Tag Archives: Cafe Rouge

Best burgers in the East Bay: Nosh readers call it

Burgers from TrueBurger on Grand Avenue in Oakland, which got the most votes among Noshers
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A while ago (OK, three months ago — what can we say? We got busy reporting other news), we asked readers who makes the best burger in the East Bay? The answers came in thick and fast: juicy grass-fed beef burgers oozing with cheese and bacon, nutritious veggie sliders accompanied by garlicky french fries, gourmet gluten-free or straight-up regular — there was no shortage of favorites.

The votes were scattered over nearly 50 burger purveyors, and there was little wiggle-room between the total tallies for each restaurant, which just goes to show how spoilt we are in the East Bay when it comes to that all-important decision: where to grab a superior burger right now.

So, with the understanding that this was a totally unscientific poll, and that everyone was a winner, we give you the most popular burgers as voted by Noshers — and we’ve also created a nifty interactive map with details about each spot, so you know where to head to try local favorites. … Continue reading »

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Nosh Talk: Hugh Groman, Phil’s Sliders

Hugh Groman
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Nosh Talk is a regular Q&A with an East Bay chef, restaurateur or food artisan, published on Berkeleyside Nosh, in which we snoop for inside intelligence…

What is always in your refrigerator?
Eggs, aged cheddar, orange juice, cranberry juice, and produce from our weekly Full Belly Farms delivery. But, honestly, there wouldn’t be any food in there at all if it weren’t for my husband. I work all the time and would probably just eat out if left to my own devices.

What do you cook up for a late night snack?
I love making a shake of frozen bananas, milk and unsweetened cocoa. It is a completely satisfying and guilt-free dessert.

Where/what do you eat on your day off?
I love to eat at Tacubaya on Fourth Street, or Venus in downton for a delicious brunch or dinner, or Cha Am for yummy Thai food, or Café Rouge, or Kitchen 388 in Oakland, or 900 Grayson for lunch. I love Gather. I love Kirin Chinese on Solano or Shen Hua on College. The house-fried wontons at both of those places are incredible. We just tried Potala which has vegan Tibetan food and it was delicious. Fentons is a lifelong family favorite. … Continue reading »

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

Scream Sorbet by Emilie Raguso
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Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant and bar news in the East Bay. Got a tip or a scoop? Send it our way at nosh@berkeleyside.com. Bites is produced by Nosh in collaboration with Christina Mitchell, founder of East Bay Dish. (And we’ve started numbering Bites so you can check out previous editions of Bites and be sure you are up with all the food news.)

Freshly served…

PHO HUONG NAM A new Vietnamese restaurant is set to open today, Feb. 15, on San Pablo Avenue in Albany. Pho Huong Nam takes the place of a former Japanese restaurant. The inside is completely remodeled, and appears light and spacious. Let us know if you give it a try. 938 San Pablo Ave., Albany; 510-526-3878.

BLACK BEAR DINER The East Bay Express reported about a new Black Bear Diner in Emeryville. The Mt. Shasta-based chain has 55 locations, including this new one. The menu looks like traditional diner fare with plenty of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday – Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 5750 Christie Ave., Emeryville; 510-654-2327. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Northbrae Bottle Shop
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SAN PABLO & UNIVERSITY The area around San Pablo and University Avenues is buzzing with new tenants moving in to vacant retail spaces. As previously noted, eco-friendly mattresses and sleep products store Keetsa is moving into the building at 2117 San Pablo, having relocated from the 811 University. Keetsa, which also has stores in New York and San Francisco, is in the process of building out the space and will open in a few months. And a furniture company has taken the lease at the beautifully restored 2001 San Pablo Ave. The identity of the furniture company has not yet been released. Expected move-in date is around April. And the intersection may soon see the arrival of a convenience store if an application by 7-Eleven to take over 2000 San Pablo is approved. … Continue reading »

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

duende facebook
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Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant and bar news in the East Bay. Got a tip or a scoop? Send it our way at nosh@berkeleyside.comChristina Mitchell, founder of East Bay Dish, is the main voice behind Bites, with a little help from the staff at Berkeleyside.

Freshly served…

duende facebookDUENDE 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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4 East Bay names finalists in Good Food Awards

Kory
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Four East Bay food producers are finalists in the national 2013 Good Food Awards.

West Berkeley salumi company, Fra’ Mani, run by former Oliveto chef Paul Bertolli, is a finalist in the Charcuterie category for its Salame Toscano. The Cultured Pickle Shop, owned by Alex Hozven and Kevin Farley and also in west Berkeley, made it to the finals in the Pickles category for its Japanese Cucumber and Arame Kimchee and its Kasu-Zuke Jalapeños. INNA Jam, which owner Dafna Kory recently moved from Berkeley to Emeryville, is a finalist in the Preserves category for its Pretty Spicy Fresno Chili Jam. And Alameda-based St. George Spirits, reached the final stretch in the Spirits category for its Agua Libre California Agricole Rum and its Aqua Perfecta Poire Eau de Vie.

A total of 114 winners, representing 132 products, are set to be announced tonight at a ceremony held at San Francisco’s Ferry Building presided over by Berkeley restaurateur and sustainable food champion Alice Waters. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Caffe Venezia (1)
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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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Bites: What’s new, what’s hot, what’s happening, V

sweet-bar-bakery
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Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant and bar news in the East Bay. Got a tip or a scoop? Send it our way at nosh@berkeleyside.comChristina Mitchell, founder of East Bay Dish, is the main voice behind Bites, with a little help from the staff at Berkeleyside.

Freshly served…

EL GUSANO According to Eater SF, Erin Brooks and Michael Sopher, who own San Francisco’s Tropisueño, opened El Gusano earlier this week in Old Oakland. The menu features Mexican specialties ($3.95-$11) including burritos, tamales and quesadillas, as well as pambazos, a sort of wet torta with chorizo and potato that’s a specialty of Mexico City. Various cocktails, with a focus on mezcal, will be available in the bar. El Gusano, 1015 Clay St., Oakland; 510-444-9676. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.

EAT + LOUNGE Haig and Cindy Krikorian’s K2 Restaurant Group closed Sea Salt on New Year’s Eve and Inside Scoop reports that it was already scheduled to open again as Eat + Lounge under chef Kwin Vu. (Berkeleyside also reported this in December in our Shop Talk column.) The menu is influenced by the Mediterranean and “more farm-to-table” offerings. The plan is to serve lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. Eat + Lounge, 2512 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley; 510-883-1720. … Continue reading »

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Local 123 finds its feet in West Berkeley and beyond

A look inside Local 123.
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Frieda Hoffman, who runs Local 123, a popular west Berkeley café, trained to be a social worker and wanted to work in the addiction field. She spent six years in Berlin with her then-husband, a German, but had difficulty landing work in her area. So when an American friend decided to open up a café there, and became quickly overwhelmed, she jumped in to lend a hand and discovered that she rather liked the barista business and wound up managing the java joint.

Hoffman and her husband returned to the States in 2008 and toyed with the idea of running an eco inn along the coast, but soon realized that was cost prohibitive. So then they started scouting for café locations – and found the storefront on San Pablo Avenue, formerly a video rental store and a beauty supply shop. (During the build-out, much of which the Local 123 crew  did themselves, they discovered placenta hair gel, among other artifacts.)

Her marriage didn’t survive the cross-Atlantic shift but Hoffman decided to soldier on with opening the café – the business was a welcome distraction – and her sister-in-law Katy Wafle, stepped in to help. Hoffman lived above the café until the summer of 2009, when she decided she was done waking up to the sound of coffee grinders. … Continue reading »

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Darryl Kimble: 27 years cooking breakfast at Bette’s Diner

Chef Darryl Kimble takes a break from behind the stoves to talk breakfast. Photo: Sarah Henry
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In the restaurant business, chefs change jobs about as often as the lead in a Superbowl playoff. So to have stayed the course at one spot, worked your way up the ranks almost since the inception of a beloved eating institution, and still genuinely enjoy going to work every day, well, that’s worth noting.

Such is the case for Darryl Kimble, the manager at Bette’s Oceanview Diner on Fourth Street, which celebrates its 30th year in 2012. Kimble has been cooking there for 27 and a half years; he joined the kitchen crew at 19.

The perennially popular restaurant serves breakfast and lunch to an astounding 135,000 people a year, although it only sits about 50 inside. … Continue reading »

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Awards tap Berkeley taste makers for national contest

Good Food Awards Judges: Dafna Kory (photo: Jeffery Kong); Michael Pollan and Alice Waters (James Collier) and June Taylor (Leigh Connors).
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Berkeley’s food mavens will likely be out in force tonight at the Good Food Awards at San Francisco’s Ferry Building and many of the judges for this annual event — sponsored by Seedling Projects and now in its second year — hail from this city’s gourmand ranks. But only one Berkeley name may find a place on the winners’ podium.

The concept behind this socially and ethically responsible food contest is to highlight “best in show” from five regions of the country in various edible categories. This year, prizes will go to makers of beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves, and — a new area — spirits.

At last year’s soirée — with a keynote address by restaurateur and sustainable food champion Alice Watersthree Berkeley winners emerged in the beer, charcuterie, and pickles categories. … Continue reading »

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Homegrown truths: Sunny Side Café chef Aaron French

Aaron French
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Aaron French, a self-described eco-chef, has headed up the kitchen at The Sunny Side Café on Solano Avenue in Albany since it opened in 2004.

For the past two years he’s served up breakfast standards (think pancakes and eggs) and simple lunch fare (burgers, sandwiches, salads) at a satellite café of the same name in Berkeley.

French bounces between the two popular spots several times a day and jokes that the breakfast-brunch shift is the Rodney Dangerfield of cooking (it don’t get no respect).

Still, he’s proudest of his low carbon emissions menu options and his weekend food specials, a short, seasonal list that emphasizes local farms and calculates food miles.

French isn’t your typical chef. Before he cooked for a living he worked as a scientist. His interest in ecology led him to spend two years living among pygmies in Cameroon, where he studied seed dispersal by monkeys and birds.

An avid nature photographer, he’s also written about the relationship between ecology and food for the Bay Area News Group, where he penned the EcoChef column, as well as for Civil Eats and Fungi Magazine. … Continue reading »

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Local restaurants raise money for edible education

Samin Nosrat
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Potentially lost in the tsunami of stories of all things Chez Panisse this week  — see yesterday’s Berkeleyside Wire and this post today for a fraction of the coverage circulating in anticipation of the 40th anniversary celebrations that start in earnest tonight — is the fact that the weekend long festivities are, at their heart, a series of fundraisers for the newly launched Edible Schoolyard Project, a national hub designed to broaden the reach … Continue reading »

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