Bites: La Marcha Paella Feast, alaMar Dominican pop-up, Juicy Brews Hazy IPA Fest

Berkeley’s La Marcha is throwing a Paella Feast on April 6. Photo: La Marcha

ARROZ BY ANY OTHER NAME La Marcha chef-owners Sergio Emilio Monleón and Emily Sarlatte recently returned from Valencia, Spain, and we Bay Area diners are about to reap the benefits of their latest trip. Valencia is the “motherland of Paella,” and so Monleón and Sarlatte are ready to share what they’ve learned about Spain’s most famous rice dish on their culinary adventure. On April 6, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., they’ll host Paella Feast! at Neyborly Poet’s Corner in Berkeley. For $30, guests will enjoy a family-style dinner featuring five types of paella, as well as salad and bread. The menu offers paella Valenciana (chicken, rabbit snails), arroz negro (black squid ink, clams, fennel sausage), arroz a banda (monkfish, prawns, calamari), arroz de vegetales (fresh market vegetables) and arroz al horno (short ribs, blood sausage, potatoes). Guests will be able to try a taste of all of the paellas offered. Wine, sherry and sangria will be offered at an extra cost. Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Neyborly Poet’s Corner, 2043 San Pablo Ave. (between University and Addison), Berkeley 

A WINE BOOK FOR THE REST OF US Wine experts, they’re just like us. At least that’s what wine writer Jon Bonné tells us in the intro for his new book from Ten Speed Press, The New Wine Rules: “I’ve walked into plenty of wine shops and gotten lousy advice. I’ve been tempted by — and burned by — more recommendations I care to remember. At night, with dinner, I’m as likely as anyone to drink whatever’s open in the fridge.” Bonné — who’s currently a senior contributing editor for PUNCH and who wrote about wine for about 10 years at the San Francisco Chronicle — admits that early in his career he was the kind of wine snob who pretended to know more than he did. Now, older, wiser and more confident, Bonné finds that the process of learning about wine is the best part of his work. With that in mind, The New Wine Rules is an approachable and handy guide that will help everyone — both wine newbs and those who think they already know it all — get the most out of every glass. Bonné will be at Paul Marcus Wines from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, to talk about and sign copies of his new book. Paul Marcus Wines, 5655 College Ave. (between Ocean and Keith), Oakland

Chef Nelson German at alaMar in Oakland. Photo: alaMar/Facebook

MODERN DOMINICAN If you’ve eaten at alaMar in Uptown Oakland, you may have gotten a taste of chef Nelson German’s Dominican background. German sprinkles Dominican flavors and influences across his seafood-focused menu, in dishes like a rice bowl that’s based on a dish he grew up eating as a kid. Yet, it would be a stretch to call alaMar a Dominican restaurant — you’ll find everything from poke to Cajun boiled seafood and red velvet pancakes on its menu. That will change for one night next month. On April 8, German and another Dominican-American chef, Luigi Pujols, will host “Dominican Reinvented,” a pop-up where the two chefs will put their stamp on Dominican dishes from their childhood. Both chefs were raised in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, an area with the greatest concentration of Dominican residents outside of the Dominican Republic.

German and Pujuls will put a modern spin on traditional Dominican staples yuca con mojo (cassava root with garlic sauce), bacalao con bollo (salt cold with corn dumplings) and bistec encebollado (steak with carmelized onions). Co-owner (and Nelson’s wife) May German told Nosh that Chef Nelson will also make small bites to serve between courses “to make guests feel like they’re not just here for a sit-down meal, but something more reminiscent of a true Dominican dinner party.” German’s also in charge of the wine pairings and cocktail menu for the night. The latter will feature drinks like the Dominican Old Fashioned (made with Brugal, a dry rum from the Dominican Republic), a concoction he dedicates to the memory of his father. Tickets to the dinner are $80, and includes the 5-course dinner and a craft cocktail. alaMar, 100 Grand Ave. (between Webster and Valdez), Oakland 


The Korean Poutine with tater tots instead of fries at Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

NOT YOUR ROUTINE POUTINE Poutine is the ultimate drunk food. French fries, topped with cheese curds and drenched in gravy is exactly the type of thing you want in your stomach after a night of drinking. So it’s no surprise that Canadian chain, Smoke’s Poutinerie on Durant Street is popular with the late night crowd in Berkeley.

Whether you’re inebriated or not, the Berkeley Smoke’s is a reliable spot when you have a hankering for a heaping mess of carbs and cheese. And, it has a few menu items that are exclusive to the Durant Street location. For example its Korean Poutine, which manager Johnny Caron told Nosh is its most popular offering. (The official Smoke’s website features a Korean poutine, but the Berkeley version is different, most notably with the addition of kimchi). Another Berkeley-only creation: the Chow Down Poutine, smothered in clam chowder gravy and loaded with double smoked bacon and chives. The most recent Berkeley-only menu item is the tater tots poutine. Instead of the standard fries, guests can order any poutine with deep-fried tots. Smoke’s Poutinerie, 2518 Durant Ave. (between Dana and Telegraph), Berkeley

HAPPY IN THE HAZE The IPA trend continues to go strong in 2018, and for those who love their beers hoppy, fresh and fruity, there’s an event coming up just for you. The Juicy Brews Hazy IPA Festival, presented by Hop Culture Magazine, will take place on April 22 at Classic Cars West in Oakland. Guests will try fresh tapped and limited-release hazy IPAs and sour beers from 19 breweries, including locals like Alvarado Street Brewery, Ghost Town, Hoi Polloi, The Rare Barrel and Novel, as well as brewers from farther off, like Narrow Gauge (Florissant, Missouri), Dancing Gnome Beer (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and Little Beast Brewing (Beaverton, Oregon). To ensure the fest won’t feel too crowded, attendees will choose between one of two sessions — from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. — where they’ll get unlimited pours and have a chance to talk to brewers and founders on site. There’ll also be food vendors, live music and merch for sale. A portion of proceeds will benefit Oakland’s City Slicker Farms. Tickets to the Juicy Brews Hazy IPA Festival are $45 ($20 for designated drivers) and included a tasting glass designed by artist Sam Taylor. Classic Cars West, 411 26th St. (between Telegraph and Broadway), Oakland

MORE EMERYVILLE EATS Last week, Emeryville Public Market announced that two new restaurants would be joining the food court that currently hosts 14 restaurants. Both, it turns out, will offer variations on barbecue. San Jose Korean BBQ spot NabiQ will open its second location at the market, serving bulgogi (grilled beef), spicy pork and chicken, as well as fried rice, grilled fish, as well as a couple vegetarian options. NabiQ comes from the same family who runs Sorabol, the Korean restaurant chain that had a long-running stand in the former iteration of the Public Market.

Emeryville Public Market will also be the second location for Marin’s southern-style BBQ restaurant, Pig in a Pickle (the original location is at Town Center Corte Madera). Pig in a Pickle serves brisket, ribs, sausages and chicken smoked with California white oak, and offered with sauces that represent the various styles of BBQ in the south: Memphis-style, South Carolina mustard sauce, North Carolina dip, Alabama white sauce and Commitment, a house-made habanero hot sauce. NabiQ and Pig in a Pickle will open at the Public Market later this year. Public Market Emeryville, 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville

DON’T CALL IT UNDERWOOD Sometimes a name carries too much baggage. Just ask Jared and Ivanka. Or if you want a more local example, you can ask Christopher Parks and Stacy Vella, owners of a new North Oakland bar called Bar 41 that first opened in January as Bar Underwood. According to the East Bay Express, the owners decided to expunge the Underwood name because “customers kept assuming Bar Underwood was still Cafe Underwood.”

Bar 41 is currently open evenings only, so don’t expect lattes and mochas, but rather an expansive wine list and signature cocktails, which the bar continues to tinker with to get just right. Also a work-in-progress is its food offerings. Parks told the East Bay Express that they’ll transition to American comfort foods for its bar bites, as well as eventually open for lunch and brunch in the future. This month, Bar 41 started hosting Soul Food Sunday, a pop-up with Oakland’s Chef Yeaaahh. Bar 41, 308 41st St. (at Broadway), Oakland