Bites: Japanese whisky-pairing dinner, Grand Bakery bagels, By Co Nam, Oktoberfest events

A three-course Japanese whisky pairing dinner will take place at Itani Ramen on Saturday, Oct. 6. Photo: Itani Ramen

IT’S SUNTORY TIME This Saturday, Itani Ramen hosts a dinner with the Japanese whisky maker, Suntory. The three-course dinner starts with uni nori chips with cured salmon and daikon roulades paired with a 12-year-old Yamazaki single malt whisky, served mizuwari (with water and ice). Next, Hibiki Japanese Harmony, served oyuwari (mixed with hot water), complements a rich duck rillette “musubi” and spicy mizuna salad with wasabi stem vinaigrette. And for the final course, mushroom foil yaki and beef tataki ramen pair with a Toki highball (with soda, ice, and fragrant yuzu peel). There are still a few seats left for the 8:30 p.m. seating. The meal is $58, but tickets are $20 to reserve a seat online (The $20 acts as a deposit which will be put to pay the total bill). Itani Ramen1736 Telegraph Ave. (at 18th), Oakland 

Grand Bakery owner Sam Tobis. Photo: Grand Bakery/Facebook

GRAND BAGELS Sam Tobin, owner of Oakland’s kosher Grand Bakery, has been working on a bagel recipe for months, and he’s finally ready to share his holey product with the world. On Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Grand Bakery will host a pop-up at the Food Mill, a natural foods market in Oakland’s Dimond district and location of the bakery’s production facility. Plain, poppy seed, sesame and everything bagels will be available by the half-dozen and dozen, to-go, or served with cream cheese shmear to enjoy on site. There’ll also be coffee, tea, fresh-squeezed orange juice and a selection of Grand Bakery sweet treats. Grand Bakery plans two more bagel pop-ups, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16. (H/t J.) Grand Bakery bagel pop-up at The Food Mill, 3033 MacArthur Ave. (near Maple), Oakland

Vietnamese grilled skewers will be one of the specialties at By Co Nam in North Oakland. Photo: By Co Nam

FROM PIZZERIA TO QUÁN NHÂU Across the street from the MacArthur BART station, on the corner of Telegraph and 40th Street, the former Portofino pizza café will become a quán nhậu (Vietnamese bar) serving street food. Husband-wife co-owners Trung Nguyen and Vy Lieou will open By Co Nam, the follow-up to their San Francisco restaurant Co Nam. Lieou, the executive chef, will offer a menu of grilled skewers (various meats, seafood, Vietnamese mochi, more), build-your-own noodle and rice bowls (with a choice of 5-spice chicken, grilled pork or sauteed vegetables), and pho (chicken or filet mignon).

Nguyen and Lieou are in the process of getting their full liquor license, but until then, will start service with beers from Hoi Polloi Brewing, Barrelhouse Brewing Co., Hitachino Nest and Prairie Ales, among other craft breweries, and cocktails made with shochu (which can be served under a beer and wine license), housemade tinctures, shrubs and infusions. Nguyen said, “The fun really begins when we get our [Type] 47 [license]. Mixology will have a new meaning.”


The couple moved to San Leandro last year but had previously lived in North Oakland for more than 10 years. “My wife and I are excited to bring this concept to Oakland; it’s almost like we’re coming home,” said Nguyen. “We like the charm and convenience of the Temescal/Mosswood districts and are looking forward to meeting and making friends with the neighbors.”

By Co Nam is in its final stages. Nguyen and Lieou said inspections are still a few weeks out, and in the meantime, are finishing up decorations and furnishings, which will include outdoor seating and a living wall and mural on the 40th Street side of the building. They’re shooting for a soft opening later this month. By Co Nam will be at 3936 Telegraph Ave. (at 40th), Oakland

BENCHMARK IN OAKLAND Benchmark opened its second restaurant on Thursday in Old Oakland, in the former location of Desco. Owners Peter and Melissa Swanson opened the first location in Kensington in 2012, and as with the original spot, Benchmark Oakland will serve Cal-Italian fare, including wood-fired pizzas made from a wild yeast starter, scratch-made pastas and variety of fresh salads. However, the new sister locale will also offer a few entrees — like fish and chips, meatballs with polenta and braised greens and a farro bowl with vegetables and poached egg — and a couple new dessert items. Benchmark Oakland also has a full bar, which according to Eater, will focus on amaro cocktails. Benchmark Oakland, 499 Ninth St. (at Washington), Oakland 

EAST BAY OKTOBERFEST EVENTS:

Drake’s, Cleophus Quealy and 21st Amendment — three breweries in San Leandro — will once again come together for OkDROberfest. The third annual event takes place Saturday, Oct. 6, from noon to 5 p.m., when all three taprooms will offer German-style beer, food and entertainment. A Brew Hop shuttle will transport guests from the San Leandro BART station to each of the breweries. Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door) and include access to the shuttle, three beer tokens and a commemorative stein. (Designated driver tickets are $5, include shuttle access, but no beer.) 21+ only. Drake’s Brewing Co., 1933 Davis St #177, San Leandro; Cleophus Quealy, 448 Hester St., San Leandro; 21st Amendment Brewery, 2010 Williams St., San Leandro

Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill is a dependable site for Oktoberfest revelry and this year, the party takes place Saturday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m There’ll be an Oktoberfest beer and other house-brewed ales on tap to wash down German-inspired fare, like housemade bratwurst, warm Bavarian pretzels with German beer cheddar sauce and crispy pork tenderloin schnitzel. Costumes encouraged. Tickets are $25, and include a souvenir beer stein with one fill. Lake Chalet, 1520 Lakeside Dr., Oakland

Homestead on Piedmont Avenue celebrates Oktoberfest this weekend with a German-inspired Sunday Supper. The feast starts with an apple and kohlrabi salad, pork schnitzel served with spaetzle, sauerkraut, Brussels sprouts with bacon, and a dessert of quince strudel with cinnamon ice cream and pecans. Seatings are from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7. Homestead, 4029 Piedmont Ave. (between 40th and 41st), Oakland


Ocean View Brew Works in Albany is throwing an Oktoberfest fête next Sunday, Oct. 14, from 2-7 p.m. Along with four types German beers on tap (Berliner Weisse, Munich Helles, Oktoberfest and Altbier), there’ll be charcuterie from Picnic Rotisserie and pretzels by Squabisch, live music by the Zichke-Zacke Band and a costume contest. Tickets are $35 general admission; $50 for VIP access. Ocean View Brew Works, 627 San Pablo Ave. (between Garfield and Portland), Albany