SALSIPUEDES NOW IN SOFT OPENING Salsipuedes, the long-awaited North Oakland project from Jay Porter, Marcus Krauss and Bradford Taylor is officially in soft opening mode as of August 5. The restaurant will be open for dinner (no reservations) Tuesdays through Saturdays, and has tentatively scheduled a grand opening for August 20. Krauss, who is heading up the kitchen, has developed a menu focusing on “seaside barbecue” and California cuisine; menu highlights include black cod with yuzu ponzu and serrano peppers, corn two ways with salmon roe, and octopus melt bao with Oregon shrimp and cracklings. Wine comes courtesy of Taylor, the owner of Oakland’s Ordinaire wine shop, and it includes coastal and maritime wines from the Pacific, Mediterranean, Adriatic and Sicilian growing regions. Desserts will include creative ice creams (think flavors like fresh corn and nopales) from Luis Abundis of Nieves Cinco de Mayo. Salsipuedes will be at 4201 Market St. (at 42nd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
CRISPIAN BAKERY OPENS IN ALAMEDA We’ve gotten word on Chowhound that Crispian Bakery has opened in Alameda. It is already receiving high praise for its French-inspired breads and pastries. Chowhounder Ruth Lafler called the sticky buns “gooey but not too gooey, [with] tender pastry [and] lots of nuts and butter. The croissant is also very good: light and airy but still buttery.” Crispian Bakery is a collaboration from two Bouchon Bakery alums, Beth Woulfe and Christian Fidelis de Goes. The pair was previously operating out of shared kitchen space in Oakland and selling their wares at local farmers markets. Crispian Bakery is at 1700 Park St. (at Buena Vista Avenue), Alameda. Connect with the bakery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
CROOKED CITY TO LAUNCH AT THE STAR We brought you the story behind Oakland’s Crooked City Cider a couple of weeks ago — as of Monday, the small-batch artisanal cider will be available for wider consumption at The Star on Grand Avenue. Three ciders will be available, including Dana Bushouse’s hopped cider, straight apple cider and a seasonal special. Any guests who come by for the launch party from 7-9 p.m. on August 10 will get free nibbles to go with their cider; a special tasting flight of all three options will also be available. The Star is at 3425 Grand Ave. (at Elwood Avenue), Oakland. Connect with Crooked City Cider on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
PERUVIAN IN EL CERRITO More news from Chowhound: a Peruvian restaurant, El Mono Fresh, opened shop in El Cerrito earlier this summer. The family-owned restaurant is named for a geoglyph drawn by the Nazca culture in souther Peru. (The word is also Spanish for “the monkey.”) Chowhounders were generally pleased with the restaurant, praising the herb rub on the rotisserie chicken, anticuchos skewers and not-too-sweet lucuma ice cream. El Mono Fresh is at 10264 San Pablo Ave. (at Eureka Avenue), El Cerrito. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
THE PARAGON TEMPORARILY CLOSED The Paragon at The Claremont Hotel is closed through November as a part of the the hotel’s remodel. The restaurant’s last day of operations before the temporary closure was July 6, and it is scheduled to re-open the first week in December. In the meantime, its menu has been merged with The Meritage, which, unfortunately, does not have the same view.
U-CHA BOBA TEA OPEN, 85C COMING SOON The newest spot for boba and shaved snow is officially open at Fulton and Bancroft. Early Yelp reviews for U-Cha are highly positive; many guests are calling its tea the best boba in Berkeley. No word yet on the quality of the shaved snow. Around the corner, 85C Bakery Café is taking shape. Construction on the cafe is nearing its end, and the location is now hiring bakers and cake decorators. The Taiwanese chain has a firm following for its affordable cakes, pastries and breads. U-Cha is at 2199 Bancroft Way (at Fulton Street), Berkeley. 85C Bakery Café will be at 21 Shattuck Ave. (at University Avenue) Berkeley.
OFF THE GRID LAUNCHES IN CONCORD The East Bay is getting another weekly food truck pod. Off the Grid‘s newest location in Concord will launch August 17, according to Inside Scoop. Off the Grid Concord will take place on Grant Street between Salvio Street and Willows Pass Road every Monday from 5-9 p.m. It will include a rotating selection of eight trucks such as Bacon Mania, Burnt Ends BBQ and El Porteño, plus live music. Connect with Off the Grid on Facebook and Twitter.
What else is going on…
HIVE OAKLAND + CALAVERA + DRAKE’S = BIG PARTY Oakland’s First Friday event tonight, August 7, is getting a major food and drink boost. As we mentioned earlier this week, Hive Oakland is throwing an opening block party for two of its major tenants, Calavera and Drake’s Dealership, from 6:30-10 p.m. Pizza from Drake’s new wood-fired oven and nibbles like esquites (grilled Happy Boy corn, with lime mayonnaise, queso fresco and chile Piquin), ceviche costeño (local halibut, salsa Mexicano, toasted hominy), tacos de arrachera (marinated skirt steak on the grill and salsa de chile pasado) and tacos de carnitas (Schmitz Ranch slow cooked baby pig, salsa cruda and chicharones) from Calavera’s kitchen will be on hand, plus plenty of beer and margaritas. Brave guests can also stop by People’s Barber for a late-night haircut. Hive Oakland is at 2335 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the complex on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
MAMACITAS LOOKS TO BRICK-AND-MORTAR Mamacitas, the mobile café that won the 2015 Oaklandish Innovators award, is currently raising funds to build a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Oakland, according to East Bay Dish. The café has been frying donuts and pouring handmade lemonade for one year; it hopes to expand its offerings and hire more staff through its Kiva Zip Loan campaign. Mamacitas has a social justice component — the café hopes to train young women in business and inspire them to start their own. According to its website, “Mamacitas Café values hyperlocal business practices and prioritizes job creation and training for girls in Oakland facing significant barriers to employment. Mamacitas Cafe makes building stronger communities fun and delicious.” We will keep you posted as we learn more.
ACTUAL CAFÉ NOW SERVING CHICKEN AND “FRENCHIES” The North Oakland café has now expanded its brunch hours and added several new menu items, including a twist on the ever-popular chicken and waffles. Actual Café‘s take pairs Mary’s chicken, fried karaage-style, with thick-sliced, bourbon-soaked French toast. The boozy French toast is also available a la carte, as are rotating brunch specials like “Fancy Beef” hash and eggs, cornmeal huarache and seasonal frittatas. Low-alcohol cocktails like a ginger-lemon shandy and a soju-based drink called “The Old One-Two Punch” are, naturally, in abundance. Actual Café is at 6334 San Pablo Ave. (at Alcatraz Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the café on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
FIELDWORK BREWING PARTNERS WITH HUMANE SOCIETY West Berkeley’s Fieldwork Brewing is releasing a special “Fetch” pale ale August 8 as a part of a fundraiser for the Berkeley Humane Society. The launch party will take place at the brewery from 2-5 p.m.; the Humane Society’s mobile adoption truck will be in attendance for any beer drinkers who want to bring home a new pet. Fieldwork will also be donating $1 from every glass and $2 from every growler purchase of “Fetch” to the the Humane Society. Fieldwork Brewing is at 1160 Sixth St. (at Harrison Street), Berkeley. Connect with the brewery on Facebook and Twitter.
PEARL APP HELPS SHELLFISH FIENDS FIND OYSTERS There’s a new seafood-focused app in town — Pearl, which recently launched in the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, Seattle and Boston, is attempting to help diners more easily seek out their favorite oceanic dishes. The app has launched with what is essentially an oyster-finder for local restaurants. It lists the various oysters on offer at local restaurants (only two Oakland spots, Jack’s Oyster Bar and Marc 49 are included), with detailed descriptions and ratings for each. You can also search for specific types of oysters if, say, you only wanted to eat Miyagis from Tomales Bay. One hopes that the app will soon expand its reach to include other East Bay oyster joints, like Old Oakland’s The Cook and Her Farmer.