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

click to enlarge SWEETGREEN
  • 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.

As far as iconic, old-school East Bay restaurants are concerned — well, for better or worse, another one bites the dust. That said, Berkeleyside Nosh reports that Sweetgreen is working with a local architecture firm to preserve the building’s retro look.

2) Inside Scoop reports that the new Temescal branch of Rosamunde Sausage Grill (4659 Telegraph Ave.) is now open for business in the old Good Bellies space. This is the mini-chain’s fourth Bay Area restaurant, and if you’ve sampled the sausage sandwiches and craft beer (and cash-only setup) at any of the other locations, you know the drill.

3) As Calavera, Oakland restaurateur Chris Pastena’s forthcoming upscale Mexican spot in Uptown is hosting another preview dinner on Friday, May 29. The $60 family-style dinner will take place at Lungomare (1 Broadway, Oakland), Pastena’s waterfront Italian restaurant, at 6:30 p.m. Check out the menu here.

click to enlarge Arroz con gandules (via Facebook)
  • Arroz con gandules (via Facebook)
4) The truck has been out of commission for the past several months, but the proprietors of Barinquen Soul, which touts itself as the Bay Area’s first Puerto Rican food truck, have started doing some pop-ups and catering gigs again. Most significantly, you can now find Borinquen Soul running lunch service 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m. at The Town Snack Bar (2020 MacArthur Blvd.), a newish, mostly late-night oriented takeout spot in Oakland’s Dimond district. I’m a fan of the classic rice with pigeon peas. (Hat tip to East Bay Dish.)

5) This week in chef shuffles: Hog’s Apothecary (375 40th St.) has hired Chad Arnold to be the restaurant’s new chef de cuisine. Arnold most recently was the salumi guru at the Piedmont Avenue sister restaurants Adesso and Dopo, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Hog’s soon expands its “Butcher’s Coffer” charcuterie program.

6) As noted last week, Oaktown Spice Shop (546 Grand Ave.) has moved into larger digs just down the street. Tonight, from 6–9 p.m., the spice store is celebrating with a grand reopening party — there will be snacks from nearby Barlago, drinks from the Ordinaire wine shop, and “spicy door prizes.”

7) Inside Scoop reports that Oakland’s Cat Town Cafe (2869 Broadway), the first-of-its-kind hybrid coffee shop and cat adoption center, is already planning an expansion a little more than half a year after it opened. Cat Town will take over the former tattoo parlor space next door. The plan is to add a dedicated area for “high maintenance” cats and a larger actual cafe space with enough room to be able to serve hot food and offer additional seating.

8) Berkeleyside Nosh previews Port Kitchens, a forthcoming collaboration-oriented commercial kitchen space in Uptown Oakland — and the latest venture to try to create some kind of synthesis between food and tech.

9) Finally, ICYMI, a new urban homesteading web series with PBS aspirations will be shot in Oakland, and Juhu Beach Club has launched a summer takeout window that sells hot dogs.

Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I'll read ‘em all.

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