Author Archives: Kate Williams

Already a leader, OUSD ups ante on feeding students

Students in an Oakland Unified School District cafeteria. Photo: Courtesy OUSD
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On Oct. 26, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) will officially commit to a set of sustainability- and health-focused food purchasing standards for its district-wide meal program. These standards, outlined by the Center for Good Food Purchasing (CGFP), a Berkeley-based organization working to create a “transparent and equitable food system.”

Unlike organizations that do things like certify organic or non-GMO products, the CGFP works directly on food procurement for large institutions, primarily school districts. It aims to establish sustainable, ethical networks between farms and public schools, which helps to get money in the hands of farmers and healthy food in the mouths of school children.

The CGFP has outlined a values-based set of standards called the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP), which it helps school districts to adopt. The CGFP wants institutions to pay attention in particular to five key values of food suppliers: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare and nutrition.

In short, institutions adopting the GFPP agree to show supply-chain transparency for all minimally processed ingredients (produce, meat, fish, etc), so that it is easy to trace each product back to its origin. Institutions also agree to meet at least a baseline standard for each value category. The CGFP helps institutions get familiar with these values, and helps get their vendors up to speed with the expectations. Each institution is evaluated annually, and CGFP helps “celebrate successes,” according to CGFP Executive Director Alexa Delwiche. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Navi Kitchen, Blue Bottle, Wingman, more

Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings

PREETI MISTRY TO OPEN EMERYVILLE RESTAURANT Called Navi Kitchen, it will be Mistry’s second East Bay restaurant, and it will take the place of short-lived Basic Café at 5000 Adeline. Like her first, Temescal’s Juhu Beach Club, Navi Kitchen’s menu will emphasize market-driven Indian cuisine. Inside Scoop reports, however, that Navi Kitchen will be slightly more casual, with all-day counter service, a chai and coffee bar, and plenty of outdoor seating. On the food side, Mistry will serve a daily curry and rice tiffin, Indian twists on Neapolitan-style pizzas, masala-brined rotisserie chicken, and Straus soft-serve ice cream and milkshakes — basically, Indian twists on some American classics. The East Bay Express spoke with Mistry, who gave a few more details on her pizza. Unlike other Indian pizzas at places like Namaste Pizza, the crust will be thin, rather than puffy, and the toppings will be “subtle,” rather than over-the-top. Mistry also told EBX that Navi Kitchen will also have a spice bar offering freshly ground spice blends like garam masala and chai. Navi Kitchen will be designed by Mistry’s wife and business partner Ann Nadeau, who also created the colorful, fun decor at Juhu Beach Club. Mistry hopes to open the restaurant in spring 2017. Navi Kitchen will be at 5000 Adeline St. (near 47th Street), Emeryville.Continue reading »

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PIQ to renovate café and open restaurant, Radici

The current interior of PIQ in downtown Berkeley. Photo: PIQ/Facebook
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Berkeley is shaping up to be quite the Italian dining destination. In addition to long-running restaurants like Lo Coco, Trattoria La Siciliana and Corso, we’ve seen the recent opening of Agrodolce and are waiting patiently for Lucia’s and the redone Gio’s to finish construction.

And joining all of these will be Radici, from the owners of PIQ.

Radici, which translates roughly to “roots” or “origin,” will open in the vacated Cyprus Restaurant space right next door to PIQ early next year. It will serve an entirely organic menu, heavy on pasta dishes and vegetables sourced from local farms.

If that wasn’t enough for the PIQ team, owner Nicki Rivieccio has also announced a renovation of PIQ itself. Changes will take place in November, and PIQ plans to sell drinks from an outdoor coffee cart during its brief closure. … Continue reading »

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Super Juiced aims to be more than a juice shop

Super Juiced in Oakland. Photo: Kate Williams
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I’d be the first to admit that I’m not really a juice person. Sure, from time to time, I’ll slowly sip on a bottle of green juice when I’m in a rush and feeling particularly low in vegetable intake. But juice bars are not typically on my list of must-visit businesses.

Still, it’s hard to not want to drink gallons of the stuff after talking with Emanne Desouky, the owner of Oakland’s Super Juiced, which opened in Old Oakland’s Swan’s Marketplace last fall. Her energy is infectious.

After mixing up a bright red, tangy “Rose Glow” juice (beet, celery, pear, ginger, cucumber and rose water) for me to sample, Desouky gives me a quick tour around the small shop. White subway tiles provide a blank canvas for the fruits and veggies poking out from various bins and baskets. A wall of shelves holds herbs and other products from local partners. Vitamix blenders stand at the ready for smoothie orders. Honey and cup lids sit on a repurposed bar cart below a “Black Lives Matter banner.” A pink neon sign on the back wall proclaims, “Oakland is Juiced.”

If you’re thinking that this all sounds just like other new, hip juice shops, you’d be right about one thing — Super Juiced certainly looks the part. But there’s more than meets the eye. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Pacific Standard, Forage Kitchen, Halal Guys

A rendering of the façade at xxxx Center St. which was La Botella Republic wine bar before it closed in March. Photo: Half Moon Brewing Company
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Openings, closings

PACIFIC STANDARD OPENING SOON The downtown Berkeley taproom from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will open Oct. 19. Called Pacific Standard, the taproom will offer between 16 and 24 different local and regional beers on tap, half of which will come from Half Moon Bay Brewing. It will also offer local ciders and Northern California wines, plus beers to-go in growlers and bottles. Half Moon Bay has brought on executive chef Federico Godinez, also the chef at the brewery’s original outpost, to manage the menu. The small, eclectic menu emphasizes seafood and drink-friendly snacks like local meats and cheeses. Dishes include panini, ceviche and soft pretzels with hop cheese sauce. The concept of the taproom, developed in coordination with Farm League Design and Management, intends to be both casual and urban, bringing the brewery’s coastal vibes downtown. “We’re excited to expand our footprint beyond Half Moon Bay and introduce a new community to our extensive selection of top-quality, hand-crafted beers, and feature brews made by other West Coast breweries,” said Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s general manager, Nate Rey in a statement. “At Pacific Standard, we want our guests to experience the very best elements of the Coastside in an urban, casual environment.” Pacific Standard by Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will be at at 2055 Center St. (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the brewery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Shiba Ramen doubling down with beer and sake bar

The Periodic Table will be located in the empty kiosk pictured about, right next door to Shiba Ramen. Photo: Courtesy of Public Market Emeryville
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Chances are, the last time you had a glass of sake, you were sitting in a sushi restaurant, washing bites of nigiri down with the Japanese rice wine. With the exception of a few higher end Japanese restaurants, that’s about the only context for drinking the stuff in the Bay Area, short of buying a few bottles and drinking at home.

Jake Freed and Hiroko Nakamura, the husband-and-wife team behind Shiba Ramen, want to change that.

Next year, they will open The Periodic Table, a beer and sake taproom next door to their flagship Shiba Ramen kiosk in the Public Market in Emeryville. The taproom is not just a gamble on the East Bay’s taste for sake, but also a bet on the desire for residents to come to the food hall, instead of a bar, in the evenings.

“The Public Market really needs to draw in an evening crowd,” said Freed. “It really needs a taproom.” … Continue reading »

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Bites: Public Market update, Banh Mi Joint, more

Assorted poke bowls from Fish Face Poke Bar. Photo: Fish Face Poke/Facebook
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Openings, closings

NEW PUBLIC MARKET TENANTS Emeryville’s Public Market is still adding new tenants, and has announced two more this week: Joining a lineup that includes Shiba Ramen and Koja Kitchen will be Fish Face Poke Bar and The Periodic Table. Fish Face is the second location for the Sacramento-based rice bowl restaurant from restaurateur Billy Ngo. (Ngo also owns Kru, a sushi restaurant.) Like other poke spots, Fish Face allows customers to build their own bowls of rice and seafood, with a choice of protein, sauce, and additional toppings like macadamia nuts, daikon sprouts and masago roe. The Periodic Table is a beer and sake bar from the owners of Shiba Ramen, and it will, in fact, be located in the stall right next door to the ramen shop. Shiba co-owner Jake Freed hopes that the new project will bring a more vibrant nightlife to the area. Freed says his hopes to open by the middle of next year; no word on a projected opening date for Fish Face. Meanwhile, Mayo & MustardWe Sushi and Oui Oui Macaron are still under construction, but they appear very close to finishing. Full-service restaurant Granja Eatery, from Peruvian chef Carlos Altamirano, is also still in the works, and construction has begun on New Seasons, a Portland, OR-based grocery store headed to the complex. Public Market Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Connect with the market on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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First Look: Woods Island Club, Treasure Island

The beach at Woods Island Club. Photo: Kate Williams
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It is hot. We plop down on blue beach chairs, kick off our sandals and slide our bare toes into the warm sand. A steady beat hums out of nearby speakers, not loud enough to disturb conversation — background soundtrack tunes. Everyone around us is in shorts, with sunglasses and bare feet. We sip on cold beer and admire the view.

In any other coastal city, today could be any day in the height of summer. In the Bay Area, it is one of the few such days we get every year, usually once the calendar slips into early fall. And, it turns out, this day was the perfect one to visit the new Woods Island Club, on Treasure Island’s Clipper Cove. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Ale Industries, Steel Rail Public House, more

A pint of beer at the Ale Industries tasting room. Photo: Ale Industries
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Openings, closings

ALE INDUSTRIES IS EXPANDING Fruitvale’s Ale Industries is growing rapidly, and, according to marketing director Joseph Gudino, has been working over capacity for “a while now.” While Ale Industries will continue to operate out of its current brewery space, it will increase its production capacity 150% by adding 2,200 bbl per year. It is also adding new routes and a more efficient delivery system so more customers can find Ale Industries beer more consistently. “This is an exciting move for us. We are definitely ready to start this next chapter of our journey,” said production manager Richard Angeles. Ale Industries has made a name for itself by making quirky, flavorful beers in a range of styles. As it writes on its website: “We unapologetically refuse to let our beers be categorized into styles, types, or profiles because we believe it relegates our vision of craft beer from a verb to a noun, from a spirit to a product.” The brewery has partnered frequently with The Half Orange and, before it closed, Salsipuedes. The newest Ale Industries beer to hit the taps will be a kiwi sour, which Gudino describes as “awesome.” Ale Industries is at 3096 E. 10th St. (between Fruitvale and Derby avenues), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Sisters finding success with Bowl’d restaurants

Jessica Oh (left) and Chi Moon, the owners of Bowl'd, Spoon and Bopshop, at Bowl'd Alameda. Photo: Clara Rice
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Chi Moon’s favorite Korean dish is bibimbap. “I had it for a whole year — every single day,” she said. “Beef with multigrain rice.” It’s a fitting choice for the co-owner of the rapidly growing mini-chain Bowl’d, which is, at its heart, a rice bowl restaurant.

Moon praised the dish’s health status — it’s vegetable heavy, with whole grains and just a small amount of meat — but heathy eats are not the only reason why so many East Bay residents flock to Moon’s restaurants. There’s also, of course, the chicken wings.

“We’ve kind of turned into a fried chicken place, somehow,” said Moon’s sister and business partner Jessica Oh. “We thought maybe we should change our name to a wing place.”

Bowl’d’s original fried chicken wings are served with an extra thick, supremely crisp crust, doused in a fiery red spicy-sweet sauce that sticks to your fingers, lips, chopsticks — anything. Despite the extra 10 to 15 minutes the wings take to arrive at the table, they’re a must-order for many guests, including this writer. “I think people would riot if we didn’t have wings on the menu,” said Oh.

They’re so popular, in fact, that when Moon and Oh decided to open their third location, Bowl’d BBQ in Temescal, they expanded their fried poultry line-up to full pieces of chicken and three sauces (soy, barbecue and spicy).

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Shiba Ramen, Triple Rock, Austin, more

Miso ramen from Shiba Ramen. Photo: Jake Freed
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Openings, closings

SHIBA RAMEN EXPANDING TO OAKLAND After less than a year in business in Emeryville’s Public Market, Shiba Ramen is opening a second location in downtown Oakland. The new space will be a 40-seat restaurant, unlike Shiba’s Emeryville spot, which operates out of a food court kiosk. It is moving into the old Bittersweet Café location at 1438 Broadway, which closed in May. “We’re going to build off the concept that we started in Emeryville,” said co-owner Jake Freed. “There are lots of limits with a kiosk.” While customers will still order at a counter at the Oakland location, there will be servers delivering food, which will be served in more traditional ceramic bowls. At lunch, Shiba Ramen Oakland will have a very similar menu to the Emeryville location, but at dinner, Freed plans to expand the menu to include more Japanese-inspired small plates and side dishes. There will be a stronger beer and sake focus in the evening as well. Crucially, Freed and co-owner Hiroko Nakamura have hired a menu director/kitchen manager, who will be developing new menu items. Freed was unable to name the new hire as of press time, but he did say that the hire had worked at a “well-known Oakland restaurant.” Construction on the new space has already begun; Freed told Nosh that he hopes to open in December. In the meantime, Shiba’s Emeryville location will be holding a ramen and beer tasting Sept. 17 from 1-5 p.m., featuring beers from 21st Amendment and Voodoo Brewing. There will be beer flights, happy hour pricing on all pints and $1 off all food with a beer purchase. Shiba Ramen Oakland will be at 1438 Broadway (between 14th and 15th streets), Oakland. Shiba Ramen Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Café Clem sold, will become Maison Bleue

Cafe Clem at 2020 Kittredge St. will reopen today after being close for three weeks. Photo: Café Clem
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After five years in downtown Berkeley, Café Clem closed for good. Its last day serving its popular pastries and French-inspired sandwiches was Aug. 31. Owner Dorothée Mitrani-Bell, who also owns La Note, also downtown, has sold Café Clem to Patrice Fayet, a Frenchman, who will open a similar concept, called Maison Bleue, in the space this fall.

Mitrani-Bell told Nosh that she is “making some personal changes in her career” and although she “loved putting [Café Clem] together and loved working on it, La Note is already a lot to handle on its own.”

In a Facebook post, Mitrani-Bell wrote: “After close to five years of servicing the neighborhood and with a tremendous amount of joy and gratefulness, we are happy to announce that Café Clem will be changing hands to a wonderful new French team as well and will become “Maison Bleue” after a few weeks of remodeling. Uncanny coincidence that the building is now being repainted blue, as to welcome the new café!  Thank you Berkeley and locals for your patronage! We will miss you! You can still come visit us at La Note restaurant.” … Continue reading »

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Dee Spot Café open in old Emeryville Farley’s spot

Scallop special at Dee Spot Café. Photo: Dee Spot/Facebook
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On Sept. 10, a small crowd gathered at Emeryville’s new Dee Spot Café for its grand opening party. An oversize character from the Minions movie stood outside for selfies as diners gobbled down sandwiches, pork ribs and Cambodian bread pudding. The event marked a quick turnaround for the space, which operated as the third location for Farley’s Coffee until it closed Aug. 30.

Dee Spot’s owner Channarith Vanthin, an engineer who has worked for Apple, Cisco and Intel, hopes to build on the community that Farley’s cultivated since it opened its Emeryville location in 2010. To that end, Vanthin has kept “every single Farley’s employee” on staff and has left much of the café’s menu intact. … Continue reading »

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