Tag Archives: Kermit Lynch

Nosh Talk: Suzanne Drexhage, Bartavelle

Suzanne Drexhage
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Nosh Talk is a regular Q&A with an East Bay chef, restaurateur or food artisan, published on Berkeleyside Nosh, in which we snoop for inside intelligence…

What is always in your refrigerator?
Preserved lemons, butter, and for some reason, Prosecco. And chicken stock and last summer’s slow roasted tomatoes in the freezer. Just in case.

What do you cook up for a late night snack?
I don’t usually snack late, but we occasionally eat a pretty late dinner after Stan gets home from work, maybe cooked greens with pasta or eggs, or leftover soft tofu soup. [Stan is Stanislaw Sobolewski, cookbook manager at Moe’s Books.]

Where/what do you eat on your day off? 
So many good places to check out lately, it’s hard to decide, but I love Fusebox in West Oakland, the new Ramen Shop on College Ave., Ippuku in Berkeley, and Duende in downtown Oakland.

Do you have a secret ‘junk food’ vice?
I don’t eat junk food. Street food, sure. Taco trucks, yes! … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new, what’s hot, what’s happening, I

New: Grand Lake Kitchen. Photo: Christina Mitchell
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Bites is Berkeleyside Nosh’s round-up of restaurant, bar and food-related news in the East Bay. To stay up-to-speed with all that’s going on locally, read our daily Nosh Wire, and check out previous editions of Bites. We always love receiving food-related tips at nosh@berkeleyside.com.

Freshly served…

GRAND LAKE KITCHEN Chef David Wasem (Park Tavern, Balboa Café) and General Manager May Seto (Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina), who happen to be husband and wife, opened Grand Lake Kitchen last Wednesday. Serving “a mix of traditional deli fare and seasonally driven dishes,” along with beer and wine, it’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Grand Lake Kitchen, 576 Grand Avenue, Oakland, 510-922-9582. Monday to Saturday, 10:30am-7:30pm

TEA HERE NOW Former non-profit fundraiser and event planner Andrea Tyler opened Tea Here Now last week. Offering freshly steeped tea, a few different salads and Fat Bottom Bakery scones and cookies, it’s a place to go for breakfast or lunch. Or just for a snack. Tea Here Now, 1721 ½ Webster, Oakland 510-832-4832, Monday to Friday, 7:30am-3:30pm. … Continue reading »

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Kermit Lynch: ‘I abandoned my heart to Europe decades ago’

Kermit Lynch
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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 »

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Wine merchant Kermit Lynch celebrates 40th anniversary

Kermit Lynch: Rocker-turned-wine-importer. Photo: Courtesy KLWM
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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 »

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Bartavelle owner: What’s cooking for ex-Café Fanny space

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Suzanne Drexhage is living proof of the adage that things come to those who wait.

Drexhage, who has worked at Berkeley wine purveyor Kermit Lynch for a dozen years, hosted her own pop-up restaurant events, served at Chez Panisse, and cooked with some of the most creative folks on the Berkeley food scene, has been scouting around for several years for a space to open her own place.

So, when Café Fanny closed in March after 28 years of serving frothy cappuccinos, poached eggs, and Acme toast, Drexhage was delighted to get the go-ahead to open Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar, a café-wine bar with a modern vibe and a European feel, in the slip of a space formerly co-owned by Alice Waters and Jim Maser of Picante. … Continue reading »

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‘It’s the end of a generation. Fanny has grown up’

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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.

…See a photo gallery of Café Fanny’s last day

“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 »

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Provence in Berkeley

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For the past 18 years, Kermit Lynch, the world-renowned wine dealer, has been bringing a touch of the south of France to his store on San Pablo Avenue.

Each fall, Kermit Lynch teams up with his next door neighbor, Café Fanny, to put on Provence in Berkeley, a day that celebrates everything French.

That means dozens of bottles of refreshing rose, white, and red wine, Christopher Lee’s hearty French bouillabaisse, local musicians, and more. The only thing … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Bites: Kara Hammond, Elmwood Café

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A decade ago, and fresh out of North Carolina, Kara Hammond landed a gig at Café Fanny, a tiny slip of a place in North Berkeley opened 25 years ago by, oh, a certain famous local chef.

Hammond, who had run a homespun bakery in Greensboro, wanted to get some kitchen experience in the Bay Area. Someone she knew knew someone who had a contact at Café Fanny; she called up and scored a job, just like that. Hammond … Continue reading »

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Berkeley wine maverick: Kermit Lynch

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Berkeley is a city of wine independents.

Sure, the place is known for its dedication to free speech, the right of the City Council to pass resolutions concerning U.S. foreign policy, and its devotion to all foods local and organic.

But the city also treads its own way on wine, which was made abundantly clear in a San Francisco Chronicle interview with wine master, Kermit Lynch.

Lynch, whose 22-year old book, Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine … Continue reading »

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To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question

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Blogger extraordinaire Dave Winer does it many times a day and nearly 30,000 people follow his every word. Sustainable food guru Michael Pollan thought he was going to do it, but probably found he was too busy and has only graced us with his 140-character apercus 15 times since he launched himself into micro-blogging.

Few of Berkeley’s luminaries seem to have got the Twitter bug. A non-scientific survey reveals Winer (@davewiner*) way out in the … Continue reading »

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