Tag Archives: Benchmark Pizzeria

9 family-friendly Cal-Ital spots across the East Bay

Alex Schell and Molly Schell at Boot and Shoe Service. Photo: Adrienne Schell
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Family dinners are a part of our culture that have lost importance in many parts of the country. Impacted daily schedules, busy lives and, in some cases, the lure of the screen have caused time spent around the table in the evening hours to be the exception to the norm. East Bay California-Italian restaurants have done a great job helping my family buck that trend.

In Italian, the saying, “Gioie della tavola,” translates to “the joys of the table.” In other words, time spent with family, good food and good conversation is at the heart of the culture. The Italian appreciation for seasonal ingredients and traditional wood-fire cooking methods has worked its way into our own food culture here in the East Bay. The below spots offer the best of fresh, local ingredients in Italian dishes with a California twist — perfect for a family meal. … Continue reading »

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Bites: La PanotiQ, Preserved, Angel Cakes, more

Croissants from La PanotiQ. Photo: La PanotiQ/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

LA PANOTIQ TO HOLD GRAND OPENING APRIL 1 Last month, we reported that the Elmwood location of La PanotiQ was getting close to opening.  It is now open for business in the space formerly occupied by Padi Restaurant, and before that — for many years — Holy Land, and is planning a grand opening celebration on April 1. As reported on Shop Talk, it is serving a selection of French-style sandwiches and salads (think Jambon-Fromage and Salade Niçoise), as well as cakes and pastries (croissants, pains au chocolat), and fresh bread (baguettes, rustic loaves and ciabatta, for example). There’s Bicycle Coffee, in espresso drinks and also in Nitro cold-brew form, as well as a selection of teas, both hot and iced.La PanotiQ is a family-owned bakery and café chain with several locations around the Bay Area. La PanotiQ Bakery Café is at 2965 College Ave. (at Ashby Avenue), Berkeley 94705. Connect with the bakery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Best East Bay dishes and drinks of 2015, Part 2

Dishes ready to be served at Longbranch Saloon, where xxx had his favorite bite of 2015. Photo: Longbranch
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Tuesday we brought you the best taste sensations local chefs such as Sho Kamio of Iyasare, Tanya Holland and Romney Steele had experienced in the East Bay in 2015. In today’s second part, we learn what Nosh editors, two writers, a rapper, as well as a number of food and drink makers enjoyed this year. We’d love to hear what tickled your taste-buds in 2015  — share your choices in the comments.

Alex Tweet, Head Brewer, Fieldwork Brewing Company

Best bite of 2015: Grilled Niman Ranch pork loin, toasted farro and roasted cauliflower salad, grilled broccolini, oyster shooters and a can of Hamm’s Lager at Longbranch Saloon.

Can’t wait for this in 2016: Whatever Jay Porter (of The Half Orange and Salsipuedes) has up his sleeve next. … Continue reading »

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Six great East Bay spots for soft serve ice cream

Soft serve swirl from Timeless Coffee. Photo: Timeless Coffee
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You gotta love soft serve: it’s all-American, it’s got that smooth and fluffy texture, and it used to be the dessert of choice at fast-food joints and trucks blaring annoying jingles. These days soft serve is back in an all-grown-up kind of way, with creative toppings and quality ingredients. Here are some surprising (and a couple of predictable) East Bay spots to get your soft serve fix before that El Niño weather kicks in. We’re sure we’ve missed some — leave us a note about your favorite soft serve spot in the comments section. … 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: Shiba Ramen, KoJa Kitchen to Public Market

Emeryville Public Market where a new Off The Grid food truck market will launch on Aug. 23. Photo:  Public Market Emeryville
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Openings, closings

EMERYVILLE PUBLIC MARKET TO GAIN TWO NEW RESTAURANTS Emeryville’s Public Market is about to get even more interesting, food-wise. The shopping and dining center added a full line-up of food trucks earlier this year, which will soon be joined by two new restaurants in the market hall portion of the building: Shiba Ramen and KoJa Kitchen. We brought you news of the Shiba Ramen project last week; the fast-casual ramen shop is the brainchild of two ex-chemists who plan on bringing Japanese style service and noodle soups to the neighborhood. KoJa Kitchen will be the second brick-and-mortar location for the Korean-Japanese fusion food truck of the same name. (Its first location is at 2395 Telegraph Ave., at Channing Way, in Berkeley.) “We’re excited to welcome Koja Kitchen and Shiba Ramen to Public Market Emeryville,” said City Center Realty Partners’ Co-Founder Mark Stefan in a prepared statement. “They embody our vision for the new Food Hall — unique purveyors who want to be part of the community.” Shiba Ramen and KoJa Kitchen are both part of a larger renovation project. This first phase includes adding food stalls and reconditioning the existing structure. The second phase of the project, expected to wrap up by this summer, includes installing a living wall, replacing the ball-pit with a new children’s play area, upgrading the entries, and putting up local artwork. Public Market Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Connect with Shiba Ramen on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Connect with KoJa Kitchen on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Bites: Stateside Bakery, The Growlers’ Arms, more

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Openings, closings…

STATESIDE BAKERY Kate McEachern, founder of the popular Cupkates trucks (there are two of them), has just opened Stateside Bakery in the minuscule (as in 400 square feet) space next to the new Starbucks on Telegraph Avenue at Ashby, opposite Whole Foods in Berkeley. Stateside offers “all the childhood classics re-imagined with wholesome ingredients,” McEachern said — those desserts that can only be found stateside, from brands like Hostess and Little Debbie. The inspiration for her first brick-and-mortar spot, she said, came from her brother who recently had a child and was ruminating on how great it would be to be able to have his offspring experience the sweet treats he grew up with —but without all the additives and sub-par ingredients. “I thought, ‘I could make those — how hard can it be?'” said McEachern. Stateside opened very quietly this week — McEachern wanted to iron out any kinks before word got out — but at least one young customer is already a fan. Longfellow sixth grader Beatrix Shelton was on her way to Starbucks to do her homework when she was waylaid by one of Stateside’s Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Maldon Sea Salt. (We understand the homework was put on the back burner!) Also on the menu at the little shop: Madagascar vanilla Twinkies, housemade Oreos, oatmeal cream pies, and strawberry Pop-Tarts. McEachern said the space is so tiny it was destined to be an ATM vestibule. She and her team of four did all the build-out and navigated Berkeley’s permitting process themselves. McEachern reassured us that the two CupKates trucks will keep on rolling — they serve seven counties currently. Stateside Bakery is at 3001 Telegraph Ave., Suite E. Hours: Wed.-Sat. 11-6, Sund. 11-4, closed Monday and Tuesday. Connect with Stateside Bakery on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Bites: Cholita Linda, 938 Crawfish, Grand Fare open

Cholita Linda staff
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Openings, closings…

CHOLITA LINDA  Temescal now has an “eclectic Latin” place to add to its enviable portfolio of food options. Cholita Linda, which until now had been popping up at farmers markets and the like, opened for business last week at 4923 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th St.). (Finally! We’ve been tracking the place for almost a year.) On the menu: dishes inspired by street food, such as  Baja fish tacos, spit-roast chicken tacos, and carnitas tacos. Sandwiches include Pan con Lomito (peruvian grilled flank steak, marinated roma tomatoes, sautéed red onions, watercress, herbed olive oil), Pollo Picante (tortilla crusted chicken breast, gaujillo sauce, cabbage salad, lime vinaigrette), Tocino (Niman Ranch bacon, butter lettuce, roma tomatoes, chipotle aioli), and Butifarra (Roasted Pork Loin, butter lettuce, Salsa Criolla and aioli). Aguas Frescas come in mango, strawberry and fresh squeezed lime flavors. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXXV

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Openings, closings…

CUPCAKIN BAKE SHOP Lila Owens has been catering in the East Bay for the past three years, and now she’s decided it’s time to open her own brick-and-mortar place and offer the world her cupcakes. She has taken the lease at the former Dome Fits hat shop in the Sather Lane retail complex at 2435 Durant Ave. in Berkeley (just west of Telegraph), and is currently building it out to create the Cupcakin’ Bake Shop. “I wanted to be in the Bay Area in a highly trafficked spot, and also somewhere non-pretentious,” Owens told Berkeleyside Nosh. As well as different cupcakes, some of which will be gluten-free as well as vegan, Cupcakin’ will sell a variety of mini-cakes. All the baked goods will be free of GMOs, Owens added. We’ll provide an update nearer opening time.

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 1.57.46 PMSCARECROW POPCORN Brand new in Oakland’s Lakeshore neighborhood is this store specializing in — what else — popcorn. There’s caramel and cheddar dill, among other varieties, at the store which opened on Wednesday this week. Early reviews are good: “The popcorn melts in your mouth. If you are ever in the Oakland area it is a must try!!! Great service, clean and delicious!!!” wrote Catrina Conner-Rhodes on the shop’s Facebook page. Scarecrow Popcorn is at 3435 Lakeshore next to Lin Jia. … Continue reading »

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Benchmark: Wood-fired pizza comes to Kensington

Benchmark oven
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Benchmark Pizzeria quietly opened this summer on the Kensington-Berkeley border. The husband and wife team who run the restaurant come bearing impeccable credentials: Melissa and Peter Swanson met at Oliveto Café & Restaurant in Oakland in 1999. He worked there as a lead line cook before moving on to help Jon Smulewitz open Dopo on Piedmont Avenue, where he worked for six years. Melissa wrote about food the San Francisco Chronicle and Diablo Magazine, among others, and worked at Chez Panisse Café as a server before joining her husband in their new venture. Berkeleyside NOSH caught up with Melissa to see how the neighborhood restaurant is doing six months in.

Why a pizzeria?
Peter has always been passionate about pizza. At Dopo, he became affectionately known as “Pizza Pete” for his development of the dough recipe and nightly work on the pizza ovens. We’ve always envisioned opening a place together offering our favorite food. … Continue reading »

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