Tag Archives: Summer Kitchen & Bake Shop

Seven East Bay spots to fuel an impromptu picnic

A spot at Shorebird Park with a bento box from Tokyo Fish Market — an easy picnic with a view. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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The warm weather is a clear signal that summer is just around the corner, and that means a lot of outdoor fun.

Picnics are one way to enjoy the Bay Area weather, and the East Bay has a variety of parks and trails to enjoy some fresh air. But picnics don’t have to be a big production. With the various eateries around town, you can easily grab some delicious bites and hang out in a nearby park with friends or a special someone.

We’ve pulled together a few recommendations on where to get easy-to-travel grub and suggested parks to lay out on the grass — all in an effort to help you plan your next unplanned picnic. (And don’t miss the special offer to Nosh readers from Homeroom To Go, below.) … Continue reading »

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Best East Bay dishes and drinks of 2015, Part 2

Dishes ready to be served at Longbranch Saloon, where xxx had his favorite bite of 2015. Photo: Longbranch
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Tuesday we brought you the best taste sensations local chefs such as Sho Kamio of Iyasare, Tanya Holland and Romney Steele had experienced in the East Bay in 2015. In today’s second part, we learn what Nosh editors, two writers, a rapper, as well as a number of food and drink makers enjoyed this year. We’d love to hear what tickled your taste-buds in 2015  — share your choices in the comments.

Alex Tweet, Head Brewer, Fieldwork Brewing Company

Best bite of 2015: Grilled Niman Ranch pork loin, toasted farro and roasted cauliflower salad, grilled broccolini, oyster shooters and a can of Hamm’s Lager at Longbranch Saloon.

Can’t wait for this in 2016: Whatever Jay Porter (of The Half Orange and Salsipuedes) has up his sleeve next. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXIV

Biergarten
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Openings…

GILMAN BIERGARTEN Remember we told you about the proposal to create a dining and beer garden at Gilman and Curtis in West Berkeley? It had many readers salivating. The good news is the plans have been approved. Owners Linda and Carl Lasagna, whose family founded Westbrae Nursery next door to the lot, are finalizing negotiations with a stationary anchor tenant and are on the lookout for candidates for two or three food truck spots (Roti Roti is a strong favorite, and when the garden recently rolled in the Brazil Café truck for a test run, passersby erupted in cheers.). DSA Architects have started mocking up placements on the site. The plan is for 3,400 square feet of outdoor dining space with picnic-style seating  — not unlike the Hayes Valley Biergarten on Octavia Street in San Francisco (View the application to Berkeley’s planning department.) The hope is that the biergarten will open in late July.

BROTZEIT LOKAL Speaking of beer, and German beer at that, Brotzeit Lokal on the Oakland waterfront looks set to open on June 13, according to East Bay Express. The  German sausage-and-beer restaurant is the brainchild of Chop Bar chef Lev Delany and you can check out the initial menu here. Brotzeit Lokal is at 1000 Embarcadero. Follow them on Facebook as they count down to the opening. … Continue reading »

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In Oakland, two Italians craft pasta with a U.S. twist

samples of shapes, wheats and colors available at Baia Pasta
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Almost a year ago this week, Renato Sardo and Dario Barbone, compatriots from northwestern Italy, set up shop in Oakland’s burgeoning Jack London Square to make pasta. Not just any old pasta. Each of the twelve shapes produced by Baia Pasta — from the charming conchiglioni (“spinners”) to the traditional maccheroni — are made from organic American flours.

“The idea for the business started when I learned that many high quality dried pastas in Italy are made from American wheat,”said Renato Sardo as he stood in the Baia Pasta retail space that doubles as the production facility.

Hard durum wheat (as opposed to soft wheat, which has a lower protein content and is used for pie crusts and cakes) contributes that desirable toothiness in dried pasta cooked to al dente. Ground hard durum, also called semolina, remains their best seller. But Sardo and Barbone also experiment with other flours, such as spelt and kamut, grown organically in the areas surrounding the Rocky Mountain Range. They even make a rice-based noodle that appeals to the gluten-free crowd. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

New neighborhood eatery Divino
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NEW GRILL Bye bye Ironwood BBQ, hello Suya African-Caribbean Grill at 2130 Oxford Street opposite the campus. Think skewers of meat, fish and vegetables made with a savory custom spice rub called suya pepper ($4.95 to $8.95), served with flatbread. Also: jerk chicken, roasted plantain, roasted corn on the cob, sweet potato fries, French fries, and salad. Mainly take-out with a few seating options. Opening any day now. Phone 510 981 8028. [Hat-tip: Ruth Gebreyesus]

FULL ON Summer Kitchen Bake Shop, at 2944 College Avenue, will be getting more seats (up to 33), serve beer and wine, and build a restroom after the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board gave it the go-ahead last Thursday to change from a carry-out food service store to a quick-service restaurant. The popular eatery collected more than 1,500 signatures on a petition campaigning for the change. … Continue reading »

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Elmwood business quotas may change to help startups

City Council District 8 includes the Elmwood shopping district
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The decades-old retail and food quotas in Berkeley’s Elmwood commercial district face a potentially dramatic overhaul with Councilmember Gordon Wozniak set to propose a review of the quotas to the Planning Commission at tonight’s City Council meeting. If it’s adopted, Wozniak’s scheme would eliminate retail quotas and collapse the current three-tier food quota into a single quota.

“I want to make it easier for startups, but still maintain the special character of the Elmwood,” Wozniak, who represents most of the Elmwood business district, said. The area is centered on the intersection of Ashby and College Avenues in south Berkeley. “There’s a need to keep the balance between food and retail, but having three distinct categories for food is very destructive and consumes an inordinate amount of staff time.”

Under the current quotas (see table below), there are six distinct retail categories and three food categories — carry out, quick service and full service. Wozniak said that the system can be a “real disincentive for a new business”, because of the cost and time needed for permitting.

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Hungry for better food at Berkeley’s Echo Lake Camp

The panoramic alpine views draw outdoor lovers to Echo Lakes.
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As we head into the final long weekend of the season, the proverbial last hurrah of summer, it’s time for reflection on summer vacation (mis)adventures before fall sets in and school gets going in earnest.

Which brings to mind bad camp food. Specifically, the truly awful eats served at the Berkeley-run Echo Lake Camp. It’s shocking, really, that a city known for fine food and charming cheap chow can’t seem to dish up anything vaguely edible not-so-far from home.

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Local restaurants raise money for edible education

Samin Nosrat
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Potentially lost in the tsunami of stories of all things Chez Panisse this week  — see yesterday’s Berkeleyside Wire and this post today for a fraction of the coverage circulating in anticipation of the 40th anniversary celebrations that start in earnest tonight — is the fact that the weekend long festivities are, at their heart, a series of fundraisers for the newly launched Edible Schoolyard Project, a national hub designed to broaden the reach … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Were you a winner in our Caltopia raffle?

Baskets filled to the brim with gift certificates and pizza for a year from LaVal's
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The two days of Caltopia were quite a whirl for students, faculty and staff, as well as for exhibitors like Berkeleyside. From the tens of thousands who passed through the self-proclaimed “greatest days on planet Earth”, we were able to have conversations about local news with hundreds of people, we launched OneNews/Berkeleyside, our exciting new citizen journalism app, and we even found some potential new journalists.

But what about the Berkeleyside raffle? We partnered with a host of wonderful Berkeley businesses … Continue reading »

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News

Thousands of Cal students, staff flock to Caltopia

Students new and old come out in droves for the community-boosting swag-fest that is Caltopia
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UC Berkeley freshmen, some looking dazed, others excited, as well as more blasé seniors, turned out in their thousands on Sunday for Day One of Caltopia, the self-described “two greatest days on the planet”.

The event, held at the UC Berkeley Recreational Sports Facility at 2301 Bancroft Way, sees more than 100 exhibitors showcasing their wares and services to the Cal community, including the university’s staff and faculty.

It’s a combination of freebie-fest — with giveaways galore, be it bites of Clif Bars, T-shirts, pens and mouse pads and the chance to win covetable prizes like Kindles from big brand names like Pepsi  — and social mixer.

Berkeleyside made its debut at Calopia yesterday and we will be there again today. Find us at booth E104.

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UC Berkeley’s Caltopia: The ultimate Town & Gown affair

Caltopia2
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This weekend, when around 30,000 students and faculty stroll through Caltopia, browsing the booths of more than 100 exhibitors, Berkeley’s two driving forces, the city and its university, will be pitched in perfect harmony. And Berkeleyside will be there to sing along too.

Caltopia was launched nine years ago as a way for Berkeley businesses to welcome Cal students, both current and new, back to school. The event runs on Sunday and Monday this year, and classes start up … Continue reading »

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Where do you get the best pizza in Berkeley? You tell us

Cheeseboard Pizza straight from the oven. All photos: Christina Diaz
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Today this space is all about cheese. And crust. And toppings.

Got opinions about who turns out the best pizza in town? We know you do. So here’s your chance to share your pie picks with fellow readers.

That’s right folks, today, the Friday food column takes a break from regularly scheduled programming to poll readers about their pizza preferences. (The first in an occasional series where residents weigh in on their favorite foods found close to home.)

We know that for every die-hard devotee of Cheese Board pizza there’s an equally loyal Gioia fan to be found.

There’s pizza for all palates and pocketbooks here, whether you favor California-style, wood-fired pies pioneered by the  Chez Panisse crew (foraged greens and artisan goat cheese, anyone?), Brooklyn-inspired bites with trademark thin crusts and judicious use of ingredients, or the sloppy cheese slices popular among the campus crowd. … Continue reading »

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Josh Thomsen gathers talent for Claremont wine fest

Josh Thomsen
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Josh Thomsen knew from a young age that he wanted to be a chef and credits his late father, Jerry, for sparking his culinary interest. His dad would put in a long day as a stockbroker, come home, go to the market, and then cook up a storm — making a mess, using every pot in the house, and turning out a delicious dinner.

The Culinary Institute of America grad has done his dad proud. Thomsen’s resumé includes stints at the French Laundry in Yountville, Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, and The Lodge at Pebble Beach. He’s also worked in kitchens in big-buck Las Vegas venues like Tao Restaurant at the Venetian Resort, the Mansion at the MGM Grand Hotel, and the Michael Mina-owned Nobhill Tavern.

These days Thomsen, 40, is the executive chef at local landmark The Claremont Hotel, Club, and Spa, known for its regal white facade and killer views. Until recently, though, the hotel wasn’t exactly known as a destination dining experience. … Continue reading »

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