Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cafe Gratitude to Close All NorCal Locations

by Jesse Hirsch
Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Today SFist broke the news on a bombshell from the raw-vegan behemoth (and alleged cult) Cafe Gratitude — namely, that all seven Northern California locations and San Francisco Mexican outpost Gracias Madre will be closing soon. On her Facebook page, owner Terces Engelhart cites the chain's recent legal troubles — stemming from alleged labor-code violations — as the root cause of the closure.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Guest Chef Ebbs and Flows

by Jesse Hirsch
Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Scott Cameron, a real estate developer with no restaurant experience, is conducting a business experiment: for two-week periods, he loans out a Rockridge commercial kitchen and dining area to different chefs. Cameron takes home profits from beer and wine sales, as well as a portion of each chef’s gross.

The opening weeks of his venture, titled Guest Chef, have seen a revolving parade of personalities in the kitchen: the Oakland Fire Department, an elderly Mexican grandmother who never cooked outside of her home, and an outspoken advocate of the Slow Food movement.

The novelty-hungry dining public loves places like this (at least in theory), and Guest Chef has garnered much food-blog support since opening in early November. But as the initial hype dies down, Cameron is discovering some issues with the model.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

General Store Pops Up No More

by Jesse Hirsch
Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 11:41 AM

After two years at the helm of Oakland’s Pop-Up General Store, Samin Nosrat announced she is shutting down at the end of the year. “Some people thought we’d keep going forever, but this narrative needed an ending,” she said.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Plum Bar Sells Seats

by Jesse Hirsch
Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Plum Bar, the newest leg of Daniel Patterson’s ballooning empire, opened on the auspicious day of 11-11-11, all but guaranteeing an inside track on success, happiness, and a lifetime of big tippers. But in case the luck of the elevens wasn’t enough, Patterson crafted a safety net.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turkeys for Slackers

by Jesse Hirsch
Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 8:04 AM

Thanksgiving is next week, and cooks with foresight have already put in their orders for resplendent heritage-breed turkeys raised on truffles in the Sierra Nevada foothills. If (like me), you’ve had other things to do, never fret. Here are a couple of last-minute options for well-sourced birds.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mobile-Food Resolution Moves Forward

by Jesse Hirsch
Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 7:58 PM

At a meeting last week of Oakland’s Community and Economic Development Committee, members voted to push forward a resolution allowing for provisional mobile-food events while the city hammers out a long-term plan.

It’s an interim policy only affecting four districts, and this was merely a preliminary vote before it hits Oakland City Council, but you wouldn’t know it from the impassioned speechifying. Around a dozen people grabbed the mic, including new and old-school mobile-food vendors, representatives of the Oakland and California restaurant associations, nonprofit advocates like Rising Sun Entrepreneurs and the Oakland Food Policy Council, and event organizers Elizabeth August and Karen Hester.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Double D Saga Continues

by Jesse Hirsch
Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Last week I finally got word back on Double D BBQ, adding a new wrinkle to the ongoing saga (yes, it's been upgraded from mystery to saga). If you recall, I’ve made multiple visits to this mythical joint during apparent business hours, only to find the doors locked, the lights on, and the smoker in chains. Writing about it allowed me to vent, but what I really wanted was to smoke the owner out of seclusion.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Food Justice Conference Occupies Oakland

by Jesse Hirsch
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Sunday kicked off the fifteenth-annual conference by the Community Food Security Coalition at the Oakland Marriott City Center. When deciding upon the location for this year’s event, organizers couldn’t have known how well their timing would dovetail with the local Occupy movement. Yet it was clear that speakers and facilitators would capitalize on the themes playing out down the street (e.g., “Overturn the one percent that control our food system!”).

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Victory Gardens Dig in for the Long Haul

by Jesse Hirsch
Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 10:06 PM

It’s safe to assume that when the Oakland PD raided Frank H. Ogawa Plaza on October 25, few people were thinking about vegetable destruction. Call it collateral damage: A group of Occupiers and community allies had been working to create edible gardens at the encampment, all of which were destroyed.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oakland’s Most Elusive Barbecue

by Jesse Hirsch
Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have a full-on food mystery here.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been mining the Express archives, researching crucial pit stops on the East Bay foodways. Double D BBQ, this year’s Best Of winner for “The Best Barbecue Place You’ve Never Heard Of,” struck a particular chord. Promising tender and lush slow-cooked brisket by-the-pound, the blurb mentions Double D is only open limited hours, three days a week.

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