Tag Archives: The Local Butcher Shop

100 yummy recipes from a gluten-free omnivore

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Writer and photographer Erin Scott has just published her first book, titled Yummy Supper, which offers 100 “fresh, luscious and honest recipes from a (gluten-free) omnivore.” The book grew from Scott’s popular blog of the same name. We asked the Berkeley resident to spill the beans on her inspirations, what the deal is with gluten free, and where she likes to source her food locally.

The new book is gorgeous. What did you set out to achieve when you wrote/photographed it?

Thank you! I wanted to make a book full of recipes that are fresh, delicious, and accessible to a wide range of home cooks. I looked at photography as a powerful way to draw people into the kitchen and encourage them to cook –a well-written recipe can be enticing, of course, but photography is an unbeatable tool to whet someone’s appetite.

The book stemmed from your Yummy Supper blog. When and why did you start writing that?

I accidentally fell into blogging back in the summer of 2009. At that point, I didn’t even know how blogs worked and I’d always been a bit suspicious of technology, but I was looking for a friendly forum to share recipes with other food-loving friends and a blog seemed like a good vehicle.

I’d been diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2008 and at first felt very isolated in this food-obsessed town of ours. I started Yummy Supper because I was looking to reconnect with folks around the joy of cooking simple, seasonal foods, to look beyond my dietary limitation and create a delicious common ground for sharing recipes with other food lovers, gluten-free or not. … Continue reading »

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Ex-Chez Panisse pastry chef is back as chocolatier

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When the buyer at San Francisco’s artisanal mecca Bi-Rite Market proclaims a certain brand of chocolates to be “exquisite– quite simply, the best I’ve ever tasted,” it would be wise to pay attention.

The chocolates in question are made by Alexandra Whisnant, under the name gâté comme des filles chocolats (a French line that loosely translates as Spoiled Like the Girls Chocolates). So far, they are sold at The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley (made with their own signature bacon) and through online food delivery service Good Eggs.

Whisnant, a chocolatier by trade, has just relocated gâté comme des filles from Paris to the Bay Area. … Continue reading »

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Holiday turkey: Chop it up, it tastes better!

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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, challenges that sacred notion. Below, she explains why carving up the bird makes for a better-tasting meat. This article was originally published a year ago, one of the first stories we commissioned for the then newly launched Berkeleyside Nosh. Happy Birthday to us! And Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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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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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Meat matters: 2 new films focus on hot issues

Ashton Kutcher is the executive producer of a mini-documentary about Bay Area butcher shops which features Berkeley’s own The Local Butcher Shop, along with 4505 Meats and Avedano’s Holly Park Market in San Francisco.

The subject of meat, America’s industrial meat system and the growing movement towards more sustainable, humane practices is a hot one right now.

On Feb. 4 UC Berkeley is hosting a free screening of American Meat a pro-farmer documentary which takes a critical look at cattle, hog, and chicken production in the U.S. and examines the viability of moving the industry over to more sustainable practices. A discussion will follow the screening, moderated by Novella Carpenter, author of the best-selling memoir Farm City and co-owner of Berkeley’s BioFuel Oasis which, as well as selling bio-fuel to cars, offers urban farming classes. … Continue reading »

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

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Freshly served…

DUENDE Definitely one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year, Duende is officially open for business. Former Oliveto chef Paul Canales is serving regional Spanish cuisine in downtown Oakland, next door to Flora. Eater got a peek at the adjoining bodega with the Spanish wine and sherry expert, Gerard Maristany. There will be Verve Coffee available in the mornings and imported olive oil, along with wine organized by country. Bottles from the bodega can be opened in the restaurant with a $12 corkage fee. Domestic wines, beers and a full bar will be available in the restaurant side of Duende. Duende, 468 19th St., Oakland; 510-893-0174. Bodega: Sunday to Monday and Wednesday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Restaurant and bar: Sunday to Monday and Wednesday to Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m., Friday to Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.

CAFFE VENEZIA Caffe Venezia, on University Avenue at Grant Street, will close before this summer after 33 years of operation in Berkeley. Owners Jeff Wizig and Roger Feuer are retiring and selling the business, the restaurant’s manager said. A new owner plans to open a restaurant in the space eventually, but the lid is on precisely what it will be. Caffe Venezia, with its charming Venice street scene interior décor — fountains, balconies and washing lines included — has been a much-loved fixture on the local dining scene for generations of Berkeley families. Caffe Venezia’s founder, John Solomon, was the inspiration behind the “How Berkeley Can You Be Parade” that marched along University once a year for 13 years, until it was canceled in 2009. Berkeleyside Nosh will have a fuller report looking at the history of the restaurant and its place in city life soon. [Hat-tip: James Carr] … Continue reading »

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

Sweet Bar Bakery. Photo: Christina Mitchell
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Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant and bar news in the East Bay. Got a tip or a scoop? Send it our way at nosh@berkeleyside.comChristina Mitchell, founder of East Bay Dish, is the main voice behind Bites, with a little help from the staff at Berkeleyside.

Freshly served…

EL GUSANO According to Eater SF, Erin Brooks and Michael Sopher, who own San Francisco’s Tropisueño, opened El Gusano earlier this week in Old Oakland. The menu features Mexican specialties ($3.95-$11) including burritos, tamales and quesadillas, as well as pambazos, a sort of wet torta with chorizo and potato that’s a specialty of Mexico City. Various cocktails, with a focus on mezcal, will be available in the bar. El Gusano, 1015 Clay St., Oakland; 510-444-9676. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.

EAT + LOUNGE Haig and Cindy Krikorian’s K2 Restaurant Group closed Sea Salt on New Year’s Eve and Inside Scoop reports that it was already scheduled to open again as Eat + Lounge under chef Kwin Vu. (Berkeleyside also reported this in December in our Shop Talk column.) The menu is influenced by the Mediterranean and “more farm-to-table” offerings. The plan is to serve lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. Eat + Lounge, 2512 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley; 510-883-1720. … Continue reading »

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Top food stories from Berkeley in 2011

Andre Green from the Berkeley Food & Housing Project cooks for the neediest in the community. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back to see what food stories created a buzz around town and on Berkeleyside in 2011.

Granted, there’s an arbitrary nature to such end-of-year lists. But it’s an opportunity to take stock of the city’s culinary culture.

For the purposes of this post we’ve focused on food news stories, which doesn’t take into account the dozens of interviews with foragers, farmers, artisans, advocates, chefs, cooking teachers, preservers, pasta makers, cheese purveyors, pop-up restaurateurs, and farmers’ market vendors we’ve published during 2011.

This year also saw controversial coverage of corner stores, reporting on detractors of school food, an insider’s take on speed dating with a veg-friendly focus, and a widely criticized first-person piece on disappointing camp chow.

Readers may differ on what food stories caught their attention. Feel free to add your own highlights (or low points) in the comments section.

In alphabetical order: … Continue reading »

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Whole-beast butcher shop taps appetite for local meat

Aaron and Monica Rocchino, who opened The Local Butcher Shop in August, say they have been welcomed by the Berkeley community. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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It’s only been just over two months since former Chez Panisse chef Aaron Rocchino and his wife Monica opened The Local Butcher Shop in the heart of Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. But the store, which prides itself on sourcing locally and embracing the whole animal, has already found a loyal clientele and two very local restaurant clients.

Chez Panisse, perhaps not surprisingly, is patronizing the newly established meat purveyor and buying its beef there, as well as “anything else they need when they’re in a pinch”, says Monica Rocchino.

Saul’s Deli is getting ground beef from its new neighbor and, as of last Tuesday, serving Local Butcher Shop bologna. Executive Chef Peter Levitt hopes this might go some way to appeasing his salami loving customers who, he says, are suffering while Saul’s searches for sustainable, artisanal salami it feels happy to serve. … Continue reading »

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Local food names sign up for Berkeley Off The Grid truck

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Lush Gelato, voted by Berkeleyside readers as the best ice cream shop in Berkeley, will be going mobile tonight and serving its scoops from the guest truck at street food-fest Off The Grid — and a number of other local food names have signed up for future Wednesdays.

The Juice Bar Collective is planning on offering tamales for the Gourmet Ghetto’s Dia de Los Muertos celebration on November 2nd, and Berkeley’s new Local Butcher Shopopened by former Chez Panisse chef Aaron Rocchino and his wife Monica in August — will host the guest truck on November 9th. Other possibles for future dates include Guerilla Café and Taste of the Himalayas.

The truck is owned by Off The Grid and offered to guest hosts at whichever location the street food fair is taking place. Saul Deli‘s Executive Chef Peter Levitt rustled up pickle plates and potato latkes from the truck in June.

Tonight, Lush will be serving gelato and chocolate sandwiches, a special-menu item designed specifically for Off the Grid, as well as basil, fresh mint chip and salted chocolate chip gelatos. … Continue reading »

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Chez Panisse chef opens butcher shop in Berkeley

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On Tuesday, Aaron and Monica Rocchino quietly opened the doors to their new business, an artisan butcher shop where the term “snout to tail” really comes into its own.

The Local Butcher Shop, in the old Red Hanger Kleaners space on Cedar Street in the Gourmet Ghetto, has already attracted dozens of curious foodies.

One-on-one customer service, offering cuts of meat hewed from whole carcasses, is the principal order of business. But providing some meat — most likely beef — to … Continue reading »

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Chez Panisse chef to open artisan butcher shop

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Chez Panisse chef Aaron Rocchino and his wife Monica are bringing artisan meat to the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto with the opening this summer of The Local Butcher Shop on Cedar Street in the old Red Hanger Kleaners space.

“We think there’s a void in the market for restaurant-quality, sustainable meat for home customers,” said Monica Rocchino, who is setting up the new retail operation with her husband.

“It’s an idea whose time has come. I’m looking forward to having this shop in the neighborhood,” said Michael Pollan, who lives in north Berkeley and has done much to champion the consumption of responsibly sourced meat.

The butcher shop will feature whole animals sourced directly from farms, none of which are further than 150 miles from Berkeley. The emphasis will be on grass-fed, sustainably raised meat, and the butchering and cutting will be to order. … Continue reading »

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