Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mid-Week Menu: Oscar’s Replaced By a Salad Chain, Snack Bar Now Serving Puerto Rican Food

by Luke Tsai
Thu, May 28, 2015 at 11:40 AM

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

1) Eater reports that Oscar’s (1890 Shattuck Ave.), a Berkeley burger joint whose history dates back to 1950, will be replaced by the first Bay Area outpost of Washington D.C.-based salad-centric fast food chain Sweetgreen — which a PR rep described in an email as a “culinary lifestyle brand dedicated to smartly sourced, seasonal food.” That translates to seasonally specific salads with names like “Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe,” as well as grain bowls that feature a lot of quinoa and organic wild rice.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Juhu Beach Club Is Now Serving Indian-Inspired Hot Dogs in Temescal

by Luke Tsai
Wed, May 27, 2015 at 11:55 AM

The Feral Heart Farm Dog (via Instagram @juhubeachclub).
  • The Feral Heart Farm Dog (via Instagram @juhubeachclub).
The last time I checked in with chef Preeti Mistry, she was conducting unholy (but wholly delicious) experiments on fried chicken and waffles — a process that resulted in the creation of the “doswaffle,” a cross between a Belgian waffle and a South Indian dosa. Never one to be pigeonholed into a narrow definition of what Indian food ought to look like, the chef of Oakland’s Juhu Beach Club (5179 Telegraph Ave.) has now added hot dogs, of all things, to her repertoire.

Mistry's hot dogs — available with either Oakland-made heritage pork brats (supplied by Preferred Meats) or Field Roast veggie dogs — are the featured menu items for the restaurant’s new Summer Lunch Window, a takeout-only setup that is currently open Tuesday–Thursday, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Web Series Aims to Bring Urban Homesteading to a Mainstream Audience

by Luke Tsai
Tue, May 26, 2015 at 11:04 AM

Alameda resident Harvindar Singh (right), a local forager for Whole Foods, will co-host The Urban Homesteader. - THE URBAN HOMESTEADER
  • The Urban Homesteader
  • Alameda resident Harvindar Singh (right), a local forager for Whole Foods, will co-host The Urban Homesteader.
If you have any doubt that urban homesteading is hot in Oakland, all you have to do is take a quick survey of all the DIY workshops and retail stores dedicated to the arts of beekeeping, raising backyard chickens, preserving foods, and various and sundry permutations of what I think of as “advanced” gardening. These days, it seems as if every sustainability-minded urbanite fancies him or herself a farmer.

Now, the topic will be the focus of a new web series from the producers behind such well known educational programs as Bill Nye the Science Guy and Biz Kid$ (a PBS show that teaches pre-teens about entrepreneurship). Fresh off a successful crowdfunding campaign, The Urban Homesteader is tentatively slated to debut its first episodes in October 2015, with the eventual goal of becoming a full-fledged PBS television series.

Oh, and the show will be set — where else? — right here in Oakland.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Crisis Averted: Chinatown Standbys Cafe 88 and Gum Kuo Reopen After Brief Health Department Shutdown

by Luke Tsai
Fri, May 22, 2015 at 11:37 AM

The roast pig lunch bowl at Cafe 88. - LUKE TSAI
  • Luke Tsai
  • The roast pig lunch bowl at Cafe 88.
I had a brief moment of panic earlier this week when I got word that Cafe 88 (388 9th St., #181) and Gum Kuo (388 9th St. #182), two of my go-to spots in Oakland Chinatown, had been shut down after a May 19 health inspection. This after Souk Savanh, my newfound favorite Laotian spot in East Oakland, got hit with the dreaded red card just days before the glowing review I wrote was set to drop. I don't how much more local deliciousness my heart could stand to lose.  

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mid-Week Menu: A Rooftop Bar, Country Line Dancing, and Taiwanese Fried Chicken

by Luke Tsai
Wed, May 20, 2015 at 12:46 PM

"California Rustic" - JAY PORTER
  • Jay Porter
  • "California Rustic"
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Inside Scoop brings an update on Salsipuedes (4201 Market St.), the forthcoming North Oakland restaurant owned by Jay Porter and Katie Mayfield of the Fruitvale district burger/sausage/kimchi joint The Half Orange. Most significantly, they’ve named the chef: Marcus Krauss, who most recently cooked at the Michelin-three-starred Restaurant at Meadowood. Krauss will serve mostly small plates, which can roughly be described as California Rustic — a cuisine marked by Mexican/“New Baja” influences (Porter is, after all, a San Diego transplant), Pacific Rim influences, seasonal produce, and the combining of meat and seafood flavors in a single dish, Porter explained in an email.

See Also:
A New Fruit in Fruitvale

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Copper Spoon to Replace Art’s Crab Shack in North Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Mon, May 18, 2015 at 12:56 PM

Vita Simone (left) and Carmen Anderson (center) on the truck. - SASSAFRAS SEAGRASS
  • Sassafras Seagrass
  • Vita Simone (left) and Carmen Anderson (center) on the truck.
Those who have wondered about the fate of Art’s Crab Shack (4301 Broadway), the North Oakland mainstay that closed earlier this month, didn’t have to wait long for news of its replacement: Vita Simone and Carmen Anderson, the proprietors of Sassafras Seagrass (aka Sassy’s) — a quirky, now-defunct Oakland-based food truck — will open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant in the space sometime later this year.

The restaurant will be called Copper Spoon, and it will specialize in some of the same type of food that Simone and Anderson served on the truck — what they describe as “family heirloom recipes” reinvented using Northern Californian ingredients.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Reinventing Chicken and Waffles

by Luke Tsai
Tue, May 12, 2015 at 12:16 PM

The "dhswaffle" is a cross between a waffle and a dosa. - LUKE TSAI
  • Luke Tsai
  • The "dhswaffle" is a cross between a waffle and a dosa.
The best part of eating brunch is the shameless, hedonistic mixing of savory and sweet. And, when done well, there’s no brunch dish that captures that interplay quite as beautifully as fried chicken and waffles. Although the dish is rooted firmly in the African-American soul food tradition, I’ve recently seen variations on the theme popping up at all different kinds of restaurants in the East Bay. It’s a trend I can get behind.

See Also:
'Doswaffe' Time
Gussie's to Bring Chicken and Waffles Across the Bay

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Face to Face: Shandong Noodles in a Parking Booth

by Luke Tsai
Mon, May 11, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Beef noodle soup on the go. - LUKE TSAI
  • Luke Tsai
  • Beef noodle soup on the go.
Regular readers of the What the Fork know I’m always on the lookout for regional Chinese food — for unusual dumpling varieties, obscure noodle dishes, or a better-than-average version of stinky tofu, which has long been my white whale. My latest discovery: Face to Face, a Shandong noodle shop located in a converted parking attendant booth in downtown Berkeley, at 2109 Milvia St. (between Center and Addison streets) — the spot formerly occupied by Tsunami Dogs.

See Also:
Beyond Dim Sum
The Dumpling of Champions

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mid-Week Menu: Kronnerburger Opens on Piedmont Ave.; Montclair’s Chowhaus Soon to Follow

by Luke Tsai
Wed, May 6, 2015 at 12:30 PM

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

1) Behold, the Kronnerburger. After numerous delays, and years of working the local popup circuit — Chris Kronner, eponymous creator of the aforementioned burger — will open his Oakland brick-and-mortar restaurant today, according to Tablehopper. As previously reported, the menu at Kronnerburger (4063 Piedmont Ave.) will offer a lot more than just burgers — though, make no mistake, there will be burgers, with several variations (including a pork burger made from Mangalitsa pig, perhaps the fattiest of all the heritage breeds) beyond the standard, and wildly popular, Kronnerburger.

See Also:
Chris Kronner’s Bistro Ordinaire Is the Best Pop-Up I’ve Been to This Year

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Food Justice Advocates Plot an Urban Garden Revolution in Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Tue, May 5, 2015 at 9:40 AM

Farming at the Gill Tract in April. - BROOKE PORTER
  • Brooke Porter
  • Farming at the Gill Tract in April.
According to Cultivating the Commons, a 2009 analysis by UC Berkeley Geography Department students Nathan McClintock and Jenny Cooper, the City of Oakland has more than 800 acres of unused, arable public land — much of it consisting of vacant lots in East and West Oakland — that, if cultivated, could easily supply as much as 5 percent of city residents’ total fruit and vegetable needs.

See Also:
West Oakland Activists Vow to Defend Afrika Town Community Garden
How Safe Is Your Soil?

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