PAL’S TAKEAWAY PARTS WAYS WITH FIREBRAND Oakland-based sandwich maestro Jeff Mason shocked his fans this weekend with the surprise announcement that he’d no longer be serving sandwiches out of Firebrand Artisan Breads. Mason had moved Pal’s Takeaway to Firebrand from San Francisco’s Mission district last fall, and the new location seemed to be doing well. However, we learned from Inside Scoop that Firebrand’s owners Matt Kreutz and Colleen Orlando wanted to expand the bakery’s food offerings to include full brunch and dinner services; Mason did not want to take on that task. Instead, he has decided to look for a new permanent space to house his operation, and lucky for us, Mason told the East Bay Express that he would like to stay in the East Bay. In the meantime, Mason is planning to hold a series of pop-ups, the first of which will be a hot-dog themed dinner called “Pal’s Takeaway Goes to the Dogs.” The exact date and location have yet to be announced, but Mason told EBX it will take place in Berkeley sometime in the next three to four weeks. Update: We’ve learned from Pal’s Takeaway that the hot dog pop-up will take place at Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar at a yet-undecided date in July. Mason wrote on Twitter that the pop-up will include “some dogs some sandwiches some drinks some good stuff!!! Menu soon!!!!” We’ll continue to keep you posted. Connect with Pal’s Takeaway on Twitter.
THE CAT HOUSE TO REPLACE NEW EASY Last month, we shared the news that the Lakeshore Avenue bar The New Easy had closed after ten years in business. At the time, we reported that a bar called “Dan’s Locale on Lakeshore” may be moving into the space, but that ABC license has been withdrawn. We’ve now learned that a second license, for a bar called The Cat House, has been filed. The new owners, Hortensia Mitura and Hana Haysasi, are familiar faces in the neighborhood; both have worked at Boot and Shoe service around the corner. We’ve reached out to the owners for more details, and we’ll update you as we learn more. The Cat House will be at 3255 Lakeshore Ave. (near Lake Park Avenue), Oakland.
SUPER SUPER REPLACES T&R After only about a year operating on San Pablo, the Chinese restaurant T&R has closed. In its place has opened a Vietnamese pho and banh mi joint called Super Super. So far, reports have been positive. A Chowhound tipster called the banh mi “tasty,” and reports generous portions, reasonable prices, and fresh ingredients. Yelp diners have also praised the banh mi, as well as the pho and even the seemingly out-of-place hamburgers on the menu. Super Super is at 1428 San Pablo Ave. (between Camilia and Page), Berkeley.
BASIC CAFÉ TO BECOME ESTELLE After a year of operation in Emeryville, Basic Café has closed. In its place will be a new restaurant called Estelle, which will be run by the same owner, George LaFrance. The E’ville Eye writes that the new restaurant will serve modern American cuisine, but did not have any additional information about the new menu or chef. Sister establishment Baseline Produce closed about six months ago; no word from LaFrance if there are plans in store for that space. Estelle will be at 5000 Adeline St. (at 53rd Street), Emeryville.
HOMESTEAD APOTHECARY EXPANDING TO THE LAUREL Temescal’s Homestead Apothecary seems to be doing booming business in the herbal medicine field; in the last three years, it has doubled its storefront space in Temescal Alley, and it now has plans to open a second shop in the Laurel district. Homestead Apothecary’s owner Nic Weinstein has raised funds for the new space through a successful Kiva Zip Loan campaign. The new location will, according to Weinstein, give the apothecary space to start a medicinal garden and expand offerings to include medicinal dye kits and products from local makers. Homestead Apothecary will be at 3807 MacArthur Blvd. (between Loma Vista and 38th avenues), Oakland. Connect with the shop on Facebook and Instagram.
Dinners and events…
GORDA EATS BRINGING PUERTO RICAN FOOD TO ALAMEDA Despite the East Bay’s diversity of culinary offerings, there hasn’t been much in the way of Puerto Rican food — until now. Blogger and chef Illyanna Maisonet has launched an ultra-small-scale supper club called Gorda Eats that focuses on homestyle cooking from the island. The dinners are a testing ground for Maisonet’s recipes, several of which she self-published in a small cookbook last year and which she hopes to publish in a larger cookbook sometime in the near future. For the unacquainted, traditional Puerto Rican food is rustic and hearty, best described, Maisonet says, as “double starch and no leafy greens.” However, she’s quick to add that “it’s also a very soulful and comforting cuisine.” She hopes that by cooking this food, she helps to preserve the style of cooking prepared by people like her grandmother. “It is the responsibility of the younger generation to save the food of our grandmothers.” At the Gorda Eats pop-up, Maisonet serves a set menu that includes bacalaitos (codfish fritters), empanadas filled with picadillo (ground meat and olives), arroz con ganules (rice with pigeon peas), carne guisada (braised chicken in tomato sauce) and brazo gitano cake (with pineapple, coconut cream and raspberries). Maisonet also prepares drinks and rotating amuse buche bites of Maisonet’s creation. The next six-seat dinner on June 25 has sold out, but there are still seats available for a July 2 dinner. Connect with Gorda Eats on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
NYUM BAI POP-UP AT GOLDEN GATE DONUTS If you’re more inclined towards Southeast Asian food, there will be a Cambodian food pop-up tonight at Temescal’s Golden Gate Donuts. The dinner is the brainchild of Nite Yun, who started her Nyum Bai (“eat rice”) dinners in San Francisco earlier this year. The East Bay Express spoke to Yun earlier this week, and reported that the dinner will focus on Cambodian noodle dishes like kuy teav, a rice noodle and pork shoulder soup served in pork broth spiked with dried shrimp, dried squid, chili sauce and crispy garlic. Also on the menu will likely be nom pachok, a fish chowder served with fermented rice noodles, and a dish made with stir-fried instant noodles, tamarind sauce and a fried egg. Donuts will be served for dessert. Yun told EBX that she is also on the lookout for a diner space in which to open a brick-and-mortar Cambodian spot. She hopes to open in Oakland. Connect with Nyum Bai on Facebook and Instagram. Golden Gate Donuts is at 4201 Telegraph Ave. (at 42nd Street), Oakland.
FATHER’S DAY IN THE EAST BAY Those dining out for Father’s Day on Sunday have several options in the East Bay. In Berkeley, FIVE is offering a laid-back burger-and-beer combo on its dinner menu. In Oakland, A16 Rockridge is serving special brunch and dinner menus that include watermelon salad, cavatelli pasta with mussels and cannelloni beans, Berkshire pork chops with spring onion and a chocolate layer cake. Nearby, Bourbon & Beef will offer a special surf and turf dinner item, which will include a tomahawk ribeye steak, a seared scallop, caviar, shaved asparagus, smoked bacon and Point Reyes blue cheese butter, plus a bourbon flight or a glass of wine. At Homestead, dads and their families can indulge in a three course mixed-grill feast of tri-tip, pork belly, quail and duck sausage. Grilled vegetables and other vegetarian options are also available. In Uptown, alaMar will host a special barbecue pop-up lunch with Jerry Lucas. In the smoker will be pork ribs with a mezcal barbecue sauce, ancho chili-rubbed brisket, beer can chicken and barbecue oysters. Nearby, Hopscotch is celebrating the day “Ron Swanson-style” with a special ribeye and whiskey (rye or scotch) dinner item. It will be available alongside the regular menu. Haven‘s Father’s Day menu also features a large cut of beef — prime rib with Yorkshire pudding — in addition to a little gem salad, the “breaking bread course” and a choice of dessert. A16 Rockridge is at 5356 College Ave. (near Manila Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. Bourbon & Beef is at 5634 College Ave. (at Keith), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. Homestead is at 4029 Piedmont Ave. (at 40th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. alaMar is at 100 Grand Ave. (between Webster and Valdez Streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Hopscotch is at 1915 San Pablo Ave., (at 19th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What else is going on…
CAFE EUGENE GETS A NEW CHEF It’s only been open since January, but Café Eugene already has a new chef. Owner Ryan Murff has brought on Chris Laramie, replacing opening chef Amanda Joost Gehring. Laramie comes to Café Eugene from Hog Island Oyster Co. in the San Francisco Ferry Building, where he served as executive chef. But East Bay diners may know Laramie best as the owner of Berkeley’s eVe and, later, Brasa. At Café Eugene, Laramie has launched new lunch and dinner menus that have a larger seafood emphasis than Gehring’s menus. The menus will change seasonally. Café Eugene is at 1175 Solano Ave. (at Stannage Avenue), Albany. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.