Tag Archives: Gather Restaurant

5 Berkeley restaurants make it into Chronicle’s Top 100

Corso Trattoria: one of just five Berkeley restaurants to make it into the Chronicle's Top 100 list
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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.

The “Top 100 Restaurants” list, which was published yesterday, embraces Chez PanisseIppukuO ChaméRivoli and Corso Trattoria.

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 »

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Filmmaker favors multiple dimensions, timeframes

Berkeley-based filmmaker Peter Chang likes breaking boundaries in his work, be it in space or time. His latest oeuvre, Deus Ex Homine, is a beautiful stereoscopic 3D motion-controlled time-lapse short film. In it, the camera sweeps around the Bay Area: taking in server farms in Silicon Valley, indoor gardens, Berkeley’s Gather Restaurant, and Oakland artist Jeremy Mayer at work building astonishingly lifelike robots out of old typewriter parts.

Chang, who majored in English at UC Berkeley and worked for many years as a photo-journalist, established his production company Cinefugue in San Francisco in 2006. He said it focuses on innovative uses of cutting-edge technology with themes related to humanity’s future and the young generation. A previous project, Lightscapes, a TV show for Discovery HD Theater, was the first television program to feature mostly time-lapse photography.

Chang says he likes to think of time-lapse photography as a “god’s eye” technique that compresses time. “It’s a way to get people thinking about the future, by making it seem as if time passes quickly. … Continue reading »

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7 Berkeley restaurants get value nod from Michelin

Ippuku2
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Seven Berkeley dining spots have been named Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants. The ‘Bib’ is bestowed to restaurants where the Michelin judges deem one can eat well for $40 or less (plus tax and tip), and Michelin selected 77 such places for its 2012 San Francisco area guide.

Ippuku, the Japanese dining spot on Center Street, received the accolade for the first time. The other six are: Corso, eVe, Five, Gather, Rivoli, and Thai House.

Ippuku serves traditional yakitori and a wide selection of the Japanese spirit shochu, and has found a loyal following since it opened in July 2010. Not long after its launch, Alice Waters told Berkeleyside that it was one of her favorite haunts. “I really don’t want to tell too many people about it because I don’t want the place to get too busy,” she said.

Michael Bauer included Ippuku in the Chronicle’s Top 100 restaurant list for 2011 and praised chef Christian Geideman for his grilling expertise, and his partner Paul Discoe, who designed the restaurant, for his mastery in carpentry. … Continue reading »

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Farm-to-fork tours spotlight local green businesses

Restaurant chefs at Five, Gather, and Revival will talk slow money and sustainable food at an upcoming green tour.
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Three years ago, Marissa LaMagna started Bay Area Green Tours, a nonprofit, shoestring operation now headquartered in the David Brower Center (and largely staffed by eager, eco-conscious, unpaid interns) because she wanted to showcase the best sustainable farms and food, buildings and businesses, energy practices and employment opportunities in Berkeley and beyond.

The green tour business with a biodiesel bus takes people from near and far to see for themselves and hear the stories behind successful sustainable enterprises … Continue reading »

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The humble grilled cheese sandwich takes center stage

GrilledCheesGuy's take on an American classic.
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Michael Davidson, 29, is a man with many skills: a scientist by day, he’s the guru of the grilled cheese sandwich by night — and on weekends too.

Davidson works in medical diagnostic development, he’s currently gathering data on women’s health for research studies for his employer, the pharmaceutical giant Roche. Away from his 9 to 5 job he morphs into the GrilledCheezGuy, cooking up his version of that classic American comfort food from a mobile cart, for which he’s … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Were you a winner in our Caltopia raffle?

Baskets filled to the brim with gift certificates and pizza for a year from LaVal's
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The two days of Caltopia were quite a whirl for students, faculty and staff, as well as for exhibitors like Berkeleyside. From the tens of thousands who passed through the self-proclaimed “greatest days on planet Earth”, we were able to have conversations about local news with hundreds of people, we launched OneNews/Berkeleyside, our exciting new citizen journalism app, and we even found some potential new journalists.

But what about the Berkeleyside raffle? We partnered with a host of wonderful Berkeley businesses … Continue reading »

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News

Thousands of Cal students, staff flock to Caltopia

Students new and old come out in droves for the community-boosting swag-fest that is Caltopia
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UC Berkeley freshmen, some looking dazed, others excited, as well as more blasé seniors, turned out in their thousands on Sunday for Day One of Caltopia, the self-described “two greatest days on the planet”.

The event, held at the UC Berkeley Recreational Sports Facility at 2301 Bancroft Way, sees more than 100 exhibitors showcasing their wares and services to the Cal community, including the university’s staff and faculty.

It’s a combination of freebie-fest — with giveaways galore, be it bites of Clif Bars, T-shirts, pens and mouse pads and the chance to win covetable prizes like Kindles from big brand names like Pepsi  — and social mixer.

Berkeleyside made its debut at Calopia yesterday and we will be there again today. Find us at booth E104.

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UC Berkeley’s Caltopia: The ultimate Town & Gown affair

Caltopia2
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This weekend, when around 30,000 students and faculty stroll through Caltopia, browsing the booths of more than 100 exhibitors, Berkeley’s two driving forces, the city and its university, will be pitched in perfect harmony. And Berkeleyside will be there to sing along too.

Caltopia was launched nine years ago as a way for Berkeley businesses to welcome Cal students, both current and new, back to school. The event runs on Sunday and Monday this year, and classes start up … Continue reading »

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Bauman College celebrates new Berkeley campus

Bauman College's new state-of-the art kitchen. Photo: Sarah Henry
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Tonight the whole foods people at Bauman College get to show off their state-of-the art kitchens with Vulcan ranges (and, presumably, their holistic culinary chops) at the grand opening of their new location on University Avenue near San Pablo.

Visitors can check out the elegant remodel–nod to local architect Charles Kahn–of the 1949 building which once housed the Mobilized Women of Berkeley. (The Mobilized Women’s Cooperative, formed in 1917 in response to World War I, was founded on the principles of service to country and community.) Recently earmarked as a landmark site due to its architectural design and historic status, the building features vaulted ceilings, concrete grid form panels, a unique u-shape design and translucent glass blocks in a diamond pattern.

Why move? The non-profit nutrition and culinary arts program, formerly housed in a rabbit warren of a building on Grayson Street in West Berkeley, simply outgrew the space, said Sitarani Brian, the culinary program director of Bauman’s Berkeley campus, which shifted to its new digs in March.

The natural chef instructor, who specializes in vegetarian, vegan, and raw cuisines, as well as macrobiotic, ayurvedic, and gluten-free diets, grew up in the suburban mid-West, one of seven kids whose parents loved all things Indian (hence Brian’s given name and her vegetarian upbringing.)

Brian, 28, has a marketing background but left corporate America to study at The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City before landing a job at the fancy raw food restaurant Pure Food and Wine. Three years ago she relocated to San Francisco with her ethically omnivorous husband to open her own personal chef business. Her first client, ironically enough, was a chef who was too busy with her own catering business to fix her own food.

Brian missed working in a communal setting, so jumped at the chance to come on board as a natural chef instructor for Bauman College. We spoke yesterday on the eve of preparations for the opening. … Continue reading »

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Five’s Banks White: Berkeley ‘keeps me on my toes’

Banks White, executive chef at Five. Photos by Christina Diaz
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Banks White is the executive chef of Five, which calls itself a modern American bistro. Think comfort food with au courant accents: Macaroni and cheese made with orzo, wild mushrooms, tomato jam, and smoked gouda. Slow braised short rib pot roast with mascarpone polenta. Buttermilk biscuits with white cheddar pimento cheese.

The restaurant (named for the five senses and its 5 o’clock happy hour) is housed in the historic, refurbished Hotel Shattuck Plaza, which looks like it’s been given the Dorothy Draper treatment. (This writer spent some time last fall at the interior designer’s signature space, The Greenbrier in West Virginia.) Swirling black-and-white wallpaper. Ornate red chandelier. Black-and-white marble floors and red wall sconces. Get the picture?

White hails from Texas, land of barbecue and Buds, but is trained in classic French culinary techniques. The 30-year-old has worked for several upscale boutique hotel restaurants including The Driskill in Austin and Auberge du Soleil in the Napa Valley. … Continue reading »

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The best pizza in Berkeley? Our readers decided

Young customers enjoy the pizza at Emilia's Pizzeria, which came in fourth in the reader rankings
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Wow. Who knew Berkeley residents were so passionate about pizza? It’s right up there with free speech, free love, and free-range eggs — or so it seemed based on readers’ record responses to our request last week for their choice of the best pizza places in town.

Before we announce the winners of our, let’s face it, less-than scientific survey, a few caveats up front. Stunned by the sheer number of votes (over 220 comments including input on Facebook) we realized, after the fact, that we should have employed a poll counter. Next time. And, we’ll be sure to include a category for “other,” so you can weigh in with a pick not mentioned in the post.

Because it turned out, that despite writing in the story and later in the comment thread (several times) that the dozen pizza purveyors listed represented a sample of savory pies on offer here, many of our readers — including one rather irate pizzeria owner — read it as this site’s “best of” picks.

Privately, folks pointed out, too, that businesses left off that list may have been unfairly handicapped, a not unreasonable assumption, and it is duly noted.

So, we didn’t make it easy on you. And you didn’t make it easy on us. Some voted for more than one place. Some voted on Facebook or Twitter but not here. The crack accounting team at Berkeleyside opted to err on the side of generosity in tabulating results, including all favorable mentions in the count.

Many mentioned that a top pizza pick might vary depending on factors such as deep dish versus thin crust, East vs. West style, delivery, location, and omnivore/vegetarian/vegan options. Some argued that the pie produced at Cheese Board isn’t even pizza. (Where is the sauce? Potatoes and kale topping?) As one self-described pizza snob wrote: “While Cheeseboard is undeniably delicious, it’s not pizza.” … Continue reading »

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Josh Thomsen gathers talent for Claremont wine fest

Josh Thomsen
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Josh Thomsen knew from a young age that he wanted to be a chef and credits his late father, Jerry, for sparking his culinary interest. His dad would put in a long day as a stockbroker, come home, go to the market, and then cook up a storm — making a mess, using every pot in the house, and turning out a delicious dinner.

The Culinary Institute of America grad has done his dad proud. Thomsen’s resumé includes stints at the French Laundry in Yountville, Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, and The Lodge at Pebble Beach. He’s also worked in kitchens in big-buck Las Vegas venues like Tao Restaurant at the Venetian Resort, the Mansion at the MGM Grand Hotel, and the Michael Mina-owned Nobhill Tavern.

These days Thomsen, 40, is the executive chef at local landmark The Claremont Hotel, Club, and Spa, known for its regal white facade and killer views. Until recently, though, the hotel wasn’t exactly known as a destination dining experience. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Donkey & Goat wine bash draws hundreds

The patio outside Donkey and Goat on Fourth Street was transformed for the Spring Release party
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Close to 400 people came to Jared and Tracey Brandt’s Donkey and Goat on Saturday to try the urban winery’s new spring releases and taste food prepared by chefs from Gather restaurant. Visitors got the chance to try Prospector, a wine made from Mourvèdre grapes, a 2008 syrah made from the Fenaughty vineyard in El Dorado County, and many other wines. There was grilled calamari, pig’s head cuts, and other delectables to eat.

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