HOPSY UP AND RUNNING IN ALBANY The first-ever beer growler delivery service and growler store launched yesterday in Albany. At its core, Hopsy provides a platform for customers to order draft beer from local breweries directly to their homes. The 10-strong opening brewery list includes Oakland’s Ale Industries, Alameda’s Alameda Island Brewing Co., San Leandro’s Cleophus Quealy, and San Francisco’s Magnolia Brewing. As of this week, the delivery service is only being offered to a limited group of customers who have signed on to the company’s waitlist. Hopsy will add more customers to its delivery list in two weeks. Those who don’t want to wait can purchase “growlettes” to-go from a limited selection of breweries at Hopsy’s store (1173 Solano Ave.). The store will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and all growlettes will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. It is closed on Wednesdays. Hopsy is at 1137 Solano Ave. (between Kains and Stannage avenues), Albany. Connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.
ITANI RAMEN UPDATE Chef Kyle Itani’s new Abueg Morris-designed ramen joint, Itani Ramen, is now very close to opening. Eater spoke with the chef, who also runs Uptown’s Hopscotch restaurant, this week. He plans to open the new restaurant January 18. Like Emeryville’s Shiba Ramen, Itani hopes that his ramen shop will give customers an experience more like eating Japan than the Bay Area. “I want this to be just about ramen,” he told Eater. His short menu will include four types of ramen that change with the season, plus a single “prefecture special” that will rotate monthly and showcase the cuisine of different prefectures (regions) of Japan. To drink: beer, sake, and ice-cold shochu served by the shot out of a reconfigured Jaegermeister machine. Itani is also trying to keep his prices down; he plans to price each bowl of ramen between $12 and $14, tip included. Itani Ramen will be at 1738 Telegraph Ave. (at 18th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
SUPER JUICED TO SWAN’S MARKET The historic Old Oakland market is now home to a juice bar — Super Juiced is now softly open in the 9th Street courtyard of Swan’s Market. The women-owned company has been operating as a pop-up shop since 2012; you may have sampled its juices at Berkeley’s La Peña Cultural Center or at Mamacitas Café. Its brick-and-mortar spot offers organic blends of juice such as “Golden Glow” (persimmon, apple, turmeric) and “Emerald Glow” (mint, celery, green chard, green apple, romaine, cucumber), plus fruit and nut smoothies, “tonic shots,” and blended nut milks. Why a juice shop? “Oakland has a void when it comes to healthy food options,” the owners write on the company website. “For those who choose to eat clean, organic, nutritionally dense foods, there are very few places to go. … It is our human right to have access to healthy food options.” Super Juiced is at 540 9th St. (at Clay Street), Oakland. Connect with the juice company on Facebook and Instagram.
ALAMEDA GETS A LITHUANIAN BAKERY When Mama Papa Lithuania opened in Alameda in 2013, it was the only West Coast restaurant serving Lithuanian food. The owners have now expanded next door to open what is also the only West Coast Lithuanian bakery, according to East Bay Express. Mama Papa Lithuania Bakery sells myriad Eastern European treats that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Its signature seven-layer honey cake called medutis, which combines delicate sponge cake with roasted honey and a sour cream filling, has always been available by the slice in the restaurant, but you can now order the cake whole at the bakery. Other offerings include oversized honey cookies made in the shape of a porcini mushroom and special Christmas poppy seed biscuits known as kučiukai. Mama Papa Lithuania Bakery is at 1239 Park St. (at San Antonio Avenue), Alameda. Connect with the bakery on Facebook.
SHANGRI-LA VEGAN NOW OPEN IN TEMESCAL We last brought you news on the expansion of popular macrobiotic restaurant Shangri-La Vegan in October. The new Temescal location is now open in the former Doukkala space. It offers a similar menu of organic, vegan food as the original spot: lentil soups, brown rice, stir-fried vegetables and salads. Shangri-La Vegan is at 4905 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
What else is going on…
STARLINE SOCIAL CLUB SHIFTS MENU Oakland’s fairly new restaurant/bar/music venue/event space is making a drastic change in the kitchen. Starting this week, Starline Social Club is partnering with Grocery Café chef/owner William Lue and turning its menu almost entirely Burmese, reported Inside Scoop. Lue will teach Starline’s kitchen staff how to prepare dishes like his popular tea leaf salad, samosas and rainbow noodle salad. While Starline will retain a few of its most popular items — onion rings, banh mi sandwiches and a rotating steak entrée — this menu change reflects a dramatic shift in the concept of the restaurant. Opening chef Austin Holey (of Pizzaiolo) received good reviews for his food, which consisted of fairly highbrow California-centric dishes like grilled Monterey squid with sweet corn, bacon, and cilantro. Why the change? Starling co-owner Sam White told Inside Scoop that the entire Starline staff was a huge fan of Grocery Café: “It’s the kind of thing where when we started talking to him and we realized that this guy isn’t messing around — he gets his own tea leaves and ferments them himself, he makes his own chili sauce — and the food is out of control, it’s so good.” Meanwhile, Holey will step out of the kitchen and assume an “advisory role.” The Grocery Café menu will be available Wednesdays through Saturdays; Starline will be hosting food trucks Sundays through Tuesdays. Starline Social Club is at 2236 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (at West Grand Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the club on Facebook and Instagram.
JUHU BEACH CLUB EXPANDS … TO HONG KONG Preeti Mistry, the chef/owner of Juhu Beach Club, surprised everyone when she announced the second location of her Indian street food restaurant. Instead of plotting a new spot in the East Bay or San Francisco, she’s been building a restaurant in Hong Kong. Yes, Hong Kong. The East Bay Express talked to Mistry, who said that the city’s “cosmopolitan character and vibrant dining scene” would be a great fit for the restaurant. It didn’t hurt that Mistry’s business partner and wife, Ann Nadeau, travels to Hong Kong frequently for work. The menu at the new Juhu Beach Club will be similar to the Temescal location; however, Mistry says that she will likely dial up the spice level of her dishes. Juhu Beach Club is at 5179 Telegraph Ave. (at 51st Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
CHRISTMAS IN THE EAST BAY Those who prefer to dine out for Christmas should start making plans now. In Berkeley, you can go big with the feast of the seven fishes at Lalime’s on Christmas Eve. Dishes include Kusshi oysters with red wine mignonette; raw scallops with yuzu, radish, fennel, cayenne and mint; fried smelt with fermented tartar sauce; and lobster soup with tarragon cream. FIVE restaurant is celebrating Christmas for the entire month of December, with a “12 Cocktails of Christmas” menu. Each cocktail is, appropriately, named after a verse from Christmas carol. Expect lots (and lots) of punny names like “Three French Hen-nessy.” One dollar of proceeds from each cocktail sold will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute. The restaurant will also host an all-you-can-eat Christmas day brunch featuring bottomless mimosas. On Christmas Eve in Oakland, Desco will be serving two special prix-fixe menus, which include a traditional Christmas Eve seafood stew. The a la carte menu will also be available. Lalime’s is at 1329 Gilman St. (between Neilson and Tevlin streets), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. FIVE is at 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. Desco is at 499 Ninth St. (at Washington Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
NEW YEARS EVE IN THE EAST BAY While some like to get out to clubs and bars on New Year’s Eve, we prefer celebrating 2016 with delicious food. It’s not too early to start making plans for Dec. 31; here’s where we’d like to ring in the New Year. Berkeley’s Comal is throwing down with a Mexican wrestling-themed dance party with music from DJ Jose Ruiz. Chef Matt Gandin will serve up Oaxacan bites and snacks like adobo shrimp and wild nettle quesadillas, jalapeño-Requesón flautas, chorizo molotes, mole negro chicken wings and chipotle deviled eggs. The $45 ticket price includes food, but cocktails are extra. The first 300 people in the door will be gifted a lucha libre wrestling mask, so if you’d prefer to party incognito, get there early. Nearby, Gather is hosting a slightly quieter party. It will offer special a la carte and prix-fixe menus that will include plenty of oysters and truffled scallops. Also in Berkeley, FIVE restaurant will serve an “elegant” five-course meal featuring lobster pyramid ravioli with parsnips mousseline, scallop carpaccio and lobster-stuffed filet mignon.
In Oakland, Hopscotch is hosting an $80 five-course Japanese-inspired feast that will include a sampling of dishes like kuromame (sweet black beans) and dashimaki (a kind of rolled egg omelet). There will also be foie gras involved, Chef Kyle Itani said in an email. Stop in for brunch the next day to feast (again) on hangover cures. Desco is serving a special prix-fixe menu with decadent entree options like a lobster, langoustine and prawn gratin or lamb three ways. Across the street, District will also be serving a special prix-fixe menu with wine or whiskey pairings. A “countdown party” begins at 10 p.m. and includes music from DJ Malachi. In Uptown, Calavera is celebrating La Cena de Los Danzantes de la Luna (The Last Feast of Tonalli in the Year of the Aztec Blood Moon) with Axtec-inspired dishes from chef Christian Irabien and “appropriately swanky” cocktails from the bar. Expect food like “Mar y Montaña” tacos (bone marrow butter poached Maine lobster, sturgeon caviar, salsa borracha) and bistec asado para dos (a 24 ounce wood-fired Del Monaco steak for two with mezcal-red wine poached pears, grilled onions, grilled cactus and tortillas). Drinks include Blood Moon Punch (mezcal, sparkling riesling, passion fruit, ginger, Oaxacan chocolate and Martini “El Rey” (Del Maguey Tobala, Lillet blonde, pineapple bitters, pineapple “olive”). In Rockridge, The Barrel Room will hold three seatings for a five-course meal that includes treats like Point Reyes Miyagi oysters, caviar, lobster and veal osso bucco. Guests also will receive a complementary glass of sparkling wine, plus party favors. Across town in Jack London Square, Plank is hosting two parties. First, tickets to an all-ages daytime romp from noon until 2 p.m. include a $20 game card, balloon drop, apple cider toast, a buffet lunch and karaoke. That evening, the bar will host a similar 21+ event; however, champagne and other premium drinks and nibbles will be included in the $65 ticket price. Nearby, Lungomare is holding its annual New Years Eve party, complete with a three-course menu and a late-night party with local jazz singer Jenna Mamina and Triple Threat DJs. Comal is at 2020 Shattuck Ave (between University Avenue and Addison Street). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. Gather is at 2200 Oxford St. (at Allston Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. FIVE is at 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. Hopscotch is at 1915 San Pablo Ave., (at 19th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Desco is at 499 Ninth St. (at Washington Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. District is at 827 Washington St. (at 9th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram. Calavera is at 2337 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Barrel Room is at 5330 College Ave. (at Bryant Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook and Twitter. Plank is at 98 Broadway (at Embarcadero West), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Lungomare is at 1 Broadway (at Water Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.