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Comment Archives: stories: Food & Drink: What the Fork

Re: “Why Does the Berkeley City Council Care About a Dog Meat Festival in China?

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.

Posted by Vince Rubino on 07/20/2016 at 8:51 PM

Re: “Why Does the Berkeley City Council Care About a Dog Meat Festival in China?

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.

Posted by Francesca M. Austin on 07/20/2016 at 5:10 PM

Re: “Why Does the Berkeley City Council Care About a Dog Meat Festival in China?

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.

Posted by David Cohen on 07/20/2016 at 12:56 PM

Re: “Mama's Royal Cafe Is for Sale

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!

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 07/08/2016 at 6:00 PM

Re: “Mama's Royal Cafe Is for Sale

Love Mama's grits and hash, but man that place needs a serious update. Getting very tired and worn in a not-good way.

Posted by Jean Komatsu 1 on 07/08/2016 at 5:44 PM

Re: “Mama's Royal Cafe Is for Sale

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.

Posted by Luke Tsai on 07/06/2016 at 9:40 AM

Re: “Mama's Royal Cafe Is for Sale

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?

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 07/06/2016 at 8:57 AM

Re: “Liba Falafel Takes Its Food Truck Off the Road

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:
http://www.portlandmercury.com/The-Food-Issue-2016/2016/06/29/18302257/why-is-it-so-damn-tough-to-open-a-new-restaurant-in-portland

"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."
http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/print-edition/2015/10/23/apocolypse-not-15-and-the-cuts-that-never-came.html

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.

(Creative Commons) Mitch Ritter
Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
Nike-Town, Intel-Land LLC
Pheudal Phiephdom of Phil, Ka-ching
In Anti-Trust PERP-E-tuity Throughout the Universe

Posted by Mitch Ritter on 06/29/2016 at 10:43 PM

Re: “Eddie Huang Doesn't Care About the New Shit in Your City

there is alot of responsibility in being a serviceman/women, we defend and protect, while most just sit on their fat ass and reap the rewards!

Posted by JL Brown Jr on 06/26/2016 at 4:14 PM

Re: “Eddie Huang Doesn't Care About the New Shit in Your City

I dont give a damn about him or his ideas, I am a strong supporter of the Bill or rights, all of them. I served 23 yrs in the military, and if I could afford a assault weapon I would have one, but I cant, so I keep a AR15

Posted by JL Brown Jr on 06/26/2016 at 4:13 PM

Re: “The Economics of a $16 Cup of Coffee

About half-a-century ago advertising agencies came up with the same principle: "sell the sizzle not the steak."

Folks in Oakland who like coffee should look at local coffee importer Sweet Maria's website. You can buy green coffee from all over the world there, roast it at home and have a fine cup at a lower cost than buying grocery store coffee.

One of the major problems with commercially-produced coffee is that it is 'way over-roasted so that it has nothing other than the taste of burnt beans. Then you add milk, sugar and other flavorings to make it palatable.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/26/2016 at 10:34 AM

Re: “The Economics of a $16 Cup of Coffee

Obscene first world pricing or not, if coffee was grown commercially in California it would cost as much for 12 ounces as you pay for a good glass of red wine in a 6 ounce cup. Get accustomed to paying more for coffee as the coffee producing world (read: dveloping world) develops and wants what we have had for decades. Namely, a living wage.

Posted by David Evans on 06/23/2016 at 1:32 PM

Re: “The Economics of a $16 Cup of Coffee

Sorry, but I think this is an obscene first world price to pay for a cup of coffee no matter how difficult it is to get it here or how good it tastes. Enough is enough. I had it last year with the "warmed toast" for several dollars story. Leave our coffee excellent but reasonable, say the 99%-ers. Thank you - end of mini-rant.

Posted by Francesca M. Austin on 06/22/2016 at 1:03 PM

Re: “Oakland's Only Nigerian Restaurant Makes Way for a New Beer Garden

I have lived in Oakland for 56 years and I can tell there have been many, many restaurants that have come and gone. The new owner has every right to pursue his own dreams. He bought the building with the intention of opening his own business. What's wrong with that??? As for the Nigerian place, well he needs to find another location if he truly wants to continue. Don't chastise the new owner for wanting to provide some new blood into the neighborhood.

Posted by FatherLeonard L Marrujo on 05/27/2016 at 1:51 PM

Re: “Oakland's Only Nigerian Restaurant Makes Way for a New Beer Garden

The Popey's at the bottom of Park Blvd. needs a new restaurant (and can probably get a City or OBDC loan to fix it up). There are a few extra spaces around there as well. Close to the lake to boot.

Posted by Hugh Morrison 1 on 05/26/2016 at 11:25 PM

Re: “Oakland's Only Nigerian Restaurant Makes Way for a New Beer Garden

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

Posted by Editor on 05/21/2016 at 12:19 PM

Re: “Oakland's Only Nigerian Restaurant Makes Way for a New Beer Garden

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

Posted by Editor on 05/21/2016 at 11:19 AM

Re: “Oakland's Only Nigerian Restaurant Makes Way for a New Beer Garden

Such an inspiring story! Finally, a white person was able to realize their dreams, despite being up against some pretty powerful forces...like West African immigrants and their beloved neighborhood restaurant. Thank goodness there won't be any more live African music in the neighborhood, or place for West African people to congregate and have a good time — sounds like it was a total drag.

And it's about time Oakland got a bougie gentrification-ass beer garden! That sort of thing was really lacking in this city until now. Just what Oakland needs. You're a real hero, Paul.

Posted by Max Chanowitz on 05/19/2016 at 12:23 PM

Re: “Oakland's Only Nigerian Restaurant Makes Way for a New Beer Garden

Miliki responded to neighborhood concerns when they hired the long-time cook at the old Full House Cafe (now Sequoia) and started serving breakfast. They are a valued member of the community. To displace them, though the right of the property owner, is callous and not in keeping with the community spirit that Miliki has contributed to and fostered for many years. It looked at first that the beer garden was going into the space next to Miliki. It's a pity that the property owner does not pursue this arrangement, which in my mind would be a win-win.

Posted by Gregory 'gar' Russell on 05/19/2016 at 10:29 AM

Re: “Oakland's Only Nigerian Restaurant Makes Way for a New Beer Garden

Just because he's nice about it and it's "his dream" doesn't mean it's not gentrification. He is still pushing an existing neighborhood business out. Extremely disappointing to say the absolute least.

Posted by Tania D. Russell on 05/19/2016 at 9:23 AM

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