MORE MOLE TO OAKLAND Calavera will soon no longer be the only Oaxacan restaurant in Uptown. On June 13, Agave Uptown will open, bringing with it a menu of dishes and drinks from the southwestern Mexican state. It will be the second location for the restaurant; the original Agave opened in Healdsburg in 2010. Behind the restaurant is Octavio Diaz, who grew up in Santa Gertrudis, southwest of the city of Oaxaca. Agave Uptown will focus on “farm-raised ingredients and handmade cooking … [and will] draw from the artisanal tradition of Oaxaca,” according to a a statement. Translation? A menu highlighting Diaz’s 20+ ingredient mole, plus plenty of Oaxan mezcal and Mexican craft beer. (There will also be Sonoma county wine on the menu, in a nod to Diaz’s original Healdsburg location.) The restaurant space has been designed by local firm Arcsine, and it features a mural painted by Lapiztola, a Oaxaca-based art collective. Agave Uptown will be located in the newly opened Kapor Center for Social Impact; as such, Diaz wants the restaurant to serve as an incubator for underrepresented communities with interest in the culinary field. He plans to partner with nearby schools and colleges to provide internships. “When we think about diversity, entrepreneurship and local people being able to benefit from new businesses and opportunities, Agave certainly fits that description,” said Cedric Brown, Kapor Center’s chief of community engagement, in a statement. Once open, Agave will serve both lunch and dinner seven days a week. Agave Uptown will be at 2135 Franklin St. (at 22nd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
MOKKA WILL BECOME A POKE RESTAURANT As we reported in January, Berkeley’s Mokka coffee shop will be closing in June, due to rent increases and rising labor costs. We now know what will be replacing the café — a restaurant called #Poki, which specializes in the now-trending raw fish and rice bowls known as poke. Husband-and-wife team Jerry Su and Diana Lee will be opening the new restaurant, which will serve make-your-own rice bowls with a choice of salmon, hamachi, albacore, scallop or tofu, plus rice (or salad), toppings and sauces, according to Eater SF. #Poki will likely be open for lunch and early dinner, hopefully starting in early August. We will keep you posted as we learn more. #Poki will be at 3075 Telegraph Ave. (at Dowling Place), Berkeley.
FIELDWORK BREWING IS EXPANDING Berkeley’s Fieldwork Brewing Company has only been open for little over a year, but it is already setting its sights on expansion. This week, the brewery announced that it would be opening a satellite taproom in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market. Like the West Berkeley taproom, the Napa location will have an ever-changing tap list with beers served by the glass, in a sampler flight, or to-go in both growlers and “Crowlers.” According to Fieldwork Napa’s Facebook page, the new space is still basically an empty shell, so it may be awhile before it opens. We will keep you posted so you’ll know when you can have a little taste of Berkeley during your next trip north. Fieldwork Brewing Company Napa will be in the Oxbow Public Market at 601 First St. (at Vernon Street), Napa. Connect with the brewery on Facebook.
KAMDESH AFGANI RESTAURANT HAS MOVED The well-regarded Afgani restaurant Kamdesh moved down the street from its original location in early April, according to an employee. The new space boasts a large, well-lit dining area, newly designed outdoor, signage and murals along the walls — a far cry from its first location, which was described in the East Bay Express as “drab, … as though it might be closed.” The food, according to recent reports, is just as good as before, and includes new dishes. Must-orders include the quabili pallow, a biryani-like rice dish served with braised lamb shank, and mantu dumplings filled with ground beef and topped with yogurt sauce. Kamdesh is at 332 14th St. (at Webster Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
TIDBITS: AZIT, KOBANI, BLEEKER In February, we reported that Temescal’s Ramen Tomo was to be replaced with a restaurant called Azit. The new restaurant opened in April. Azit serves hot pots and Korean drinking food like Korean nachos and cheese-covered rice cakes. Early Yelp reviews have been hit-or-miss. In Berkeley, we’ve noticed that Kobani has changed its name to Rojbas. Its Kurdish and Mediterranean menu remains the same. Also renamed is Bleeker Bistro on Telegraph. Its outdoor sign now reads, “Han’s Bistro;” however, Yelpers report that the menus still retain the old name. No word yet on the reason for either name change. Azit is at 4309 Telegraph Ave. (at 44th Street), Oakland. Rojbas is at 1901 University Ave. (at Martin Luther King Jr. Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. Han’s Bistro is at 2498 Telegraph Ave. (at Dwight Way). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
Dinners and events
TASTE FOREBEARS MEAD TONIGHT Alameda-based meadery Forebears is joining Crooked City Cider for its weekly Cider Fridays event at Two Mile Wines tonight. The East Bay’s newest mead making team of John Wirkner, Dave Myers, Michael Halby and Chris Langer haven’t officially launched yet, but they do have samples to share. Expect tastes of Forebear’s award-winning hopped “Wanderer” mead made three ways, one of which has been aged in oak barrel. This signature mead is bittersweet and hoppy, and it pours with a creamy Guinness-like head. Wanderer is characteristic of what Forebears hopes to bring to the East Bay drinking market; it’s low in sweetness, but bold with flavor. Wirkner told Nosh that he will likely bring a small selection of other bottles; these will be served on a first-come, first-served basis. The team is also planning to collaborate with Crooked City on a cyser made with both apples and honey. Connect with Forebears Meadery on Facebook. Connect with Crooked City Cider on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Cider Fridays is at Two Mile Wines, 477 25th St. (between Broadway and Telegraph Avenues), Oakland.
JOURNEYMEN VEG DINNER In a break from their usual omnivorous dinners, Journeymen duo Chris Wolff and Jonathan Tu will be hosting a vegetable-only pop-up dinner for June’s dinner at Blackwater Station. The menu, which will be served June 6, will include two “waves” of small bites, plus three entrees (we’re eyeing the oak-charred eggplant with marinated cactus, hazelnuts, black sauce, flowering coriander and buckwheat), a dessert and petit fours. Wolff told Nosh in an email that he and Tu will be “putting lots of love and killer technique” into the dinner, and he insists that it won’t be “a lame, predictable, ‘where did all my money go?’ kind of veg [sic] menu where you’re both bored and still hungry at the end.” Sounds good to us. Learn more about the dinner here. Connect with Journeymen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Blackwater Station is at 4901 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
A16 ROCKRIDGE TURNS THREE The Oakland location of A16 is celebrating its third birthday with a special dinner June 1. The $55 prix-fixe menu by executive chef Rocky Maselli and executive pastry chef Hannah Buouye will showcase several of A16’s specialities, including pizza (of course) with morel or porcini mushrooms, paccheri pasta with fava beans, roast lamb, and several desserts. Diners can also choose to add an optional wine pairing. A16 Rockridge is at 5356 College Ave. (near Manila Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
What else is going on
SMART GROWLERS? YEAH, THEY’RE REAL Earlier this month, beer growler delivery service Hopsy announced that it had partnered with Thinfilm to add a special tag to each of its growlers of beer. When customers tap their smart phones to the tag, they gain access to videos and informational content about the beer. (The tags also detect the dates on which the beer was bottled and opened.) The goal, Hopsy representatives explained in a video, is to give its customers a similar experience to touring a brewery, without having to leave their home. “We believe Thinfilm’s technology gives our partner breweries a powerful tool to connect with their customers beyond the brewery,” said co-founder Sebastian Tron in a statement. And if the idea of a smart growler isn’t enough, Tron told Nosh in an email that this is only the “first step towards a more connected beer experience. More surprises [are] to come in the near future.” Hopsy is at 1137 Solano Ave. (between Kains and Stannage avenues), Albany. Connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.