Tag Archives: Oakland

Alameda Kitchen transforms places, produce, people

Vegetables donated to Food Shift's Alameda Kitchen. Photo courtesy: Food Shift
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Dana Frasz loves food. She hates waste.

Frasz especially hates when perfectly good produce is thrown into trash bins because of something as silly as aesthetic imperfections. She knows why food was created — to feed people. Still, six billion pounds of fruits and vegetables go to waste each year in the U.S. solely on account of cosmetic imperfections. Meanwhile, 50 million Americans are food-insecure. Frasz finds this completely unacceptable.

“It’s unjust,” said Frasz. “It’s nonsensical, this crazy reality of hunger in the presence of so much abundance.” … Continue reading »

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Lafaza Vanillas blends local ideals with global reach

One of Lafaza's Malagasy farmers holds a bottle of vanilla beans. Photo: Lafaza Vanillas
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Oakland company Lafaza Vanillas is a prime example of how to manage the intersection of local food practices and a global market. An environmentally conscious enterprise connecting vanilla farmers in Madagascar to buyers in Northern California, Lafaza, which operates out of a warehouse near Jack London Square, has launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to guide the company closer to its central tenets: forests, farmers, and flavors.

The idea for the Kickstarter “has been boiling for a while,” said James Delafield, president and co-founder of Lafaza. “We were trying to figure out what the ask would be.”

The resulting campaign, which began on April 30, has a goal of certifying Lafaza’s Madagascar farmers as fair-trade, non-GMO, and organic so that all-organic companies in the U.S. will be able to use Lafaza vanilla.

“The people we work with are mostly smallholder farms, people who are growing an acre or less of vanilla, so we work with hundreds of people” in Madagascar, Delafield said. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Millennium on for Rockridge, Vampire Penguin

The Halo-Halo. Photo: Vampire Penguin
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Openings, closings…

VAMPIRE PENGUIN HAS THE GREEN LIGHT Berkeley will soon have its own shaved ice restaurant. We brought you news about Vampire Penguin, the popular Sacramento-based Taiwanese dessert restaurant, last fall. The restaurant now has its hands on a building permit, and manager Anthony Bai hopes to be open by mid-May. Vampire Penguin specializes in gourmet shaved ice — made primarily of fruit concentrate, sugar and non-dairy cream — with a variety of flavors and toppings like fruit, oats, taro, condensed milk, candies and other treats. It’s a potent combination; one Sacramento news outlet named the product, also known as “shaved snow,” the “best mouthgasam” in the city. Vampire Penguin will be at 2575 Telegraph Ave. (at Parker Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Oakland Dust rubs pay homage to local barbecue

Lloyd Ross of Oakland Dust. Photo: Alix Wall
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If you grew up in the East Bay in the 1970s, chances are you may remember Flint’s BBQ, a legendary take-out spot on Shattuck Avenue just beyond the Berkeley border that usually had a line of people waiting for their links, ribs or brisket, with several slices of Wonder Bread to mop up the sauce.

Lloyd Ross is one of those who remembers it fondly.

In his house, Flint’s was a Sunday tradition. He’d go with his dad to pick up barbecue. “By the time we made it home, half the links would be gone and my lips would be on fire,” he recalled fondly. “This is where my love affair with pork and all foods began.”

Ross, who was born and bred in Oakland, still lives here today. And he’s the creator of a new spice rub for meat, poultry and seafood proudly bearing his city’s name, Oakland Dust. “I created Oakland Dust for my love of food and for the city I proudly call home,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: Brunch at Camino in Oakland

Poached eggs with chanterelle mushrooms, burdock and green garlic ($16). Brunch at Camino in February 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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With Chef Russell Moore recently named as a semifinalist for James Beard’s “best chef of the west” award, it seemed like a good time to pop in and check out what Camino is up to, in addition to switching to a tip-free approach amid regional and national conversations about how to improve equitable conditions for restaurant workers. Nosh dropped by on a recent weekend to explore the Grand Avenue restaurant’s brunch options.

Most brunch offerings change regularly. Items on the menu in February included poached eggs with chanterelles, smoked quail and grilled rockfish. The restaurant regularly has special events on Mondays. Coming up in March, “Pozole Mondays” will highlight three-course meals featuring pozole baked in the Camino fireplace. The restaurant opened in 2008, and Chef Moore, a Chez Panisse alum, cooks nearly everything over fire. Many of the vegetables and fruit used at the popular Oakland restaurant come from local farmers markets. Some of the herbs and produce on Camino’s plates and in its cocktails are grown just half a mile away. (Read more in Nosh’s November feature.)

Camino is located at 3917 Grand Ave. in Oakland. The March 2015 brunch menu is online here. If you’ve sampled the spots we feature, please let us know about your experience in the comments below. (Photographs by Emilie Raguso) … Continue reading »

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Oakland author offers ’30-Day Vegan Challenge’

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Photo: Maria Villano
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Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an Oakland-based author, cooking teacher and activist. Originally from New Jersey, Patrick-Goudreau has made the Bay her home for the past 16 years. At age 19, she read John Robbins’ Diet for a New America and became a vegetarian. At 28, she gave up all animal products. She has written six vegan cookbooks, including The Joy of Vegan Baking. Her latest book is a new edition of the 2011 book, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Healthfully and Living Compassionately. In addition to the recipes, she tackles such sticky subjects as remaining vegan in social situations and being in a relationship with a non-vegan, perfect for those who are trying it out for the first time.

Berkeleyside NOSH spoke with the author and activist recently to learn more about veganism and her new book. (Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Read more about East Bay vegan food news in past Berkeleyside coverage.)

Like most vegans, you weren’t raised that way. What made you decide to become one? Was it gradual?

I was a typical kid who really loved animals, and didn’t know what I was contributing to by eating them. My parents had raised me to eat dairy, meat and eggs because that’s just what we did. They also encouraged my compassion toward animals. I liken this process to being put to sleep: we’re innately compassionate when we come into this world, but we take in these messages and then go along with the status quo.
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The best bets for SF Beer Week in the East Bay

beer glasses
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SF Beer Week, which kicks off on Friday, is a monster of an event, with countless happenings hosted across the Bay Area over the course of ten days. Its online schedule is almost impossibly long, even when it filters out events outside of the East Bay. But don’t be discouraged — we’ve done the hard work for you and picked out our best bets for the week, including three Pliny the Younger sightings and an array of sweet (and less-so) events for Valentine’s Day.


“Lost in the Woods” at The Good Hop This New Belgium-sponsored tasting is your only opportunity to taste the 2015 La Foile, a Flanders-style sour brown ale, and the 2015 Transatlantique Kriek, a lambic produced in collaboration with Belgium’s Oud Beersel. They’ll also be pouring a third New Belgium barrel-aged sour one-off and will hold a web-toast with the different brewers. The $40 event includes three 5-ounce tastings, food pairings, a globe glass and one 22-ounce bottle of La Folie or Transatlantique Kriek to take home. Those not wishing to pay the ticket price can still taste the beers on their own, but they will be served at full price.
Saturday Feb. 7, 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets. The Good Hop, 2421 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.Continue reading »

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Rockridge Food Tour tells story of a neighborhood

La Farine: one of the stops on the Rockridge Food Tour. Photo: La Farine
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On a somewhat dreary day this fall, I walked up to Lauren Herpich and was immediately greeted with a big smile — as well as a sweet, flaky morning bun. Picked out fresh that morning from La Farine on College Avenue, the pastry was a lovely start to the the Rockridge Food Tour, for which Herpich is a guide.

Launched in June 2014, this trek is a relatively new addition to the East Bay’s line-up of food tours — Savor Oakland, Edible Excursions, and Dishcrawl all carve out their own neighborhood niches — and it is the first to feature the Rockridge neighborhood.

Herpich is no stranger to the world of food-focused excursions. Before moving to the area last January, she was a tour guide for Chicago Food Planet, which has been leading hungry diners around the Windy City since 2006. Chicago Food Planet emphasizes the inclusion of well-researched neighborhood history into their food tours, and Herpich has brought this focus to Oakland. … Continue reading »

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Gallery: ‘Temescal Tastes’ with Edible Excursions

Juhu Beach Club
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The new Edible Excursions “Taste of Temescal” tour highlights the wealth of delicious food options available in this hopping neighborhood. Continue reading »

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Farm growth means more leafy greens for Oakland

City Slickers
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City Slicker Farms, an urban farming group in West Oakland, has bought its own land, and expects to dramatically increase its output of leafy greens, vegetables and fresh eggs for local residents.

With its five existing gardens, the organization sold a total 9,000 pounds of food in West Oakland in 2012. Since its founding in 2001, the yield has been 72,000 pounds of food.

But, with the new expansion, City Slicker expects to double the amount of food it grows, according to Barbara Finnin, the organization’s executive director.

About 120 supporters – and a half-dozen geese — gathered at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday Jan. 31 in what’s currently an empty, grassy lot at the corner of Peralta and 28th St., not far from the MacArthur Maze. … Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: Haven in Jack London Square

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Come along with Nosh as we explore East Bay restaurants in photographs. This week we focus on Haven, 44 Webster St., in Oakland’s Jack London Square. If you’ve tried the spots we feature, please let us know about your experience in the comments below. (See the menu.) If you’d like to submit your own photo gallery for consideration from a meal you enjoyed, please email tips@berkeleyside.com for more information. You can also add photographs to our Flickr group.  (Photos by Emilie Raguso.) Caption info is under the fold. … Continue reading »

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For Oakland food desert: A people’s grocery store

Brahm Ahmadi scaled
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The Bay Area may be known internationally as a foodie destination, but there are pockets of the region that stand in stark contrast to the world of organic produce, farmers’ markets and artisanal edibles. West Oakland, for example, is what some call a “food desert.” This low-income neighborhood has not sustained a full-service grocery store in years. Now, one man and his grassroots organization hope to change that by opening a “People’s Community Market,” the culmination of many years of groundwork and a lot of vision.

Brahm Ahmadi came to West Oakland more than 10 years ago as a community organizer focused on environmental issues, but he quickly found that the area’s residents were far more concerned with their lack of access to fresh, healthy food. As a result he founded People’s Grocery in 2002.

People’s Grocery is a collection of programs and experiments whose underlying, long-term goal has always been the creation of a brick-and-mortar grocery store — when the time seemed right. Ahmadi, who had no experience in retail, no food background and no history in the neighborhood, knew he had to invest some time into researching the idea and laying the foundation before breaking ground on what is known as the People’s Community Market. … Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: Hopscotch in Uptown Oakland

Hopscotch burger
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Come along with Nosh as we explore East Bay restaurants in photographs. This week we focus on Hopscotch in Uptown Oakland. (See the menu.) If you’ve tried the spots we feature, please let us know about your experience in the comments below. If you’d like to submit your own photo gallery for consideration from a meal you enjoyed, please email nosh@berkeleyside.com for more information. You can also add photographs to our Flickr group. Caption info is under the fold. … Continue reading »

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