Bites: Free Little Star pizza, Bistro Ordinaire, Grocery Café to reopen

Little Star Pizza in Albany. Photo: Emilie Raguso

FREE LITTLE STAR PIZZA ALERT! Little Star‘s new mobile pizza cart will be passing out free slices of its famous deep dish on May 27 from 1-3 p.m. at its Solano Avenue restaurant. In exchange for the za, Little Star will be accepting donations for Albany SchoolCARE. Little Star Solano, 1181 Solano Ave. (near Stannage), Albany.

DOÑA TOMÁS NOW OPEN FOR LUNCH Temescal just got another lunch option — Doña Tomás is now offering a weekday counter service lunch menu, which will include salads, tacos, burritos and bowls. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday.  Doña Tomás, 5004 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland.

Chef Kosuke Tada is the guest chef at the return of Ordinaire wine shop’s Bistro Ordinaire dinner pop-ups. Photo: Ordinaire.

BISTRO ORDINAIRE RETURNS  Oakland’s Ordinaire wine shop on Grand Avenue has brought back its Bistro Ordinaire pop-up dinners. Since late March, it’s been hosting coursed dinners with chef Kosuke Tada. Ordinaire owner Bradford Taylor first crossed paths with Tada at Le 6 Paul Bert in Paris, where Tada ran the kitchen. “Paul Bert is a pilgrimage spot for natural wine lovers — we would go there, drink lots of bottles and order lots and lots of food,” said Taylor. Tada, who now lives in Berkeley, has also worked at restaurants in Japan, France, Italy, Scandinavia and most recently, San Francisco, where he set his focus on California cuisine. But for Bistro Ordinaire, Tada will serve his take on casual Parisian bistro food. On Monday nights from 6 p.m. to close, he serves a three-course, prix-fixe meal that ranges in price from $35 to $45. (Wine is extra. Since it’s hosted in a wine bar, guests can pair their meals with any bottle sold at Ordinaire, for $10 above retail price). The next Bistro Ordinaire event, however, will be a little different. Because of the Memorial Day weekend, it will not be a Monday evening sit-down affair, but a two-day afternoon BBQ bonanza. Taking place from 1-6 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29, Tada will prepare a tapas-style BBQ, with ceviche, grilled prawns, oysters, steak and more available to purchase a la carte (food will range from $6 to $15, wine glasses from $6, and bottles starting at $20). If you’re more interested in experiencing the regular three-course, prix-fixe meal, you’ll just have to wait until June 5. Reservations can be made by e-mailing ordinairewine@gmail.com or calling (510) 629-3944. Ordinaire, 3354 Grand Ave. (at Elwood), Oakland.

BURMESE POP-UP DINNER AT DEE SPOT Channarith Vanthin, owner of Dee Spot Café is hoping to introduce more people to new emerging chefs from around the world and their traditional cuisine. On June 2, from 6-9 p.m., the café will host Burmese chef Ma M, who will be serving a four-course menu, featuring tea leaf salad, samosa with homemade sauce and coconut chicken noodle soup. “I think it’s a great way to get the community and foodies together, and spread the love around the dinner table,” said Vanthin. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased here. Dee Spot Café, 1195 65th St. (at Vallejo), Oakland.


GROCERY CAFE REOPENS! Speaking of Burmese food, the beloved Grocery Café, which shuttered in December 2016, is reopening on May 29. Yes, on Memorial Day! So if you’re not in the mood for grilled hot dogs, consider moseying over to Jack London Square, where the new iteration of Grocery Café serves Burmese-style grilled meats, noodle dishes and of course, its famous tea leaf salad. Grocery Café, 63 Jack London Square (at Franklin), Oakland.

Jay’s Best Burger at the Half Orange. Photo: The Half Orange.

NEW HOURS, MENU, BURGER AT HALF ORANGE Over in Fruitvale, Jay Porter’s three-year-old restaurant, the Half Orange, has made some changes worth noting. This week, Porter announced that the restaurant’s new hours (3-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) will coincide with the times when parking is free in the Fruitvale BART parking garage across the street. He also explained that they’ve re-assessed the menu to focus on its most popular offerings, including its Buffalo Cauliflower, sandwiches, salads and tacos. The menu will include a new version of its burger, which Porter said is the “the one that I make for myself to eat.” Jay’s Best Burger features a 6-oz organic, grass-fed beef Patty from Cream Co. with American cheese, “THO sauce,” house made pickles, lettuce, tomato and onions. In case you were hoping to pair that burger with fries, note that the Half Orange has replaced its fries with house-made Kennebec potato chips. The Half Orange, 3340 E 12th St. (at E. 33rd), Oakland.

SHERRY PAIRING DINNER AT LA MARCHA As with vermouth and amaro, sherry is making a comeback. When once it was dismissed as a sickly sweet dessert wine, wine lovers are rediscovering the fortified wine from southern Spain, especially paired with food. On May 31 at 8 p.m., Berkeley Spanish tapas bar, La Marcha, hosts a sherry pairing dinner, where diners will taste six sherry wines along with a six-course meal prepared by La Marcha chefs and co-owners Sergio Emilio Monleón and Emily Sarlatte. The menu will include small plates like house-made Butifarra sausage, mushroom arroz and braised oxtails with peas. Tickets are $85 (excluding tip and tax) and are available here. This will be La Marcha’s first sherry pairing dinner, but the restaurant plans to offer a sherry pairing menu (along with its regular dinner menu) every Wednesday starting on June 21. La Marcha, 2026 San Pablo Ave. (at University), Berkeley.  

ROCKRIDGE MARKET HALL COOKOUT Just in time for one of the biggest BBQ weekends, Rockridge Market Hall is hosting its own cookout. On Sunday, May 28, from 2-4 p.m., Market Hall invites the public for free tastes of grass-fed meat from Marin Sun Farms and seafood from Hapuku Fish Shop, along with samples from Market Hall Foods deli and refreshments. Keeping up with the 30-theme, Marin Sun Farms will offer its 30-day Dry Aged Beef for 30% off that day. The Market Hall cookout is part of its year-long 30th anniversary celebration. It will be holding monthly events, on or near the 30th of the month, over the course of the year. Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Ave. (at Keith), Oakland.

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