Bites: Mockingbird, Blue Bottle, Dosa, Farley’s East, more

Blue Bottle in Old Oakland. Photo: Blue Bottle

FREE COFFEE AT NEW BLUE BOTTLE This week, Blue Bottle is opening the doors to its new café and “training lab” in Old Oakland. Located on Ninth Street, it’s on the ground floor of the historic Henry House (a former hotel from the 19th century), just a block down from Swan’s Market. As with other Blue Bottle cafés, it will have its signature coffee drinks and bites (like its Liège wafel and toast), but this spot will also be Blue Bottle’s new training grounds for future baristas. The lab was formerly located at its Webster Street headquarters. The grand opening of the Old Oakland café is this Friday, June 23, but today (June 21), Blue Bottle is hosting a special preview event. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Friends and Family Day, the public is invited to check out the space and get a free cup of coffee. Pastries and merchandise will also be available for sale, with all proceeds benefitting Oakland Animal Services. Blue Bottle is at 480 Ninth St. (between Broadway and Washington), Oakland.

MOCKINGBIRD FLIES AGAIN! Today (June 21), Oakland bistro Mockingbird, has finally reopened in its new location downtown on 13th Street. Last year, owners Melissa Axelrod and William Johnson closed the restaurant at its original location at 1745 San Pablo Ave. to move to a bigger venue that would allow them to offer beer, wine and cocktails, as they were unable to acquire a liquor license at the previous location. So yes, that means at the new Mockingbird, you’ll be able to knock back a few drinks with your meal. Mockingbird’s cocktail menu features a modern take on classic drinks, using local spirits; and its wines will focus on sustainable and natural bottles. As for its food, Mockingbird does not stray too far from its previous iteration. It still offers seasonally-driven bistro food, including tried-and-true favorites, like its beloved Brussels sprouts, and some new dishes as well. Mockingbird is initially open for counter service and table service lunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Next week, starting on Wednesday, June 28, it’ll launch its happy hour, and starting on Wednesday, July 5, it will offer its dinner service. Mockingbird is at 416 13th St. (at Franklin), Oakland.

DOSA COMES TO OAKLAND Diners in the East Bay will have another option to get their South Indian food fix. San Francisco’s DOSA will be heading to Uptown Oakland. According to SFGate, the restaurant, owned by husband-wife team Anjan and Emily Mitra, will be opening a third location — the first outside of SF — at 2310 Broadway. DOSA serves modern versions of traditional dishes from the Southern states of India, including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Goa, using seasonal, sustainable and organic ingredients, whenever possible. DOSA Oakland hopes to open sometime this fall. DOSA will be at 2310 Broadway (near 23rd), Oakland.

Jake Weiss and Oscar Michel of Tacos Oscar in front of their new space at 420 40th Street in Oakland. Photo: Tacos Oscar Instagram

TACOS AT 420 Although it’s always 420 somewhere in Oakland, the number we’re referring to here isn’t to pot smoking, but to the address of the soon-to-be brick-and-mortar home of mobile taco-slingers Oscar Michel and Jake Weiss, aka Tacos Oscar. On Monday, June 19, Michel announced via Instagram, “Very happy to let you know that Jake and I signed the lease to our new space today at 420 40th Street in Oakland. Thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way. We hope to open this Fall, but expect pop ups very soon at the new space as we ramp things up. We will continue to make you tacos @starline_social_club every 2nd & 4th Monday of the month too! This is only the beginning, yea?” Tacos Oscar is best known for its fried eggs atop hand-pressed tortillas, but at every pop-up, it also offers a meaty and vegetarian friendly topping, too. Michel, who once worked in the kitchens at Doña Tomás and Boot & Shoe Service, may also be familiar to rock enthusiasts, who may know him from the local garage and psych scene, playing in bands like the Gris Gris, the Dutchess & the Duke, and the Rock N Roll Adventure Kids. This magical intersection of food and music making was how Tacos Oscar came to be — the pop-up debuted in 2014 at a friend’s music recording studio in Oakland, and since then, you can often find Tacos Oscar griddling tortillas a la plancha at music events, record shops and parties. In fact, Tacos Oscar has even popped up in its upcoming space, when it was Antidote Juicery! Tacos Oscar will be at 420 40th St. (at Webster), Oakland.


FARLEY’S EXPANDS Trans-bay neighborhood coffeehouse Farley’s closed its location on 65th Street last year, but starting next week, its café in Uptown Oakland will be a little bit bigger. In January, the eight-year-old Farley’s East took over the space next door (a former Subway), which it will unveil on Monday, June 26. The expansion is good news for Farley’s lovers because it will mean more seating, shorter wait times, a bigger menu, local and craft beer and wine on tap and a more robust coffee program. Owner Chris Hillyard told Nosh that the purpose of the expansion was to offer “more restaurant-type” foods, like casseroles, along with their regular offering of soups, salads and sandwiches, and to allow the café to do catering. The extra space at Farley’s will also have a dedicated coffee bar, which makes perfect sense for the coffeehouse, which just started roasting its own beans last September. As its prepares for next Monday, Farley’s East is open on an abbreviated schedule for the rest of the week. Today, June 21, it will be open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then will be closed for the rest of the week through Sunday, June 25. Farley’s East is at 33 Grand Ave. (between Broadway and Webster), Oakland.  

The ssam feast from Korean pop-up Nokni. Photo: Nokni

DON’T MISS NOKNI AT HINA For the first two Mondays in June, Korean pop-up Nokni held two sold-old nights of its ssam (meaning “wrapped” in Korean) dinner at Hina (which is currently closed before the yakitori restaurant prepares to move to a new location). I was lucky to attend the June 12 dinner, where I feasted on a coursed meal prepared by Julya Shin (Penrose, Pizzaiolo) and Steve Joo (Terra). Here, I had housemade tofu wrapped in a fig leaf and sprinkled with morel and maitake mushrooms and spring peas, green beans and eggplant marinated in dwenjang (fermented bean paste) and a savory wood-smoked liberty duck that I wrapped in farmers market-fresh lettuces and ate with ssam-jang (bean pepper paste). Although there were versions of familiar Korean dishes, like kimchi, bindaedduk (mung bean pancake) and dduk guk (rice cake soup with dumplings), this was unlike any Korean food I had ever had before. Think the cuisine of an OG halmunee (Korean grandma) through the lens of your favorite California chefs and you’ve got Nokni. From 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 22 through Saturday, June 24, Nokni returns to Hina for a more casual-style dining pop-up. They’ll be serving bibim-myun (spicy mixed acorn noodles with vegetables) and everyone’s favorite Korean comfort food dduk boki (spicy stir-fried rice cakes). Food will be offered a la carte and ordered at the counter. Nokni is popping up at Hina Yakitori, 4828 Telegraph Ave. (at 48th), Oakland.

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