Author Archives: Kate Williams

Bites: Vegan butcher shop plans go kaput, more

The former La Farine location on Solano Avenue. Photo: Whitney Moss/Twitter
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Openings, closings

VEGAN BUTCHER SHOP NO LONGER COMING TO SOLANO Last fall, we brought you news of a vegan butcher shop and deli called The Butcher’s Son that was moving into the former La Farine location on Solano Avenue. We’re sorry to report that the butcher shop has pulled out of the location. According to a Twitter tip, there is a sign up on the building indicating that it is now for lease. On the Butcher’s Son Facebook page, the owners Peter Fikaris and Christina Stobing have stated that they decided to abandon the location due to “a number of disagreements with the property owners.” Fakirs and Stobing are currently hosting pop-ups and delivering lunchtime meals on Mondays while they look for a new location. … Continue reading »

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First Oakland Wine Festival coming to Mills College

Guests taste wine at Pican. Photo: Clifford Blueitt/ABC Photography
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Oakland is getting its first ever wine festival. Next month, food and wine writer Melody Fuller, in conjunction with several high-profile California wineries and East Bay chefs, will host a day-long event of classes, panels and tastings July 18 at Mills College in East Oakland.

Fuller is an alumna of Mills and serves as the food and wine editor for Alameda County Renew Magazine. She hopes that the Oakland Wine Festival will facilitate the same conversations and hospitality that she has experienced when traveling to vineyards in both California and abroad. “The Oakland Wine Festival is the result of the desire to further acknowledge an overlooked – yet key – community of wine lovers who appreciate having world-class vintners and chefs within arm’s reach,” she said in a statement. “We couldn’t think of a more perfect way to showcase a treasure of wines and unbridled wine making talents.” … Continue reading »

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University Village, Sprouts get (final) green light

A rendering of the new University Village development. Image: courtesy the City of Albany
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The disputed UC Berkeley land next to Albany’s Gill Tract is in contention no more. Last week, the California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the university to build a senior housing development and Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store on San Pablo Avenue in University Village.

Read more on Berkeleyside’s coverage of Occupy the Farm.

The development, on a long-vacant lot next to the Gill Tract research field, has been the site of protests since April 2012 on the part of Occupy the Farm, which has stated that UC Berkeley’s plans would “pave over a rare natural resource” and that the Gill Tract is “public farmland that belongs to the people.”

Stefanie Rawlings, of Occupy the Farm, originally filed a lawsuit against the city of Albany and UC Berkeley that alleged that the city’s approved Environmental Impact Report was deficient. When Rawlings lost the suit, she filed an appeal on the grounds that the report did not lay out appropriate alternatives for the building plan, and that the city did not appropriately consider the alternatives listed. … Continue reading »

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NOSH neighborhood guide: Oakland’s KoNo district

Telegraph Beer Garden. Photo: Telegraph Beer Garden/Facebook
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We know that there’s more to East Bay dining than Temescal, Rockridge and the Gourmet Ghetto. NOSH’s neighborhood guides explore the best of the rest. This month, we explore Oakland’s Koreatown-Northgate neighborhood, also known as KoNo.

The neighborhood is bordered by 35th Street to the north and 20th Street to the south, but we like to think of it as the stretch of Telegraph Avenue between Uptown and Temescal. Oakland’s First Friday celebration has moved towards KoNo in the last year; the regular nighttime bar scene is also growing in popularity. There are, of course, still Korean restaurants in the area. However, newer, hipper spots seem to opening every few months and will likely define the growth of the neighborhood in the coming years. Below are our picks for the best in KoNo, and we’ve included a map so you know precisely where they are. … Continue reading »

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Recipe: Extra-creamy homemade hummus

Homemade hummus. Photo: Kate Williams
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By Kate Williams/Bay Area Bites

Making hummus at home is not difficult; I’ve been making my own hummus since college. Most of those recipes required a can of chickpeas, some olive oil, and a drizzle of tahini from a rogue jar stuck in the back of my refrigerator. But those experiments were never really any better than what I could find at the store.

Then I discovered the silky smooth hummus in Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem cookbook. That recipe was unlike anything I had made before. It began with dried chickpeas and included almost as much tahini as beans. The real secret was to first cook the chickpeas — dry — with a touch of baking soda. This step roughs up the exterior of the beans and encourages the skins to slip off. (The skins, hummus making veterans agree, create those small grainy lumps in the finished product.) After adding water, many of the skins float to the surface, where they can be skimmed off. Plus, the alkalizing effect of the soda makes the beans cook extra fast and (supposedly) makes them more digestible. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Drake’s at Hive Oakland getting close, more

Drake's Brewing Company, which is based in San Leandro, is expanding into the Hive Oakland complex in Uptown. Photo: Drake's/Facebook
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Openings, closings

DRAKE’S AT HIVE OAKLAND GETTING CLOSE San Leandro’s Drake’s Brewing Company is expanding to Uptown Oakland. It will soon be opening a brew pub in the Hive Oakland complex, along with Calavera, Firebrand Artisan Bread, Red Bay Coffee and Numi Tea. No word yet on the opening date, but Drake’s has put out a call for new employees to staff the Hive location; a job fair will be held on Saturday at Jupiter in downtown Berkeley. Drake’s at Hive Oakland will be at 2325 Broadway (at 23rd Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

BREWS & BRATS OPENS IN HAYWARD A new beer and sausage restaurant has made its way to Downtown Hayward. Called Brews & Brats, the restaurant opened on June 11 and offers around nine different sausages (everything from garlic beef sausage to hot boudin and even sweet potato brats, according to Yelp) and craft beers from the likes of Schuburos and Drake’s. Brews & Brats is at 1061 B St. (between Main Street and Foothill Boulevard), Hayward.Continue reading »

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Bites: 21st Amendment to San Leandro, more

Shaun O'Sullivan and Nicco Freccia at 21st Amendment Brewery's San Leandro ribbon cutting. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings

NEW 21ST AMENDMENT BREWERY OPENING SOON The East Bay beer boom continues. This week, 21st Amendment co-founders Nicco Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan snipped the ribbon on their new brewing facility in San Leandro. The massive, 95,000 square-foot facility was once a Kellogg’s factory. It is the brewery’s new world headquarters and, in time, will be a rollicking spot to grab a beer. While production has officially started at the new brewery, it won’t be open to the public until June 26. The public space will initially include a tasting room and outdoor beer garden. Eventually the owners plan on adding a restaurant, “floating” bars above the production facility, meeting spaces and an indoor amphitheater for events, beer classes and concerts. 21st Amendment joins long-established brewery Drake’s and new upstart Cleophus Quealy in the industrial west side of the city. But the neighbors to not plan on being competitors. “We’ll be experimenting with our San Leandro neighbors … to produce some really inventive collaboration beers,” said O’Sullivan. “We’re working to make San Leandro a craft beer mecca.” More than that, both O’Sullivan and Freccia hope to make their brewery a true neighborhood gathering spot. “It has been amazing to get to know San Leandro,” said Freccia. “We want to give back and become part of the fabric of the community.” 21st Amendment is at 2010 Williams St. (near West Gate Parkway), San Leandro. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Berkeley writer to pen cookbook on Paula Wolfert

Paula Wolfert
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When was the last time you reached for a jar of preserved lemons at the grocery store, or dug into an aromatic tagine at a dinner party? It’s easy to forget that such things were entirely foreign not too many years ago. Today, many home cooks give credit to London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi for opening the door to this kind of Mediterranean cooking, but he would not have been able to build his influence without inspiration from Paula Wolfert, says Berkeley-based food writer Emily Kaiser Thelin.

“Paula Wolfert is the most influential cookbook writer you may have never heard of,” explains Thelin. “She introduced foods that we can now take for granted, like preserved lemons, Moroccan tagines, cassoulet, duck confit, aleppo pepper. And she’s been a huge influence to some of our most influential chefs, like Ottolenghi and Mario Batali.” … Continue reading »

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Red Bay and Highwire vie for farmers market spot

Taste testing coffee at the Saturday Berkeley farmers market. Photo: Galen Panger/Twitter
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The coffee options at the Berkeley farmers markets are in flux. Earlier this year, regular vendor Blue Bottle Coffee announced that it would no longer be selling its coffee at Bay Area farmers markets, saying that it wanted to make room for newer, upstart businesses.

In Berkeley, those businesses have turned out to be Red Bay Coffee Roasters and Highwire Coffee Roasters. We received a photo tip on Twitter that the Ecology Center was holding a taste test at the Saturday market between the two Oakland-based coffee companies. The Ecology Center’s Ben Feldman confirmed that both companies were indeed in the running. “Both companies make excellent coffee and we are excited to give one of them an opportunity to sell at our market,” he said in an email. “We expect to have a decision made soon.” … Continue reading »

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Bites: Millennium opens, Iyasare news, more

Millennium restaurant in Rockridge. Photo: Millennium/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

MILLENNIUM OPENS IN ROCKRIDGE Earlier this year, we broke the news that San Francisco’s Millennium restaurant was moving into the former Box & Bells space in Rockridge. As of yesterday, June 4, the new Millennium is open for business. The vegan restaurant announced its San Francisco closure back in January; the owners of the Geary Street hotel, in which it was housed, sold the building and the new owners did not wish to keep the restaurant. Owners Eric Tucker and Alison Bagby raised some of the funds for the Oakland move on a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. The new Millennium has a similar menu to the original location, featuring high-end, plant-based dishes made with organic, seasonal produce. Inside Scoop reports that the menu will be slightly shorter than at the San Francisco location to fit the smaller kitchen and will also include a few less-expensive (read: under $20) dishes. Tucker and Bagby plan to continue their winemaker dinners, cooking classes and special dinners. They plan to add new events “tailored to the new space” as well as weekend brunch starting in the fall. For now, Millennium is in soft opening mode and is serving dinner seven nights a week. Millennium Restaurant is at 5912 College Ave. (at Chabot), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Grand Lake’s Oaktown Spice Shop thrives, expands

John Beaver and Erica Perez in their new Oaktown Spice location. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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Until late 2011, the only place to buy spices in Oakland was at a major grocery store — that, or online. But that fall, the husband-and-wife team of John Beaver and Erica Perez opened up a small storefront on Grand Avenue. They stocked a relatively small selection of everyday spices and a few signature blends, ground fresh and stored in a vibrant array on homey bookshelves. Oaktown Spice Shop was born.

Almost four years later, the shop is thriving. Beaver and Perez have an enthusiastic customer base and a bustling online presence, selling their spices through their own website as well as Food52. In addition, the shop hosts classes and events a couple of times a month — think a DIY Coldbrew Cacao and Bean-to-bar Hot Cocoa workshop, and a Kraut, Kimchi and other Lacto-Fermented Relishes class.

This month, the duo expanded their operations and moved into a larger storefront just down the street. The new location was designed by Oakland-based architecture firm Arcsine, which was also behind Duende, Rudy’s Can’t Fail, District, and forthcoming Calavera and Gussie’s Southern Table and Bar. “The first shop was small and humble. This one has a lot more polish,” said Beaver. That, and breathing room.  … Continue reading »

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Bites: Rosamunde Temescal opens, Giovanni news

Rosamunde Sausage & Grill will open in Oakland's Temescal. Photo: Rosamunde
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Openings, closings…

ROSAMUNDE NOW OPEN IN TEMESCAL Rosamunde has been selling sausages and craft beer out of its location in Old Oakland’s Swan’s Marketplace for a few years now. They opened their second East Bay location in Temescal over Memorial Day weekend. This new location, in the former Good Bellie’s café at 4659 Telegraph Ave., is the fifth for the the San Francisco-based restaurant. The Temescal location has the same food menu as at its Old Oakland location, including three varieties of vegan sausages and 14 varieties of beer on tap. Rosamunde Temescal will hold an official grand opening June 11, complete with $1 beer specials and an in-house DJ. Rosamunde Sausage Grill is at 4659 Telegraph Ave. (between 46th and 47th streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Bites: Anvil Brewing to open in West Berkeley, more

beer glasses
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Openings, closings…

ANOTHER BREWERY HEADED TO WEST BERKELEY Anvil Brewing will be joining the quickly growing community of West Berkeley beer breweries next spring. Co-owner and longtime home brewer Sean Wells is opening the brewery at 912 Gilman with another seasoned home brewer, Tim Sellmeyer. The pair is planning to serve a mix of small-batch, handcrafted brews, including both Belgian and American styles. Sellmeyer has a couple of award-winning beers that will likely grace the tap, like a nectarine wheat and a chile-based beer. Both Wells and Sellmeyer work as animal surgeons and plan to continue working in that capacity even as the brewery opens; they will likely hire a third brewer to join the team as they get closer to opening. We’ll keep you posted on their progress. Other West Berkeley beer destinations include Trumer Pils Brauerei, Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room, The Rare Barrel and Fieldwork Brewing Company. Check out Nosh’s drinking map for the full run-down.) Anvil Brewing will be at 912 Gilman St. (between Seventh and Eighth streets), Berkeley. Connect with Anvil on Facebook.Continue reading »

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