Bites: Oori Rice Triangles opens in Rockridge, Berkeley Bowl is being sued, Plum Bar pop-ups

Rice triangles filled with spicy shrimp and tofu with spicy kimchi at Oori Rice Triangles in Rockridge. Photo: Sarah Han

OORI TAKES SHAPE IN ROCKRIDGE This week, Oori Rice Triangles opened its second location in Oakland, within the former Old Brooklyn Bagels space on College Avenue. The new Rockridge Oori offers the same menu as the original Albany spot on Solano Avenue. Oori’s signature offering — rice triangles — are made of unseasoned white rice shaped into triangles, stuffed with a variety of fillings and wrapped with seaweed. They’re a sort of hybrid of the Japanese onigiri and Korean kimbap, according to Oori owner, Chris Kim, who is Korean-American. (Oori translates to ‘we’ or ‘us’ in Korean, in case you were wondering.) Fillings that give a nod to Korean flavors include kalbi (marinated short ribs), tofu and spicy kimchi (the kimchi is lightly sauteed for the triangles; but offered uncooked as a side); while Japanese ingredients include ume (pickled plum), unagi (marinated eel), chicken teriyaki and spicy tuna. Aside from rice triangles, there are rice plates, salads and sides like miso soup, edamame and pickled ginger. To celebrate its grand opening, Oori is offering a limited-time deal, available for the rest of the week: $1 rice triangles (one per customer, offer applies to all triangles except the Crab and Double Unagi triangles). Hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, although this Saturday, it will close at 5 p.m. Oori Rice Triangles, 6000 College Ave. (at Harwood), Oakland

BERKELEY BOWL GETS SUED Berkeley’s favorite independent supermarket is in the middle of a heated legal battle. Berkeley Bowl is being sued by Metalco, an Emeryville metal anodizing company for breach of contract, misrepresentation and violating California business practices. The lawsuit revolves around Berkeley Bowl’s purchase of 1475 67th St., the building where Metalco has been operating for the last 70 years. According to court documents, Metalco alleges that Berkeley Bowl coerced former landlords, Corder Family Emeryville Properties, not to extend its lease to its tenants before the sale. And once the sale was finalized Metalco claims that Berkeley Bowl did not offer to negotiate a new lease before it demanded the company leave the property. Metalco filed a lawsuit against Berkeley Bowl on November 30, 2017, the last day of its old lease term. Then, and only then, claims Metalco’s lawyer, Jesse Boyd, did Berkeley Bowl attempt to negotiate a new lease, but at a 50% increase in rent. But Berkeley Bowl claims otherwise. Bruce Kawabata, Berkeley Bowl’s director of governance, risk and compliance, told SFGate that his company had attempted to negotiate a new lease “at a more than fair rate of rent” with Metalco over four months, but Metalco CEO Bill Beard had refused the offer.

Berkeley Bowl has not yet responded to Nosh’s queries for comment on the situation, including what they plan to do with the building, which was built specifically for Metalco. “Metalco has only ever been there, it has no other location,” said Boyd. “There is no way it could exist in any other location.” Metalco claims that it would need more time than Berkeley Bowl has given the company to move out of the space, as well as a lot more money, which is why it’s looking to negotiate to stay in its current digs. Although the lawsuit seeks damages of $5 million if the eviction happens, Metalco’s lawyer said the company is hoping it will get a new lease on life in the current space.

“The bottom line is Metalco wants to continue in good faith,” said Boyd. “We just want to negotiate a reasonable new lease term that’s similar to the terms of the old lease.”


1951 Coffee Company works with more than 100 refugee/asylee a year for its Barista Training Program. Photo: Angelica Ekeke

1951 CELEBRATES WORLD REFUGEE DAY In honor of World Refugee Day (June 20), Berkeley’s 1951 Coffee Company is hosting a unique event featuring artwork and an immersive activity for guests to get a small taste of what it’s like to be a refugee. “Our Journey” includes photos and words that depict what it’s like to find a new home in the United States as a refugee, while the “Refugee Resettlement Experience” is a sobering game of sorts, where guests play the part of a refugee and must create a new life — housing, job, education, etc. — in their new home with the resources they are given. A “Cultural Courtyard” features food and drinks prepared by Tipu’s Chai, Oakland Syrian catering company Old Damascus Fare and other immigrant-owned businesses that have come through the refugee program. 1951’s World Refugee Day event takes place at the café from 6-9 p.m., Wednesday. Entry is free, but donations are requested. 1951 Coffee Company, 2410 Channing Way (near Dana), Berkeley 

MOCKINGBIRD ANNIVERSARY Over in Downtown Oakland, Mockingbird will be celebrating its one-year anniversary in its space on 13th Street, where it moved from its original location on San Pablo Avenue. From 4-6 p.m. Thursday, June 21, the farm-t0-table bistro invites all to celebrate with a happy hour featuring free drinks and bites. Mockingbird, 416 13th St. (at Franklin), Oakland.

RAINBOW CONNECTION The Cheese Board Collective is celebrating Pride this Friday, June 22, with the following menu: The pizza of the day will feature “fresh yellow corn with red, green, orange and purple peppers; mozzarella and Lesbian feta from the Isle of Lesbos; garlic olive oil, cilantro and fresh limes;” and the dessert of the day will be “Rainbow Swirl Gayke,” or a rainbow swirl white cake with buttercream frosting. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m; 4:30 to 8 p.m. The Cheese Board, 1512 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine), Berkeley

HAWKER TALK This Saturday, June 23, one of Oakland’s most well-known refugee chefs, Michelin-starred chef James Syhabout will talk about his personal journey, from resettling in Oakland with his family from Laos to escape the aftermath of the Vietnam War to getting back in touch with his Isan Thai and Lao roots through the recipes he developed for his restaurant (and now cookbook), Hawker Fare. Tickets are $30-$80 and include refreshments and small plates. Proceeds from the talk benefit Eastwind Books of Berkeley. Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth St. (between Webster and Franklin), Ste. 290, Oakland

Shrimp and grits with pickled okra and other dishes by chef Keith Corbin, who is popping up at Plum Cocktail Bar in Oakland. Photo: Plum Cocktail Bar

PLUM BAR CULINARY POP-UP SERIES Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group has a couple new projects happening at Oakland’s Plum Cocktail Bar. Starting this month, Plum is hosting guest chefs for short-term residencies in its kitchen. First up is Keith Corbin, the chef who will head up Alta Adams when it opens in Los Angeles this summer. For about a month, the East Bay will get first taste of Corbin’s cooking; he’ll offer a sample of his refined California-Southern fare, like grilled shrimp and grits with pickled okra, black eye pea fritters, pigs foot and vegetable salad and oxtails & rice. Corbin’s menu is currently available during evening hours until early July, when the next chef (still TBA) will follow. In addition, Plum plans to host a monthly “Women in Wine” takeover, where a female sommelier curates Plum’s wine list. The restaurant told Nosh that Dejah Overby of Flow Wine Group will the first to participate on July 13-14. Plum Cocktail Bar, 2216 Broadway (at West Grand), Oakland

KITCHEN WARE SWAP Got a drawer full of cooking utensils, shelves of dishware and cupboards full of cooking appliances that you never use? Bring these and other clean, working cooking equipment to the Plant Exchange‘s upcoming Kitchen Exchange Saturday, June 23, where you can trade your gear for something you actually will use. Before the swap, there’ll be cooking demos by chef Doug Eng, founder of In the Kitchen (ITK) Culinary, to get some inspiration to use all that new cookware you take home. Demos start at 10; swap starts at 11 a.m. Tickets are $8 (available online or at the door) and include a canvas carrying bag. In the Kitchen Culinary, 1410 62nd St. (near Hollis), Emeryville