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

click to enlarge 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.

2) Earlier this year, I reported that Ajuzoun (15 Embarcadero), a Korean-owned restaurant serving Japanese sushi and American-style grilled steaks, would be taking over the former Zazoo’s space on the Oakland waterfront. In an email, chef-owner WonBin Lim tells me that the restaurant softly opened this past Saturday. From now until Ajuzoun’s official — as of yet unannounced — grand opening celebration, there will be a 30 percent discount on all food.

3) Cakes and Purls (2115 Allston Way), a combo New York-style bakery and knitting store in downtown Berkeley, will close by the end of the month, Berkeleyside Nosh reports. It seemed as though that might be a winning combination — all the knitters in my life are also baked goods enthusiasts. Alas, it sounds as though business never picked up steam.

4) A brief update on the Adams Point brunch spot Kitchen 388 (388 Grand Ave.), which closed temporarily due to a change in ownership, as we reported last week. According to Eater, the restaurant’s new proprietor is Philip Thoman, who owns Olea, a restaurant in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood known for its Mexican-inflected brunch dishes. Diners can expect to see a little more of that kind of thing at Kitchen 388 moving forward. The restaurant is slated to reopen for brunch starting on Friday, June 19, with dinner service to follow after that.

click to enlarge Newly installed beer taps at Victory Burger (via Facebook).
  • Newly installed beer taps at Victory Burger (via Facebook).
5) Victory Burger (1099 Alcatraz Ave., Oakland) has acquired a beer and wine license. That means you can now wash down your burger or arepa with one of five rotating draft beers, a glass of wine, or a sake-spiked seasonal agua fresca. The North Oakland burger joint will also offer half-price pitchers during its new Happy Hour program — 5–7 p.m. on weekdays and 3–7 p.m. on weekends.

6) Umami Mart (815 Broadway), the Old Oakland-based purveyor of — and strong proponent for — all good things related to Japanese food culture, is hosting a free tasting of Hiroguchi coffee, from the highly regarded Tokyo craft roaster. The tasting will take place this Saturday, June 20, from 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

7) Hopscotch (1915 San Pablo Ave., Oakland) is celebrating its third anniversary on Thursday, June 18 with a special dinner — a recreation of the dinner chef Kyle Itani served last week at the James Beard House in New York City. The $170 all-inclusive dinner with cocktail pairings will start at 6:30 p.m. (You can view the original Beard House menu here.) If that doesn’t fit your budget, the restaurant is also running a different $3 anniversary special during lunch and dinner every day this week — today’s is a Maple Old Fashioned.

8) Finally, ICYMI, I did a roundup of new brunch spots in Oakland.

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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