Tag Archives: Brown Sugar Kitchen

Kilovolt Coffee: A new caffeine jolt in West Oakland

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A new coffee shop has opened in West Oakland’s Dogtown neighborhood, an area that locals believe is ripe for more food and drink destinations, the wildly popular Brown Sugar Kitchen notwithstanding.

Kilovolt Coffee, at 1829 Mandela Parkway, is co-owned by Ethan Ashley, a self-trained electrician with a background in home remodeling. Ashley identified a gap in the market when he moved to the neighborhood in 2008 and couldn’t find a good cup of coffee, according to SF Weekly, which broke the news last month.

Kilovolt is located in the office part of a former steel equipment warehouse, and Ashley, who did much of the build-out himself, has run with the electricity theme for the décor, using old insulators from high voltage power lines as chandeliers, for instance. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new, what’s hot, what’s happening, VI

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Freshly served…

DUENDE Definitely one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year, Duende is officially open for business. Former Oliveto chef Paul Canales is serving regional Spanish cuisine in downtown Oakland, next door to Flora. Eater got a peek at the adjoining bodega with the Spanish wine and sherry expert, Gerard Maristany. There will be Verve Coffee available in the mornings and imported olive oil, along with wine organized by country. Bottles from the bodega can be opened in the restaurant with a $12 corkage fee. Domestic wines, beers and a full bar will be available in the restaurant side of Duende. Duende, 468 19th St., Oakland; 510-893-0174. Bodega: Sunday to Monday and Wednesday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Restaurant and bar: Sunday to Monday and Wednesday to Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m., Friday to Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.

CAFFE VENEZIA Caffe Venezia, on University Avenue at Grant Street, will close before this summer after 33 years of operation in Berkeley. Owners Jeff Wizig and Roger Feuer are retiring and selling the business, the restaurant’s manager said. A new owner plans to open a restaurant in the space eventually, but the lid is on precisely what it will be. Caffe Venezia, with its charming Venice street scene interior décor — fountains, balconies and washing lines included — has been a much-loved fixture on the local dining scene for generations of Berkeley families. Caffe Venezia’s founder, John Solomon, was the inspiration behind the “How Berkeley Can You Be Parade” that marched along University once a year for 13 years, until it was canceled in 2009. Berkeleyside Nosh will have a fuller report looking at the history of the restaurant and its place in city life soon. [Hat-tip: James Carr] … Continue reading »

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Rib-sticking soul food: The original Oakland cuisine?

Brown Sugar Kitchen Oyster Po'Boy Smoked Mashed Yams Black Eyed Pea Salad
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New restaurants are popping up like wildflowers in now hip Oakland neighborhoods like Temescal, Rockridge, and Uptown, and the foodie frenzy has descended on the city like a swarm of ravenous bees. But what many of these eaters forget is that Oakland has never lacked for good food, perhaps only Internet glamour. Tacos and barbeque are good bets for a taste of pre-hipster Oakland, but one of the best ways to eat in Oakland is a huge platter of soul food.

Arguably one of the few true American cooking styles, soul food is a multifaceted blend of cuisines borne in the Southeastern US. Most of the dishes one associates with soul food today could be traced directly to the resourcefulness of poverty-stricken slave cooking: pork scraps and fatback were used to flavor greens discarded from plantations and corn from the native soil. Ingredients like okra, sesame seeds, yams, and peanuts were introduced to the Southern American diet from direct imports from Africa, and techniques like alkalizing corn to make hominy grits were borrowed from the Native Americans scattered across the South. Frying in rendered lard was a cheap and easy method for cooking a filling meal, and it provided a convenient technique for preparing celebratory dishes like fried chicken when there was an abundance of food. … Continue reading »

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Zagat San Francisco names 4 East Bay winners

The Cheese Board Collective which Zagat readers voted best in the Bay Area for its pizza. Photo: Christina Diaz
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Three Berkeley restaurants have been singled out for being the best in the Bay Area for particular types of cuisine. West Berkeley eatery 900 Grayson took the vote for “best burger,” the Cheese Board Collective in the Gourmet Ghetto took the prize for “best pizza,” and Ajanta on Solano Avenue was named best Indian restaurant.

The plaudits come in a newly released Zagat San Francisco Restaurants Survey which accompanies the publication of the restaurant guide’s 2013 Bay Area edition. The survey covers 1,636 restaurants based on the combined opinions of 15,502 diners.

Only one other East Bay restaurant won for a type of cuisine: Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen for Cajun/Creole/Soul food. Also worthy of note: when Berkeleyside polled its readers for their choice of “best pizza in Berkeley,” Gioia Pizzeria narrowly pipped the Cheese Board to the number one post. … Continue reading »

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Nosh

The Boston Globe loves Berkeley, or at least its food

The Epicurious Garden: one of the many culinary treats enjoyed by a Boston Globe writer.
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I don’t think most Berkeleyans take our wondrous food choices for granted, but if you’ve become blasé, take a gander at how a Boston writer reacts to the Gourmet Ghetto. That and some choice Oakland spots represent an “omnivore’s dreamworld” for writer Patricia Borns.

“Food for pleasure, food for thought” she muses while sampling delicious treats at Chez Panisse, the Cheeseboard Collective, Ici Ice Cream, Adesso and the Brown Sugar Kitchen among many others.

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