Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Forage Kitchen Resurfaces in Uptown Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 9:53 AM

Construction on the Uptown Oakland location of Forage Kitchen is underway. - ISO RABINS
  • Iso Rabins
  • Construction on the Uptown Oakland location of Forage Kitchen is underway.
More than three years after Iso Rabins promised to open the world’s “first co-working space for food” in San Francisco, the Bay Area forager and underground food market operator has finally started construction on what he touts as a radical departure from the commercial-kitchen model. And it turns out that, as with so many of the interesting food businesses that are opening right now, Rabins’ Forage Kitchen will be located not in San Francisco, but in Oakland.


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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mid-Week Menu: Firebrand’s Uptown Move, a French Chef at Pican, and Chinatown Restaurants in Limbo

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 11:59 AM

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

1) Firebrand Artisan Breads — a West Oakland-based bakery known for its distinctive, dark-crusted sourdough loaves — is moving to a new production facility and retail shop in Uptown’s new Hive development at 2343 Broadway, Inside Scoop reports. Co-owner Matt Kreutz tells Scoop that the new space will boast four times the production capacity, and will allow Firebrand to offer cafe-style lunch options and a new line of pastries.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Oakland Hot Plate Aims to Shake Up Downtown Food and Music Scenes

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 1:51 PM

The exterior of Oakland Hot Plate shortly the performance venue opened. - OAKLAND HOT PLATE
  • Oakland Hot Plate
  • The exterior of Oakland Hot Plate shortly the performance venue opened.
A new “eco deli cafe” in downtown Oakland aims to bring a rare trifecta to The Town’s ever-expanding arts and dining scene: a performance venue, an art gallery, and a cafe that serves food that’s not only gluten-free, but also adheres to the principles of traditional Hindu alternative medicine.


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Piedmont Avenue Gets a Peruvian Chicken Joint

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Chicken served the Peruvian way (via Facebook).
  • Chicken served the Peruvian way (via Facebook).
The East Bay has had a dearth of Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken spots since downtown Berkeley’s Brasa closed two years ago. Good news for those who have had a hankering: Mistura (3858 Piedmont Ave., Oakland), a Peruvian restaurant specializing in the dish, opened last week in a converted fabric store on Piedmont Avenue.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mid-Week Menu: An Uptown Breakfast Pop-Up, Boozy Agua Frescas at Victory Burger, and Steak and Sushi on the Oakland Waterfront

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 11:26 AM

Salted caramel chocolate chip cookies at Gregory's Upstairs (via Facebook).
  • Salted caramel chocolate chip cookies at Gregory's Upstairs (via Facebook).
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) A while back we noted the arrival of a new breakfast pop-up at Uptown Oakland’s AlaMar (100 Grand Ave.) — from no less highly vaunted a purveyor than nearby Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts, the cult favorite underground bakery. Inside Scoop reports that, after a short test run, Gregory’s Upstairs officially launched this week, and will be open Tuesday through Friday, 7–10 a.m. Customers can expect a rotating selection of sweet and savory baked goods, including quiches, scones, and a take on a Dutch Baby pancake. I can personally vouch for the giant wedges of pound cake made with 7-Up.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Five Brunch Newcomers in Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 1:03 PM

Waffles and necks. - THE HALF ORANGE
  • The Half Orange
  • Waffles and necks.
For the professional brunch eater, the quest for ever-improved versions of eggs Benedict, hash browns, and fried chicken and waffles never ends. Oakland has a handful of anointed favorites — Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland and Aunt Mary’s Cafe in Temescal, to name two — where the lines are as reliably long as the food is good. But if you’re looking to try something new this weekend, here are five local spots that have recently jumped into the brunch fray.


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Celebrate the Warriors' Win (Hopefully) With Free Poutine

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 8:30 AM

The sweet taste of victory (via Facebook).
  • The sweet taste of victory (via Facebook).
Obligatory free food alert: The Berkeley location of Smoke’s Poutinerie (2518 Durant Ave.), the Toronto-based chain specializing in endless riffs on Canada’s greatest contribution to the gastronomical canon, is celebrating the Warriors’ great season by giving away free poutine for the two hours immediately following the end of the NBA finals, regardless of who wins.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mid-Week Menu: Urban Farm Tours in Oakland, Kitchen 388’s Ownership Change, and Sweet Bar’s New Brunch Menu

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 4:55 PM

One of the highlights from a previous year's urban farm tour. - LUKE TSAI / FILE PHOTO
  • Luke Tsai / file photo
  • One of the highlights from a previous year's urban farm tour.
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) The Institute of Urban Homesteading is hosting its annual Urban Farm Tours in Oakland this Saturday, June 13 — always a fun, enlightening way to see urban gardening and animal husbandry as they’re being practiced in a variety of different scales and settings. Check out these tours if you want to learn about beekeeping, get inspiration for a drought-friendly graywater irrigation project, or just see a bunch of cute baby animals (see above). Tickets ($30 for adults, $18 for kids) are available via BrownPaperTickets.com and will give you access to eight different Oakland-based urban farms, whose exact addresses will be emailed to you after you’ve purchased your tickets.

See also:
Get Inspired: Tour an Urban Farm (a preview of 2012's version)
New Web Series Aims to bring Urban Homesteading to a Mainstream Audience


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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Five Restaurants to Visit While Cal Students Are on Break

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 9, 2015 at 12:39 PM

Summer is a good time to get one of the curry rice plates at Muracci's. - BERT JOHNSON / FILE PHOTO
  • Bert Johnson / file photo
  • Summer is a good time to get one of the curry rice plates at Muracci's.
A recent spur-of-the-moment visit to the UC Berkeley campus reminded me of two interrelated, if seemingly contradictory truths I hold to be self-evident. The first is how much more convenient and low-key it is to visit the area when the majority of the students are away on summer break. The second is my fear that all of my favorite restaurants near campus will suffer a precipitous drop in business during the summer months and will wind up closing altogether. Even chains aren’t exempt from this danger — e.g., the now-shuttered outpost of Maoz Vegetarian, my one-time favorite free-refills fast-food falafel bar.

All the more reason that now is a great time to revisit, or try for the first time, these close-to-campus favorites:

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Iyasare Chef to Tackle California Cuisine at Zut Tavern

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 1:13 PM

The dining room at Zut!, circa 2012 (via Facebook).
  • The dining room at Zut!, circa 2012 (via Facebook).
Iyasare chef-owner Shotaro Kamio is known for serving some of the most gorgeous — and tastiest — Japanese food in Berkeley. Now, Inside Scoop reports, Kamio has taken over Zut! on Fourth (1820 Fourth St.), located just a few steps away from his inaugural restaurant.

What Iyasare devotees might not expect is that the new restaurant — which will be rebranded, only slightly, as Zut Tavern — won’t serve Japanese fare at all, but rather European-influenced California cuisine.

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