Daily Archives: November 14, 2012


Man found dead on Cal property, Grizzly Peak Blvd.

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Urbina was on Grizzly Peak Blvd “enjoying the area and drinking” with two cousins and two friends when he and one of his friends wandered away from the group, said Capt. Margo Bennett of UC Berkeley police.

Urbina decided to climb up on a large rock. Evidence suggests he died from the fall

Original story: A man was found dead about 200-250 feet downhill of Grizzly Peak Boulevard on UC Berkeley campus property Wednesday evening, Nov. 14, after being reported missing by a friend earlier in the day.

According to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao, at about 6:29 p.m. UCPD received a call from the California Highway Patrol informing the department of a report received about a missing person. UCPD offered to help in the search, and officers found the missing man downhill of Grizzly Peak Boulevard near Signpost 15.

The young man, who was in his 20s, was identified by the friend who had reported him missing. The Berkeley Fire Department declared him deceased at 7:22 p.m.

“There is no indication of foul play and the investigation is in the very preliminary stages,” Lt. Yao told Berkeleyside. The victim was not affiliated with UC Berkeley.

The case is being treated as an unattended death. There were no vehicles involved. A large rock was found close to the victim and one line of inquiry centers on the possibility that the deceased was the victim of a fall. … Continue reading »

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Coffee and doughnuts in Oakland’s Temescal Alley

Doughnut Dolly doughnuts are hand-rolled and filled to order. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Coffee and doughnuts (not “donuts” — we’ll explain why later) may be an American staple when it comes to food combinations, and there are certainly myriad places where you can pick up humdrum varieties as a breakfast treat or afternoon pick-me-up. But two new spots in a pair of fashionable Oakland artisans’ alleys take the classic pairing to another level.

Both Hannah Hoffman, who opened Doughnut Dolly three months ago, and Luigi Oldani, who launched his espresso place The CRO Café two weeks ago, have poured their hearts as well as their business chops into their respective start-ups. Both are intensely personal projects, and, happily for East Bay foodies, combined, the results are delicious.

At Doughnut Dolly, a beautiful space with painted striped walls, custom wood cabinetry, a black and white checkerboard floor, and an expansive marble counter, the donuts are hand-rolled and filled to order. Hoffman, who studied food anthropology, and whose mother, Lisa Goines, was a pastry chef at Chez Panisse, took a year to perfect her recipe while deciding whether to open a food truck. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 11.14.12

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Bites: What’s new, what’s hot, what’s happening, I

New: Grand Lake Kitchen. Photo: Christina Mitchell
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Bites is Berkeleyside Nosh’s round-up of restaurant, bar and food-related news in the East Bay. To stay up-to-speed with all that’s going on locally, read our daily Nosh Wire, and check out previous editions of Bites. We always love receiving food-related tips at nosh@berkeleyside.com.

Freshly served…

GRAND LAKE KITCHEN Chef David Wasem (Park Tavern, Balboa Café) and General Manager May Seto (Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina), who happen to be husband and wife, opened Grand Lake Kitchen last Wednesday. Serving “a mix of traditional deli fare and seasonally driven dishes,” along with beer and wine, it’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Grand Lake Kitchen, 576 Grand Avenue, Oakland, 510-922-9582. Monday to Saturday, 10:30am-7:30pm

TEA HERE NOW Former non-profit fundraiser and event planner Andrea Tyler opened Tea Here Now last week. Offering freshly steeped tea, a few different salads and Fat Bottom Bakery scones and cookies, it’s a place to go for breakfast or lunch. Or just for a snack. Tea Here Now, 1721 ½ Webster, Oakland 510-832-4832, Monday to Friday, 7:30am-3:30pm. … Continue reading »

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To Die For: Kao Mun Gai at Hawker Fare

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Everyone knows that when eating at In-N-Out Burger, the Double-Double Animal Style is the burger to get. It’s not on the official menu, but anyone with an Internet connection and a Google bookmark can learn that if they’re not eating a double cheeseburger smothered in grilled onions and special sauce, they’re not getting the true In-N-Out experience. Much of a restaurant’s popularity in this age of Yelp depends on fanatic Internet reviews and subsequent adoration of particular dishes just like the Animal Style burger. Sometimes these dishes actually reflect the essence of a restaurant’s identity, while other times they are simply too bold and nutty to ignore. In this column, we’ll be taking a look at many of the East Bay’s popular restaurants through the lens of a single sought-after dish. We’ll aim to learn if the food is a bunch of hype, or is is in fact “to die for.”  

Hawker Fare’s 2011 opening press was brimming with eager anticipation — the chef behind the operation, James Syhabout, had already received Michelin-level praise for his ethereal take on Californian cuisineat Commis. With his casual second restaurant, he planned to explore Thai street food with an eye towards simplicity. Indeed, the menu at Hawker Fare lists little more than sides and rice dishes — far from the elevated cuisine for which Syhabout had previously been known. While some imagined his new restaurant would be an Oakland version of David Chang’s Momofuku, Syhabout (and his trusty head chef Justin Yu) has instead embraced relatively stripped down preparations of Thai dishes. Sure, pickles, bacon lardons, and dried shrimp abound across the short menu, but these each have their place; there is no bacon for bacon’s sake. … Continue reading »

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Nosh Talk: Comal Chef Matt Gandin

Matt Gandin
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What is always in your refrigerator?
Kimchi from Sinto Gourmet. They have a stand at the San Francisco Civic Center market on Wednesdays. They make several varieties of delicious Korean style pickles, nappa cabbage, cucumbers, turnips. They last forever and I can make an easy delicious meal by steaming some rice, and grilling chicken thighs or Korean cut shortribs to serve with the pickles.

What do you cook up for a late night snack?
I keep bagels in my freezer at all times. They’re from my friends Blake and Amy’s Montreal-style Oakland bagel bakery, Beauty’s Bagel Shop.

Where/what do you eat on your day off?
I know it sounds cliché since I worked there for almost nine years, but I still love Delfina and their pizzerias. I also like to check out the new restaurants that my colleagues are talking about. I don’t frequently have nights off, so I need to make it count.

Do you have a secret ‘junk food’ vice?
Butterfingers, Reese’s, or any peanut butter candy.

Any food you can’t stand?
Cooked farmed salmon.  I can tolerate it cured as Gravlax, but cooked? Gross, metallic flavor and mushy texture. … Continue reading »

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3 mouth-watering views of Asian cuisine

Nancy Singleton Hachisu
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Three newly arrived cookbooks offer exciting views of Asian cooking in Japan, Burma and Vietnam. In the first of our new series, Cook the Books, Stanislaw Sobolewski, cookbook manager at Moe’s Books, peruses them for your delectation. Continue reading »

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Oliveto’s Bob Klein can’t get enough of white truffles

Bob Klein with Truffles
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Bob Klein, the owner of Oliveto, cares so deeply about truffles that he is currently nursing several broken ribs sustained while out on an adventurous truffle-hunting expedition in Tuscany.

Klein heads to Italy every year to meet up with his friend Giorgio Sacchini and his pack of truffle-hunting dogs (watch the video below, shot on one of those trips, to see just how one unearths the subterranean mushrooms.)

What Klein finds, he brings back for the Oliveto truffle dinners prepared by the Rockridge restaurant’s chef Jonah Rhodehamel which are happening right now (see below for details).

NOSH checked in with Klein this week and asked him about his intriguing hobby.

Why the passion for truffles?
I don’t know if  it is a passion really, it is just something that I could do and got good at. I’ve come to know a great deal about truffles, and have probably bought (and cleaned) a couple of hundred pounds of white truffles — that’s a lot.

When did you first discover truffles, and where?
My earliest, and best memory of truffles is coming back for dinner to our truffle hunter’s house, and having him mash all the small whites into new olive oil and slather it over grilled meat. … Continue reading »

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Raising the dead at Revival Bar & Kitchen

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The weekend before Halloween — when vampires, zombies, and happy Giants fans wandered the city streets after dark — presented the perfect opportunity to hop on a bar stool at Revival Bar & Kitchen on Shattuck Avenue and delve into the renaissance of the Corpse Reviver.

The evening didn’t start off with the intention to dig up old recipes. The Silk Road Sour was a more appealing choice on the cocktail menu, promising a silky, fragrant, citrusy libation. Its complex flavors—mandarin silk tea infused bourbon, with citrus and cane sugar—included a hint of vanilla. A pleasant nightcap to end an evening of jazz and dinner with a friend in downtown Berkeley.

Revival was busy on that Saturday night. Patrons lined both bars plus the smaller kitchen bar at the end of the room. Those looking for more than a nightcap were seated at tables in the well of the restaurant. High ceilings, slowly rotating fans, draped fabric and a necklace of lights makes the room feel both spacious and intimate. Behind the bar, tall shelves display bottles of all sizes and shapes; and, chalked on a blackboard, the words, “Thoughtful, modern artisan cocktails and food.”

What does this actually mean? We ask Justin the bartender for illumination. And Justin introduces us to the Corpse Reviver, Revival style. … Continue reading »

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Why Norman Rockwell’s turkey sets us up to fail

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Meet Your Maker is Nosh’s regular series in which an East Bay food specialist shares their expertise. Here, Monica Rocchino, co-owner with her husband Aaron Rocchino of The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, challenges the sacred notion that a whole turkey is de rigueur for Thanksgiving dinner, and offers two proven recipes for preparing the perfect bird.

Thanksgiving Dinner is a pressure filled meal for many of us. For those who don’t cook much throughout the year, it is a daunting task to feed family and friends, and for those who pride themselves on being excellent cooks, there are grand expectations!

Unfortunately, for both types of cooks, Norman Rockwell’s image of a turkey dinner has become the “norm” of what we expect to see on the Thanksgiving table, even if only for a brief moment before it gets carved or hacked to pieces. After spending a pretty penny on a turkey for Thanksgiving, why is it that we throw our sense of taste aside in order to present a whole bird for a minute or two at the table? The bottom line is that it is nearly impossible to cook a whole turkey and end up with perfectly cooked white and dark meat.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley will seek to shutter 3PG cannabis collective

The exterior of Perfect Plants Patients Group shortly after it opened in September 2011. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Despite pleas that Perfect Plants Patients group was a good neighbor, the Berkeley City Council Tuesday night voted that the cannabis collective was in violation of the city’s zoning laws.

The determination at the end of a public hearing paves the way for the council to vote on a resolution Nov. 27 to order the closure of the collective, located at 2840-B Sacramento Street.

The news came as a relief – if overdue – to neighbors of 3PGs, who have been pressing Berkeley for more than a year to shut down the business. Since 3PGs opened in September 2011, neighbors report they have seen increased hand-to-hand drug sales along Sacramento Street, spotted people smoking pot in their cars, and noticed more drug paraphernalia on the streets. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Razan's Organic Kitchen is set to open into a new location next spring. Photo: Google Maps
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A SLIGHT SHIFT  Razan’s Organic Kitchen is on the move, with plans to take over the neighboring space where Great China used to be on Kittredge Street. Great China is renovating the old Looney’s BBQ spot on Bancroft, with a scheduled opening date of next spring. The new restaurant will continue to be run by the Razan’s folks. It doesn’t yet have a name, but it will sell Middle Eastern food and hopes to open next spring as well.

VETERAN CLOSING  The venerable, 40-year-old breakfast spot and music venue Chester’s Bayview Café at 1508 Walnut St. in the Gourmet Ghetto is to close and will be replaced by a new restaurant called La Fable, according to Grub Street. Chester’s was originally established in 1972 as the Egg Shop and Apple Press but was subsequently named after the English town of Chester. We will report on what La Fable owners Franck and Isabel Bochaton have planned as soon as we snag the scoop. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments.

Update: 9:34 a.m.: Jef Poskanzer identified this as being at Carleton Street at Shattuck. Congratulations, Jef, on being this week’s winner!

Photo: Tanja Traber

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