Tag Archives: Local 123
When it comes to wine, America has been playing catch-up to Europe for quite some time. But progress on that front has been accelerating rapidly in recent years. The latest manifestation of these gains can be seen in the growing number of East Bay restaurants now featuring wines on tap. What seemed like a fad just a few short years ago has now become a fixture of the local dining landscape.
One of the first local restaurants to explore the notion of kegged wine was Oakland’s Chop Bar. According to owner Chris Pastena, who also owns and operates popular spots Tribune Tavern and Lungomare, the early days were very much hit-and-miss, and those interested in this new format had to be prepared to make things up as they went along.
“We started doing it when we opened in September of 2009,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot of information about wine-on-tap at the time. Also, there weren’t a lot of kegs being manufactured and there weren’t many systems available, so we ended up creating our own hodge-podge operation ourselves.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday approved 7-Eleven’s application to open a store at 2000 San Pablo Ave. (at University) with an ATM machine and some design changes, but said it did not want the store to be open 24 hours.
Before the motion was passed, 7-Eleven representatives at the ZAB meeting had emphasized that operating 24-hours is at the core of their business model. The convenience store chain now has the right to appeal ZAB’s decision to the Berkeley City Council.
The ZAB Board listened to comments from around 25 residents and merchants of the west Berkeley neighborhood whose nexus is the intersection of San Pablo and University where the store would be located. The majority were opposed to a 7-Eleven coming into the area. Their concerns, which were also raised at a community meeting at the proposed 7-Eleven site on Jan. 8, centered on the negative impact such a store might have on local crime and safety, in particular if it was open all night. … Continue reading »
Frieda Hoffman, who runs Local 123, a popular west Berkeley café, trained to be a social worker and wanted to work in the addiction field. She spent six years in Berlin with her then-husband, a German, but had difficulty landing work in her area. So when an American friend decided to open up a café there, and became quickly overwhelmed, she jumped in to lend a hand and discovered that she rather liked the barista business and wound up managing the java joint.
Hoffman and her husband returned to the States in 2008 and toyed with the idea of running an eco inn along the coast, but soon realized that was cost prohibitive. So then they started scouting for café locations – and found the storefront on San Pablo Avenue, formerly a video rental store and a beauty supply shop. (During the build-out, much of which the Local 123 crew did themselves, they discovered placenta hair gel, among other artifacts.)
Her marriage didn’t survive the cross-Atlantic shift but Hoffman decided to soldier on with opening the café – the business was a welcome distraction – and her sister-in-law Katy Wafle, stepped in to help. Hoffman lived above the café until the summer of 2009, when she decided she was done waking up to the sound of coffee grinders. … Continue reading »
As home to the first Peet’s, opened in 1966, Berkeley has always been a coffee lovers’ town. Espresso, Americano, soy lattes — you can find almost any variation on brewed coffee in almost any neighborhood in Berkeley.
Some call the recent resurgence in coffee connoisseurship the Third Wave of coffee. First came Peet’s. Then came Starbucks. And now there are a host of independent coffee roasters – Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, Ritual, Ecco, Sightglass, and Barefoot among them.
Refinery29, an online fashion and lifestyle magazine, recently ran a feature titled “13 Cool East Bay Coffee Joints To Get Your Caffeine On,” detailing some of the great coffee shops in the region. Four were from Berkeley.
Here’s an excerpt from Angela Tafayo’s piece:
Guerilla Café is an earthy café nestled in the heart of Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. Pouring Blue Bottle coffee and boasting a wide range of preparations (from European to Latin American), this spot oozes the worldly vibe that coffee enthusiasts crave. Its noms are nothing to sneeze at either — fresh, healthy ingredients, and a clear view of the kitchen means great food in a warm and cozy environment, marked by a stunning bright-blue mural.
MORE TO DRINK IN THE DRINKS DISTRICT The San Francisco Chronicle named Chris Brockway A Winemaker to Watch in January and named his 2009 Broc Cellars Vine Star California Red one of the top wines of 2011. Now Brockway is opening a tasting room at Broc Cellars at 805 Camelia St. on weekends from noon to 5 p.m. Its official opening is July 22, but Brockway will do a soft launch this weekend. Wine lovers can visit the other wineries in the drinks district, too. Donkey & Goat’s tasting room is open from 2 to 6 pm weekends at 1340 Fifth St. And Urbano Cellars Winery’s tasting room at 2323B Fourth St. is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. … Continue reading »
Marilyn Rinzler is that rare bird in the Gourmet Ghetto: a food purveyor who shuns the label foodie and shies away from fancy food. She doesn’t even like to cook much.
Back in 1979, Rinzler got the idea to start a food business when she was a busy graduate student in social work and single mother of two then teenage boys. She was frustrated she couldn’t find a takeaway place in town to pick up a simple, healthy dinner — say, roast chicken and salad — on her way home.
So the unlikely edible entrepreneur set up her own shop, Poulet, on Shattuck Avenue in North Berkeley to provide just such a service. This was well before the term Gourmet Ghetto came into vogue. The deli, now in its 33rd year, is an anchor institution of that iconic food corridor, turning out made-from-scratch meals for those with who crave unfussy comfort food.
Rinzler, who lives near the Rose Garden, was so busy with her budding business that she never did practice as a social worker. But that training, as you might expect, has come in handy in dealing with both staff and customers. … Continue reading »
Two local artists are bringing a touch of wilderness to the urban landscape with a new show of their works at Local 123 on San Pablo Avenue.
Oakland-born Felter, who was an associate professor of art at Santa Clara University until last year, assembles “post-natural” digital montages. She describes the beginning of her “Hunting and Gathering” series thus: “Flowers on a flat-bed scanner look like 17th century “tromp l’œil” still-life paintings by Dutch masters who created fictional but hyper-realistic scenes that twisted the laws of nature.” … Continue reading »
Listen up locavores in search of the next edible experience: Berkeleysiders have no fewer than three pop-up dining options, each with their own unique flavor, from which to pick from the first weekend in May.
Friday May 7, self-taught chef Nigel Jones offers his Jamaican cuisine with island classics like jerk chicken, plaintains with black bean sauce and sweet potato fries at his pop-up Kingston 11, (starters $7, mains $11-$14), which runs weekly, at the Guerilla Cafe in North Berkeley. (Kingston 11 is Jones’ postcode from home, Bob Marley’s, in case you’re curious, was Kingston 12.)
On the same night, longtime restaurant industry worker Suzanne Drexhage is hosting a seasonal spring supper ($50, sold out) at Local 123 in West Berkeley. On the menu: Backyard borage cocktail, nettle and sheep’s milk ricotta crostini, local lamb shoulder with artichoke and fava bean ragout. … Continue reading »
Dafna Kory discovered the delights of jalapeňo jam during pre-dinner nibbles at a Thanksgiving gathering. She went out to buy a jar, couldn’t find the mighty spicy condiment anywhere, so she began experimenting with making her own. It became an instant hit among her posse.
At first, the self-taught preserver thought her D.I.Y. hobby would just make nice gifts for friends and family. The she moved from San Francisco to South Berkeley, saw the abundance of plums, apples, and lemons growing in her new backyard, and a jamming business was born.
Kory foraged fruit in a hyper-local fashion. She made batches of jam in her home kitchen. She personally delivered by bike. Demand for her jams grew by word-of-mouth.
Friends who had friends who owned stores began encouraging her to branch out beyond her inner circle. So she started shopping INNA jam (the name is, indeed, a playful pun) to places like Local 123, Summer Kitchen, Rick and Ann’s Restaurant and The Gardener.
About a year ago, with orders coming in a steady stream, it became clear that Kory, now 28, needed to either gear up and focus on turning her after-hours pastime into a fully fledged business or scale back and remain a hobbyist. She decided to take the plunge.
A freelance commercial video editor, Kory hasn’t looked back. She began working in a commercial kitchen in North Berkeley, selling her pickles and preserves at events like ForageSF’s Underground Market and the Eat Real Festival, and offering workshops for other D.I.Y.ers.
The UC Berkeley graduate now spends nine months of the year working full-time on her budding food business, and supplements her income in the winter months with editing gigs.
In a year, she hopes to devote 100% of her work day to INNA jam. Kory also pickles though that product line is on hiatus while she ratchets up production to meet demand for her increasingly popular jams. She delivers locally by bike, ships interstate, and offers an annual, seasonal subscription (a 10-ounce jar retails for $12). … Continue reading »
It seems unthinkable that the People’s Republic of Berkeley has existed without a food co-operative for more than two decades. Well, try not to choke on your non-GMO, organic, fair trade, soymilk chai latte, but the co-op is coming back to Berkeley.
The Consumer’s Cooperative of Berkeley was the place to shop for the politically correct for 51 years. It opened in the heart of the Depression, when families came together to form buying clubs so they could afford to put … Continue reading »
Photographer Janet Delaney has lived in West Berkeley for 22 years and she has watched the complexion* character of the neighborhood change, mostly for the better. Recently, she says, it took a great leap forward when Cafe Local 123 opened its doors at 2049 San Pablo Avenue and created community where before there had been little more than passing acquaintances.
“It’s transformed the area,” says Delaney of the cafe. “Every neighborhood needs somewhere public like this where … Continue reading »
Planting Justice is holding a hands-on workshop for local residents to learn how to grow food and other plants at home or work — no matter how tight your space may be.
The workshop takes place on Thursday July 1 from 6pm-7.30pm on the back patio of cafe Local 123 at 2049 San Pablo Avenue (pictured left).
Topics covered include the basics of urban permaculture, choosing containers and plants for your space — be it a patio, porch, … Continue reading »
Amy Murray moved to Berkeley and opened Venus Restaurant on Shattuck Avenue in 2000. The restaurant began serving up seasonable, organic, sustainable California cuisine with worldly accents — which was something of a novelty back then.
A nice nod early on by Kim Severson, then a restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, now at the New York Times, gave the funky little brick cafe just the kind of exposure it needed to draw in diners.
Last month, Murray … Continue reading »