Tag Archives: The Local Butcher Shop

Bites: Sturmfrei, Ippudo, Golden Squirrel, more

The bar at now-closed Nizza La Bella. Photo: Nizza La Bella/Facebook
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Openings, closings

NIZZA LA BELLA REPLACEMENT: STURMFREI Over the summer, we brought you the news of the closure of the well-loved Albany bistro, Nizza la Bella. The owner had decided to retire after 17 years of running the restaurant, and put the space, including its wood-fired oven, on the market. We’ve now learned that Nizza will be replaced by what sounds like a German restaurant called Sturmfrei. (The name, roughly translated, means “to have the run of the house,” or to have one’s place to oneself.) Owners Frieda Hoffman and Daniel Polsby have just filed an ABC license for the new restaurant, so its opening is likely at least several months off. It’ll be the first new project for Hoffman after selling her West Berkeley coffee shop, Local 123, to Highwire Coffee Roasters. Hoffman also works for the wine shop, Vintage Berkeley, according to her Facebook page. We’ve reached out to Hoffman to learn more about Sturmfrei, and we’ll keep you posted. UPDATE: We have heard from Hoffman, who says that she is currently looking for a tenant partner to manager the restaurant space, and does not have any concrete plans for the restaurant. She will have very little to do with the running of the restaurant. While she and her partner have filed for an ABC license, they are still under contract for the restaurant space. She said she has been talking to some “great people” who have good ideas for the future restaurant, but has not yet settled on a partner. The new restaurant will be at 825 San Pablo Ave. (between Solano and Washington avenues), Albany.Continue reading »

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From pie to turkey: Thanksgiving in the East Bay

Thanksgiving pie offerings from Oakland's PieTisserie. Photo: PieTisserie/Facebook
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It may be hard to believe it, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner. And whether you’re gearing up for a big family feast or a small, quiet affair, you may be looking for some help pulling off the event. Not to worry — plenty of East Bay food businesses and restaurants are here to help, with everything from creative, scratch-made local pies to pre-roasted turkeys. Those looking to escape the kitchen can look forward to pre-dinner crab feeds, all-day buffets and elaborate multi-course dinners across the East Bay. Take your pick. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Pathos closed, Cha-Am closing, more news

Pan-Seared Halibut with Fresh Fava-Green Garlic Purée and Moschifilero Beurre Blanc at Pathos in Berkeley which is celebrating its first birthday. Photo: Pathos
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Openings, closings

PATHOS CLOSED, AT LEAST FOR NOW Because of a “dispute” with the restaurant’s landlord, Berkeley’s Pathos is currently closed. Co-owner Nick Eftimiou told Nosh that “our landlord has decided to ask us to move and will seek another tenant.” The decision is currently under negotiation. He added, on behalf of his family and the entire restaurant team: “This unfortunate event was unforeseen and had happened very quickly. We have been devastated by this as we have had such loyal, loving employees and fan base with overwhelming customer support throughout the years. We feel as if we had made a true connection with the city of Berkeley and are saddened that, during this time, we have not been allowed to service our customers who we consider Family. We wish to thank the entire City of Berkeley for welcoming us with open arms and our local communities who have showed us its humility and generous hospitality.” Several readers contacted us to say they had arrived for dinner at Pathos in recent days, some with reservations, and found the restaurant to be closed. The family-owned Greek restaurant opened in November 2013. We will keep you posted as the story develops. Pathos Organic Greek Kitchen is at 2430 Shattuck Ave. (between Haste Street and Channing Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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‘Knee-deep in animals’: Women butchers talk shop

Kelly Taylor (left) and Renee Reed at The Local Butcher Shop. Photo: AK Carroll
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“I always tell people, ‘When I was a little girl all I wanted to do was grow up and be a butcher. Didn’t you?’” says Monica Rocchino, co-owner of The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley. Reserved and unassuming, she’s not exactly who you’d picture when you think of a local meat-monger. Rocchino isn’t serious, of course.

Her response is a joke meant to counter the common reactions of consumers confronted with the concept of a female butcher.

“If I’m just meeting a person, they’ll be impressed and a little intimidated and kind of confused,” says Kelly Taylor, a 25-year-old who’s been working for Rocchino for the past year.  Taylor adds that her friends are typically more sympathetic than shocked.
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Bites: Genova Deli, People’s Café, The Wolf, more

Genova Delicatessen. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

GENOVA DELI’S LAST DAY IS SATURDAY Get in for your Italian combo fix while you can, because Genova Delicatessen‘s last day will be April 30. “We are humbled by all the good wishes and love from the community and want to thank you for so many years of support,” wrote the deli’s owners on its website. The 90-year-old Italian deli in Oakland’s Temescal district had announced in February that it may be forced to close due to a rent dispute with its landlord. However, in a story in the San Jose Mercury News, co-owner David DeVincenzi’s wife Patti said that other rising costs were a bigger contributor in the decision to close. They didn’t want to be forced to raise prices. “The cost of doing business is to the point now where it became uncomfortable,” she said. David DeVincenzi told the San Francisco Chronicle that the family is working on finding a new location in Oakland, but was unwilling to hint at where that location may be. In the meantime, the Genova factory on Broadway, the Napa store, and the two Genova Deli locations in Walnut Creek (owned by another branch of the family) remain open. And, according to the Mercury News, the property owners at Temescal Plaza are looking for a new local deli operator to open in the space; property representative John Dobrovich said he hopes the new tenant will hire some of the former Genova employees. Genova Delicatessen is at 5095 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland. Connect with the deli on Facebook.Continue reading »

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4 East Bay food companies up for Work Local Awards

Paul Canales of Duende. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Localwise, a job board created by UC Berkeley alums Benjamin Hamlin and Maya Tobias, is honoring well-regarded local businesses with its inaugural 2016 Work Local Awards. Four East Bay food businesses — Duende, The Local Butcher Shop, As You Wish Frozen Yogurt and The Town Kitchen — have received finalist nods out of a pool of over 1,000 nominations from the Localwise community. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony April 28. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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MARK MORRIS MAKES MAGIC Berkeley is blessed to have the Mark Morris Dance Group perform annually at Zellerbach Hall as part of Cal Performances. The group is in residence this weekend and will be performing what the New York Times says “is his luminous masterpiece L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, set to the Handel oratorio of the same name.” Morris’s epic returns to Cal Performances for the fifth time since it premiered in 1988. The production includes a cast of 24 dancers and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorus. “I find no end to the intricacies of Mr. Morris’s construction and the meanings that continually pour from them. It fills the soul with wonder; it fascinates the mind with suggestion” (The New York Times). The performances are Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 13 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets start at $40.Continue reading »

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Bites: Antoinette, Temescal Brewing, Belotti, more

The dining room at the newly opened Antoinette Brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. Photo: Fairmont Group
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Openings, closings…

ANTOINETTE BRASSERIE AT CLAREMONT NOW OPEN Last week, we gave you an update on Antoinette, the new brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. The French restaurant, overseen by Michelin-starred Dominique Crenn, with Justin Mauz as executive chef, opened Tuesday. Eater SF has a photo gallery of the revamped former Paragon restaurant and bar. And Inside Scoop has the opening-night menu which leans traditional French — with foie gras and wine-based sauces much in evidence — and pricey. Among the starters: Warm Broccoli Velouté with Sea Urchin and Blood Orange ($18); Sweetbreads with Foie Gras, Dates, Baby Chicory, and Banyuls ($23); and Basil-fed Escargot with Champagne and Hazelnut Chartreuse ($18). Entrées include Coq au Vin with Pinot Noir Braise and Maitake ($29); Schmitz Ranch Prime Strip Steak with Celeriac Dauphinoise and Sauce Bordelaise ($60); Whole Roasted Monkfish Tail with Bouillabaisse, Cous Cous and Vadouven (serves 2-3, $95); and a whole Liberty Farms Rotisserie Duck with Abalone Mushroom, Foie Gras, Chou Rouge and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (serves 3-4, $200). A spokeswoman for the Fairmont Group, owners of the Claremont, said Thursday the team was reworking the menu, so what you see here might change. (The hotel’s other restaurant, the Meritage, offers a more down-to-earth dinner menu.) … 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: Ajanta changing hands, tacos to Telegraph

Lachu Moorjani of Ajanta. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings

AJANTA’S OWNER RETIRING Big news for fans of Indian cuisine. Longtime Solano Avenue restaurant Ajanta is changing hands. Chef Lachu Moorjani opened Ajanta in 1993 and has been serving up regional Indian specialties ever since. Moorjani is known for his friendliness and humor as much as for his confident hand with chiles. Tablehopper had the scoop, reporting that Rajan Thapa of Taste of the Himalayas will be taking over the restaurant with business partner Al Satake. Thapa and Satake do, however, want to keep Ajanta exactly as it is today; Lachu told NOSH that he will work part time with Thapa for a few months, “primarily to supervise cooking as well as help out in the dining hall.” Afterward, he says, he plans to travel. “My wife an I are both fond of travelling and I wanted to retire so that we can travel before I get so old that I am not mobile. We already have a couple of trips planned for this year. A trip to Madagascar in October, and a trip to India in December.” Ajanta is at 1888 Solano Ave. (at The Alameda), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookContinue reading »

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Bites: The Libertine, Forage Kitchen, Zut! Tavern

The Libertine bar has officially opened in Oakland's Grand Lake neighborhood. Photo: The Libertine/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

THE LIBERTINE OPENS ON GRAND AVENUE Last Friday, The Libertine began pouring drinks in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood. It is the second bar for owner Aric Yeverino, who has been operating Hayward’s popular dive bar The Dirty Bird Lounge, since 2009. As we reported back in April, Yeverino purchased the bar, which used to house Kingman’s Lucky Lounge, earlier this year. Right now, the bar is serving a limited cocktail list, including a Moscow Mule, Last Word, a punch called “Sailor Jerry” and a whiskey cocktail called the Creole. Early Yelp reviews are very positive, calling the bar an “excellent addition to the neighborhood.” The Libertine is at 3332 Grand Ave. (near Mandana Boulevard), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook.Continue reading »

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East Bay artisans show strong at Good Food Awards

Aaron and Monica Rocchino: their goal is to bring restaurant quality meat to the home cook
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Last Thursday night, the 2015 Good Food Awards ceremony showcased the most regionally diverse crowd in their five-year history, yet even with this abundance of talent from around the country, the East Bay had a definitive presence.

East Bay food judges were present in all categories. Alice Waters held court on the stage all night, along with fellow food leaders Ruth Reichl and Nell Newman. Mark Bittman, who is to lead Cal’s Edible Education class this spring, delivered the keynote speech. And longtime East Bay businesses, Market Hall Foods and Fra’Mani won awards amid a youthful crop of food artisans. … Continue reading »

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Thanksgiving turkey: Chop it up, it tastes better!

Turkey-herb
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It’s turkey season. Norman Rockwell’s iconic image of a turkey dinner — “Freedom from Want” — reenforces the image that the turkey we place on the table for holiday feasts should be a whole bird. However many experts, including Monica Rocchino, co-owner with her husband Aaron Rocchino of The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, challenge that sacred notion.

Here, Rocchino explains why carving up the bird makes for a better-tasting meat. This article was originally published two years ago, but its advice is timeless, so we’re delighted to bring it to you again on the eve of Thanksgiving 2014:

Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner is a pressure-filled meal for many of us. For those who don’t cook much throughout the year, it is a daunting task to feed family and friends, and for those who pride themselves on being excellent cooks, there are grand expectations!

Unfortunately, for both types of cooks, Norman Rockwell’s image of a turkey dinner has become the “norm” of what we expect to see on the holiday table, even if only for a brief moment before it gets carved or hacked to pieces. After spending a pretty penny on a turkey, why is it that we throw our sense of taste aside in order to present a whole bird for a minute or two at the table? The bottom line is that it is nearly impossible to cook a whole turkey and end up with perfectly cooked white and dark meat.  … Continue reading »

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