Tag Archives: Chez Panisse
It was the 40th anniversary of the founding of his famous wine store, the sun was shining, the band was playing, the wine was flowing and Kermit Lynch was all smiles.
“Long live wine!” Lynch shouted into a microphone to the hundreds of people who had gathered in the parking lot of his store at San Pablo and Cedar to celebrate the anniversary. “Let’s get on with this great party! Let’s have some fun!”
The crowd didn’t need much encouragement. With sausages and frittata prepared by chef Christopher Lee, ice cream by Ici, and a parade of dishes by the newly opened Bartavelle café (occupying spot where the revered Café Fanny once stood) there was plenty to sample.
But, as in all things in Lynch’s life, the centerpiece of the day was wine. Known for elevating the status of wine made from small French and Italian wineries (sourced from his many trips hitting the back roads to find unheralded producers) Lynch chose seven wines for the day’s celebrations that both reflected his store’s past and its future. … Continue reading »
Veteran writer and editor Katrina Heron — who has done stints at The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and Wired — was recently named the new director of The Edible Schoolyard Project, the nonprofit started by school food champion Alice Waters which seeks to promote edible education and reform the National School Lunch program.
While taking the reins at the school cooking, gardening, and lunch advocacy organization is a departure from Heron’s journalism career, she has long been associated with the group and reported on a range of food matters for high-profile outlets.
Heron began working with ESYP (then the Chez Panisse Foundation) 11 years ago as a volunteer, joined the board of directors in 2003 and served until 2010.
“When I learned, on quite short notice, that the director role was open, it just seemed like the right time to assume a more active role in advocating for edible education,” said Heron, who follows in the footsteps of several short-lived leaders of the institution, most recently Quinn Fitzgerald, Francesca Vietor, and Brian Byrnes. Prior to that, the post was held by Carina Wong, who departed to work for the Gates Foundation in Seattle. … Continue reading »
Following in the footsteps of long-time culinary anchor institutions in Berkeley such as Chez Panisse and the Cheeseboard, Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant celebrates its 40th year in business on Saturday Oct. 27 — with the parking lot of its store at 1605 San Pablo Avenue turned into a party venue featuring, of course, fine food and wine.
Kermit Lynch, a wine retailer and importer, is widely regarded for writing one of the best books on the wine business — Adventures on the Wine Route – and is also known for selecting and selling quality pours from small, family-owned estates in France and Italy.
Lynch imports wines from around 140 producers and he’s garnered an international reputation for singing the praises of wines without well-known pedigrees, particularly from France, where he’s traveled the back-roads in search of hidden gems of great value by looking, as he likes to say, where no one else was looking. … Continue reading »
He’s run a pizza joint in Montana and a Japanese restaurant in New Mexico, but Berkeley-bred Christian Geideman has perhaps earned the highest marks for coming home and opening a stylish izakaya restaurant, Ippuku, in downtown Berkeley.
Izakaya is Japan’s answer to the tapas bar or gastropub: a casual joint to go after work for strong drinks, small plates, and a chance to unwind with friends.
Ippuku opened two years ago on a strip that typically serves the student set and it’s been widely praised since then. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Michael Bauer heaped compliments on the place. Alice Waters is a regular and calls Ippuku one of her favorite spots to dine in town. And local chefs laud the restaurant for its drink list, including shochu (a distilled spirit typically made from barley, sweet potato, rice or black sugar) and craft beers on tap, as well as its authentic, Japanese fare. The restaurant showcases yakitori, or grilled skewers of just about any cut of meat from chicken, including neck, heart, liver, knee cartilage, shoulder blade, tail, gizzards, and skin.
Clearly, Geideman takes the trend of whole-beast cooking to heart. The dish that’s garnered most attention on the menu is chicken tartare. That’s raw chicken, topped with daikon sprouts, Korean chili paste, and a raw egg to the uninitiated — what Bauer described as “a double dose of culinary danger.” … Continue reading »
If it’s true that “Garlic is as good as ten mothers,” the title of Les Blank’s 1980 film, my question is: why anyone would want ten mothers? For most people I know, and speaking for myself, one good mother was plenty. Evidently this is not the case with garlic, about which, for its fanatical fans, there is no such thing as too much.
So when Blank’s cinematic homage to never-enough-garlic was screened on a recent Sunday at the Pacific Film Archive as part of a Les Blank retrospective, aging but loyal garlic-heads, including yours truly, showed up to marinate, yet again, in the stinking rose’s aromatic magic.
When my Book of Garlic was published in 1974 under the nom de plume Lloyd J. Harris, it luckily caught Les Blank’s eye (and nostrils). The book, which had been inspired by my brief stint as a waiter at Chez Panisse during its first hectic days in 1971, proclaimed a garlic revolution in America and popularized the ancient Roman word for garlic, “stinking rose.” … Continue reading »
In the last year, Chez Panisse chefs, staff, and alum have embarked on gourmet global diplomacy trips to Japan (in an informal expedition under the auspices of a group known as OPENrestaurant) and China (in a formal affair the restaurant’s owner, Alice Waters, presided over herself.) Now comes word that a contingent from the acclaimed restaurant are headed to Cuba to plant seeds of change on the food and farming front — and learn a thing or two about Cuban cuisine and growing greens from this Carribbean island country.
What’s more the trip, scheduled for December 4-12, coincides with the Havana Film Festival, and is open to the public. The delegation includes Chez Panisse downstairs chef Jerome Waag, former Chez Panisse pizzaiolo Charlie Hallowell, Steve Sullivan from Acme Bread (a former Chez Panisse chef), and Cuban-American line cook Danielle Alvarez, who will set foot on Cuban soil for the first time. … Continue reading »
The Chronicle’s food writer Michael Bauer chose the same five Berkeley restaurants that made it into last year’s Top 100 for his 2012 selection.
Ippuku, known to be favorite haunt of Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters, was a newcomer last year. Rivoli and Corso share the same owners: Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper.
In all, the list, which is in its 17th year, has 15 new restaurants and has dropped the same number, and Bauer notes that a trend this year has been for chefs to embrace the concept of Californian cuisine. Chez Panisse calls itself Northern California/Mediterranean, even though its roots are decidedly French and its branding, with its old Marcel Pagnol movie clips, retains a Gallic flavor. Bauer reports that other Bay Area restaurants — including Solbar, Bar Agricole, Canteen, Gary Danko and Manresa — have switched their allegiance from American to Californian. … Continue reading »
Tonight, at Builders Booksource on Berkeley’s Fourth Street, Kathleen Brenzel will introduce the new, ninth, edition of the “Sunset Western Garden Book“, the iconic gardening bible which is in its 80th year.
Brenzel, Sunset’s Garden Editor, paused on her busy book tour to answer some questions posed by Berkeleyside. Naturally we selected to focus on Berkeley.
What do you think of when you think of Berkeley and gardening?
Diversity. Woodland, meadow, and even tropical gardens thrive here. … Continue reading »
Alice Waters came to Café Fanny Friday morning with a funeral wreath to commemorate the closing of the café she opened 28 years ago.
As a long line of people waited to get their last servings of poached eggs on toasted Acme levain bread, beignets, and steaming bowls of café au lait, an emotional Waters, the owner of Chez Panisse restaurant and edible schoolyard pioneer, expressed sadness that the café was closing. She said that the café was losing money, and, with the divorce of the other co-owners, Jim and Laura Maser, Café Fanny had ceased to be a happy place, which is a critical ingredient in the success of any restaurant endeavor.
“It seemed like the end of an era,” said Waters. “You want to have someone home at a café. You want at a restaurant to have people who love it. I can’t take care of it now the way it needs to be taken care of. I just didn’t want to disappoint people who expect a certain something when they come here, whether it is a café au lait, a poached egg or a beignet. It is very hard to change a place.” … Continue reading »
Café Fanny, which is co-owned by Chez Panisse restaurateur Alice Waters, is closing. Tomorrow will be the café’s last day, according to staff at the popular eatery who were only informed of the development today.
A senior staff member said the reason given for the abrupt shuttering was that the café was not financially viable.
Café Fanny was opened by Jim Maser (who also owns Berkeley’s Picante) and his sister-in-law Alice Waters in 1984 and named after the heroine in Marcel Pagnol’s 1930s movies, as well as Waters’ daughter.
A statement from the owners reads:
Twenty-eight years ago Café Fanny was conceived in the spirit of Marcel Pagnol’s trilogy - a love story involving the whole community, centered around a little standup café.
So it is with a heavy heart that we are closing Café Fanny today after 28 memorable years. … Continue reading »
Over the past 34 years, Art and Lucille Poskanzer, who dine out at least once a week, have compiled what is probably the only dedicated restaurant guide to Berkeley and Oakland. However, unless you happen to work at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, it’s unlikely you will have seen it.
That changes today, as Berkeleyside is honored to be able to introduce “Restaurants in the Berkeley Area”, which includes regularly updated reviews of 100 restaurants in Berkeley and 80 in Oakland, as well as maps and a recent news section.
The printed guide began life in 1978 as “Guide to Berkeley’s Restaurants and Hot Tubs”. It was conceived by Berkeley Lab physicist Art Poskanzer, who, that year, was tasked with hosting an international nuclear physics conference which drew in many out-of-town visitors.
“This was the days before Yelp,” Poskanzer says today. “We wanted to be able to provide a useful dining-out resource for visitors.” … Continue reading »
As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back to see what food stories created a buzz around town and on Berkeleyside in 2011.
Granted, there’s an arbitrary nature to such end-of-year lists. But it’s an opportunity to take stock of the city’s culinary culture.
For the purposes of this post we’ve focused on food news stories, which doesn’t take into account the dozens of interviews with foragers, farmers, artisans, advocates, chefs, cooking teachers, preservers, pasta makers, cheese purveyors, pop-up restaurateurs, and farmers’ market vendors we’ve published during 2011.
This year also saw controversial coverage of corner stores, reporting on detractors of school food, an insider’s take on speed dating with a veg-friendly focus, and a widely criticized first-person piece on disappointing camp chow.
Readers may differ on what food stories caught their attention. Feel free to add your own highlights (or low points) in the comments section.
In alphabetical order: … Continue reading »
But that perception would be wrong. Founded in 1995, the Center for Ecoliteracy has also long championed school food reform and channeled funding in the millions to garden programs, cooking classes, and nutrition-based curriculum in Berkeley public schools.
Along with the Chez Panisse Foundation and Berkeley Unified School District, the Center for Ecoliteracy also implemented the School Lunch Initiative, which kickstarted local, seasonal, and sustainable food for students here and connected the classroom and the cafeteria. … Continue reading »