Tag Archives: Wooden Spoons

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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Two East Bay companies win Good Food Awards

Brian Johnson and Julie Gordon at the kitchen. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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It is not every day that one gets to be serenaded on the merits of coffee, beer and cheese by two charcuterie makers. It is not every day that one gets to hear Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini speak on the future of food. It is not every day that one gets to attend an after-party with Alice Waters, two East Bay culinary artisans and countless other food and beverage producers.

But the annual Good Food Awards ceremony is anything but an ordinary, every day experience. NOSH attended this year’s ceremony, which was held on Jan. 15 at Fort Mason’s Herbst Pavilion in San Francisco. It was a long, rollicking evening, filled with plenty of good food and the aforementioned singing — courtesy of Elias Cairo and Tyler Gaston of Portland’s Olympia Provisions.

Two East Bay companies were among the 176 award winners: Wooden Spoons took home a charcuterie award for its pork rillettes, and La Tourangelle won an oils award for its Gourmande Roasted Hazelnut Oil. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Passione Pizza truck, Park Street Grill

Photo: Passione Pizza
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Openings, closings…

PASSIONE PIZZA NOW HAS A FOOD TRUCK Berkeley-based pizza company Passione Pizza debuted its first fully functional food truck in October in Sacramento. The truck will make its first East Bay appearance next week. Passione has been selling pre-made pizza dough and par-baked pizzas using high-quality wheat and gluten-free flours since 2013. The company had operated a mobile pizza oven for catering events since its beginnings, but owner Fabrizio Cercatore, who also runs Hot Italian in Emeryville, says on the company website that the demand far exceeded the capacity of the small oven. Hence, the new food truck. Passione has been very well-received so far. Yelper Michael M. said, “Passione Pizza tastes exactly like the fresh bread served in the trattorias in Rome.” Dave F. called the crust “amazing.” And Nana D. said of the pre-made dough: “It is by far the best pizza dough I have ever tried making it at home!” Passione Pizza is at 2326 5th Street (between Bancroft and Channing ways), Berkeley. Connect with the pizzeria on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Berkeley couple make rillettes at artisanal start-up

Brian Johnson and Julie Gordon at the kitchen
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Just six months ago, husband and wife team Brian Johnson and Julie Gordon started Wooden Spoons – a small business conceived at their kitchen table that makes rillettes using only locally farmed meats, fish and organic produce. The couple live in Berkeley with their kids and cook at a commercial kitchen in the city. Berkeleyside NOSH sat down with the pair to get the skinny on the artisanal start-up.

When and how did Wooden Spoons get started?
In the Spring of 2012, with our older son happily settled into his first year of college and our younger son needing us less and less, we started serious kitchen-table discussions about wanting to bring cooking and food into our lives in a way that could be fun, profitable and that would allow us to spend more time together. We love to cook for friends and family and have been making rillettes for many years – it’s long been the in-demand appetizer around the house. A jar of rillettes is an exciting thing to be able to pull out of the fridge for a special treat, and when we looked around us it became clear that this was something that no one else was approaching it in the way that we had in mind. … Continue reading »

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