declaring "APOCALYPSE NOT."
Moreover, this week's EAST BAY EXPRESS down in Oakland-Berkeley-Richmond-Albany-El Cerrito-Emeryville etc ran the same scare tactic of floating the ridiculous claim of a LABOR SHORTAGE in explaining why food carts are not the low-overhead remedy to the boom\bust cycle of commercial real estate markets. THE EB EXPRESS' reporter Luke Tsai used long-time Oakland food cart and restaurant entrepreneur Gail Lillian as his illustration of why a LABOR SHORTAGE was forcing her to close her popular LIBA FALAFEL food cart. See: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/li…
I support alternative weeklies that try to broaden coverage, but both the MERCURY & EB EXPRESS could use a BUSINESS section that broadens the discussion of failed local businesses to the wider trends of the 1/10th of 1% that can access capital to start up businesses without resorting to Kickstarter friends in shifting the risk of a new venture. Even the mainstream business community, so slow to recognize the Reagan-Bush-Norquist-Wanniski SUPPLY SIDE HOAX, TRICKLE DOWN FALLACIES and the laughable LAFFER CURVE (you can buy used LAFFER CURVES on Ebay autographed by Ted Koppel of ABC's NIGHTLINE which lent Arthur Laffer the credibility to sway even DNC legislators) are, with the possible exception of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback coming around to acknowledge the snake-oil about WHO REALLY CREATES JOBS and who should be able to shift costs & risks to the public while keeping all the profits. Why even SUPPLY SIDERS (except for Gov. Brownback and the GOP field of unfettered capital dreams) are facing the contradiction of cutting costs of LABOR so much over 40 years of Stag-flation on worker wages that DEMAND has dried up because there is no money left for working folks to spend.
All those GLOBAL TRADE DEALS never did create a middle class demanding anything but high-tech weaponry (our last surplus trading export) in kleptocracies or slave-labor states like Mexico and China. DEMAND has never been made up to counter our TRADE DEFICITS from where the NIKE's and other off-shore labor-seekers have gone in shredding our hard-earned Social Contract and reasonable tariff and trade barriers that once made U.S. internal markets, diversified manufacturing base and the growing middle class the envy of the world.
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