Tag Archives: Chez Panisse

Opinionator

Op-ed: Why I disrupted Chez Panisse

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Friday night, I entered Berkeley’s world-famous Chez Panisse with a bouquet of flowers. I looked to Chez Panisse as an example of fine dining at its best. The sights and aroma all created a seductive mood in the restaurant. I was there with the flowers for a reason you might not expect, though: to remember the animals Chez Panisse was serving that night with a flower for each plate.

Commenters quickly noted that my … Continue reading »

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Animal-rights activists disrupt Chez Panisse service

chez-panisse-photo-amanda Marsalis
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Berkeley police were called to world-famous restaurant Chez Panisse on Friday night after a group of animal-rights protesters stormed into the dining room and disrupted dinner service.

About 10 people carrying flowers from the group Direct Action Everywhere walked into the downstairs portion of Chez Panisse and asked for the diners’ attentions, according to a press release issued by the group. (Update: See below for a statement issued by Chez Panisse on Monday Sept. 12.)

“I come to you today with a message of compassion,” Matt Johnson, one of the activists, told those seated at tables covered with white tablecloths. “A message on behalf on the billions of animals exploited, who are tortured and killed by humans every year. We are told a lie … that animals exist as commodities for human use… Animals are living feeling individuals. They value their lives and their freedom the same as you and I do. They experience the same pain, the same joy, the same love of life and they have it have it ripped away from them and are brutally killed for the mere crime of being different than ourselves.”

The invasion into Chez Panisse is part of DxE’s “Flowers for Animals” campaign, “which encourages activists to peacefully speak out in stores and restaurants that serve products from animals killed for food about violence against animals on farms across the United States,” according to the press release.

The incident started around 10 p.m. but Chez Panisse management didn’t call the Berkeley Police Department until 11:00 p.m., according to Lt. Alyson Hart.

A Chez Panisse employee described the animal-rights activists as busting into the restaurant “screaming and yelling.”

The group, which was 10-15 strong, according to Hart, refused to leave the restaurant, which was when the restaurant decided to call police. (Update: The group involved two 18-year-olds, a man and woman, from Pleasanton. No other information was available about its members.) … Continue reading »

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Bites: Genova Deli, People’s Café, The Wolf, more

Genova Delicatessen. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

GENOVA DELI’S LAST DAY IS SATURDAY Get in for your Italian combo fix while you can, because Genova Delicatessen‘s last day will be April 30. “We are humbled by all the good wishes and love from the community and want to thank you for so many years of support,” wrote the deli’s owners on its website. The 90-year-old Italian deli in Oakland’s Temescal district had announced in February that it may be forced to close due to a rent dispute with its landlord. However, in a story in the San Jose Mercury News, co-owner David DeVincenzi’s wife Patti said that other rising costs were a bigger contributor in the decision to close. They didn’t want to be forced to raise prices. “The cost of doing business is to the point now where it became uncomfortable,” she said. David DeVincenzi told the San Francisco Chronicle that the family is working on finding a new location in Oakland, but was unwilling to hint at where that location may be. In the meantime, the Genova factory on Broadway, the Napa store, and the two Genova Deli locations in Walnut Creek (owned by another branch of the family) remain open. And, according to the Mercury News, the property owners at Temescal Plaza are looking for a new local deli operator to open in the space; property representative John Dobrovich said he hopes the new tenant will hire some of the former Genova employees. Genova Delicatessen is at 5095 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland. Connect with the deli on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Bites: Antoinette, Temescal Brewing, Belotti, more

The dining room at the newly opened Antoinette Brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. Photo: Fairmont Group
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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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Bites: Dominique Crenn, Chez Panisse, Recchiuti…

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

DOMINIQUE CRENN OPENING BRASSERIE AT CLAREMONT CLUB & SPA The San Francisco chef, who owns the two Michelin star Atelier Crenn and newly opened Petit Crenn, is in talks with Fairmont Hotels about opening a restaurant in the newly re-branded Claremont Club & Spa, formerly the Claremont Hotel. In a press statement released earlier this week, Fairmont Hotels said the restaurant will open in 2016 and will replace the Paragon. “Chef Dominique Crenn’s elegant neighborhood brasserie will serve a locally sourced seasonal menu, joining the hotel’s three other exceptional restaurants and lounges,” the company wrote. Inside Scoop got ahold of Crenn, who said that she has signed a preliminary contract, but has not finalized the agreement. Regardless, Crenn will not be in the kitchen of the new restaurant. She told Inside Scoop that she will be involved with the restaurant in “more of a curatorial or designer capacity.” Eater SF also spoke with Crenn, who told the website that the new restaurant will be called Antoinette, an “elegant, but casual” restaurant in the style of a French brasserie, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will be based mostly around seafood and vegetable dishes, but will include meat. Many of the dishes will be large and designed to share, like a whole roasted fish or côte de boeuf. Petit Crenn wine director Courtney Humiston will consult on the largely French and California wine-focused drink menu. Crenn told Eater that she was attracted to Berkeley’s historic dining scene. “I love Berkeley,” she said. “This is where it all started, with Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. I want to be part of something special.” No more details for now, but we’ll keep you posted. Claremont Club & Spa is at 41 Tunnel Rd. (at Claremont Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the hotel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Bites: T-Rex BBQ, Café Gratitude, Firebrand, more

Photo: T-Rex BBQ/Facebook
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Openings, closings

T-REX BBQ TEMPORARILY CLOSED We received several tips that West Berkeley’s T-Rex BBQ has closed. A sign posted on the door reads: “T Rex is closed for the near future due to management changes. We appreciate your patronage, and hope to see you again in the near future.” We confirmed with the restaurant owners that the closure is temporary. It will re-open this afternoon at 4 p.m. For now, T-Rex will only serve dinner on weeknights. It will remain open for brunch through dinner on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant, which serves an array of barbecue styles, had an ownership shuffle in 2012. The original owners, Haig and Cindy Krikorian, of the K2 restaurant group (Lalime’s), sold the business to Matt Sturm, of Fly Bar and Solstice in San Francisco. T-Rex BBQ is at 1300 10th St. (at Gilman Street), Berkeley.Continue reading »

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Oakland’s Bay Wolf restaurant closing after 40 years

Photo: Bay Wolf
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Bay Wolf, a destination restaurant in the East Bay for four decades, will close its doors for good on Sunday Aug. 30.

“It’s time,” said co-owner Michael Wild on Wednesday. “This was my life. It was everything, but when you’ve run a restaurant for 40 years, it’s time,” he said.

Wild, 75, opened the warm, wood-paneled restaurant in a Craftsman house on Piedmont Avenue with partners Michael Phelps, and Larry Goldman, also 75, on Sept. 21, 1975, three years after Chez Panisse opened in Berkeley. Like Alice Waters’ celebrated, and similarly styled, restaurant, Bay Wolf was known from the start for its locally sourced, seasonal menu.

“We did that together,” said Wild. “Focusing on local food was a given, given where we live.” The restaurateurs always aimed to source their food from within 100 miles, apart from the few times, “in the dead of winter,” when they’ve had to venture a little further. … Continue reading »

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Bites: OVO, Sequoia Diner, Mad Oak and more

OVO Tavern and Eatery. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings…

OVO COMES TO NORTH OAKLAND OVO, a.k.a. “Oakland’s Very Own Tavern and Eatery,” has softly opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland. The new bar and restaurant is an official viewing spot for the Golden State Warriors playoff games while it continues to tweak its menu and operating hours. For now, OVO is open only from 4-9 p.m.; owner DeWayne DeGuzman aims to hold a grand opening party at the end of the month. The menu features simple bar food like tater tots, chicken wings and burgers. DeGuzman said OVO will eventually be open in the morning, with breakfast pastries from Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts and Mr. Espresso coffee. The bar has a modest selection of beers, with space for six rotating local microbrews, and a potent-sounding OVO punch (think rum and lots of fruit). OVO takes the place of Bottom of the Ninth Bar & Grill, which opened in 2013 after Looney’s BBQ closed. DeGuzman hopes the restaurant will be a lively community gathering space, and he plans on keeping the concept and menu adaptable to the changing neighborhood. “We’re going to keep it fresh, just like Oakland,” he said. Ovo is at 5319 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between 53rd and 54th streets), Oakland. Continue reading »

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12 East Bay restaurants make Bauer’s Top 100

The Dock at Linden Street. Photo: The Dock at Linden Street
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Michael Bauer’s list of the top 100 Bay Area restaurants causes a stir each spring. The San Francisco Chronicle food critic has been producing the compilation of his favorite spots for the past 20 years. His choices are typically San Francisco-heavy, but they do include a growing number — 12 this year — of East Bay restaurants.

In a nod to the increasing relevance and excitement of the East Bay food scene, none of the spots cut from the list this year came from our the right side of the Bay.

The two new additions to the East Bay list are both restaurants from James Syhabout. Bauer praised The Dock at Linden Street for its “uncanny skill for matching food to beer” and “unexpected” food combinations. He especially likes Syhabout’s crisp fried cranberry beans, curried lamb riblets with lime pickled chutney, and Caesar popcorn (“the best thing since caramel corn”).  … Continue reading »

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Bites: Continental Club, Wolfhound Bar, more

West Oakland's Continental Club has a new owner, and may be re-opening its doors soon. Photo: Google maps
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Openings, closings

CONTINENTAL CLUB COULD BE GETTING A FRESH START The Continental Club, an iconic West Oakland music venue and comedy club, was once host to countless jazz and blues stars in the 1960s. It was originally opened as a gumbo restaurant in 1947 by owners Curtis and Ross Christy; by the 1950s, the brothers had added a live music component to the restaurant, calling it Ramboogie. In 1961, the duo renovated and expanded the club. From then on, the space was known as the Continental Club. Situated on 12th Street in the Prescott neighborhood of West Oakland, the club fell onto hard times in the 1970s and never seemed to recover. Comedian Pharaoh bought the club in 2010, but shuttered it a few years later. Now, it seems that the club has changed hands once again. New owner Magnolia Entertainment has applied for a liquor license for an eating establishment, which is now pending. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. The Continental Club is at 1658 12th St. (at Campbell Street), Oakland.Continue reading »

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Bites: PieTisserie, Kitchener Snack Bar, more

Jaynelle St. John (center) held a grand opening for her pie shop, PieTisserie, on Valentine's Day. Photo: PieTisserie
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Openings, closings…

PIETISSERIE SHOP HOLDS GRAND OPENING Oakland pie maven Jaynelle St. John held a grand opening celebration for her standalone shop in the Grand Lake district this past Saturday. PieTisserie specializes in unique pies, such as mojito custard and chocolate cream pretzel. St. John has been selling her pies for the last five years, but has moved her operation around Oakland; most recently she sold pies out of Nido, near Jack London Square, and she has also made appearances at Swan’s Marketplace in Old Oakland, and Kitchenette in San Francisco. Since parting with Nido in August 2013, St. John has been working on opening her retail space while selling her pies through her website and Munchery. PieTisserie, complete with its pie window, is at 1605 2nd Ave. (at Foothill Boulevard), Oakland. Connect with the bakery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Le Bateau Ivre hopes loan will kickstart revival

Le Bateau Ivre is still struggling, despite raising about $13,000 from an Indiegogo campaign. Photo: Naomi Nishihara
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By Naomi Nishihara

Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat) a French restaurant, bar and coffeehouse in an 1898 home on Telegraph Avenue, has witnessed decades of first dates since it opened in 1972. But after the recession, its co-founder’s death and dwindling foot traffic, the fabled Berkeley hangout is losing money and struggling to survive in a changing landscape.

Owner Arlene Giordano, who founded the restaurant 43 years ago with her late husband, Thomas Cooper, launched an Indiegogo campaign in September, hoping to crowd fund $60,000 to pay bills, replace kitchen appliances and get the business back on its feet. But the campaign, which ended in November, raised less than one-quarter of her target. Now Giordano is seeking a small business loan from the city to keep her restaurant alive. … Continue reading »

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Chez Panisse chef’s ‘Twelve Recipes’ teaches basics

Bean gratin from "Twelve Recipes" by Cal Peternell. Photo: Ed Anderson
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When I was in college and in my 20s and I called my mom at a non-designated time, she usually knew it was because I had hit a bump in the kitchen. No greeting, just, “What are you making?” If she got a call from me while at work, it was either an emergency – which it never was – or I had inevitably gotten stumped while following a recipe.

A lot has changed since then. Not only did I grow up, but I have also become way more confident in the kitchen. And now there’s this new thing, ready to answer all of my culinary questions. Before there was the Internet and before there was Google, there was my mother.

It’s for this reason that I could really relate to the goal of Cal Peternell, chef at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse and author of “Twelve Recipes.” When Peternell’s eldest son headed off to college, he realized that his children hadn’t picked up on his cooking skills by osmosis. He was afraid his son would be no better off than any other student; that once his days of dorm living were over, he’d be eating packaged ramen every night. As hard as it was for Peternell to accept it, being the son of a chef doesn’t automatically make one a good cook.  … Continue reading »

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