Bites: Hawking Bird opens; Sacred Wheel to close; Augie’s Montreal Deli coming soon

James Syhabout’s Hawker Fare spin-off restaurant, Hawking Bird, opened in Temescal. Photo: Sarah Han

HAWKING BIRD HAS LANDED James Syhabout’s anticipated Hawker Fare spin-off restaurant, Hawking Bird, opened last Friday, Dec. 8, in Temescal within the former Blackwater Station space. The specialty here is K.M.G., or khao mun gai, a Thai dish of poached chicken and rice served with salted mung bean sauce, cucumber and cilantro, and add-ons like a fried egg, a side of chicken broth or served “dirty” with chicken livers.

We stopped in on opening day and tried the K.M.G. with added livers and subbing out the jasmine rice for rice cooked in chicken fat. Hawking Bird is the more casual, quick-service version of Hawker Fare, so we weren’t surprised to find disposable plateware, cups and cutlery. And the K.M.G. was a little less composed in appearance than its Hawker Fare brethren, with the rice a bit more clumpy than we’d have liked it. Still, the flavors were on point.

For those who aren’t down for wiggly, poached chicken, Hawking Bird also serves its namesake fried chicken (marinated in garlic and ginger, battered in rice flour and then double fried) or the Mocking Bird (Hodo Soy tofu, double-fried in a curry batter) — which can be ordered as a sandwich, over rice or on a salad. There are also garlic noodles, fried tater tots and Thai pickles on the menu. Hawking Bird is currently open for lunch only, from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Hawking Bird plans to open for dinner and offer full bar service, which will be tiki-themed. Hawking Bird, 4901 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th), Oakland

The cheese case at Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop in Oakland. Photo: Sarah Han

A CHEESY GOODBYE While we were in Temescal, we stopped in at Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop. While helping us pick out some cheese, a staffer told us that the seven-year-old shop will be closing. The shop’s last full day will be Dec. 22, when it will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and its final day in business will be Dec. 23, when it will close at 5 p.m.

Sacred Wheel owner Jena Davidson confirmed the news via email. Davidson said, “My mother/business partner and I decided last year it was time for us to move our family back to the East Coast due to the ever rising cost of living in the Bay Area. We put the shop on the market during the spring in hopes of finding a buyer that would want to keep it the same, and to our delight, two of our existing employees decided to buy it.” Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out as planned. During the sale, they learned the shop needed $50,000 worth of structural repairs, and neither seller nor buyer could afford the expense. In the end, both buyer and seller decided to “make the very difficult decision to say goodbye.”

So, if Sacred Wheel is your neighborhood cheese shop — or even if it’s not, and you just want to support a local, family-owned business — stop in, buy some cheese, a tasty grilled cheese sandwich or other fun specialty food items they sell, and say goodbye to these friendly folks before it’s too late. Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop, 4935 Shattuck Ave. (at 51st), Oakland

OH, CANADA! Augie’s Montreal Deli, formerly a pop-up known as Augie’s Smoke Meat, is coming to Berkeley. Augie’s owner, Lex Gopnik-Lewinski said the brick-and-mortar location is currently in “full build out mode,” and will hopefully be open in early 2018. Augie’s will be a fast-casual Montreal-style Jewish deli, with both indoor and outdoor seating and a huge deli case for smoked meat to go.

Gopnik-Lewinski grew up in Berkeley from age 11, when his family moved from Toronto. He said he started Augie’s because you can’t bring in smoked meats from Canada (he’s tried), and he wanted to offer fellow Canucks a little piece of home.

Once it opens, Augie’s will serve a menu of typical Montreal deli offerings, including smoked meat sandwiches, rye bread potato latkes, poutine, a grilled cheese curd sandwich, chicken matzoh ball soup (based on his grandma and mom’s recipe) and Montreal-style beef ribs, also known as pastrami ribs. To make it a truly Canadian hangout, Augie’s will also televise hockey games. And this detail will delight many parents: the deli will offer curbside pick-up for quicky and easy take-out. Stay tuned on Nosh, where we’ll have more updates as Augie’s nears opening. Augie’s Montreal Deli will be at 875 Potter St. (near 7th St.) Berkeley

BOURBON & BEEF UPDATE In late November, Nosh reported that Bourbon & Beef in Rockridge was closed under somewhat mysterious circumstances. A note posted on the window of the restaurant mentioned that one of the owner’s homes had burned down in the North Bay fires. We recently learned some new details about what happened and what’s to come in the space. We confirmed through a representative for Bourbon & Beef that the restaurant is permanently closed, and that the fires were a big reason for the closure. Owner Abraham Masarweh decided to leave the business to focus on rebuilding his home. Under his former business partner, Nick Masarweh, the restaurant will become a new eatery called The Hideaway, a gourmet burger restaurant, which will also focus on craft cocktails. The projected opening for The Hideaway is early January. Stay tuned on Nosh, where we’ll report more details as we get them. The Hideaway will be at 5634 College Ave. (near Keith), Oakland 

WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN… LUNCH! Oakland’s Punk rock Japanese fried chicken restaurant Abura-ya started lunch service this week. The abbreviated menu features Japanese-style fried chicken (first marinated in shio koji, then battered with potato starch and deep fried in soybean oil), fried chicken oyakodon (chicken and egg rice bowl), poke-don and vegetable sides, like wasabi slaw, steamed broccoli, Aburaya tater tots and fried edamame. Vegans will delight in the fact that all entrees can be made vegan, substituting the poultry with fried cauliflower, fried tofu or vegan “drumstix.” Lunch is served from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Abura-ya, 362 17th St. Oakland  

SAVE THE DATE, SANGRIA LOVERS Next Wednesday, Dec. 20, is National Sangria Day. To celebrate, Spanish tapas bar La Marcha in Berkeley is offering 50% off sangria all day. La Marcha will be serving both its red and white sangria — made with wine, sherry and fruit — that day. La Marcha, 2026 San Pablo Ave., (at University), Berkeley

PANCAKES, KOREAN-STYLE Morningtide, a retail shop in Albany is hosting a Korean Pancake Pop-Up this weekend with Selina S. Lee of Banchan Workshop, which teaches Korean cooking classes in Oakland and San Francisco. Don’t expect to eat these pancakes with maple syrup or jam. Instead, these will be savory pan-fried fritters filled with chive and onion or kimchi. This event is a Cook Gather Give benefit, with 100% of proceeds donated to L.A. Kitchen to help with fire relief efforts in Los Angeles. The Korean Pancake Pop-up takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Morningtide, 847 Cornell Ave. (at Solano), Albany

VIETNAMESE HOLIDAY FEAST If you’re looking for an alternative to the standard American holiday fare, there’s an holiday dinner coming up that you might want to attend. Eating Saigon!, a Vietnamese food blog, which pops up from time to time at Rick & Ann’s in Berkeley, will have two seatings of a special multi-course holiday dinner on Dec. 29. The meal will be prepared by Chef Hai, who owns the restaurant Dong Hoa Xuan in Saigon, and who is the co-founder of Eating Saigon! with his partner, Joe. The menu for the night will feature sup cúa (crab soup), hến xúc bánh đa (river clam salad), cá hồi nướng (grilled salmon marinated in fermented tofu) and xôi kem (dessert with black sticky rice, coconut and ice cream). Tickets for the dinner are $40. The Vietnamese Holiday Dinner takes place at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 29 at Rick & Ann’s Restaurant, 2922 Domingo Ave. (at Russell), Berkeley