Author Archives: Kate Williams

Bites: The Advocate, Source Mini replacement

John Griffiths, executive chef at The Advocate. Photo: Postcard PR
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Openings, closings…

THE ADVOCATE GETTING CLOSE The Elmwood’s contentious new restaurant, The Advocate, is slated to open at the beginning of August. The restaurant has secured its liquor license and is in the process of passing its final inspections. As we reported in June, The Advocate will offer a menu of dishes inspired by southern Mediterranean and Moroccan/North African cooking, “all viewed through a Northern Californian lens,” according to owners Andrew Hoffman and John Paluska. Paluska and Hoffman have recruited John Griffiths to be the new restaurant’s executive chef. Griffiths was most recently at The Kitchen in Sacramento, a well-known spot where food is treated as theater and chefs are expected to emcee as well as to cook. Griffiths left The Kitchen in October after 16 months in the job to join The Advocate. The Michigan native was the opening chef at Larry Forgione’s An American Place in St. Louis, and was later executive chef at Truffles in the same city. He has been working with The Advocate team since December 2014. The Advocate will be at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Dana Bushouse brews unique, ‘crooked’ hard cider

Dana Bushouse (right) with Karen Kilkenny of Prickly Pig Barbecue, is launching Crooked City Cider in the East Bay. Photo: Dana Bushouse
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Dana Bushouse has a family history with booze production — her great uncles were big moonshiners during Prohibition. “Rumor was they worked with Al Capone, and they were running all of southern Michigan and northern Indiana,” she said. “It was a big family shame, nobody talked about it. I could never get details. My grandfather disowned that side of the family.”

But instead of hiding from her ancestors, Bushouse found inspiration in their less-than-legal profession. She originally wanted to get into beer brewing, but a stint on a cleansing diet turned Bushouse onto naturally gluten-free hard cider.

“Cider was refreshing at first, but it was so sweet. The stuff that was on the market, I could drink two, and then I was just like, ‘I’m going home, sugar crash, done,'” she said. “So I started wondering if I could make my own. I started researching and traveling. Every vacation I went on was based around visiting a cidery.” … Continue reading »

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NOSH neighborhood guide: Berkeley Warehouse

The Rare Barrel. Photo: Adam Chandler/Flickr
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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 Berkeley’s warehouse district on the west side of town.

Okay, so the Warehouse District isn’t a defined neighborhood per se, but the strip of West Berkeley between San Pablo and the Bay is chock-full of old manufacturing buildings and delicious food businesses all the same. We’ve defined the north and south borders at University and Ashby, respectively. Feel free to dispute in the comments. Below are our picks for the best bites and tipples in the area; check out the map to find out precisely where they are. … Continue reading »

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Farley’s launches employee profit-sharing program

Farley's 65th, Emeryville. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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When Chris and Amy Hillyard opened Farley’s East coffee shop in Uptown Oakland in 2009, they knew they wanted to involve their employees in the business in a more inclusive way than is typical for a coffee shop. It took them six years, but they have now launched a profit-sharing program for all of their employees across the three Bay Area Farley’s locations.

The Hillyards announced the program at Farley’s first all-staff meeting last week. “Farley’s is proud to share the success of the business with the people who are core to that success: our employees,” the Hillyards wrote in a Facebook announcement July 21. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Grand Lake Kitchen expansion, Trouble Coffee

Grand Lake Kitchen, Name that nosh. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

GRAND LAKE KITCHEN BEGINS EXPANSION Business has been good for Grand Lake Kitchen, the sandwich-slinging neighborhood deli on Oakland’s Grand Avenue. Co-owner May Seto Wasem tells us  that they have just begun construction on the previously vacant storefront next-door. The expansion will double the seating capacity of the restaurant and allow for larger groups (and reservations). Plus, the larger Grand Lake Kitchen will have a full bar — a big plus for anyone stopping in for dinner. Wasem said that the new space needs “quite a bit of work” as far as seismic retrofitting and the sewer system are concerned. She hopes to open in the larger space at some point this fall. Grand Lake Kitchen is at 576 Grand Ave. (between MacArthur Boulevard and Euclid Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Pyramid Alehouse abruptly closes

Pyramid Brewing. Photo: Pyramid Brewing/Facebook
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West Berkeley’s Pyramid Alehouse has closed after 18 years in the city. We received a tip from a well-informed source that all the brewery employees were told today of the closure, and a pre-recorded message on the brewery’s answering machine confirmed the permanent closure.

“The Pyramid Berkeley Alehouse is now closed,” the message said. “Thank you for your support and patronage over the years. We also want like to thank our employees for their dedicated service. Our other locations remain open and available to provide great beers and a wonderful experience. We hope to see you there.” The same message is posted on the brewery’s website.

Read more about East Bay beer and breweries on Nosh.

Kris Sirchio, CEO of North American Breweries, the parent company of Pyramid, says the company closed its Berkeley location in order to “focus” on its Portland and Seattle locations.  … Continue reading »

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Bites: The Libertine, Forage Kitchen, Zut! Tavern

The Libertine bar has officially opened in Oakland's Grand Lake neighborhood. Photo: The Libertine/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

THE LIBERTINE OPENS ON GRAND AVENUE Last Friday, The Libertine began pouring drinks in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood. It is the second bar for owner Aric Yeverino, who has been operating Hayward’s popular dive bar The Dirty Bird Lounge, since 2009. As we reported back in April, Yeverino purchased the bar, which used to house Kingman’s Lucky Lounge, earlier this year. Right now, the bar is serving a limited cocktail list, including a Moscow Mule, Last Word, a punch called “Sailor Jerry” and a whiskey cocktail called the Creole. Early Yelp reviews are very positive, calling the bar an “excellent addition to the neighborhood.” The Libertine is at 3332 Grand Ave. (near Mandana Boulevard), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Hal’s Office coffee shop headed to Solano Avenue

Hal's Office will be located next door to Bonnee and Abraham Elterman's As You Like Frozen Yogurt on Solano Avenue. Photo: Sam Alcabes
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Albany is about to get a bit more caffeinated.

Construction has begun on a new coffee shop at 1207 Solano Ave., the former location of Hal Hoffman’s notary and real-estate business. Called, appropriately, Hal’s Office, the new café is a project of Bonnee and Abraham Elterman, the owners of As You Wish, the frozen yogurt joint next door.

“We wanted to honor Hal and hope to maintain this location as a meeting place for locals to gather,” said Bonnee Elterman this week.

Read more about East Bay coffee roasters.

Hal’s Office will be serving coffee from Bay Area newcomer Counter Culture Coffee. The North Carolina-based company opened its first West Coast roasting and training facility in Emeryville this spring. (Learn more about Counter Culture coffee in our tour of the roasting facility.) Counter Culture is still only in a few local coffee shops, so Hal’s Office will stand out. … Continue reading »

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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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