Tag Archives: Good Food Awards

Bites: Sturmfrei, Ippudo, Golden Squirrel, more

The bar at now-closed Nizza La Bella. Photo: Nizza La Bella/Facebook
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Openings, closings

NIZZA LA BELLA REPLACEMENT: STURMFREI Over the summer, we brought you the news of the closure of the well-loved Albany bistro, Nizza la Bella. The owner had decided to retire after 17 years of running the restaurant, and put the space, including its wood-fired oven, on the market. We’ve now learned that Nizza will be replaced by what sounds like a German restaurant called Sturmfrei. (The name, roughly translated, means “to have the run of the house,” or to have one’s place to oneself.) Owners Frieda Hoffman and Daniel Polsby have just filed an ABC license for the new restaurant, so its opening is likely at least several months off. It’ll be the first new project for Hoffman after selling her West Berkeley coffee shop, Local 123, to Highwire Coffee Roasters. Hoffman also works for the wine shop, Vintage Berkeley, according to her Facebook page. We’ve reached out to Hoffman to learn more about Sturmfrei, and we’ll keep you posted. UPDATE: We have heard from Hoffman, who says that she is currently looking for a tenant partner to manager the restaurant space, and does not have any concrete plans for the restaurant. She will have very little to do with the running of the restaurant. While she and her partner have filed for an ABC license, they are still under contract for the restaurant space. She said she has been talking to some “great people” who have good ideas for the future restaurant, but has not yet settled on a partner. The new restaurant will be at 825 San Pablo Ave. (between Solano and Washington avenues), Albany.Continue reading »

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Real Good Fish makes it easy to eat the local catch

Real Good Fish fisherman Kevin Butler displays ling cod for Bay2Tray. Photo courtesy: Maria Finn
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“Here, fishy fishy” — these three words mark a promotional post card I pick up at a mercantile. It was designed for Real Good Fish, a community-supported fishery that is the fisherman’s equivalent of a farmer’s CSA. The phrase is a throwback from a 1982 Bert and Ernie sketch, but I’d like to imagine it is what real fishermen say when they’re out in the ocean farming for seafood. I’d also like to think that this is the way my fish are caught — in the wide open seas with a boat and a net.

I refrain from conjuring images of fishing farms and frozen fillets. Industrialization takes the romance out of seafood. It also damages the environment and takes a toll on the coastal community, none of which I knew before meeting Real Good Fish founder and CEO Alan Lovewell at January’s Good Food Awards, where Real Good Fish took a prize for their smoked black cod.

Lovewell grew up in a coastal community on the upper East Coast. He has always been surrounded by water and has observed most aspects of the fishing community firsthand, including illegal and unsustainable practices that lead to coastal destruction. “Coastal communities are disappearing,” says Lovewell. “Massive global fishing efforts come at the expense of small coastal communities. More and more imports are coming into industry and consumers really don’t know what’s going on.” … Continue reading »

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Two East Bay companies win Good Food Awards

Brian Johnson and Julie Gordon at the kitchen. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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It is not every day that one gets to be serenaded on the merits of coffee, beer and cheese by two charcuterie makers. It is not every day that one gets to hear Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini speak on the future of food. It is not every day that one gets to attend an after-party with Alice Waters, two East Bay culinary artisans and countless other food and beverage producers.

But the annual Good Food Awards ceremony is anything but an ordinary, every day experience. NOSH attended this year’s ceremony, which was held on Jan. 15 at Fort Mason’s Herbst Pavilion in San Francisco. It was a long, rollicking evening, filled with plenty of good food and the aforementioned singing — courtesy of Elias Cairo and Tyler Gaston of Portland’s Olympia Provisions.

Two East Bay companies were among the 176 award winners: Wooden Spoons took home a charcuterie award for its pork rillettes, and La Tourangelle won an oils award for its Gourmande Roasted Hazelnut Oil. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Passione Pizza truck, Park Street Grill

Photo: Passione Pizza
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Openings, closings…

PASSIONE PIZZA NOW HAS A FOOD TRUCK Berkeley-based pizza company Passione Pizza debuted its first fully functional food truck in October in Sacramento. The truck will make its first East Bay appearance next week. Passione has been selling pre-made pizza dough and par-baked pizzas using high-quality wheat and gluten-free flours since 2013. The company had operated a mobile pizza oven for catering events since its beginnings, but owner Fabrizio Cercatore, who also runs Hot Italian in Emeryville, says on the company website that the demand far exceeded the capacity of the small oven. Hence, the new food truck. Passione has been very well-received so far. Yelper Michael M. said, “Passione Pizza tastes exactly like the fresh bread served in the trattorias in Rome.” Dave F. called the crust “amazing.” And Nana D. said of the pre-made dough: “It is by far the best pizza dough I have ever tried making it at home!” Passione Pizza is at 2326 5th Street (between Bancroft and Channing ways), Berkeley. Connect with the pizzeria on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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East Bay artisans show strong at Good Food Awards

Aaron and Monica Rocchino: their goal is to bring restaurant quality meat to the home cook
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Last Thursday night, the 2015 Good Food Awards ceremony showcased the most regionally diverse crowd in their five-year history, yet even with this abundance of talent from around the country, the East Bay had a definitive presence.

East Bay food judges were present in all categories. Alice Waters held court on the stage all night, along with fellow food leaders Ruth Reichl and Nell Newman. Mark Bittman, who is to lead Cal’s Edible Education class this spring, delivered the keynote speech. And longtime East Bay businesses, Market Hall Foods and Fra’Mani won awards amid a youthful crop of food artisans. … Continue reading »

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4 East Bay names finalists in Good Food Awards

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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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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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Beer, tongue and pickles: Food makers win awards

Cultured pickles
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Three Berkeley artisan food producers emerged victorious at the inaugural Good Food Awards which were presented at San Francisco’s Ferry Building on January 14. The awards celebrate food purveyors who marry great flavor with responsible food production and are divided into seven categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles and preserves.

In the pickles section, Berkeley’s Cultured on Bancroft won for its spicy oregano purple carrots for which owner Alex Hozven sources ingredients from River Dog Farm in Yolo County. Cultured uses a natural fermentation process which slowly creates a sour flavor and a deeper, more complex final flavor. The product is also alive and therefore good for digestion. Read the story of how Cultured came to be by Berkeleyside food writer Sarah Henry in her July 2010 profile.

Bison Brewing, a 22-year old brewery run by Daniel Del Grande and George Allen, was a winner in the beer category for its organic gingerbread ale which contains hops from Clearlake, malted barley from Vancouver, WA, and spices from Sonoma.

Bison has robust environmental credentials: it has conducted a carbon footprint analysis of its operations, practices on-site wastewater treatment, and has a standard operations cycle for his cleaning procedures. It is also very involved in its local community. Four years ago, the company moved its operations to Fifth Street from an architect-designed brewery on Telegraph Avenue after the city of Berkeley revoked its manufacturing permit there. … Continue reading »

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