DYAFA COMES TO JACK LONDON Last week, Reem Assil’s new Middle Eastern restaurant, Dyafa, opened in Jack London Square. Dyafa, which translates to “hospitality” in Arabic, is the celebrated Palestinian chef’s second restaurant following, Reem’s California, her Arab bakery in Fruitvale that recently garnered her a nomination as a semifinalist for the James Beard Award’s Best Chef: West and was named one of Food & Wine’s Restaurants of the Year. Unlike fast-casual Reem’s, Dyafa is a full-service restaurant, which Assil opened in collaboration with Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group. In fact, Dyafa took over Patterson’s Haven location. Assil told Eater that Dyafa will share some menu items with Reem’s, but will feature “more funky, fun flavors, and sophisticated techniques that are used in the Middle East.” It will also have a full bar program under the helm of Alta Group’s beverage director Aaron Paul. Dyafa is currently open for lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, but will eventually expand hours (and its menu offerings) into the evening. On Saturday, April 21, Assil and company invite the public to celebrate Dyafa’s grand opening with them. For $50 (or $65 for VIP tickets), attendees will sample small bites and cocktails from the menu, and hear about the project first hand from Assil, Patterson and Caleb Zigas of La Cocina. Proceeds from the event benefit Patterson’s nonprofit, The Cooking Project. Dyafa, 44 Webster St. (near Embarcadero West), Oakland
POMPETTE CLOSED FOR GOOD? Reader Michael Fox sent us a tip yesterday that California-French bistro Pompette, located at 1782 Fourth Street in Berkeley, appears to have closed. Although Pompette’s website is still live, the restaurant is listed as closed on Google and Open Table. Nosh attempted to call the restaurant several times during lunch hour to confirm the closure, but the phone rang continuously until going to an anonymous voicemail box. We also stopped by the restaurant, but there were no signs posted nor employees on site to answer questions. We spoke with several neighboring businesses as well as CEO of the Berkeley Chamber Kirsten McDonald, but no one had any knowledge of Pompette being closed. Couple David and Caramia Visick opened Pompette last April in the former Café Rouge space. We will add to this post with any updates as we get them.
PROS AND CONES Nosh tipster Sean Rouse spotted signage announcing the impending arrival of Kono Pizza in Berkeley. Kono is an international chain founded in Italy that serves made-to-order pizza baked into a crust that’s shaped like an ice cream cone. The purpose of the alternative format, according to Kono’s website, is for mobility and “easy, clean eating” (because folding a slice is too difficult?). Aside from the “kone” crust that keeps all the toppings contained, Kono also uses low-skim, low-moisture cheese, which apparently cuts the greasiness and ooze factor. Kono offers a variety of savory toppings, including cheese, pepperoni, sausage and a vegetarian option, but also offers dessert kones, filled with sweet spreads and fillings like Nutella, cannoli cream and chocolate pudding. Kono USA co-founder and co-CEO Carlo Ruggiero told the Daily Cal that Berkeley is an ideal location for Kono Pizza because of the company’s success in locations that are based near schools. Kono currently has stores, food trucks, kiosks and mobile carts in trailers in Arizona, Texas, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey and Massachusetts, with several other franchises across the country coming soon. The Berkeley Kono Pizza plans to open within the next month. Kono Pizza, 2282 Fulton St. (between Bancroft and Kittredge), Berkeley
WINDOW OF JOY This month, Downtown Oakland got a new walk-up coffee window. Slojoy Coffee Roasters opened its first brick-and-mortar location on April 2. According to Hoodline, the new café has found its home in what was formerly a janitor’s closet on the ground floor of a new co-working space on Webster Street. Slojoy specializes in locally roasted single-origin coffee, and the window, which is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., offers drip, pour-over, as well as espresso drinks and chai tea. In keeping with the happy spirit of its name, Slojoy employees write a handwritten note of encouragement on every cup they serve. Slojoy Coffee Roasters, 1528 Webster St. (between 15th and 17th), Oakland
MORE COFFEE TALK As of last weekend, you can get a cup of Algorithm Coffee at the Saturday Farmers Market in downtown Berkeley. Algorithm owner Aaron Hubbard told Nosh that he’s had his eye on the spot ever since Blue Bottle left the market a couple years ago and is excited about sharing his direct-trade, organic and single-origin coffee with a new crowd. Algorithm’s flagship café is at 1122 University Ave. in West Berkeley, but it also has a stand at the Kensington Farmers Market on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At its new Saturday farmers market slot, Algorithm offers drip, cold brew and tea from another Berkeley purveyor, Blue Willow. Find Algorithm Coffee from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ecology Center Farmers Market, Center St. (at MLK), Berkeley
URBANBELLY + ITANI Chicago food lovers know Bill Kim. He’s the chef who brought his take on “dumplings, booze and bowls” to the Windy City with his pan-Asian eatery urbanbelly and grill-at-the-table BBQ and other Korean comfort food dishes with bellyQ. Next month, Oakland will have a chance to get a taste of his cooking, when chef Kyle Itani (Hopscotch, Itani Ramen) joins forces with Kim for a one-night izayaka pop-up dinner. The dinner will feature several dishes inspired by recipes from Kim’s debut cookbook, Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces and will be a preview of Itani’s summer izakaya series, which he plans to start in mid-June. The Kim and Itani collab takes place at 7 p.m. May 12 at Itani Ramen in Uptown. Tickets are $45 and include cocktail pairings. (Call (510) 788-7489 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot at the table). If you can’t make the dinner, there’s another way to get a taste of the Kim-Itani combo. From May 10-12, the two chefs will offer a special mash-up of their two signature dishes. The Coconut Curry Ramen melds Itani’s ramen with a favorite dish at urbanbelly, the Coconut Curry Pho. The catch? You can only order it for delivery via Caviar. Itani Ramen, 1736 Telegraph Ave. (at 18th), Oakland
DOLLARS FOR NICKELDIME Three years ago, Jared Hirsch and Jennifer Absinthia Vermut, the founders of Oakland-based cocktail syrup company NickelDime turned to Kickstarter to launch their first product. By the end of the campaign, they reached 136% of their target goal to make Caged Heat, a sweet and spicy syrup made with tamarind, cardamom and ghost pepper. Now, the duo are looking to crowdfund their next three flavors. Their Kickstarter goal of $30,000 will help them produce Crimson Smoke (cranberry, honey, and smokey Lapsang Souchong tea), Cherry Bomb Dark (roasted coffee, bittersweet cacao and tart and fruity sour cherry) and Fairy Dust (fennel, anise and wormwood — the absinthe herbs in syrup form. You may recall Vermut is the maker of Absinthia absinthe, which Nosh wrote about last year). They’ll also use some of that money to redesign their Caged Heat labels to match their new line of syrups. As of April 17, NickelDime’s new Kickstarter had 200 backers and had reached over half of its goal, with eight days left to reach its all-or-nothing goal.
GET CHILL ON 420 This week Bay Area-based juice and clean food company Project Juice announced its new line of CBD menu items, which it will launch, appropriately, on April 20. The “Chill” line features three products made with the non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from hemp plants that proponents claim have health benefits, including relief for pain and anxiety. Chill Tonic Wellness Shots contains 20 mg of CBD, Chill Chocolates have 2 mg of CBD per piece and Chill Boosts (boosts are only available at some locations, including Berkeley) allow customers to add 15 drops of CBD oil containing 20 mg of the cannabinoid to any smoothie or bowl. To clarify for weed newbs, because the Chill line doesn’t contain THC, none of these products will get you stoned, but they’ll hopefully take you to a more relaxed state of being. Project Juice, 1911 Fourth St. (near Hearst), Berkeley
OH, YEAAAHH! While we’re on the topic of 420… TMZ recently captured Snoop Dogg chowing down on mac and cheese from Oakland’s Chef Yeaaahh. The rapper had performed at the opening party for Mr Fab’s new Dope Era store in Oakland, and Chef Yeaaahh, aka Clarence Jackson, had catered the event. To see if you agree with Snoop’s taste, check out Soul Food Sunday, Chef Yeaaahh’s weekly appearances at Bar 41 in Temescal, featuring southern comfort food, drinks and Veyn Wurl spinning tunes. Bar 41, 308 41st St. (near Broadway), Oakland