Bites: Oyster Oyster Block Party, Bacon and chocolate dinner at Homemade Café

Oakland’s The Cook and Her Farmer will be at the second annual Oyster Oyster Block Party. Photo: The Cook and Her Farmer

OYSTER OYSTER BLOCK PARTY For the second year in a row, Oakland’s Jack London Square will be ground zero for a celebration of the slippery bivalve. The Oyster Oyster Block Party, co-hosted by eatBoston, will feature raw and cooked renditions of the shelled mollusk from various local restaurants and food vendors, including Lungomare, the Cook and Her Farmer, Canasta Kitchen, El Taco Oaxaco, the Lumpia Company and the Golden Shrimp. There’ll also be sweet treats from Bliss Pops, Gotta Love Kettle Corn and Nieves La Unica (sorry, not sorry: there will be no oyster flavored desserts) and craft beer and cider, too. The Oyster Oyster Block Party takes place from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, on Water Street, in front of the 55 Market St. building in Jack London Square. 

EAT BACON AND CHOCOLATE FOR A GOOD CAUSE! Berkeley breakfast and brunch spot Homemade Café will open its doors for evening diners this Saturday, when it hosts the fourth annual fundraiser, the “Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, More Bacon and Chocolate Dinner.” The story behind this event with a funny name originates with Rosalind Sarah, co-founder of Stage Door Conservatory, Berkeley resident, marathon runner and self-professed bacon lover. In 2014, while eating breakfast at Homemade Café, Sarah asked owner Collin Doran if he’d be interested in helping raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. Doran, whose father passed away from cancer, was in and created a four-course bacon-themed prix-fixe meal. Every year since, Doran and Sarah, both secular Jews, time their bacon dinner to happen before Rosh Hashanah. This year’s menu will feature rillettes made with bacon fat, pork belly and bourbon; arugula, bacon and clams steamed in a broth made with heirloom tomatoes, basil and white wine;  a bacon-wrapped filet mignon served with corn cheddar cheese mashed potatoes and an herb salsa verde; and for dessert, a chocolate budino with spiced candied bacon peanut brittle. Believe it or not, there is a vegetarian prix-fix option, sans bacon, of course. The dinner costs $75 per person ($15 extra for wine pairings), with proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The fourth annual Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, More Bacon and Chocolate Dinner happens at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Homemade Café, 2454 Sacramento St. in Berkeley. Make your reservations here.

SOBO RAMEN COMING TO BERKELEY Old Oakland ramen restaurant, SOBO is soon headed to downtown Berkeley. Nosh confirmed with SOBO that it will be opening a second location at the eight-story StoneFire building on University Avenue, at Milvia Street, and that it will be “serving same ramen” at the new spot. The restaurant says buildout will take a few months, so an opening date is still TBD. We’ll have more details on Nosh as they develop. SOBO Ramen will be at StoneFire, 2010 Milvia St. (at University) in Berkeley.

Delage chef Chikara Ono will be making sushi hand rolls at Old Kan Beer & Co on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Photo: Delage

DELAGE AT OLD KAN Old Oakland omakase restaurant Delage is popping up on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Old Kan Beer & Co. This is a great opportunity to get a taste of Delage chef Chikara Ono’s sushi mastery without having to sit down for a prix fixe dinner (although we do recommend going to Delage too). For the one-night pop-up, team Delage and team Old Kan will collaborate on the menu, serving sushi hand rolls, chicken heart skewers with tare and ginger and fried chicken karaage with oyster mayo. The Delage pops up takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Old Kan Beer & Co is at 95 Linden St. in Oakland.


MORE POKE IN BERKELEY South Berkeley just got another build-your-own poke spot. Poke Parlor is mere blocks from the Cal campus on Telegraph Avenue, and is already a hot spot for students with a hankering for raw fish. For poke bowls, diners choose from a variety of chopped proteins (mostly raw fish, but also cubed tofu), additional vegetables, toppings and sauces, and a choice of either sushi rice, mixed greens, tortilla chips or zucchini noodles. But what makes Poke Parlor stand out from other poke spots is its unconventional offerings: the “pokenini,” which is a sandwich filled with poke, mixed greens, ponzu sauce, avocado, Sriracha crema and furikake (rice seasoning); and albacore or tuna poke tacos, served in corn tortillas or nori. H/t to Ted Friedman for the tip. Poke Parlor is at 2485 Telegraph Ave. (between Haste and Dwight) in Berkeley.

CHEESE + BEER 101 Learn more about two tastes that taste great together at the upcoming Cheese + Beer 101 event taking place at Maker’s Common in Berkeley. For the $35 ticket, attendees will learn about what cheeses go well with what brews, and get to taste five domestic cheeses with five local craft beers. Cheese + Beer 101 takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept 21, at Maker’s Common, 1954 University Ave. (at Bonita) in Berkeley. 

Inside Proposition Chicken on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland. Photo: Sarah Han

OAKLAND PROP C IS NOW OPEN The Bay Area’s second Proposition Chicken location officially opened today (Wednesday, Sept. 13) on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland. The fast-casual restaurant, which first opened in San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood in 2013, offers chicken three ways: fried, “flipped” (rotisserie) or fake (a crispy BBQ tofu alternative) in sandwiches, salads or as a main entree. We stopped in last week for a media preview event, where we got a taste of the offerings, including Prop C’s new and improved fried chicken, which is a little different than what’s currently offered at the original SF location for now. Co-founder Ari Feingold (who also owns Straw in Hayes Valley) told Nosh that he’s been tinkering with the recipe and has finally found one that he and co-owners Elizabeth Wells and Maxwell Cohen all agreed is the best yet. They’ll eventually transition this recipe to the SF location, but for now, Oakland’s the only place to taste the new and improved version. The secret to the new fried chicken? Along with Prop C’s signature blend of herbs and spices, this recipe adds vodka in the batter, which when fried, makes the chicken extra crispy. We liked both the fried and flipped chicken in sandwich form. Both come served on a soft Amoroso baked roll with mayo and a “spicy” slaw (that’s not really spicy), along with a side of house-made sage potato chips. However, we highly recommend getting the chicken as an entree, if just for the accompanying sweet buttermilk biscuit, which has the most tender crumb and tastes more like a honey-kissed muffin than a savory dinner roll. We dream of those biscuits. In case you’re wondering about the name of the restaurant, we got the background from Feingold, who said that he first came up with idea for it at the height of the Chick-Fil-A controversy, when the president of that national fried chicken chain publicly spoke out against gay marriage. Feingold decided to make the theme of his restaurant in response. Prop C’s has a ballot-themed decor, spelling out that the restaurant is for “the right to choose,” whether it be “your style, your chicken, who you marry, what you do with your body.” Cheeky branding aside, Prop C puts its money where its mouth is: On Mondays, it donates 10% of proceeds from dine-in sales to a local non-profit (benefitting orgs are chosen on a monthly rotating basis). The Lakeshore location will raise money exclusively for East Bay non-profits; its first month will raise funds for Hip Hop for Change Proposition Chicken is at 3260 Lakeshore Ave. (between Lake Park and Trestle Glen), Oakland.

CHAI THAI BAR SOFT OPENING Chai Thai Bar on Piedmont Avenue announced via Instagram and Facebook that it will have its soft opening this weekend. Taking the spot once occupied by Adesso, this restaurant-bar is owned by the same family who owns Chai Thai Noodles in Oakland and Hayward. It will focus on modern “Thai-inspired cocktails” and drinks, as well as a small menu of Thai and Laos food. The soft opening hours will be 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday; 5 p.m. to midnight on Sunday. Its grand opening is still to be determined. Chai Thai Bar will be at 4395 Piedmont Ave. (at Pleasant Valley) in Oakland.

PEET’S NEW BERKELEY-THEMED BEANS, END OF RAINCHECK CARDS Peet’s tips a hat to its very first location with the release of its new limited-edition coffee, the Vine & Walnut Blend. This blend, named for the cross streets in Berkeley of the original café, is a medium roast coffee, with notes of molasses, orange zest and nutmeg. The Vine & Walnut Blend will be available through November. If you’re a Peet’s fan, you’ll want to know that the coffee shop is phasing out their free coffee raincheck cards. You know, those cards that they used to liberally give out when you purchased a bag of beans or maybe, if you waited in line for too long? Instead, Peet’s will be focusing on its Peetnik Rewards, which gives returning customers free coffee on birthdays and for every fifteenth check-in to a Peet’s location. A representative from Peet’s told Nosh that customers will still get a free cup of coffee (rather than a card) with the purchase of beans and that customers with existing raincheck cards can use them until the end of 2017 — so use ’em before you lose ’em!  


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