Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mid-Week Menu: Curses, Fires, and Absurdly Long Lines

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Berkeleyside reports on the latest casualty of the seemingly cursed restaurant location at 2826 Telegraph Ave.: The farm-to-fork restaurant Origen is now closed, about eight months after it opened. Neither of the restaurant’s two most recent predecessors in that space, Maritime East and Locanda de Eva, lasted past their first year either. Inside Scoop offers some insight into the difficulty of the space, beyond the supposed “jinx” — apparently, the kitchen is twice the size of the dining room, making overhead costs difficult to sustain.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Updated: CommonWealth Closed Indefinitely Due to Fire

by Ellen Cushing
Sun, Jul 8, 2012 at 8:40 PM

This just in, straight from the Department of Bad Timing: CommonWealth — which I visited, loved, and wrote about in this week's bar column — was apparently the victim of a nasty-sounding fire earlier today, rendering it closed for the time being (though, fortunately, it doesn't appear that there were any injuries). Per Bay City News, via CBS5:

Patrons in the CommonWealth Cafe ... heard a loud popping sound this afternoon, but did not report the fire until nearly an hour later, shortly after 2:30 p.m., when they began to smell smoke, said Battalion Chief Emon Usher. An employee investigated and discovered fire in a storage space between the first and second floors. Firefighters had to open up walls and ceilings to reach the fire, which appeared to have been burning for quite some time .... The cafe shut down, in part because power to the building has been shut down .... Usher said damage was likely to be more than $100,000.

Yeesh. The pub's phone line is, understandably, busy, but we'll keep you posted.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Baron Baking and the Science of Bagels

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 4:32 PM

There are those who say if you want to know the secret to making a great bagel, you have to learn at the foot of a master — you know, one of the three or four remaining old-timers, who practice their dark arts deep in the recesses of Montreal and Brooklyn. Others cite that old urban legend about New York City tap water, without which Bay Area bagel makers might as well be attempting alchemy.

But according to Dan Graf, there’s nothing magical about the process — just hard work and some good old-fashioned science. The 27-year-old self-taught baker’s new one-man operation, Baron Baking, is the latest bagel purveyor to make waves in the East Bay — Baron Baking is now the sole bagel supplier for both Saul’s Restaurant & Delicatessen and Chop Bar, and his bagels will also be available at the new Uptown sandwich shop, Stag’s Lunchette, when it opens next week.

Oh, and Graf’s bagels are pretty delicious.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mid-Week Menu: Independence Day Food Truckery and an Array of Openings and Closings

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Jul 4, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Happy Fourth of July, people! If you still haven’t nailed down your pre-fireworks dinner plans, you might consider checking out tonight’s super-sized, “Only in America”-themed Off the Grid market in North Berkeley (5 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Shattuck between Vine and Rose). The lineup of eleven food trucks will celebrate America’s cultural diversity through a selection of special dishes created especially for the event.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Bueno Eats: Pop-Up Series to Showcase Chef’s ‘Latin Freestyle’ Cooking

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Empanada enthusiasts and arepa aficionados, take note: Bueno Eats, the latest dinner series to debut at the Gourmet Ghetto’s pop-up-friendly Guerilla Cafe (1620 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) will take off this Friday, July 6.

Showcasing the self-styled “Latin Freestyle” cooking of chef Maria Esquivel, the pop-up will serve dinner from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every Friday through the end of July. The series coincides with the month-long summer break being taken by the cafe’s “permanent pop-up,” homestyle-Jamaican specialist Kingston 11.

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