Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Iyasare Softly Opens, Cafe Gabriela and Build Raise Money for Typhoon Relief, and El Ojo de Agua Will (Hopefully) Rise Again

by Luke Tsai
Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Happy Thanksgiving, all! Here’s a quick holiday edition of the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Tablehopper reports that Iyasare (1830 4th St., Berkeley), Shotaro Kamio’s new restaurant in the recently shuttered O Chame space, softly opened last night. The food is said to be inspired by Kamio’s native Tohoku region in Japan. The restaurant’s official grand opening will be Sunday, December 1.

2) A couple of Typhoon Haiyan relief fundraising events coming up: Cafe Gabriela (988 Broadway, Oakland) is co-sponsoring a film screening at The New Parkway (474 24th St.) on Sunday, December 8, and hosting a fundraising night at the restaurant on Friday, December 13. Meanwhile, Build Pizzeria Roma (2286 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) will donate 10 percent of its proceeds from dinner service (5:30-10 p.m.) on Tuesday, December 10 to Doctors Without Borders.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

At Pathos, Greek Goes Organic

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Greek food has a bit of an image problem in the Bay Area. Most diners only think of it — if they think of at all — as an inexpensive fast-food option, a quick gyro wrap served out of a hole in the wall. But chef Nick Eftimiou is banking on the fact that the cuisine is poised to really catch on: After a series of permitting delays that put off the launch for well over a year, Eftimiou’s new upscale Greek restaurant, Pathos Restaurant and Bar (2430 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley), opens tonight. The 55-seat restaurant features an extensive selection of imported Greek wines, a full bar, and a commitment to organic ingredient sourcing.

“Greeks have some serious Michelin-starred restaurants now,” Eftimiou said. “We're coming up in world cuisine.”

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Norikonoko Shut Down By Fire, Plans to Reopen Next Summer

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 8:00 AM

On Wednesday, October 30, a small electrical fire broke out in the kitchen at Norikonoko (2556 Telegraph Ave.), shutting down the tiny, charming Berkeley restaurant, which specializes in homestyle Japanese cuisine. After several weeks passed with no news of the restaurant's future plans, What the Fork finally touched base with owner Noriko Taniguchi, who said that although the fire department quickly contained the blaze, the smoke damage was extensive enough to keep the restaurant closed for repairs for the next six to eight months.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Penrose Gets Ready to Open, Tribune Tavern Swaps Chefs, and Artis Coffee Pioneers ‘Live’ Roasting

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 4:00 PM

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

1) Inside Scoop reports that Penrose (3311 Grand Ave., Oakland), the new bar and grill from chef-restaurateur Charlie Hallowell (Pizzaiolo/Boot and Shoe Service) is slated to open this week — on Friday, November 22, according to the most recent update. As previously reported, the focus of Hallowell’s third restaurant (whose name has been condensed from the much longer Penrose & Sons Fine Meats and Spirits) will be on an extensive bar program and, as the Chronicle reports, food that will mostly either be served raw (assorted tartares, crudos, etc.) or cooked on the wood-fired grill. SFist notes that the reason the highly anticipated project took so long to complete is because Hallowell decide to expand the restaurant — now a sixty-seat dining room with a twenty-seat bar — to include to two adjacent spaces, a cafe and a nail salon.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Where to Eat Dungeness Crab in the East Bay

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Here’s cause for celebration: Northern California’s commercial Dungeness crab season opened on Friday, and local crab started to appear on East Bay restaurant menus as early as Saturday. Here are a few places to get your crab on this week and beyond:

China Village, 1335 Solano Ave., Albany: Perhaps my all-time favorite crab dish is China Village’s ma po tofu Dungeness crab, a preparation that chef-owner John Yao devised as a way to use traditional Sichuan cooking techniques to highlight the local crustacean. Here, the classic combination of bean curd and Sichuan pepper-laced chili sauce is paired with an entire wok-fried crab instead of ground pork. The marriage of sweet crab meat and spicy-savory sauce (made rich with bits of delicious crab tomalley) makes this basically the perfect thing to eat over white rice.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Salsa Maker Opens a Taco Stand at Olde Depot

by Luke Tsai
Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Mark Sorensen said he started his Oakland-based salsa company, Santipapas, as just a hobby. He’d been a registered nurse for eighteen years and was having something of a mid-life crisis — a desire to do something with his life where he could be his own boss for once.

Now, one year later, Sorensen said what started as a small side gig has expanded “like gangbusters.” Only recently, though, has the project gotten big enough to compel him to quit his day job. On Sunday, in a sudden turn of events, Sorensen launched the newest incarnation of Santipapas: a permanent pop-up taco stand inside the Jack London Square neighborhood’s Olde Depot Public House (468 3rd St.).

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Jodie’s Raises Money for Renovations, Sliver Slings Pizza for Typhoon Relief, and Kingston 11 Softly Opens

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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

1) Berkeleyside Nosh reports that Jodie’s Restaurant (902 Masonic Ave., Albany), everyone’s favorite tiny greasy-spoon breakfast joint (or mine, anyway), is in danger of being shut down due to building code violations. The restaurant is currently selling t-shirts in an effort to raise enough money to pay for the necessary repairs/upgrades or, if that proves unfeasible, to cover at least part of the cost of relocation. The one silver lining: If the renovation/relocation effort proves successful, owner Jodie Royston vows he’ll bring back his legendary fried chicken, which was taken off the menu in 2011 after the health department ruled that Royston couldn’t prepare it offsite. Other fundraising efforts might be in the works, so stay tuned for details.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Want to Donate Your Leftovers to Feed the Hungry? There’s an App for That.

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Two years ago, as a fourth year student at UC Berkeley, Komal Ahmad co-founded the nonprofit BareAbundance with a simple mission: to feed the hungry and reduce food waste by partnering with organizations like Cal Dining to redistribute leftovers to local soup kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters.

Here’s how it typically worked: Ahmad would get a phone call from a campus dining hall manager, who would tell her how much leftover food he had and how soon it would need to be consumed. Then she would call about thirty different hunger relief agencies in the Berkeley area. But, according to Ahmad, the problem was that about half of the agencies wouldn’t even pick up the phone, and the ones that did would often tell her they could only use a small portion of the leftover food.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Off the Grid Eyes Return to North Berkeley, Osmanthus Opens in Rockridge, and Two Korean Restaurants in Temescal Get Revamped

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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

1) Berkeleyside Nosh has the scoop on a potential Off the Grid location at the North Berkeley BART station. If the BART deal goes through, eight to twelve food trucks would set up outside of the North Berkeley BART station each Sunday from 5-9 p.m. This would mark the insanely popular gourmet food truck rally’s return to North Berkeley after the OtG’s first East Bay location, in the Gourmet Ghetto, closed last year — at least in part because of complaints from nearby brick-and-mortar businesses.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Now Open in Temescal: Copan

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The newest addition to the Korean food scene on Oakland's Telegraph Ave. is Copan (4869 Telegraph Ave., Oakland), which quietly opened this past Friday. As previously reported, the restaurant, owned by Ohgane's Micha Oh, specializes in Korean rice bowls and Korean-Japanese fusion cuisine. The kitchen is helmed by 24-year-old Eddie Chu, who cooked previously at New York City's Momofuku Ssam Bar.

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