Tag Archives: Gourmet Ghetto
This weekend saw the soft opening of a gelateria with a difference. Caravaggio, at 1797 Shattuck Ave., a stone’s throw from the heart of Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, is as much a science lab as an Italian ice-cream store. You only need to check out those gleaming stainless steel vats and copper pipes at the back of the shop to see why.
Co-owner Emiliano Cecchetti said the reason Caravaggio’s kitchen looks more like a lab is because he takes a scientific approach to making gelato.
“It’s more work, but we have total control over our product,” he said, adding that the goal he shares with his business partner and co-owner Mauro Bernocchi is that customers have “the same experience here as having gelato in Italy — or possibly even better.” … Continue reading »
On Tuesday night hundreds of locals turned out for A Taste of North Berkeley, a collaborative initiative held in the city’s Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood to raise funds for Berkeley Unified schools’ threatened gardening and cooking program.
The event was a success, according to the head of the BUSD program, Jezra Thompson. (Read our interview with Thompson published earlier this week in which she outlines her vision for the lauded program and spells out why it needs support).
“We were able to connect with a lot of community members and visitors, talk about the program, and get people excited about what we’re teaching the Berkeley students,” Thompson said speaking of the Taste event which saw more than 20 local merchants offer food and craft samples. … Continue reading »
RICO’S HI LIFE Rico’s Diner, which closed just two weeks ago at 400 15th St. in Oakland, will reopen in the same spot as Rico’s Hi Life this Friday, Aug. 2. According to the East Bay Express, it is evolving from burgers and milkshakes to pizza, sandwiches and beer. And, in the hopes of bringing the Oakland nighttime food scene back to life, the owner of Rico’s plans to keep the eatery open until 2 a.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, and possibly all week once things get going. After 2 a.m., those who are still up can grab the remaining pizza slices at the Rico’s takeout window.
GARDEN TO TABLE The two-year-old Albany-based initiative that connects backyard gardeners with local restaurants is coming to a close. According to a Facebook post by Bay Food Shed, the umbrella organization promoting “a functional gift economy” under which Garden to Table operates, “there has not been the assistance or buy-in” needed to continue the program. Since 2011, founder Doug Reil has been collecting produce donations from community members and delivering them to restaurants, primarily in Albany, that are interested in locally sourced food. Participants included Bua Luang Thai restaurant, Cafeína Organic Café, Benchmark Pizzeria, and Elevation 66 Brewing Company, in addition to the individual community contributors who supplied the surplus of their home harvests. Although Garden to Table will no longer deliver to restaurants, Bay Food Shed says that going forward, “Garden to Table will focus on fewer, high volume deliveries to the needy, so stay tuned.” … Continue reading »
Alice Waters admits there have been times — many times in fact — when she and her team have considered relocating Chez Panisse.
“We have thought about moving,” she said on Thursday last week, as, all around her, cooks and carpenters, contractors and chefs made final preparations for two sold-out fundraising dinners that were to take place at Chez Panisse the next day. The iconic restaurant, which re-opens to the public today after being closed for reconstruction following a serious fire in March, is in a building that was originally designed as a home and, with its various nooks and crannies and rabbit-warren-like layout, is hardly conducive to housing a world-class restaurant.
On every significant Chez Panisse anniversary, Waters has discussed with her staff whether to move somewhere else, she said.
“We were going to do it when we were 20, then 30, because it can be such a struggle here. We dreamed about having a large space, like they have at Camino,” she said referring to the Oakland restaurant co-owned by Chez Panisse alum Russell Moore, “with a big old fire, a place for teaching and room for interns to gather.” … Continue reading »
Ashton Kutcher is the executive producer of a mini-documentary about Bay Area butcher shops which features Berkeley’s own The Local Butcher Shop, along with 4505 Meats and Avedano’s Holly Park Market in San Francisco.
The subject of meat, America’s industrial meat system and the growing movement towards more sustainable, humane practices is a hot one right now.
On Feb. 4 UC Berkeley is hosting a free screening of American Meat a pro-farmer documentary which takes a critical look at cattle, hog, and chicken production in the U.S. and examines the viability of moving the industry over to more sustainable practices. A discussion will follow the screening, moderated by Novella Carpenter, author of the best-selling memoir Farm City and co-owner of Berkeley’s BioFuel Oasis which, as well as selling bio-fuel to cars, offers urban farming classes. … Continue reading »
Update, 9:10 p.m.: Les Blank was able to attend the City Council meeting and heard the proclamation that was made about him. He was accompanied by his son Harrod Blank and many friends showed up to support him. Berkeleyside’s Emilie Raguso was at the meeting and posted the photo below to Twitter and on our Facebook page (where there’s also video of Harrod Blank addressing the Council.)
Original story: “Les Blank is one of the best documentary filmmakers in America,” says Susan Wengraf, councilwoman for district 6 in Berkeley, who plans to present Blank with a proclamation at tonight’s meeting of the City Council.
Blank, who has lived in Berkeley for 35 years, and whose company Flower Films, is based in El Cerrito, may not be able to attend the meeting at which he will be honored, however, as he is very ill. (On Monday, Blank’s son Harrod told friends he hoped his father would be there.)
Wengraf, who has know the filmmaker for nearly 40 years, says she is crossing her fingers Blank will be there, but she takes comfort from the fact that an informal proclamation was made at a recent screening of clips of Blank’s films. Many of his friends were there and Blank answered questions from the audience. “Harrod said it made him very happy and lifted his spirits,” Wengraf says. … Continue reading »
Off The Grid, the food truck fest that has been a fixture on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto every Wednesday evening since June last year, had its last day in that location yesterday.
The city took the decision to stop hosting the market due to its impact on local brick and mortar businesses and property owners, and also because a reconfiguration of the space it used — at the intersection of Shattuck and Rose — is due to begin next year.
The sudden departure of the hugely popular street food gathering will come as a surprise to the estimated 1,500 people who make a beeline there every week to tuck into on-the-go edibles from the likes of Brass Knuckle, Fiveten Burger, Liba Falafel, and the CupKates Truck. … Continue reading »
Never let it be said it doesn’t snow in Berkeley. Kids turned out in their warm fleeces and mittens on Sunday to enjoy a winter wonderland on Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto. The Snow Queen paid a visit to the transformed parking lot near Virginia Street, there were holiday crafts, and warm cider and cookies courtesy of Andronico’s Community Market. The event was organized by the North Shattuck Association. William Newton dropped by and took these photos. … Continue reading »
On Saturday, Andronico’s Community Markets held a day of celebration to reveal to the public the results of seven months of work that have gone into making over its Shattuck Avenue store.
The BHS jazz band and the Cal “Straw Hat” Marching Band were both whipping up lively tunes near the store’s entrance, there were numerous tasting opportunities, and a raffle to benefit Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS) was giving out prizes on the hour. Otherwise it was business as usual, as customers arrived in droves to shop for groceries and take in the new-look grocery store. … Continue reading »
DAY OF THE DEAD The 1400 block of Shattuck in North Berkeley will be the center of this year’s Dia de los Muertos celebration Friday night. Join dozens of people walking in a candlelight procession as they honor those who have passed on. There will be a community altar from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and the procession runs from 7:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. There will be free face painting, mariachis, Aztec dancers, fire dancers, food trucks and a beer and wine garden. Comal, the Mexican restaurant on Shattuck Ave., will also be holding a Dia de los Muertos themed evening.
Businesses in the Gourmet Ghetto are keen to jump on the parklet bandwagon — bringing outdoor seating to the streets for espresso sippers, pizza eaters, and world watchers in lieu of parking spots — but must first wait for the city to come up with a process for making the spaces available.
So-called parklets — slivers of open space sprouting in cities around the globe — are a big trend in urban design, with San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks leading the way locally, and Oakland following suit (a pilot program is under review there.) Berkeley is a little late to the take-back-the-public-space movement but eager to come up with its own ideas to beautify public areas where community members can congregate. Leading the charge is the North Shattuck Association, which is helping businesses in its café- and restaurant-heavy district organize around the concept.
“The parklets pilot project was conceived by the association based on our experience with hosting temporary parklets during past years on Park(ing) Day and the Spice of Life Festival,” said Heather Hensley, executive director of the association.
Park(ing) Day is an international movement conceived to help city residents around the world reimagine the humble parking space. One day each fall, D.I.Y., creative urbanistas are encouraged to transform parking spots into parks, playgrounds, pop-up cafés — anything other than a lowly (though coveted) place for cars. Park(ing) Day parklets have sprouted in Berkeley in past years in front of the Cheese Board Collective and the late Amanda’s Feel Good Fresh Food. … Continue reading »
My Chan and her husband Kim Phuong have been cooking Chinese vegetarian dishes to a loyal clientele in the small, unassuming Vegi Food in North Berkeley for 28 years. But that may be about to change.
Recently, the building housing the restaurant at 2085 Vine Street (between Henry Street and Shattuck Avenue) changed hands. Chan and Phuong, who rent on a month-to-month basis, are concerned that the new owner is looking to lease the space in this locale on the edge of the Gourmet Ghetto to prospective tenants who have more cash to invest in the restaurant-retail space than they do.
Make no mistake, there’s nothing fancy pants about Vegi Food, a no-frills, hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop shop with a drab exterior and a dining area begging for a makeover. It’s the kind of place that many local eaters likely pass by without notice on their way to the Cheese Board, Off the Grid, or the farmers’ market — let alone high-end joints like Chez Panisse. But it gets high marks from its regulars — many of whom have come for decades — for its inexpensive, healthy chow miens, stir fries, and soups, which feature loads of vegetables and bean curd, and avoid garlic, onion, MSG, eggs, and meat. … Continue reading »