Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A 'Beer Fountain' Opens in Uptown Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Via Facebook.
  • Via Facebook.
The newest brewery and taproom to hit Oakland’s hopping beer scene doesn’t just serve your standard West Coast IPA or European-style brews. Instead, Woods Bar & Brewery (1701 Telegraph Ave.), which softly opened earlier this month, specializes in beer that will, as owner Jim Woods put it, “challenge expectations” — beer that’s caffeinated, beer made with no hops whatsoever, and so forth.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

A Barcelona-Style Dinner Pops Up in Berkeley

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 3:57 PM

The spread at next week's Sobremesa pop-up dinner might look something like this. - CAMILA LOEW
  • Camila Loew
  • The spread at next week's Sobremesa pop-up dinner might look something like this.
Camila Loew is on a mission to bring a little slice of Barcelona to the Bay Area. Loew’s Berkeley-based company, Sobremesa, will serve paella at your birthday party, teach you and your friends how to make Basque pintxos and other regional Spanish dishes, or set you up with a healthy meal plan to fit your dietary needs. Starting this past summer, Sobremesa is also the name of the pop-up restaurant that Loew sets up once every few months at the Far Leaves Tea tea shop in West Berkeley (2626 San Pablo Ave.).

The next pop-up dinner will take place on Thursday, October 9, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. For $50, each guest will sit down at a long communal table and share five or six family-style dishes, plus a few bottles of good Spanish wine.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mid-Week Menu: A Richmond Restaurant Sticks It to Yelp, Muracci’s Berkeley Location Opens, and Cat Town Cafe Announces Its Opening Date

by Luke Tsai
Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 11:37 AM

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

1) By now, Yelp’s predatory practices are an open secret, as is the power wielded by the site’s less conscientious armchair reviewers. For the most part, restaurateurs have been left with little recourse: figure out how to play the game or, perhaps, make some futile attempt at “banning” Yelpers. That’s probably why the story of Richmond’s Botto Bistro (2171 Meeker Ave.) struck a chord with so many last week: As Inside Scoop (and many other outlets) reported, the restaurant has had a longstanding policy of rewarding customers with a 25-percent discount when they post a bad, one-star Yelp review — the idea being to become the worst-rated restaurant on all of Yelp and, in the process, render Botto Bistro’s Yelp page, and its overall Yelp rating, completely useless.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chef Change at Picán: Uong Out, Sapirman In

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 7:32 AM

Pican's dining room (via Facebook).
  • Pican's dining room (via Facebook).
Picán (2295 Broadway), Oakland's most upscale Southern-inspired restaurant, has a new chef: Robert Sapirman — formerly of San Jose's Hotel Valencia and Vesu in Walnut Creek — is heading up the kitchen as of this week. He replaces Sophina Uong, who decided to move on from Picán after nearly two and a half years on the job.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

What’s Eating You: That Brunch Rut

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Deep-fried pig in a blanket and a cocktail. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • Deep-fried pig in a blanket and a cocktail.
As The Express’s designated food guy, I get my fair share of emails and tweets from readers asking for restaurant recommendations and other food-related advice — where should I bring great-aunt Sally, who is hard of hearing and only eats organic food; what Oakland restaurant serves a good version of [insert obscure international food item]?

Recently, a colleague suggested that some of these letters — and my responses — might be of general interest. So, today I’m launching a new recurring column, What’s Eating You, wherein I provide incredibly helpful answers to your most pressing East Bay-centric food questions.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

After Just Four Months, Captain & Corset Is Closing

by Luke Tsai
Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Captain & Corset, during happier times (via Facebook).
  • Captain & Corset, during happier times (via Facebook).
One week after Ume’s departure, Uptown Oakland’s compact restaurant row is suffering another casualty: Captain & Corset (2212 Broadway), the New American bistro owned by a couple of Ike’s sandwich empire execs, is closing after only four months in business.

According to Sam Patel, one of the Ike’s executives who owns the restaurant, Captain & Corset’s final day of business will be this Sunday, September 21.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mid-Week Menu: Slow Shutters in Berkeley, CREAM Is Coming to Rockridge, and Kushido Brings Meat-on-a-Stick to Temescal

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Salad by Slow (via Facebook).
  • Salad by Slow (via Facebook).
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Downtown Berkeley’s Slow Restaurant (1966 University Ave.) appears to be closed. As Berkeleyside Nosh first noted, a sign on the window reads, “After four long years, Slow is taking a much-needed break.” The restaurant’s current answering machine greeting adds that the reason for the break is “for family.” The restaurant was known for serving “slow food” (in the local/sustainable/Pollan-esque sense) — rather quickly, actually — in a casual, order-at-the-counter setting. I’ve reached out to the owners to confirm whether this is, indeed, a farewell for the current incarnation of Slow, or whether the restaurant is merely taking an extended vacation. Stay tuned.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Your Guide to This Weekend’s Eat Real Fest

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 2:44 PM

JOON OH
  • Joon Oh
Eat Real Fest, Oakland’s biggest and most widely celebrated food festival, descends on Jack London Square this weekend, bringing with it a veritable smorgasbord of street food, craft booze, and DIY demos.

The festivities kick off on Friday, September 19, at 1 p.m., and will run from 1 to 9 p.m. on Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. As always, admission is free.

Now heading into its sixth year, Eat Real is already something of an institution — certainly, Jack London Square residents know, by now, to brace themselves for the throng of cars scouring the neighborhood for street parking. That said, the event organizers add a few new wrinkles each year. Here are a few highlights, for those of you who wouldn’t think about attending an event like this without a concrete plan of attack:

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mid-Week Menu: Bar Dogwood’s New Spinoff, Baron’s Big Bagel Account, and Dollar Oysters Galore

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Stag's Lunchette is getting another sister restaurant (via Facebook).
  • Stag's Lunchette is getting another sister restaurant (via Facebook).
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Alexeis Filipello, the proprie tor of Bar Dogwood and Stag’s Lunchette, is adding a third (fourth?) business to her collection of eating-and-drinking establishments with rustic hunting-lodge-themed decor. Tablehopper reports that this one is a bar that will be called, simply, The Lodge, and that for now Filipello is keeping the new watering hole’s exact location a secret. Look for classic cocktails, a selection of small plates (with a nod to Bay Area standards like oysters on a half shell), and an appropriately lodge-like space with an outdoor patio.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ume, We Hardly Knew Ye

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 7:48 AM

Charred broccoli with "misonnaise," one of many excellent dishes at the short-lived Ume. - LUKE TSAI
  • Luke Tsai
  • Charred broccoli with "misonnaise," one of many excellent dishes at the short-lived Ume.
It seems that the only constant for Daniel Patterson’s Uptown Oakland restaurant Plum, aka Ume, is change: Less than four months after the restaurant relaunched with a menu focused on Japanese-inspired small plates, Ume has closed, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The restaurant will be subsumed into Plum Bar, the ancillary — but more popular — cocktail bar next door, which will now feature an expanded menu, soft-serve ice cream, punch bowls, and much more seating.

After a quick renovation, Plum Bar + Restaurant (2216 Broadway) will reopen for both lunch and dinner on Wednesday, September 10.

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