Bites: California’s first barley malt house, Ippo Ramen, honey pie and vegetarian Indian taco pop-ups

The malting process at work at Admiral Maltings in Alameda. Photo: Admiral Maltings/Facebook

BIG “RAKE” UP IN ALAMEDA Last August saw the opening of Admiral Maltings, a facility in Alameda that processes barley into malt for beer. Although malting facilities were more common in California before Prohibition, Admiral Maltings was the first of its kind to open in decades in the state. It produces small-batch malt for Northern California breweries like Faction, Anchor, Sierra Nevada, Drake’s and 21st Amendment, among others. And now, Admiral Maltings has just announced that it’s opening its own on-site taproom, a barley malt house, another first for California since Prohibition. The Rake will open Jan. 26, and will serve 20 beers on draft and two cask conditioned ales from various breweries all using Admiral malts. A menu of pub fare — like sandwiches, cheese and cured meat plates — will also be offered. The Rake, 651A W Tower Ave. (at Pan Am Way), Alameda 

NOVEL RAMEN POP-UP Oakland ramen pop-up, Ippo Ramen has been making one-off appearances across the East Bay at such locations as Tokyo Fish Market, Kensington farmers market and Cock-A-Doodle Café. Ippo is run by chef Steven Yee, who serves simple, but satisfying bowls of traditional ramen in three flavors: shio (salt), miso and shoyu (soy sauce). This week, Ippo will make its first appearance at its new regular pop-up spot, Novel Brewing, where it will serve steaming bowls from 5-9 p.m. (or until it sells out), on first and third Thursdays. Novel Brewing Company, 6510 San Pablo Ave. (near 65th), Oakland

BO’S GOES FULL RAMEN In December, Nosh reported that Bo’s California Cuisine had a new evening service under the name Ramen Kitchen. The immediate success of Ramen Kitchen convinced owner Bo Man Tom to offer ramen all day long. The restaurant now serves ramen from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and although it’s still called Bo’s, it no longer serves its former menu and will eventually transition to its new name full time. When asked what the most popular ramen is amongst customers so far, Tom said the spicy black tonkotsu is especially getting a resounding thumbs up from diners. Ramen Kitchen, 1491 Solano Ave. (at Curtis), Albany

Pies from Oakland pie-makers Appelgren + Smith. Photo: Appelgren + Smith/Facebook

WELL, THERE’S PIE Just before the holidays, North Oakland herbal café The Well announced that it was closing its doors for “an extended break,” to “reflect and restructure” its business, which it says was not financially sustainable. While The Well is still closed for regular café hours, it is still holding workshops and events, including a tasty pie pop-up this Thursday, Jan. 18. From 6-8 p.m. local pie-making duo Appelgren + Smith will be onsite selling two pies — by the slice ($5) or whole pan ($35). Jessica Appelgren and Sarah Smith swept top honors — first place, best of show and judges’ favorite — at the Alameda County Fair this past July, so their pies are definitely worth a taste. At “Honey Pies & Herbal Teas: A Cozy Winter Pop-up,” there’ll be four offerings from Appelgren + Smith: Lemon Shaker, Honey Apple, Salted Honey Pie and Honeyed Pecan Pie, all made with honey from local beekeeper Mike Vigo, as well a selection of The Well’s hand-blended herbal teas. The Well, 5443 Telegraph Ave. (at 55th), Oakland


UMAMI SMART You’ve probably heard the word “umami” thrown around a lot these days when people describe the taste of food. But if you’re still unsure what exactly this fifth flavor tastes like, here’s an event for you. The Periodic Table in Emeryville Public Market is hosting “The Umami Experience,” a ticketed event that’s a little bit science class and a lot of hands-on tasting. Owner Jake Freed, a former scientist, will give a short lesson on what creates the meaty, savory and brothy flavors associated with umami. Afterwards, guests will taste a variety of umami-full small plates prepared by chef Danny Keiser that will be paired with sake and other drinks that accentuate or highlight the flavor profile. Tickets are $65 and limited to 15 guests. The Periodic Table, Emeryville Public Market, 5959 Shellmound, Emeryville

HAWKER FARE COOKBOOK PARTY Chef James Syhabout’s got a lot to celebrate these days. His Hawker Fare spin-off restaurant, Hawking Bird, recently opened in Temescal, as did his elegant lounge, C.D.P., connected to his Michelin-starred restaurant, Commis. He’s also got two other popular businesses: the remaining Hawker Fare in San Francisco and his brewery Old Kan Beer & Co. in West Oakland. Can the man rest a little? Apparently not. Now, Syhabout’s got something new to celebrate — a debut cookbook. “The Hawker Fare Cookbook” focuses on the Isan Thai-Lao dishes made popular at his fun, casual restaurant of the same name. On Jan. 28, there’ll be a party at Old Kan for the book’s release, featuring a tantalizing buffet spread of recipes from the book. There’ll also be live music performed by an Oakland-based Lao folk band, so expect a festive day of eating. The party takes place 12-4 p.m. Tickets are $85 (kids under six are free) and include a signed copy of the new cookbook. Old Kan Beer & Co., 95 Linden St. (near 3rd), Oakland

TACOS OSCAR + VIBRANT INDIA Tacos Oscar has still not officially opened shop in its new North Oakland digs on 40th Street, but it’s been making frequent appearances at the space as it prepares for grand opening. On Jan. 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., it’ll be hosting a special pop-up for chef Chitra Agrawal, owner of New York-based condiment company Brooklyn Delhi and author of the new vegetarian cookbook, “Vibrant India.” Tacos Oscar posted a preview of what to expect at the collaborative pop-up and cookbook release party — “some bomb vegetarian Indian tacos” and other fare, like a quesadilla filled with paneer, sautéed in caramelized onions. Tacos Oscar, 420 40th St. (at Webster), Oakland

A new parklet will be installed in front of Artichoke Basille’s Pizza in Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

PIZZA PARKLET The corner of Bowditch and Durant in Berkeley, in front of Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, will be the site of the city’s next parklet. The Telegraph Business Improvement District announced the project late last year; it will be the first parklet in the area. Stuart Baker, executive director of the improvement district said it will be a “standard parklet with three additional bike racks.” We have a feeling your next question will be about parking — the parklet will come at the loss of two parking spots. We contacted Jim Trevor, who owns the Berkeley location of the New York pizza chain. Trevor confirmed the parklet was in the works, but could not give us details of when construction would begin. Meanwhile, if you’re itching to visit a new Berkeley parklet, there’s one across town on University Avenue in front of Maker’s Common. The enclosed area, which was completed last December by Garden Architecture Landscape and Design, is a welcoming spot to hang, with planters, concrete seating and tables.

AN OAKLAND BENCHMARK The space just vacated at the end of 2017 by Desco in Old Oakland has already been claimed. According to the East Bay Express, Kensington’s Benchmark Pizzeria will be opening its second location there. The Oakland Benchmark will have a similar menu specializing in its “neo-Neapolitan” wood-fired pizzas, Italian-inspired pastas and antipasti, but will also serve sandwiches and take advantage of a full liquor license in the new space. Owners Melissa and Peter Swanson hope to open this summer. Benchmark Pizzeria will be at 499 Ninth St. (at Washington), Oakland

MAMACITAS COME TO FORAGE In May, Nosh checked in with Mamacitas Café, which was fundraising for a permanent retail space in Oakland. The Oakland-based organization hires, trains and mentors young women of color — especially those transitioning from the juvenile justice or child welfare system — in food service, management and leadership skills, giving them hands-on experience through cooking, running and managing a café and food catering business. Sadly, the space Mamacitas had its eyes on fell through and it is still searching for a retail café location. Until then, it’s moving operations into food incubator, Forage Kitchen in Downtown Oakland. The shared kitchen space will allow for Mamacitas to have an HQ for employees and expand its catering menu. More good news — They’ve also received two grants, from NoVo Foundation and the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund. Specifically, Mamacitas Café plans to use the grants to launch a training program this summer.

SABUY SABUY BECOMES BANGKOK GARDEN The O.G. location of Sabuy Sabuy on College Avenue has become Bangkok Garden. Lovers of Sabuy Sabuy’s cheap, no-frills Thai cuisine will be glad to know that the chef remains the same. The reason for the new moniker is a new business partner has joined the current ownership. When Nosh called the restaurant, we were told that Bangkok Garden’s menu will be an expanded and tweaked version of Sabuy Sabuy’s offerings. We have to admit, we’re a little bummed that it went from such a fun name (Sabuy Sabuy means “whatever” in Thai) to something so bland sounding, but as long as the food is still good, we can’t really complain. Fortunately, the second Sabuy Sabuy location, at 1233 San Pablo Ave. (between Gilman and Harrison), remains unchanged. H/t to Alix Wall for the news. Bangkok Garden, 5231 College Ave. (at Broadway), Oakland