Author Archives: Kate Williams

Fleet Farming builds bike-powered urban farms

Fred Lake and Justin Vandenbroeck of Fleet Farming. Photo: Kate Williams
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It’s a sunny day in West Oakland. I pull up to the corner of 10th and Campbell streets and look for produce. The lettuce and vegetable sprouts are at first a little hard to find, but eventually I spot three long rows of dark, healthy soil tucked in the back of a church’s yard.

This is a “farmlette” — a mini urban farm — run by Fleet Farming. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Red Bay Coffee Box, Agrodolce, Firebrand

Red Bay Coffee Box. Photo: Red Bay Coffee Roasters/Facebook
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Openings, closings

RED BAY COFFEE BOX NOW OPEN AT THE HIVE Close to a year after announcing it would be opening a café built out of a converted shipping container in Oakland’s Hive complex, Red Bay Coffee Roaster‘s “Coffee Box” is now open. In addition to coffee, we hear from East Bay Dish that the Coffee Box is offering baked goods from Oakland-based Tart Bakery. Funds for the café were raised through a successful $80,000 Kickstarter campaign last spring — the most successful coffee campaign ever on the crowdfunding site, according to Red Bay founder Keba Konte. But permitting issues delayed the opening of the café, despite the fact that Konte had finished construction on the container months ago. In the meantime, Red Bay launched several farmers market stands, including one at the downtown Berkeley market, added Uber as a client, and built out a new headquarters in a converted factory in Fruitvale. The Red Bay Coffee Box is at 2327 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the coffee roasters on FacebookTwitter and InstagramContinue reading »

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Oxford Street parklet, Berkeley’s third, opens today

The Oxford Street parklet. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley’s third parklet, and downtown’s first, will officially open at 5 p.m. today. The outdoor seating area covers 2130 to 2136 Oxford Street in front of Sunny Side Café, East Bay Spice Company, Cinnaholic and Suya African-Caribbean Grill.

The Oxford Street parklet’s design was inspired by the west entrance to UC Berkeley, which is almost directly across the street. It has a concrete wall inspired by the classical buildings on campus adorned with metal cutouts of a Cal Bear, the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. “Our communal vision was to create a similar aesthetic, that of ornate cement and metalwork with an old world field,” Joel DiGiorgio, co-founder of Farm League Design and Management Group, told Nosh in an email. Farm League is the management company behind East Bay Spice Company.
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Review: ‘Flavors of Oakland’ cookbook

Baklava from 'Flavors of Oakland.' Photo: Anya Ku
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When I first heard about a cookbook being written by two teenagers, I must admit that I didn’t expect much. I knew the co-authors were enthusiastic, and that one of the two had experience working in well-regarded Oakland restaurant kitchens. I knew they had a good idea — telling a story of Oakland’s diversity through recipes — but I couldn’t imagine that two full-time students with no publishing experience could pull off anything more impressive than a culinary ‘zine.

I was wrong, of course.

“Flavors of Oakland: A Cookbook in 20 Stories” is a solid, honest-to-goodness cookbook with tested recipes and a spine that thankfully allows for any page to stay open when flopped on the kitchen counter. It weaves together 20 very different life stories of home cooks from every nook and cranny of the city, while offering a quirky and fairly comprehensive array of recipes. … Continue reading »

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Triple Rock to open expanded brewpub in August

Triple Rock Brewery. Photo: Frank Farm/Flickr
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It’s been four years in the making, but Berkeley’s Triple Rock has finally set an opening timeline for its expanded dining, kitchen and beer production space on the 1900 block of Shattuck Avenue.

In 2012, we announced that the brewery had made plans to build a two-story building next door to the brewpub, which is currently located at 1920 Shattuck, and to expand the brewpubs operations across both buildings. Triple Rock is sharing the new building with a neighboring engineering firm.

We now hear from Triple Rock that the build out is nearly complete, and that the brewery expects to open the new addition mid-August in conjunction with the brewery’s 30th anniversary. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Pal’s Takeaway, The Cat House, Super Super

Lao sausage sandwich from Pal's Takeaway. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings…

PAL’S TAKEAWAY PARTS WAYS WITH FIREBRAND Oakland-based sandwich maestro Jeff Mason shocked his fans this weekend with the surprise announcement that he’d no longer be serving sandwiches out of Firebrand Artisan Breads. Mason had moved Pal’s Takeaway to Firebrand from San Francisco’s Mission district last fall, and the new location seemed to be doing well. However, we learned from Inside Scoop that Firebrand’s owners Matt Kreutz and Colleen Orlando wanted to expand the bakery’s food offerings to include full brunch and dinner services; Mason did not want to take on that task. Instead, he has decided to look for a new permanent space to house his operation, and lucky for us, Mason told the East Bay Express that he would like to stay in the East Bay. In the meantime, Mason is planning to hold a series of pop-ups, the first of which will be a hot-dog themed dinner called “Pal’s Takeaway Goes to the Dogs.” The exact date and location have yet to be announced, but Mason told EBX it will take place in Berkeley sometime in the next three to four weeks. Update: We’ve learned from Pal’s Takeaway that the hot dog pop-up will take place at Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar at a yet-undecided date in July. Mason wrote on Twitter that the pop-up will include “some dogs some sandwiches some drinks some good stuff!!! Menu soon!!!!” We’ll continue to keep you posted. Connect with Pal’s Takeaway on Twitter.Continue reading »

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Camino owners to open The Kebabery in Oakland

Salsipuedes features one large communal table, one counter-like table, and plenty of bar-like seating facing the kitchen and the street. Photo: Alix Wall
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The former Salsipuedes location will likely not be empty for long.

A kebab-focused restaurant from Camino‘s Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain called, appropriately, The Kebabery, will open sometime this fall. Moore and Hopelain have filed an ABC license for the restaurant as of June 12. Joining them in the effort will be Camino’s floor manager, Brian Crookes.

Read more about Camino on Nosh.

The three will continue to focus on Camino, and will consider The Kebabery a side project. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Temescal Brewing, Bomba Doughnuts, more

Pinkbox-Doughnuts
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Openings, closings

TEMESCAL BREWING OPENS SUNDAY Hot on the heels of Novel Brewing, which opened last week, Temescal Brewing is holding its grand opening celebration this Sunday. The brewery will be open from noon to 10 p.m. and will be participating in that day’s Temescal Street Fair. To mark the opening, Temescal Brewing is releasing a special beer called Block Party, a “super refreshing pale ale specially formulated for optimum block party enjoyment.” After Sunday, the brewery will be open Thurdays from 4-10 p.m., Fridays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m. Temescal Brewing is focusing on what it calls “sunny day” beers; in other words, beers that are lower in alcohol and easier to drink on, yes, a sunny day. Its 15 barrel brewing system does, however, have the capacity to make lots of beers, so Temescal will also serve a range of beer types. “We owe it to the neighborhood to offer a wide variety of beers to match everyone’s taste,” Gilbert told Nosh earlier this spring. “We really get a kick out of exploring the whole spectrum of what beer can be, and constantly trying new stuff.” Temescal Brewing is at 4115 Telegraph Ave. (at 41st Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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Bites: Agave Uptown, Mokka, Fieldwork, more

Executive Chef Octavio Diaz of Agave Uptown. Photo: Agave Uptown/Facebook
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Openings, closings

MORE MOLE TO OAKLAND Calavera will soon no longer be the only Oaxacan restaurant in Uptown. On June 13, Agave Uptown will open, bringing with it a menu of dishes and drinks from the southwestern Mexican state. It will be the second location for the restaurant; the original Agave opened in Healdsburg in 2010. Behind the restaurant is Octavio Diaz, who grew up in Santa Gertrudis, southwest of the city of Oaxaca. Agave Uptown will focus on “farm-raised ingredients and handmade cooking … [and will] draw from the artisanal tradition of Oaxaca,” according to a a statement. Translation? A menu highlighting Diaz’s 20+ ingredient mole, plus plenty of Oaxan mezcal and Mexican craft beer. (There will also be Sonoma county wine on the menu, in a nod to Diaz’s original Healdsburg location.) The restaurant space has been designed by local firm Arcsine, and it features a mural painted by Lapiztola, a Oaxaca-based art collective. Agave Uptown will be located in the newly opened Kapor Center for Social Impact; as such, Diaz wants the restaurant to serve as an incubator for underrepresented communities with interest in the culinary field. He plans to partner with nearby schools and colleges to provide internships. “When we think about diversity, entrepreneurship and local people being able to benefit from new businesses and opportunities, Agave certainly fits that description,” said Cedric Brown, Kapor Center’s chief of community engagement, in a statement. Once open, Agave will serve both lunch and dinner seven days a week. Agave Uptown will be at 2135 Franklin St. (at 22nd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Bites: B&B Wine Bar, LocoL, 2 Laurel beer gardens

Octopus and chorizo from B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar. Photo: B&B
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Openings, closings

B&B WINE BAR OPENS TOMORROW In January, we broke the news that Burritos, Inc. had abruptly shuttered. We now know that the owners Abraham Masarweh and Julia Joslyn have stuck around and will reopen the restaurant as B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar tomorrow for dinner. B&B will be a seafood-focused sister restaurant to the owners’ Rockridge spot Bourbon & Beef. Masarweh told Nosh in an interview that they decided to overhaul Burritos, Inc. because the space was too big for the concept. He said that they landed on a seafood restaurant because the neighborhood is currently lacking in classic American seafood dishes. Menu highlights include butter-poached lobster with squid ink linguine, a grilled octopus and chorizo appetizer, and classic cold seafood towers of oysters, shrimp cocktail, ceviche, crab and lobster tail. For those skipping seafood, B&B will serve steaks, burgers and pork chops, and there will be both vegan- and gluten-free dishes as well. On the drinks side, B&B will serve around 30 affordable wines by the glass — “There will be something for everyone,” said Masarweh — plus 10 draft beers. B&B will open for dinner hours this weekend; starting Monday, it will transition to its full schedule, which includes weekday lunch, nightly dinner and weekend brunch. The restaurant may stay open later on the weekends if the community wants it, said Masarweh. B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar is at 2116 Shattuck Ave. (between Addison and Center streets). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Maker’s Common to ‘geek out’ on local producers

Cheese plates like this one will be served at Maker's Common. Photo courtesy: Maker's Common
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Sarah Dvorak, Oliver Dameron and Eric Miller weren’t thinking of Berkeley when they first began planning the expansion of Mission Cheese, their popular Valencia Street cheese and charcuterie bar. They expected to open their new spot — called Maker’s Common — somewhere in San Francisco.

But, as has been the case with other restaurants like Millennium, which relocated to Rockridge, and Pal’s Takeaway, which opened in Uptown Oakland, finding affordable space in San Francisco proved impossible. The three founders started looking further afield in the East Bay. And when they had a look at the large, light-filled space at 1954 University Ave., just east of MLK Jr. Way, in downtown Berkeley, they were sold.

With plenty of space to build out both a market and a restaurant, plus outdoor dining space and zoning permits already in place for beer and wine service to boot, the Rose Garden building was too good to pass up.

“When we first saw the space its layout just said ‘THIS IS IT!,'” wrote the founders on the company’s blog. “We all walked and and knew where the retail market would be and where the kitchen would go for the eatery. When we brought an architect in they said the exact same thing — we knew we were onto something.”

Plus, as Dameron says, “It’s a great time to come to Berkeley. There’s lots of change going on here.” … Continue reading »

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Romeo’s Coffee headed to former Shakespeare & Co.

Romeo's Coffee will open in the former Shakespeare & Co. location at Telegraph Avenue and Dwight Way.  Photo: Ted Friedman
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After sitting vacant for close to a year, the former location of Telegraph Avenue bookstore Shakespeare & Co. will see new light. Highly caffeinated light, that is.

Starting in June, a new coffee shop — Romeo’s Coffee — will begin to take shape. Its name was serendipitous, said owner Dino Micheletti. He had already ironed out the concept, which revolves around “lovers of coffee,” before visiting the location with Ito Ripsteen, who is managing the remodel of the building at 2499 Telegraph. “I went to meet with him and looked up and saw the Shakespeare sign,” he said. “I said to him, ‘Do you know what our name is? It’s Romeo’s Coffee.'”  … Continue reading »

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Bites: The Fifth Quarter, Taco Bell Cantina, Zatar

Scott Brennan of The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie. Photo: The Fifth Quarter/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

THE FIFTH QUARTER CHARCUTERIE TO MONTCLAIR Scott Brennan’s farmers market charcuterie business The Fifth Quarter has found a permanent brick-and-mortar home in Montclair, according to Tablehopper. Brennan, the former head butcher at Cafe Rouge, has been selling his own sausages, patés and smoked meats at the Berkeley and Kensington farmers markets for the past five years. His new retail location will be in the former Amba Falafel space at 6464 Moraga Ave. In addition to offering an expanded version of his farmers market lineup, Brennan will also be selling sandwiches, prepared foods and dry-cured meats. The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie will be at 6464 Moraga Ave. (at La Salle Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the shop on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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