Bites: Cheese Board, Anthony’s Cookies, Sideshow, more

Cheese Board pizza. Photo: angel_kittiy/Flickr

CHEESE BOARD CELEBRATES PAKISTAN & INDIA INDEPENDENCE DAY This week, Pakistan and India are celebrating 70 years of independence from British rule, and to celebrate, the Cheese Board Collective will once again offer pizza and other fare inflected with Indian flavors. On Saturday, Aug. 19, Cheese Board will serve its curried potato pizza, a little gem salad with mint yogurt dressing, and two versions of its incredibly creamy buffalo milk soft-serve — saffron and cardamom. DJ Flight will be on hand all day playing filmi (music from Bollywood films) and contemporary music. Cheese Board Pizzeria is at 1512 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine), Berkeley. 

Abura-ya is popping up at The Lodge in Oakland. Photo: Sarah Han

ABURA-YA BRINGS JAPANESE HOT DOGS TO THE LODGE Abura-ya is known for its punk rock Japanese fried chicken pop-up, but it may soon be known for its take on hot dogs, too. As of Aug. 1, Abura-ya has been popping up in The Lodge on Piedmont Avenue hawking “build-your-own Kamikaze Dogs.” Diners can choose between a Louisiana-style beef-pork dog, Cajun chicken dog, vegan Tofurkey dog, and pick their own toppings and condiments, such as kimchi, pickled ginger, slaw, garlic chips, teriyaki sauce, miso ranch dressing, and so on. Also on the Lodge-exclusive menu: Abura-ya Wings (diners choose four or eight pieces and from a variety of dipping sauces) and other eats like tater tots topped with shredded nori and katsuobushi (dried, smoked bonito flakes). For best results, try these snacks with The Lodge’s summery boozy slushies. Get a taste of Abura-ya‘s Lodge-exclusive menu from 5 to 10 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays at The Lodge at 3758 Piedmont Ave. (at MacArthur Boulevard), Oakland.

BELOTTI ON PIEDMONT UPDATE Last week on Bites, we had the scoop on the new Belotti location on Piedmont Avenue. Since then, we’ve heard from Joyce and Michele Belotti themselves, who had the following to say about their ‘bottega’ location: “It will have very limited seating for ‘eat on the spot’ as it’s meant to be a to-go space for the most part. We will have options to allow people to order and schedule pick-up of their food online, come in and buy fresh Belotti pasta, sauces, and typical and regional homemade Italian appetizers and snacks. We are very excited about this new space and looking to open the shop in early fall.” Stay tuned on Nosh for more information as Belotti’s bottega gets closer to opening. Belotti  will be at 4001 Piedmont Ave. (at 40th), Oakland.

A cookies and cream cookie from Anthony’s Cookies in Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

ANTHONY’S COOKIES IN BERKELEY OPENING SOON San Francisco bakery Anthony’s Cookies is on the brink of opening its newest Berkeley bakery. Over the weekend, Nosh stopped in to Anthony’s new spot in the former Fenton MacLaren shop at 2575 San Pablo Ave. for its soft opening, where we got an ample sample of its cookie line-up (classic chocolate chip, cookies and cream, toffee chip, white chocolate chip, peanut butter). Aside from cookies, Anthony’s will also serve Straus Creamery ice cream and espresso drinks from San Francisco’s Four Barrel Coffee. The café, designed by Oakland’s Medium Plenty, has counter seating and a full view of the cookie production area. The grand opening of Anthony’s is TBD, but employees we spoke with at the soft opening said to expect a grand opening within the next two weeks. Anthony’s Cookies will be at 2575 San Pablo Ave. (between Blake and Parker streets), Berkeley. 


LHASA KARNAK TO SAN PABLO AVENUE Just across the street and down a block from the Anthony’s Cookies will be the new location for Berkeley herb shop, Lhasa Karnak, which closed its storefront at 2482 Telegraph Avenue on July 19. Its new San Pablo Avenue location is in the former Sign-a-Rama (which relocated to San Pablo Avenue near Ashby). We spoke with Lhasa Karnak co-owner Aaron Murdock, who told Nosh that the move was out of necessity, as the space on Telegraph needed significant repairs caused by the Dwight Way fire in 2015. The Telegraph Avenue site was Lhasa Karnak’s first location, which opened in 1970 in a shared space within Shambhala Books. The herb shop relocated in 1977 to a larger space at 2513 Telegraph Ave. (and opened a second location, which is still open, at 1942 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley), but was able to move back to its original location in 2004, when Shambala Books closed. Lhasa Karnak specializes in Aryuvedic, Chinese and Western medicinal herbs, essential oils, teas and culinary spices. Fans of the shop can rest easy, as the new incarnation will pretty much be the same as the original.”We’re always looking around for new interesting and exciting things, but there’ll be no significant change in our operations,” Murdock said. The San Pablo Avenue shop will open on Monday, Aug. 21. Lhasa Karnak will be at 2506 San Pablo Ave. (at Dwight), Berkeley. 

Sideshow’s outdoor patio. Photo: Sarah Han

SIDESHOW, IN FORMER GREASE BOX SPACE, IS OPEN Last week, Sideshow Kitchen opened in North Oakland in the space once occupied by gluten-free comfort food diner, the Grease Box. Nosh first reported in June about the new restaurant before it was officially announced as Sideshow, and while it was still being used as storage and food prep for owner Mike Beatrice’s other restaurant, Home Grown Oakland. While Home Grown focuses on fare for more health-conscious eaters, like salads and açai bowls, Sideshow offers affordable street-food style eats for diners who aren’t counting calories. That means you’ll find a variety of burgers, shawarmas, sandwiches, chicken wings. Sideshow also offers breakfast items, like avocado toast and a kimchi breakfast burrito. Sideshow has both indoor and outdoor dining areas, and will eventually serve beer and wine. We stopped in on Saturday (note, it’s closed on Sundays) and enjoyed the Mexi-Cali burger, which came with a side of elote (Mexican style corn on the cob), house pickles and coleslaw, all for $10. Sideshow Kitchen is at 942 Stanford Ave. (at Lowell), Oakland. 

The cover, left, and an excerpt from Mimi Pond’s new graphic novel, The Customer is Always Wrong. Image: Courtesy of Drawn & Quarterly

‘THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS WRONG’ BOOK EVENT Ask any longtime East Bay punk about their favorite old-school diner, and they’ll likely name Mama’s Royal Café. The greasy spoon in North Oakland has been a haven for artists, musicians and other eccentric Bay Areans — both as patrons and employees — since it opened in 1974, way before the retail and residential boom of the Temescal or Piedmont Avenue neighborhoods it borders. For those who harbor a soft spot for Mama’s and/or Oakland counterculture history, you’ll want to check out The Customer is Always Wrong, the new Drawn & Quarterly release from cartoonist Mimi Pond. This follow-up to her 2014 semi-autobiographical graphic novel Over Easy takes readers back to the early days of Mama’s (or Imperial Café, as it’s called in the books), telling the story of Pond’s alter-ego Madge, a young artist who works as a waitress at this one-of-a-kind local gem. Mimi Pond will be signing copies of ‘The Customer is Always Wrong’ from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17, at Starline Social Club, 2236 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (at West Grand), Oakland.

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