Bites: A tribute to Anthony Bourdain, Soba Ichi opening soon, Comal + Drake’s beer dinner

Chef Nora Haron-Dunning’s Malaysian shrimp laksa. Photo: Aimee I./Yelp

LAKSA LOVE FOR BOURDAIN Last week, Nosh reported that chef Nora Haron-Dunning had parted way with Drip Line. The West Oakland café is currently closed while its owners decide what’s next, but Haron-Dunning has already moved on, throwing two lunchtime pop-ups at Oakland’s Studiotobe this week. The first event takes place today (June 12) starting at 11 a.m., with Haron-Dunning serving her crowd-pleasing Singapore chicken rice. If that’s too short of notice for you, be sure to head to her second event at 11 a.m., Friday, June 15, when Haron-Dunning will pay tribute to recently departed celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain by serving one of his favorite foods — laksa.

“Anthony Bourdain always advocated for a lot of street food. He introduced the world to laksa,” Haron-Dunning told Nosh. “When he died, I had to do something. I wasn’t planning to do a pop-up this early, but because he passed, I wanted him to be remembered. It meant a lot for me, what he did for our food.”

In 2005, Bourdain popularized the Mayalsian dish, when he visited a laksa shop in Kuching in 2005 for his Travel Channel series, No Reservations. Of the flavor-packed coconut curry noodle soup, Bourdain once wrote, “In the hierarchy of steaming hot bowls of magical broth and noodles, laksa is at the absolute top. The best. The most delicious. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner — it will cure what ails you.”

At Drip Line, Haron-Dunning offered a Malaysian-style laksa, and she will serve this version of the soup Friday. Part of proceeds from the lunchtime pop-up will go to suicide prevention programs at Crisis Support Services of Alameda County. Studiotobe, 906 Washington (at 10th), Oakland


Soba Ichi in West Oakland will serve traditional handmade soba. Photo: Soba Ichi

HELLO, HANDMADE SOBA Oakland is about to get a new restaurant specializing in teuchi (hand-cut) Japanese soba. The team behind Soba Ichi — which will take over the former Fuse Box location in West Oakland — includes Christian Geideman, Paul Discoe, Koichi Ishii and Shinichi Washino of Berkeley’s popular izakaya, Ippuku. You may recall that Ippuku once served hot and cold soba, featuring chewy, slightly nutty scratch-made buckwheat noodles using flour imported from Hokkaido, but the restaurant stopped its soba service in April 2016 when plans for its spin-off restaurant first germinated. More than two years later, Soba Ichi is finally set to open its doors on Tuesday, June 19. The restaurant will serve soba made fresh daily, along with a small selection of appetizers and sake and shochu for refreshment. When it opens, Soba Ichi’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, but eventually will be open for dinner, too. Soba Ichi, 2311A Magnolia St. (at 24th St.), Oakland

THE JOY OF SIX Hopscotch in Oakland is turning six this year, and to celebrate, it’s offering a $6 menu this Friday, June 15. The $6 offerings include five classic Hopscotch favorites: the First Base Burger (with griddled beef tongue!), kakiage (battered and deep fried vegetables), Donuts ‘n’ Cream with butterscotch custard, the Maple Old Fashioned cocktail and draft Asahi. Specials will be available all day Friday. Hopscotch, 1915 San Pablo Ave. (at 19th), Oakland

WHAT A PAIR Comal in Berkeley will join forces with local craft brewery Drake’s for a beer pairing dinner on June 25. Talk about a local power couple! Highlights from the five-course menu include a fresh local halibut crudo paired with a refreshing effervescent Brightside extra brut IPA, savory cochinita pibil (porked braised in banana leaves) tacos paired with Pryed IPA, and for dessert, a dessert of arroz con leche paired with two of Drake’s wine barrel-aged sour ales — Lusu’s Love Child and Cultured Chaos. Tickets are $75 and include food, beer and service charge. Note: The event is 21+. Comal, 2020 Shattuck Ave. (at University), Berkeley

SUPPORT REFUGEE CHEFS Good food can change perceptions and bring disparate people together to the table. That’s the gist of the upcoming Refugee Food Festival, an international program from Paris-based organization Food Sweet Food launched in partnership with the United Nation’s Refugee Agency. From June 19-30, at more than 100 restaurants around the world, the fest invites refugee chefs to cook in established restaurants to showcase their culinary talents and to dispell the stigmas of refugeeism. This year, the fest takes place in the Bay Area over five days (June 19-23), with guest chefs preparing Myanmarese cuisine at Hog Island Oyster Co, Iraqi cuisine at Tawla and Son’s Addition, Bhutanese cuisine at Dosa, and Senegalese cuisine at Jardinière. While all these events are in SF, it’s worth noting that all of the participating refugee chefs live in the East Bay. Make reservations for a Refugee Food Festival dinner by contacting the participating restaurant of your choice.

The Athletic Club Oakland features 40 television screens for your sports-viewing pleasure. Photo: KSJ Photography

WORLD CUP GOOOOOOOALS Here’s a tip for East Bay football (ok, “soccer,” if you insist) fans. The World Cup begins on Thursday, June 14 and if you’re looking for a local spot to catch all the games, you’re in luck — Oakland’s new sports bar Athletic Club Oakland will be televising every single game, even ones that start at the crack of dawn. For early games, like Friday’s 5 a.m. Egypt v. Uruguay match, the bar will begin drink service at 6 a.m. and will take food orders starting at 7 a.m. Now that’s dedication. Athletic Club Oakland, 59 Grand Ave. (at Webster), Oakland

ANOTHER ONE OF THE GUYS A new East Bay location of New York-based gyro franchise Halal Guys is set to open in Oakland this summer. Joining a location in downtown Berkeley that opened in January will be an outpost in Uptown, in the space formerly occupied by Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi’s fast food restaurant, Locol. The Halal Guys is best known for its sandwiches and platters stuffed or topped with halal chicken, beef gyro or falafel and its signature creamy white sauce and spicy sauce. A firm opening date has not yet been announced. The Halal Guys, 2214 Broadway (at West Grand), Oakland