Bites: Les Arceaux, Michelin 2018 Guide, Halloween food events

Les Arceaux in Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

TWO SISTERS OPEN LES ARCEAUX Mikha Diaz and Alana O’Neal once ran a cozy bar and bookstore called Two Sisters in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. It closed this May after six years in business, but announced before its closure that it was heading east to open a French café and wine bar called Les Arceaux in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto.

Inspired by her time in southern France, chef O’Neal wanted to recreate a Provencal-style eatery for the duo’s newest restaurant together. And, Diaz told Nosh, they both live in the East Bay, so it made sense for them to open it on this side of the bay.

Found within the former Bistro Liaison space, Les Arceaux is a chic, inviting European style café. It opens in the morning for breakfast, lunch and beverages like coffee, tea, beer and wine. But at 5 p.m., it becomes a sophisticated evening wine bar, featuring a curated wine list with two house wines on draft and more than 25 wines available by the glass. Most of the wines will come from California’s Central Coast and Languedoc and Savoie in France. Rather than spirits-based cocktails, there will be a “spritz menu,” featuring three year-round wine-based cocktails and two seasonal varieties.

Nosh was invited to a media preview last night, where we got a taste of what’s to come. We sampled a mild, savory tart with with herbed chevre and apples baked in a shortbread-like pate sablee; a spice-roasted romanesco salad with raisins, nuts and carmelized onions served in tender radicchio hearts; socca batons (made with chickpea flour) that mimicked french fries, that we dipped in harissa aioli; and a rich fromage blanc cheesecake with a honey-like quince glaze.


We tickled our tongues on a refreshing spritz made with balsamic vinegar, dried cherry and pink peppercorn vermouth, Campari and Lambrusco. Les Arceaux will open its doors this Friday, Oct. 27. Les Arceaux is at 1849 Shattuck Ave. (at Hearst), in Berkeley.

EAST BAY SHOWING IN 2018 MICHELIN GUIDE Michelin delayed the release of its San Francisco Bay Area dining guide “in honor of the restaurants, wineries and communities affected by the wildfires.” Originally slated for release on Oct. 12, it rescheduled its announcement for its star rankings to today (Oct. 25).

Well, the 2018 guide was just released this afternoon and once again, Commis, owned by James Syhabout, is the only East Bay restaurant to make the list — it retained its two stars. Commis first received one star in the 2010 guide; it received its second star in 2016. Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse once held one star for four years, but lost its star in the 2011 guide.

Michelin awards one to three stars, and considers restaurants that “serve cuisine that is prepared from excellent quality ingredients, display impressive technical skill, and present a balanced menu of clear flavors with a distinct personality; and it is imperative that they do so consistently. In addition to the menu and cuisine, we also scrutinize the beverage program asking ourselves if the wine, cocktail, and/or sake selection enhances the experience and moreover offers something special.”

Oakland chefs Tanya Holland and Tu David Phu will appear on Season 15 of Top Chef. Photo: Courtesy of Bravo TV

EAST BAY REPRESENT! Two – count ’em two – chefs from Oakland will be on the next season of Bravo’s Top Chef. Tanya Holland and Tu David Phu make up two of 15 contestants competing for the coveted title of Top Chef, which includes a cash prize of $125,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and national recognition. This season, the show is set in Colorado.


Holland is well-known and loved for her soul food at Brown Sugar Kitchen, which recently earned her a Michelin Bib Gourmand. She is currently in the process of expanding, set to open a second location of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Uptown Oakland.

As for Phu, Nosh recently wrote about him when we visited his Vietnamese pop-up. An ardent storyteller and a talented chef, Phu loves sharing his personal experiences when serving his food at Ăn, which makes him a perfect candidate for the reality TV show. In fact, a sneak peek clip from Season 15 shows an emotional Phu mid-cry. Was he weeping while telling a touching story about his family’s fish sauce? Did Tom Colicchio hate something he made? Or did another “cheftestant” get under his skin? Guess we’ll have to watch to find out.

Top Chef Season 15 also includes two San Francisco chefs — Rogelio Garcia (The Commissary) and Melissa Perfit (Bar Crudo). Here’s hoping one of these four Bay Area chefs makes it to the top three! Top Chef Season 15 airs on Dec. 7.

BLACK RESTAURANT WEEK Monday marked the first day of Bay Area Black Restaurant Week, a two-week long celebration of local African American-owned culinary businesses and farms. Participating East Bay restaurants include Enssaro, Miss Ollie’s, Kingston 11, Bissap Baobab and Home of Chicken and Waffles, which will all be offering special lunch and/or dinner menu through Nov. 5.

At Miss Ollie’s, for example, diners can order a four-course Caribbean soul-food dinner for $45, which includes a rum punch cocktail, black eye pea fritter with shrimp; locally grown tree collards, goat curry served with roti, coconut rice and peas and for dessert, a stone fruit flan. And at Grand Avenue Ethiopian restaurant Enssaro, $45 gets you an Ethiopian feast for two, which includes one starter and a choice of vegetarian or meat entree for each diner and two beverages of your choice.


Check out the Bay Area Black Restaurant Week website for the rest of the deals and for upcoming events, like a culinary showcase featuring bites from Black caterers and chefs (Friday, Oct. 28 at Impact Hub) and a pop-up dinner with chef Terry Braggs (Nov. 4 at Port Kitchens). Proceeds from the Bay Area Black Restaurant Week dining specials will benefit Oakland Food Pantry and Freedom Farmers Market, a market in Temescal that features “legacy foods,” or crops associated with African American heritage grown by Black farmers.

Food-centric Halloween + Day of the Dead events

Decorations for Día de los Muertos at Calavera in Oakland. Photo: Calavera Facebook

CALAVERA DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS CELEBRATION Calavera in Oakland is once again celebrating Día de los Muertos in grand style. For a week, from Thursday, Oct. 26, through Nov. 1, the restaurant will be decked out with festive decorations to pay homage to the dead. This year, Calavera will pay tribute to Mexican film star, Cantinflas, with special altars and film screenings throughout the week. As for food, it’ll offer a special dinner menu and cocktails all week to get you into the spirit. Two special days to note: From 4 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 31 Calavera will be throwing a special Halloween party with complimentary mezcal tastings, face painting and a DJ in the courtyard playing tunes. And on Nov. 1 there’ll be Day of the Dead face painting, floral headdress making and live music by Nacho & the Dollar Bar band. Calavera, 2337 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), in Oakland.

THRILLER NIGHT, FRIDAY NIGHTS @ OMCA Looking to do some people/costume watching while eating some delicious bites? Here’s a good event for you — the Halloween edition of the Oakland Museum’s popular Friday Nights event will be a tribute to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and will feature a huge line-up of Off the Grid food trucks and local beer and wine specials in the museum’s Blue Oak beer garden. There’ll also be a local art market, live music, dancing and half-priced admission to the museum. Thriller Night takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, at the Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St. (at 10th St.), in Oakland.

Scream Fest takes place at Crooked City Cider in Oakland. Photo: Crooked City Cider Instagram

SCREAM FEST Halloween is Crooked City Cider‘s favorite holiday, so it’s no surprise they’re throwing a party. (The cider company also has some big news to celebrate — according to the East Bay Express, it’s opening a new taproom next year on Broadway, near Jack London Square). Come in your best Halloween finery to enter the costume contest; awards will be given for scariest, most creative, most iconic and funniest costumes. There will also be food from Red Door Catering, live music from the Spencer James Band, cocktails and lots and lots of cider (including “pumpkin and blood cider” according to the invite). This event is kid and dog-friendly. Tickets are $15 to $40 and can be purchased on EventbriteScream Fest takes place 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, at Crooked City Cider, 477 25th St. (near Telegraph), in Oakland.

HALLOWINE 2017! Rock Wall Wine Company is hosting a party for wine lovers, featuring a costume contest, a haunted photo booth, food trucks (J Shack  Japanese Creperie, Taqueria Angelica’s), DJ Alex Mejia, games and plenty of wine. Tickets to this 21+ event are $15 to $25 ($15 for designated drivers are available at the door; those who plan to drink must purchase tickets on Eventbrite), which includes a souvenir wine glass and one free glass of wine. Food and more wine will be available at an additional cost. Hallowine 2017 takes place from 8 to 11 p.m. on Fri., Oct 27, at Rock Wall Wine Company, 2301 Monarch St. (at W. Tower), in Alameda.

MELOMELO HALLOWEEN GATHERING Want to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve in a mellow, but festive way? Wear a costume (required) to MeloMelo Kava Bar and get all-you-can-drink kava for 20 bones. This mood-altering beverage will have you saying “bula!” (Polynesian for “cheers”) instead of “trick-or-treat.” The Halloween Gathering takes place from 7 to 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, at MeloMelo Kava Bar, 1701 University Ave. (at McGee), in Berkeley.

HALLOWEEN HAPPY HOUR AT THE PERIODIC TABLE Head on down to Emeryville Public Market for an all-day Halloween happy hour at The Periodic Table. Enjoy draft beers from Gilman Brewing Company, Fieldwork, Faction, Novel, Barebottle, Triple Voodoo and Baird Beer for $6-$8. Sake lovers note: The Periodic Table will be selling a set of Gegege no Kitaro sake for $25 (regularly $30). These one-cup sakes come in a reusable glass cup featuring Japanese manga characters Kitarō, Medama-Oyaji and Nezumi-Otoko. Halloween Happy Hour takes place From 11:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. on Oct. 31, at The Periodic Table is at 5959 Shellmound St., in Emeryville.

PENROSE HALLOWEEN PARTY Penrose is turning four-years-old and to celebrate it’s throwing a Halloween/birthday party. Entry is free and includes snacks from the Penrose kitchen, performances by R&B musician Tory Teasley and DJ Dreamqueen. Wear your best costume and dancing shoes. Penrose Halloween Party takes place 7 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 31, at Penrose, 3311 Grand Ave. (between Lake Park and Elwood avenues), Oakland.

DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS SPECIALS The Terrace Room in Oakland will offer a special Day of the Dead dinner menu from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3, during the hours of 5 to 9:30 p.m. A sampling of the specials includes sopa de ajo, pozole blanco, Zacatecan mole verde, red chili tamale, and churros with chocolate sauce and crema. Terrace Room Restaurant & Bar is located at 1800 Madison St. (at 17th St.), in Oakland.

DAY OF THE DEAD DINNER Cosecha at Swan’s Market in Old Oakland will be serving a special Día de los Muertos menu on Nov. 2 during its evening hours. A don’t miss item: Pastry chef Maestro Luis from Mexico City will be making Pan de Muerto, a special bread traditionally made for the holiday. Cosecha will have a community altar for those who wish to leave a picture of departed loved-one. The Day of the Dead Dinner takes place at 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Cosecha, 907 Washington St. (at 9th St.), in Oakland.

DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS THEMED DINNER If you have VIP Gold tickets to Oakland Ballet’s Nov. 3 performance of “Luna Mexicana,” you’ll also be getting a Día de los Muertos-inspired, pre-performance dinner at Oakland’s Oaxacan restaurant, Agave Uptown as part of the package. That night’s menu will include a feast of kabocha soup, Oaxacan goat, Oz Farm rabbit and Bill Niman turkey. Tickets for the dinner + ballet performance are $200 and can be purchased on Ticketmaster. Agave Uptown is at 2135 Franklin St. (at 22nd St.), in Oakland.

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