Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Box & Bells Opens, Fist of Flour Lands a Brick-and-Mortar Home, and Shakewell Reveals Its Lakeshore Avenue Location

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 7:30 AM

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

1) James Syhabout took to Instagram to announce the birth of his much-anticipated new gastropub Box & Bells (5912 College Ave., Oakland), which opens for dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. tonight, Inside Scoop reports. Syhabout told Scoop that the meat-centric menu that he and chef Benjamin Coe have put together will focus on the mastery of basic cooking techniques (“roasting, poaching, frying”) rather than high-tech modern embellishments. Let's just say it isn’t a shy menu: Blood pudding poutine! Raw oyster mayonnaise! $65 aged prime cote de boef on the bone!

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

E-ville’s Shiny New Food Pop-Up

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 8:00 AM

We’ve written before about the Emeryville Public Market’s ongoing efforts to reinvent itself into something more destination-worthy and, well, cooler than a standard-order shopping plaza and food court. The latest trend the Public Market is jumping on? The pop-up market.

Starting in October, the Public Market has brought in the Sacramento-based event agency Unseen Heroes to curate a series of weekly Thursday night pop-up events known as DISPLAY. Unseen Heroes co-founder Roshaun Davis explained that the basic idea is to take a relatively small space — in this case, the section of the Public Market food court between the ball pit and the rear entrance — and convert it into a sleek pop-up market that can be reconfigured from week to week to serve a variety of purposes.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

New Book Project to Preach Foraging for the Everyday

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM

While the concept predates human civilization, for many, the idea of “foraging” for food still seems vaguely exotic — a practice best reserved for the Chez Panisse kitchen staff, hardcore nature enthusiasts, or, perhaps, the exceedingly frugal.

Kevin Feinstein, a Walnut Creek-based wild edible plants expert, says he would like to change that perception. According to Feinstein, his new book project, The Practical Forager, will treat foraging not as an environmentally-conscious hobby, but rather an overarching worldview and lifestyle choice — one with practical, everyday applications for anyone interested in issues of food and sustainability.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Kingston 11 Gears Up for Soft Opening, Commis Keeps Its Star, and Marrow Serves Brunch

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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

1) A quick update on Kingston 11 (2270 Telegraph Ave.), the long-awaited Jamaican restaurant coming soon to Uptown Oakland: It looks like chef Nigel Jones and his partners are in their final fine-tuning stages. The restaurant hosted one last fundraising event over the weekend (h/t @lettuceeatkale), and Jones told What the Fork that final inspections from the city have been scheduled for later this week. Look for a soft opening — with full dinner service — on or around November 15. Lunch and brunch service will launch in subsequent weeks.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Bay Area’s First Soul Food Truck

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The Bay Area is home to food trucks that specialize in Eritrean-Irish fusion cuisine, Hong Kong-style egg tarts and curry fish balls, and tacos of every conceivable ethnic origin, among countless others. So it’s somewhat amazing to consider that Oakland resident Kenny Stuckey’s new venture, Kenny’s Heart & Soul, may become the first soul food truck in the Bay Area.

While there’s a mobile soul food trailer in San Francisco and a handful of trucks that serve soul-food fusion concepts — i.e., gussied-up twists on Southern-style grits or chicken and waffles — Stuckey said he wasn’t aware of any truck that specializes in “strictly soul food.”

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Food Day in the East Bay

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 8:00 AM

First celebrated in 1975, Food Day was conceived by the Washington, DC-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) as an Earth Day-like holiday designed to increase public awareness about the most pressing food-related issues of the time: the danger of exposing children to too much sugar, the environmental impact of large-scale agricultural practices, the threat that corporate farming posed to small family farmers, among others.

Given the fact that many of those issues continue to loom large, it’s no surprise that CSPI decided to reinstate Food Day — which only lasted a few years in its first incarnation — in 2011. According to Lilia Smelkova, CSPI’s Food Day campaign manager, the idea was to unify the sustainable food movement, with all of its separate (and occasionally contradictory) submovements — organic food, Slow Food, food access, etc. — under one platform.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Lithuanian Food in Alameda, Centouno in Jack London Square, and a Block Party in Uptown Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 7:30 AM

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

1) A tipster wrote in to let us know that a Lithuanian restaurant and teahouse called Mama Papa Lithuania (1241 Park St.) is now open in Alameda. On the restaurant’s website, owner Vaidas Sukys — whose mother is the chef — claims that Mama Papa Lithuania is the only Lithuanian restaurant on the West Coast. Intriguing menu items include potato dumplings stuffed with minced meat, two different kinds of borscht, and Lithuanian honey cake (medutis).

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Friday, October 11, 2013

In Praise of Late-Night Ramen

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Oct 11, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Last summer, Kyle Itani, chef and co-owner of the then-nearly-brand-new Uptown Oakland restaurant Hopscotch (1915 San Pablo Ave.), was talking to a friend about Oakland’s lack of late-night dining options when he hit upon an ingenious idea. What if, after Hopscotch finished dinner service at 11 p.m. on Friday nights, the restaurant stayed open? And what if, instead of his regular upscale Cal-cuisine menu, he served ramen, which Itani had always thought was the perfect one-dish meal — just the thing to eat at the end of a long night of drinking?

So was born Yonsei Ramen Shop, which Itani started running as a weekly pop-up inside his own restaurant last October. For three or four hours every Friday night, he would convert Hopscotch into a ramen shop — the kind of bare-bones, down-and-dirty shop you might stumble upon in some Tokyo alleyway.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Korean-Japanese Fusion in Temescal, a Tipless Restaurant, and $10 Paella

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 10:42 AM

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

1) Let's start with some bad news: Sura (4869 Telegraph Ave.), long one of my favorite all-purpose Korean restaurants in Temescal, has closed. R.I.P. Sura and its amazing banchan spreads. There's a silver lining, though. It turns out the restaurant has been purchased by Micha Oh — who owns Ohgane (3915 Broadway), another popular Korean restaurant — and her business partner. Sean Jeon, Ohgane’s general manager, told What the Fork that the former Sura location will reopen on October 20, after a quick remodel, with a new name — Copan — and a brand new menu focusing on bibimbap (Korean rice bowls) and Japanese-Korean fusion dishes. Oh has hired Eddie Chu, a 24-year-old chef who previously worked at New York’s Momofuku Ssam Bar, to run the kitchen at Copan. Stay tuned for additional details.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled chef Eddie Chu's last name as "Joo" and incorrectly stated his age (he's 24, not 25) and previous place of employment (Momofuku Ssam Bar, not Momofuku Noodle Bar).

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Oakland Food Lovers Start a Podcast

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Plenty of food-loving couples in the Bay Area spend their free time exploring new restaurants and taking long romantic walks at the local farmers’ market. But Ray Gonzales and Jacqueline Gleason, an Oakland couple with a shared passion for food, decided that they wanted to take their mutual spare-time activity to the next level: Earlier this fall Gonzales and Gleason launched a new biweekly podcast, Real Food Real Talk, which they produce out of a small studio they’ve set up in their home.

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