Monday, November 23, 2015

Grand Fare Market on Hold

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 6:24 PM

The hybrid prepared foods market and restaurant closed suddenly over the weekend. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • The hybrid prepared foods market and restaurant closed suddenly over the weekend.
On Saturday morning, I was all set to file a mostly glowing review of Grand Fare Market (3265 Grand Ave.), the sparkling-new hybrid prepared foods market and restaurant in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood, when my phone started buzzing. People on Twitter were asking if I knew why, after having been open just six weeks, Grand Fare had suddenly gone dark, with no explanation other than a sign in the window saying the business would be “closed until further notice.”

See also:
A Hybrid Market for Grand Avenue

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Mid-Week Menu: Nick and Aron’s Closes, Firebrand Set to Open, and Comal Introduces ‘Oaxanukkah’

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 2:44 PM

R.I.P. Nick and Aron's. - BERT JOHNSON/FILE PHOTO
  • Bert Johnson/File photo
  • R.I.P. Nick and Aron's.
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news — a little late this week, but better than never!

1) In case you didn’t hear, Nick and Aron’s (4316 Telegraph Ave., Oakland), Temescal’s oven-centric restaurant, had its last day of business earlier this week, a little more than half a year after it opened. When reached by email, co-owner Nick Yapor-Cox cited financial struggles as the main reason for closing. Nick and Aron’s is the second short-lived restaurant-bakery to shut down in that space in the past two years — Barkada closed in June of last year. Fans of the restaurant’s sourdough-based “Oakland-style” pizza can still get their fix not too far away, at Yapor-Cox’s original restaurant, Nick’s Pizza (6211 Shattuck Ave.). Yapor-Cox said he’ll continue to bake bread there, but for now, Nick and Aron’s extensive pastry program will be put on hold.

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‘Journeymen’ Chefs Pop Up in Temescal, Plot Oakland Restaurant

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 12:05 PM

Nasturtium and burrata soup. - JOURNEYMEN
  • Journeymen
  • Nasturtium and burrata soup.
They call themselves “journeymen,” a term meant to evoke the old European tradition of craftsmen wandering from town to town in order to build up their skills — or, for baseball fans, the utility infielder who’s been around the block a few times.

Even though chefs Jonathan Tu and Chris Wolff are just 32 and 29 years old, respectively, they say they’ve both cooked professionally for pretty much the entirety of their adult lives. Now, Tu and Wolff are the proprietors of “Journeymen,” a new monthly pop-up dinner at Temescal’s Blackwater Station (4901 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) that the two Oakland residents hope will eventually morph into a restaurant of their own.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mid-Week Menu: Cafe Gratitude Is Closing, Baron’s Meats Makes Charcuterie, and Berkeley Food Trucks Face Displacement

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 4:45 PM

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

1) Big news for the East Bay's vegan, raw-food community: The Berkeley location of Cafe Gratitude (1730 Shattuck Ave.) has announced that it will close at the end of 2015, Berkeleyside Nosh reports. The cafe — known as much for its New Age-y vibe (with menu items with names like “I Am Grounded” and “I Am Warm-Hearted”) as it is for its raw vegan desserts — has often been the subject of some controversy. Former employees have criticized the Cafe Gratitude’s close ties to the Landmark Forum self-help philosophy, and the company faced a pair of lawsuits concerning its labor practices in 2011. Owners Matthew and Terces Engelhart told Nosh they plan to focus on the restaurant’s five Southern California locations.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dungeness Crab Season Delay Prompts East Bay Restaurants and Fishmongers to Switch Gears

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 10:21 AM

The most popular item at Camino is the grilled Dungeness crab. - BERT JOHNSON/FILE PHOTO
  • Bert Johnson/File photo
  • The most popular item at Camino is the grilled Dungeness crab.
Last week, Bay Area crab lovers got the news they feared: Due to toxin levels too high for safe consumption, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife decided to delay the commercial Dungeness crab fishing season indefinitely. The toxin, known as domoic acid, is the result of an unusually large algal bloom likely caused by warm waters off the coast of California. When consumed in large quantities, domoic acid can cause diarrhea, nausea, and, in severe cases, permanent damage to short-term memory and even death.

Originally slated to start on November 15, the crab season won’t begin until wildlife officials determine that the domoic acid levels in the crabs have lowered to a safe level for human consumption — a delay that puts what’s estimated to be a $60-million-a-year industry in peril.

See also: 
Shell-Shocked

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mid-Week Menu: Mamacitas Cafe Opens, Recreational Crab Season Postponed Six Months, and Kwik-Way Building Owners Negotiate with Dunkin Donuts

by Luke Tsai
Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 9:19 AM

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

1) A year ago, What the Fork reported on a new venture that promised to empower young women in East Oakland and West Oakland by teaching them entrepreneurial and leadership skills — all through the medium of a pop-up business selling doughnuts and coffee. Now, Mamacitas Cafe has taken a big step forward: It now has a brick-and-mortar cafe that’s open for business in downtown Oakland at 1714 Franklin Street, Berkeleyside Nosh reports. Go snag one of the cafe’s signature doughnut “kebabs,” a cup of Red Bay coffee, or one of a handful of new savory items, including a few different polenta dishes.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bay Area Professors Write 'Decolonial' Mexican Cookbook to Reclaim the Traditional Foods of Their Ancestors

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 2:34 PM

Luz Calvo (left) and Catriona Esquibel. - MIKI VARGAS
  • Miki Vargas
  • Luz Calvo (left) and Catriona Esquibel.
On Sunday afternoon, during Día de los Muertos, the Impact Hub event space in Uptown Oakland was packed to the brim with social justice activists and Slow Food types who had gathered to celebrate Decolonize Your Diet, a new Mexican-American cookbook by two Oakland-based professors. Organized by the Oakland Food Policy Council, the event had a vibe more akin to a religious revival meeting, or perhaps a call to revolution, than your typical prim-and-proper book launch.

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