Tag Archives: Eat Real Festival

Eat Real: A local food extravaganza this weekend

Photo: Eat Real Festival via Facebook
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Do you want to learn how to butcher a whole steer? Are you interested in raising chickens in your backyard? Would you like to know the secret of launching a beer business? Do you like delicious locally grown food? Do you want to meet the Berkeleyside Nosh team and taste hot sauces? If you answered yes to any of these questions then make make room on your calendar for this weekend’s Eat Real Festival.

Organized by the nonprofit Food Craft Institute, this free food extravaganza will be held Friday through Sunday in Oakland’s Jack  London Square. A vast array of delicious foods and beverages sold by local vendors, brewers and food craft artisans, are on offer to festival-goers, as well as live musical performances running throughout each day. … Continue reading »

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

Homespun Fare. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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HOMESPUN FARE The husband-and-wife team behind I Squared have re-opened under a new moniker, Homespun Fare (pictured above). They opened quietly Sept. 6 at 5403 College Ave. in Oakland. The menu features starters ($6-$10) such as polenta fries and steamed black mussels, and mains ($9-$16) such as oven roasted salmon, a grilled pork chop and lamb shank. There’s also a cabbage wrap that can be made vegan or with ground lamb, and polenta lasagna. The restaurant has no online presence at this point — neither a Facebook page nor a Yelp review — so curious diners will just have to take the plunge on their own.

LEMAT ETHIOPIAN Exclusively on Nosh, we have a report of a brand new Ethiopian spot coming to the Lorin District in South Berkeley. Lemat Ethiopian Restaurant and Café, 3212 Adeline St., is a casual, family-owned eatery that will offer a variety of vegetable and some meat dishes. Dishes will include thick stews, called wat, and grilled sautéed meats (tibs) along with vegetables served on injera. Co-owner Gezahegn “GZ” Mengistu told Nosh he’s planning to offer all-you-can-eat vegan dishes on Wednesdays, Fridays and during Lent in the spring. Lemat’s decor will feature Ethiopian traditional displays. And the restaurant plans to offer a daily coffee ceremony during lunch hours in a traditional backyard seating area designed for this purpose. Owners Mengistu and Ejigayehu “EJ” Berhanu, his wife, are living in Switzerland with their two sons, but plan to return to the Bay Area next year to launch their new venture. The restaurant is expected to open in July 2014. … Continue reading »

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Popsicle cart taps into taste for local, homegrown

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When Natalie Petty had the idea to sell homemade popsicles made with local, seasonal fruit and herbs, she knew that if there was anywhere her business could be successful, it was the East Bay.

“A lot of people get scared with you say sage and rosemary and you’re talking about a popsicle,” she said. But so far, the daring flavor combinations coming out of the new Seas’n’Lies popsicle cart — from apricot lemon balm to cherry-lime-mint, and the latest, cantelope tarragon — have been well-received.

Although the idea only blossomed in May, Petty and co-owner Chelsea Heller, who met working at Elmwood Café in Berkeley, are quickly making their popsicle-selling dreams come true. Since their kickoff party on May 26, Seas’n’Lies has been invited to sell at a number of Bay Area gallery openings and has popped up at the Elmwood Café, as well as on select street corners. On July 4, the cart made an appearance at the marina in Martinez. … Continue reading »

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La Cocina helps launch Mexican food business

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The story of how Dilsa Lugo launched Berkeley catering company Los Cilantros starts in Cuernavaca in the Mexican state of Morelos where she grew up.

Her family had a vegetable garden outside of town, where her father grew corn, beans, chilies, lemons, mangoes and more.

Her mother, who had nine kids to feed, cooked fresh tortillas on an open fire every day.

Lugo’s family farmed and cooked together out of economic necessity and enjoyed the flavors of a homegrown harvest and the pleasures of the table. As a child, she liked to help in the garden and the kitchen.

In college, where she studied horticulture, she became schooled in the dangers of pesticides to farm workers, consumers, and the environment.

Before leaving Mexico seven years ago, she ran a successful greenhouse business selling plants, including poinsettias and marigolds, for festive occasions.

She landed in Berkeley with her husband, embraced the organic food movement, and lamented the lack of authentic Mexican eateries that offered organic food. So she began to make her own.

Her tamales, tacos, and tortillas proved a big hit with her husband’s co-workers in construction.

Maybe, she thought, she could start a food business here. But first Lugo attended the Berkeley Adult School, where she took English classes. There she learned about a program for aspiring cooks looking to land employment in the food industry called The Bread Project.

While participating in that program, she heard about and subsequently received support from La Cocina, a nonprofit commercial kitchen and food business incubator in San Francisco that helps low-income female food entrepreneurs formalize and grow their own businesses.

Lugo toyed with the idea of starting a Mexican bakery but opted, instead, to run her own catering company which she dubbed Los Cilantros in honor of the pungent herb that flavors much of Mexican cuisine.

The 36-year-old lives in West Berkeley with her family, including a school-age son and a brand-new baby. We spoke at her home a couple of weeks ago.Continue reading »

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Why does the street food scene bypass Berkeley?

Skylite Snowballs will be at Berkeley's inaugural Off The Grid event. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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At Berkeley’s Spice of Life Festival yesterday, for the first time in the event’s eight-year history, street carts were part of the mix. Jon’s Street EatsPrimo ParrillaChairman Bao and Skylite Snowballs were among the dozen or so street-food purveyors who signed up to join Gourmet Ghetto chefs and local D.I.Y. food artisans doling out morsels for the masses.

Normally, though, there’s a dearth of brightly colored food trucks roaming the streets of Berkeley, while Oakland, San Francisco and Emeryville have thriving street-eat scenes. A taco truck or two can usually be found in West Berkeley, a couple of food trucks work the Bancroft-Telegraph corridor near campus, and Cupkates makes a weekly appearance on Fourth Street. That’s about it.

Red tape seems the biggest barrier to food trucks cruising city streets. Sidewalk cuisine purveyors say the cost and bureaucratic hassle of doing business in Berkeley make it less desirable to serve meals on wheels here than in other Bay Area locations.

Some point to the fact that the city is already saturated with brick-and-mortar joints, lacks a light industry customer base, and includes a significant student population unwilling to pony up much cash for food. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Bites: Suzanne Schafer & Shari Washburn, Ebbett’s Good to Go

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The Twitter handle pretty much sums things up.  Two food-obsessed moms try to have their cake and eat it too: Start a food truck and still be home with the kids.

Meet the newest truck on the block to hit the streets of Emeryville. You can’t miss the baby-blue colored vehicle emblazoned with the Ebbett’s Good To Go insignia. And there’s no mistaking this mobile food biz for some roach coach come to dish up cheap, tasteless … Continue reading »

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Eat Real Lit Fest features Berkeley scribes

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The second annual Eat Real Festival, a three-day showcase of the best of the Bay Area’s street food carts, local growers, artisan beer and wine purveyors, cheese makers, urban homesteaders, and other local food crafters kicks off tomorrow at Jack London Square in downtown Oakland.

The event that promises to “Put the Food Back in Fast,” is the brainchild of Anya Fernald, the executive director of Slow Food Nation, a 2008 gathering of gourmands held in … Continue reading »

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