La Marcha, Mamacitas Café, Novel Brewing

Paella at La Marcha. Photo: Phi Tran
Paella at La Marcha. Photo: Phi Tran

Openings, closings…

LA MARCHA OPEN IN WEST BERKELEY We knew that La Marcha, the brick-and-mortar location for Ñora Spanish Cuisine at 2026 San Pablo Ave., was getting close to opening last month. Today the restaurant is open. La Marcha’s name is a reference to to the typical late-night Spanish bar crawl, where patrons stroll from place to place and enjoy small plates and drinks throughout the evening. The Spanish-inspired restaurant is serving around 25 tapas and eight to nine paella dishes, plus dessert. These paella dishes range from traditional preparations like paella Valenciana (rabbit, duck, snail, sweet peppers, rosemary, saffron and bomba rice) to California-inspired twists using seasonal ingredients. On the drinks side, La Marcha is featuring 20 different sherries, plus 30 Spanish wines by the bottle, 3 wines on tap, Spanish-style ciders and Bay Area craft beers. La Marcha is at 2026 San Pablo Ave. (near University Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Mamacitas Café employees. Photo courtesy: Mamacitas Café
Mamacitas Café employees. Photo courtesy: Mamacitas Café

MAMACITAS UP AND RUNNING In August, we brought you news about Oakland’s Mamacitas Café‘s fundraising efforts for a brick-and-mortar location. Its fundraising was successful; the café at 1714 Franklin St. is now in an opening preview period. Mamacitas hires and trains young women, ages 16 to 24, to serve cardamom donut “kebabs” and coffee. It makes the donuts in house and partners with Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee on the caffeine side. However, according to a post on the café’s Facebook page, it looks like Mamacitas will be expanding its menu to include more dishes. Stay tuned for more. Mamacitas Café is at 1714 Franklin St. (at 17th Street), Oakland. Connect with the café on Facebook.

Photo: Novel Brewing/Facebook
Photo: Novel Brewing/Facebook

NOVEL BREWING TO NORTH OAKLAND The East Bay’s booming beer scene shows no sign of slowing down. We just heard word of another new brewery headed to our side of the Bay, this time to North Oakland. Novel Brewing Company is moving into the former Pallet Space Gallery space at 6510 San Pablo Ave., according to the E’ville Eye. There had been a rumor that the building would house a beer garden, but owners Brian and Teresa Koloszyc do not plan on including such a space. Instead, the building will house a brewery and a 534 square foot tasting room. Brian Koloszyc told the Eye that he hopes that their presence will attract a neighboring restaurant. For now, however, he plans to offer bar snacks and to bring in food trucks for more substantial food offerings. He has also said that he plans to keep “as many murals as possible” currently adorning the building. Look for Novel Brewing to open in late spring 2016. Novel Brewing Company will be at 6510 San Pablo Ave. (at 65th Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Photo: Kaleidoscope Coffee/Facebook
Photo: Kaleidoscope Coffee/Facebook

KALEIDOSCOPE COFFEE IN SOFT OPENING Point Richmond’s home for coffee and storytelling softly opened yesterday, Oct. 29. Kaleidoscope Coffee, which we reported on in March, is the area’s first dedicated independent coffee shop and is serving Wrecking Ball Coffee, plus snacks like house-made beet hummus, Tara’s Ice Cream and Bacano pastries. The café will also be a home for storytellers and other performing artists. Owner Cassie Cushing is herself a storyteller, and Kaleidoscope has been a dream of hers for years. Cushing plans to hold a grand opening party later in November or December. Kaleidoscope Coffee is at 109 Park Place (at Washington Avenue), Richmond. Connect with the coffee shop on Facebook.


PHO AO SEN NOW OPEN We received a tip this week that the Albany branch of the popular East Oakland Vietnamese restaurant Pho Ao Sen is now open. Very early Yelp reviews are mixed; many diners are enjoying the food but have gripes about slow service. Our tipster said that the Albany location is “not as awesome as the original, but they will get there. An excellent start.” Pho Ao Sen takes the place of Sizzler, which closed in February. Pho Ao Sen is at 665 San Pablo Ave. (at Portland Avenue), Albany.

Photo: Claremont Diner/Facebook
Photo: Claremont Diner/Facebook

CLAREMONT DINER CLOSING Tomorrow, Oct. 31, will be the last day for Claremont Diner. The East Bay Express had the scoop, reporting that the owners are retiring. However, the restaurant may not be closed for long. A sign in the window and on the diner’s Facebook page said: “After 26 years in business we have decided to retire from the business. We would like to thank all of you whom have supported us throughout the years. We have enjoyed serving you and being part of the neighborhood. … Stay tuned for the new ownership of the Claremont Diner.” We’ll keep you posted on any developments. Claremont Diner is at 6200 Claremont Ave. (at Florio Street), Oakland. Connect with the diner on Facebook.

Photo: Google maps
Photo: Google maps

SOLANO TO GET NEW PIZZA SHOP Mountain Mike’s Pizza, which has been trying since January to open on Solano Avenue in North Berkeley, won approval last week from the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board to move forward with its plans. The owner of the 2,400-square-foot restaurant also hopes to serve beer and wine, but no hard liquor. A Berkeley zoning officer approved the permit in July, in the former location of clothing shop By Hand, but a neighbor appealed the decision and said she was concerned about limited parking in the area, hours, noise, smells and other issues. The board had a lengthy discussion Oct. 22, focused mostly on the neighborhood parking crunch, but ultimately granted the permit. Unlike most other businesses on Solano, the property does offer some parking in a ground-floor garage, but it is shared with Pharmaca so availability can be limited. It will be the second Mountain Mike’s in Berkeley; another shop opened in September at 1610 San Pablo Ave. in the longtime location of Japanese restaurant Genki. Mountain Mike’s will be at 1746 Solano Ave. (at Ensenada Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

What else is going on…

The Dock at Linden Street. Photo: The Dock at Linden Street
The Dock at Linden Street. Photo: The Dock at Linden Street

THE DOCK ADDS PRIX FIXE MENU James Syhabout is unstoppable this month. Last week he announced his Hawker Fare book deal and gained another Michelin star for Commis. This week, we’ve learned that he is changing things up at his West Oakland restaurant, The Dock. According to the East Bay Express, he is adding a $35 four-course prix fixe option to the menu — an excellent deal for a restaurant in which diners can easily rack up a big tab with its small-plates format. The sample menu in EBX included a choice of salads (butter lettuce or cucumber sunomono), foie gras mousse, a choice of Monterey black cod or lamb shoulder stew, and spiced date cake. The Dock is at 95 Linden St. (near 3rd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Twitter and Instagram.

Photo: Parlour/Facebook
Photo: Parlour/Facebook

PARLOUR GETS A NEW CHEF, ADDS LUNCH Parlour, the six-month-old Cal-Ital restaurant in Oakland, is already getting a new chef. Inside Scoop reports that opening chef Jason Tuley has left the restaurant to pursue a cookbook project in Los Angeles. Taking over for Tuley is Anthony Robert Roark, who has worked at Alta, Boot and Shoe Service, À Cȏté and The Trappist. Rock will mostly be keeping the format of the menu the same, although he told Inside Scoop that his style is a bit simpler and more rustic than Tuley’s. Parlour has also been slowly increasing its hours of operation; it added morning café service and a happy hour over the last month, and it will be debuting a lunch menu in early November. Parlour is at 357 19th St. (at Webster Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram.


DECOLONIZE YOUR DIET Celebrate Dia de los Muertos in a conscious way on Sunday, Nov. 1 at Impact Hub Oakland. Local chef and activist Bryant Terry, along with authors Luz Calvo, Catriona Esquibel and Gustavo Arellano will host the event in conjunction with the Oakland Food Policy Council. It is being presented as “an opportunity to remember and celebrate the food knowledge we each old in our cultures.” Sunday’s event will pay particular tribute to Mexican history and culinary traditions, and will feature an “artful food selection” from People’s Kitchen. Tickets run on a sliding scale from $10-50. More information is available hereImpact Hub Oakland is at 2323 Broadway (at 23rd Street), Oakland. Connect with the Oakland Food Policy Council on Facebook.

Chicken skewer meal kit from Munchery. Photo: Munchery
Chicken skewer meal kit from Munchery. Photo: Munchery

YOU CAN NOW GET MEAL KITS FROM MUNCHERY The chef-focused meal delivery service has expanded its offerings this week to include ready-to-cook meals a la Blue Apron, but without a subscription. Munchery has brought in Pascal Rigo, the founder of La Boulangerie, to spearhead the program, which is available in the East Bay as well as San Francisco. The program will bring in area chefs to develop the meals; Charles Phan of the Slanted Door is the first chef on board. Meal kits will also include ready-to-cook desserts, all from La Boulangerie. As of now, there are no East Bay chefs on the docket to create meals, but a PR representative from the company did not rule out the possibility. Connect with Munchery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Photo: Fieldwork Brewing
Photo: Fieldwork Brewing

HALLOWEEN IN THE EAST BAY There’s plenty of spooky events this coming weekend. In Berkeley, family-focused café The Rec Room is holding a Halloween-themed grand opening party Saturday afternoon. The café will have a photographer shooting free family portraits and will be bringing a in a magician at 12:30 p.m. Also on Saturday, Fieldwork Brewing will have both a pumpkin carving contest and dog costume contest. Carving will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the costume contest will begin at 5:30 p.m. Plenty of beer will, obviously, be on tap. On Monday, Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto will present its annual Dia De Los Muertos event starting at 5 p.m. across the 1400 block of Shattuck Avenue. Expect DIY art projects, free skeletal face painting, food trucks, a beer and wine garden, and live music.

Photo: Sequoia Diner
Photo: Sequoia Diner

Tonight in Oakland, Sequoia Diner is screening two Halloween movies. The first, at 6 p.m., will be kid-friendly; the 8 p.m. film will be for adults only. The diner will serve popcorn and provide a cash bar. Admission is free. On Saturday, Temescal bar The Avenue is throwing a 21+ bash starting at 5 p.m., complete with drink specials, snacks and a costume contest. The bar is also advertising the East Bay’s best halloween decorations, so even if you are struggling to finish that tall boy of PBR, you can still admire the decor. Nearby, Pizzaiolo is throwing a dance party in conjunction with Grand Lake’s Hipline dance studio. The event starts at 10 p.m. and will have a cash bar. In Uptown, Calavera has a special Dia De Los Muertos menu featuring special Oaxacan moles, a mezcal happy hour and “ancestral cocktails.” The restaurant has also set up an altar paying tribute to the late singer Selena. The menu is available through Nov. 4. In West Oakland, FuseBox is hosting “Stirring the Pot, Stirring the Soul: Calming the $h** Storm of 2015,” a $50 prix fixe dinner and performance event. Vegetarian and omnivore meals are available; the dinner also includes a “Smoky Mary” cocktail with pickled white asparagus. There will be two seatings, at 6 and 8 p.m., and reservations are required.

Photo: courtesy Rock Wall Wine Co.
Photo: courtesy Rock Wall Wine Co.

Tonight starting at 8 p.m. in Alameda, Rock Wall Wine is hosting Hallowine, an “an evening of Halloween shenanigans!” Bay Area DJ Alex Mejia will provide tunes, and there will be a candy bar and plenty of wine to drink. Guests in costume can “win awesome prizes.” Admission is $20 and includes a souvenir wine glass and one glass of wine. The Rec Room is at 3222 Adeline St. (between Fairview and Harmon streets). Connect with the café on FacebookTwitter and InstagramFieldwork Brewing is at 1160 Sixth St. (at Harrison Street), Berkeley. Connect with the brewery on Facebook and TwitterSequoia Diner is at 3719 MacArthur Blvd. (at High Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. The Avenue is at 4822 Telegraph Ave. (between 48th and 49th streets), Oakland. Connect with the bar on FacebookPizzaiolo is at 5008 Telegraph Ave. (at 51st Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and InstagramCalavera is at 2337 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and InstagramFuseBOX is at 2311A Magnolia St. (near Grand Avenue), Oakland. Connect with FuseBOX on Facebook and TwitterRock Wall Wine Company is at 2301 Monarch St. (at West Tower Avenue), Alameda. Connect with the winery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. Photo: Vicky Wasik
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. Photo: Vicky Wasik

TIDBITS If you’re looking to take a break from Halloween festivities this weekend, stop over at Rockridge Market Hall on Sunday to meet J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the managing director (and full-time nerd in residence) at Serious Eats. His new book, “The Food Lab,” came out last month, and he’ll be signing copies and doing a demo on preparing kale, making vinaigrettes and poaching eggs. He’ll be in the shop from 1 to 3 p.m.; the demo starts around 2 p.m. And next Wednesday, nutritionist and NYU professor Marion Nestle will be visiting the David Brower Center to give a talk on her new book, Soda Politics. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Find more information hereRockridge Market Hall is at 5655 College Ave (at Shafter Avenue), Oakland. The David Brower Center is at 2150 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley.

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