Author Archives: Kate Williams

Bites: Antoinette, Temescal Brewing, Belotti, more

Antoinette_Dining Area-9747
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Openings, closings…

ANTOINETTE BRASSERIE AT CLAREMONT NOW OPEN Last week, we gave you an update on Antoinette, the new brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. The French restaurant, overseen by Michelin-starred Dominique Crenn, with Justin Mauz as executive chef, opened Tuesday. Eater SF has a photo gallery of the revamped former Paragon restaurant and bar. And Inside Scoop has the opening-night menu which leans traditional French — with foie gras and wine-based sauces much in evidence — and pricey. Among the starters: Warm Broccoli Velouté with Sea Urchin and Blood Orange ($18); Sweetbreads with Foie Gras, Dates, Baby Chicory, and Banyuls ($23); and Basil-fed Escargot with Champagne and Hazelnut Chartreuse ($18). Entrées include Coq au Vin with Pinot Noir Braise and Maitake ($29); Schmitz Ranch Prime Strip Steak with Celeriac Dauphinoise and Sauce Bordelaise ($60); Whole Roasted Monkfish Tail with Bouillabaisse, Cous Cous and Vadouven (serves 2-3, $95); and a whole Liberty Farms Rotisserie Duck with Abalone Mushroom, Foie Gras, Chou Rouge and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (serves 3-4, $200). A spokeswoman for the Fairmont Group, owners of the Claremont, said Thursday the team was reworking the menu, so what you see here might change. (The hotel’s other restaurant, the Meritage, offers a more down-to-earth dinner menu.) … Continue reading »

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We put Hopsy’s beer delivery service to the test

Growler four-pack. Photo courtesy: Hopsy
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Let’s get this out of the way first. It is not hard — at all — to get good beer in the East Bay. Between the abundance of great breweries springing up in the area and the countless bars now specializing in high-quality brews, it almost seems impossible not to drink good beer.

But could it be more convenient? Sure.

Like anyone with access to a computer and smart phone today, I appreciate the ease with which I can conjure up dinner, booze, or a car from my living room couch. Shirt and shoes definitely not required.

Read more about places to get good beer in the East Bay.

So it was only a matter of time before enterprising beer drinkers came up with a delivery service for these creative hyper-local beers now available. Hopsy, which opened to the general public Jan. 5, is the answer. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Antoinette, Hoi Polloi, Valentine’s Day, more

side view of the Claremont Resort & Spa
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Openings, closings…

CHEF NAMED FOR ANTOINETTE AT CLAREMONT The former Paragon restaurant at the Claremont is set to open this month, according to a spokeswoman for the hotel’s owners, the Fairmont Group. As we previously reported, Dominique Crenn, of Atelier Crenn and Le Petit Crenn fame, both in San Francisco, is overseeing the opening of French-style brasserie Antoinette. The new restaurant’s chef is Justin Mauz, who has left his post as sous-chef at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion in Las Vegas to come to the East Bay. Mauz has also worked as pastry chef at Sixteen Restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Chicago. Farimont describes Antoinette as “Chef Crenn’s take on the classic ideas that surround the French dining culture: ingredients, responsible sourcing, and the community that it inspires.” Antoinette will be at The Claremont Club & Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley. Connect with the Claremont on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s SoDoI wants to serve more than coffee

SoDoI Coffee. Photo: Kate Williams
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“Serving great coffee is not enough,” Jae Chung told me throughout our preview tour of his new coffee “tasting house” in Berkeley’s Telegraph Channing Mall. “We also should use coffee as a communication tool to bring people together in a positive way.”

Such is Chung’s vision for his company, SoDoI, pronounced “So do I.” The name, and Chung’s journey into the coffee world, takes its inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr. As Chung says, King wanted to make the world a better place even if he “knew the world would end tomorrow.” Chung’s response to that sentiment? “So do I.” … Continue reading »

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Pappy’s owner responds to discrimination charges

Photo: Pappy's Sports Bar & Grill/Facebook
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Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar is a magnet for Cal students and sports fans, slinging burgers, wings, and affordable draft beers for them on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue. It is also the subject of recent allegations of racially biased hiring practices.

On Friday, Jan. 22, Brownyn Harris took a photo of two hiring signs posted on the window of Pappy’s. One sign, written entirely in Spanish, requested applicants for a dishwashing position. A second sign, written entirely in English, requested applicants for cashiers and bartenders.

Harris posted the photo to Pappy’s Facebook page with the comment: “Took this picture today after we were walking by and my boyfriend said ‘I don’t really speak Spanish but is that incredibly racist?'” Her post caught the attention of the East Bay Express, which ran a story on Jan. 29 alleging discriminatory hiring practices on the part of Pappy’s.

While Pappy’s owner, Alex Popov, did not comment to the East Bay Express, he did talk to NOSH this week about the uproar the signs provoked. “There was a lot of irony and misunderstanding in the article,” he said, referring to the East Bay Express story. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Kobani, Grocery Café, Modu, more

Assorted starters: dolmas, babaganoush, hummus, kibbeh. Photo: Anna Mindess
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Openings, closings…

KOBANI SET TO RE-OPEN Fans of Emin Tekin’s kurdish cooking take note: Kobani, which closed for renovations last fall, is set to re-open in the next couple of weeks, according to a tipster who stopped by the restaurant earlier this week. Kobani’s kebabs, hummus, dolmas, lentil soup and gyros received generous praise upon the restaurant’s opening last May. (This editor is a particularly big fan of the tabbouli salad served with Kobani’s gigantic falafels.) We’ve reached out to Tekin for confirmation and any more details, and we will update the post when we hear from him. Kobani is at 1901 University Ave. (at Martin Luther King Jr. Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Brooklyn West Winery headed to Jack London Sq.

Stewart Epstein and Jeffrey Fiegel. Photo: Brooklyn West/Facebook
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“No vineyards, no limits.”

It may sound counterintuitive to start a winery that prides itself on its lack of ties to a particular vineyard, but that’s just what Stewart Epstein and Jeffrey Fiegel have done.

The two winemakers launched Brooklyn West Winery in Madera in 2013, and are set to open a tasting room in Oakland’s Jack London Square late this spring. They’ll be pouring wines made from grapes sourced from across the state of California. … Continue reading »

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Mooyah burger franchise eyes Berkeley expansion

A double Mooyah burger with blue cheese and fries. Photo courtesy: Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes
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The fast-casual burger trend is showing little sign of slowing down. In the East Bay alone, small and mid-sized burger chains — Farm Burger, TrueBurger, Umami Burger, Smashburger and Habit Burger Grill, to name a few — have all opened in the last few years, replacing more traditional fast food burger joints like Oscar’s.

Now Texas-based burger brand Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes has made plans to expand into Berkeley.

Mooyah’s Northern California locations currently include Walnut Creek, Rocklin, Los Gatos and Morgan Hill, and Loren Katzmann, a Mooyah development agent and Walnut Creek franchise owner, thinks that the region has lots of room for growth.

“I think just Alameda County alone can support eight to nine Mooyah Burgers,” she said. While she’s looking at growing into locations like Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore and Hayward, Berkeley is getting top priority. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Cholita Linda, La Parisienne, Subway, more

Cholita Linda fish tacos, taken at the Temescal farmers market. Photo: Alix Wall
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Openings, closings…

CHOLITA LINDA OPENING NEW LOCATION IN GRAND LAKE Temescal’s popular taco and Latin comfort food joint Cholita Linda is expanding, we hear from the Splashpad Park Facebook page. The new location, at 3256 Lakeshore Ave., will take the place of The Burrito Shop, which closed last September. Cholita Linda got its start as a food stand at the Jack London Square farmers market in 2008; it opened its first brick-and-mortar location in February 2014. The restaurant’s fish tacos are especially popular, and they were named the best in the Bay Area by San Francisco Magazine in 2014. Other items on its menu include pan-Latin dishes like Cubano sandwiches, chicharron de Pollo plates and coconut pudding desserts. Cholita Linda will be at 3256 Lakeshore Ave. (near Lake Park Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Gas tank discovered on former Oscar’s lot

Cleanup at the future Sweetgreens location. Photo: @gmcc/Twitter
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It’s not always easy to renovate an historic eatery.

Washington, D.C.-based salad chain Sweetgreen has been working on its new Berkeley location, in the former Oscar’s restaurant, since last fall. Over the past two months, construction has hit a slight snag, however.

We learned from Sweetgreen co-founder Nicholas Jammet that the site, at 1890 Shattuck Ave. at Hearst, housed a gas station prior to Oscar’s — which was a fixture at that spot for 65 years before it closed last year. Jammet said he and the rest of his team were aware of the issue before signing the lease, and he told NOSH in an email that they secured an outside agency to run an environmental safety analysis of the building. They also have worked with the landlord to ensure that environmental testing and cleanup would be performed if needed during construction.

As it turned out, more than just a little cleanup was needed. … Continue reading »

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Two East Bay companies win Good Food Awards

Brian Johnson and Julie Gordon at the kitchen. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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It is not every day that one gets to be serenaded on the merits of coffee, beer and cheese by two charcuterie makers. It is not every day that one gets to hear Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini speak on the future of food. It is not every day that one gets to attend an after-party with Alice Waters, two East Bay culinary artisans and countless other food and beverage producers.

But the annual Good Food Awards ceremony is anything but an ordinary, every day experience. NOSH attended this year’s ceremony, which was held on Jan. 15 at Fort Mason’s Herbst Pavilion in San Francisco. It was a long, rollicking evening, filled with plenty of good food and the aforementioned singing — courtesy of Elias Cairo and Tyler Gaston of Portland’s Olympia Provisions.

Two East Bay companies were among the 176 award winners: Wooden Spoons took home a charcuterie award for its pork rillettes, and La Tourangelle won an oils award for its Gourmande Roasted Hazelnut Oil. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Telefèric, Ike’s Place, Best Coast Burritos

Pintxos cart at Telefèric Barcelona, which opens Jan. 17 in Walnut Creek. Photo: Beth Thomas
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Openings, closings…

TELEFÈRIC BARCELONA TO OPEN JAN. 17 After some construction and inspection delays, it looks like the Walnut Creek location of popular Spanish tapas restaurant Telefèric Barcelona will open Sunday, Jan. 17. The first U.S. outpost of the restaurant “aims to be a lively gathering spot that builds upon the rich cultural traditions and flavors of its original locations in Spain,” according to a press release. It will serve a menu of Spanish pintxos (skewered snacks that are typical in Northern Spain) served from a dim sum-style cart, as well as larger tapas and paellas. Expect popular items like “Ma Premiere Foie” (foie gras served with grilled apple, caramelized onion, and cherry jam), “Pulpo Telefèric” (wood grilled octopus with roasted potato cream and crispy bacon), and albóndigas “Lo Que Digas” (spiced chorizo meatballs with cuttlefish and sofrito, honey, and chocolate sauce). The cocktail menu has been crafted by Michael Iglesias, a partner at Oakland’s Calavera, and it includes modern twists on classic cocktails like an olive martini (gin or vodka, olive infused vermouth, smoked olive oil, dirty martini sphere), a few different gin and tonics, traditional drinks like sangria and large party pitchers to share. Oakland’s Arcsine designed the 160-seat restaurant, which will initially open only for dinner service. In the coming weeks, the restaurant will expand its hours to include to lunch and a weekend brunch. Telefèric Barcelona will be at 1500 Mount Diablo Blvd. (at South Main Street), Walnut Creek. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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East Bay Restaurant Week specials begin Thursday

Calavera is a Mexican restaurant serving up dishes inspired by the Oaxacan region. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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It’s that time again — time to revel in the prix fixe glory that is Restaurant Week.

In the East Bay, we get more than two weeks of specials between Oakland and Berkeley. Oakland’s Restaurant Week begins tomorrow, Jan. 14 and runs through Jan. 24. Berkeley’s event overlaps a bit, beginning on Jan. 21 and running through Jan. 31.

Participating restaurants offer prix fixe menu specials at lunch and/or dinner. Oakland menus will go for $20, $30, $40 or $50. Berkeley lunch menus will be priced at $20; dinners will be offered at $25 or $35. Menu lengths vary from restaurant to restaurant. … Continue reading »

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