NECESSARY PROVISIONS Oakland’s Mikkeller taproom and bottle shop has officially closed; it has reverted back to its former iteration as The Trappist Provisions, the second location for The Trappist, a Belgian beer specialty bar. The news was announced in The Trappist newsletter.
The Trappist Provisions first opened in Rockridge in 2013. It transitioned to an outpost of Copenhagen-based brewery Mikkeller in 2016, while remaining under the ownership of The Trappist’s Aaron Porter and Chuck Stilphen (the latter helped open Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco). According to The Trappist’s general manager Ruben Dominguez, part of the reason for the return is nostalgia. “Honestly, we missed it being The Trappist Provisions and we felt the Rockridge beer community missed it as well,” he said. Dominguez also added, “[We] wanted to return it to a Belgian-inspired beer bar and not be so focused on one particular brewery. It really opens us up to the ever-growing world of beer.” Although The Trappist Provisions is now open, the transition is still a work in progress, with changes to decor and signage happening over the next couple of weeks. The Trappist Provisions, 6309 College Ave. (at 63rd), Oakland
LAST DAYS OF ROME First let’s get the bad news out of the way: Oakland’s modern Roman restaurant Contrasto is closing soon. According to a Facebook post by chef-owner Alessandro Campitelli, the space was recently sold and the restaurant lost its lease and needs to move. The good news: it was actually supposed to close at the end of last year, but the restaurant got an extension to stay a couple months longer. That means you still have a few chances to visit before it actually does close.
Campitelli opened Contrasto in the Adam’s Point neighborhood in 2017, following Chiaroscuro, his San Francisco fine dining spot. The more casual Oakland restaurant offers happy hour, dinner and brunch on the weekends, and is best known for its pasta dishes. Although Contrasto’s end is near, Campitelli has partnered with sommelier Paul Robinson to offer cooking and wine classes before opening a new location elsewhere. (The next classes are a pasta workshop on Feb. 23 and a Rome & Umbria on Feb. 26 at the Avocado Catering Kitchen.) We reached out to Campitelli for a final closing date and will update this post when we get the details. Contrasto, 388 Grand Ave. (between Perkins and Staten), Oakland
MARICA, BY POPULAR DEMAND Nosh reader Karen Hata brought this Rockridge food news to our attention: Pizza Marica, formerly known as Marica before changing to a pizza restaurant last November, has reverted back to its former seafood focus. In a comment on Yelp, co-owner Nedda Cheung wrote, “After doing pizza for about a month, we had many more requests to bring back our old menu, seafood and classic dishes.” Cheung, who runs the restaurant with her husband Christopher, told Nosh that the restaurant started serving the original Marica menu earlier this month. Marica, 5301 College Ave. (near Clifton), Oakland
LOVERS & HATERS North Light, the new restaurant-bar-bookstore in Temescal, is offering a unique three-course Valentine’s Day special. It all started with an idea dreamt up by writer and North Light friend Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, who pitched it to owners Dan Stone and Lee Smith. Rather than the typical Valentine’s Day coursed dinner, starting at 5 p.m. on Feb. 14, North Light will offer two options that both include a dessert, drink and a book. For couples in love, there’s a sweet three-part offering for $40 that includes strawberry pie for two, two glasses of Serol Turbullent sparkling rosé and a clothbound edition of Shakespeare’s love poems, The Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint. And for “the blue, brokenhearted, bitter or blissfully alone,” there’s another three-part menu ($30) that might be more representative of your state of heart: a bourbon and bitter-chocolate mousse, a Sazerac and a copy of Handler’s Why We Broke Up. And if your situation is more of an “it’s complicated” sort of deal, you’ll want to know that components from both options can be ordered a la carte. North Light, 4915 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th), Oakland
LOVE (L)IKE’S On Valentine’s Day, Ike’s is showing its love for its fans by offering sandwiches for $6. To get the deal, diners must present a print-out or screenshot of this coupon at any Ike’s location. Note that the offer is limited to sandwiches that cost $13.99 or less (most of Ike’s offerings are around $10). Check Ike’s website for the nearest location to you.
BAR WARS We’re blessed in Berkeley to have so many great bartenders who know their way around a cocktail shaker and a swizzle stick. But if put head to head, who would be the best of the Berkeley mixologists? Find out next Monday, Feb. 18, at the “Battle of the Berkeley Bars” taking place at East Bay Spice Company. Bartenders from East Bay Spice Company, Gather, Tigerlily, Revival Kitchen & Bar, Acme, Tupper & Reed, Comal and Western Pacific will work their magic with spirits — the kind you drink, rather than the witchy kind — vying for three cash prizes ($350, $250 and $150). Nosh’s very own Risa Nye, a.k.a. Ms. Barstool, will flex her cocktail knowledge as a judge at the contest. The competition starts at 5 p.m.; the public is welcome to watch and cheer on their favorites. East Bay Spice Company, 2134 Oxford St. (at Center), Berkeley
THE BIG APPLE Oakland’s Crooked City Cider Jack London Square tap house-restaurant is now open! The 2,800-square-foot-space is a dependable spot to taste about 25 ciders on tap, but its more than just that. There’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, including cozy couches and a dog-friendly patio, family-friendly activities and games like darts and pinball, as well as a kitchen offering food from Town Square, a new partnership Perle Wine Bar’s Rob Lam and Dino Vazquez and Great China’s James Yu. (Speaking of partnerships, Crooked City founder Dana Bushouse tells Nosh she’s still looking for a partner for the business.) The taproom is currently in soft open mode, with a grand opening party taking place from noon to midnight, Feb. 23. Crooked City Cider, 206 Broadway, Oakland
YARDS AHEAD About 10 years ago, before she became a Berkeley City Council member, Sophie Hahn hired Willow Rosenthal to help her start a micro-urban farm and CSA called The Berkeley Basket. What started as a way for Hahn to sell the abundance of produce from her North Berkeley edible garden to offset some of the costs incurred in its maintenance, eventually grew into a bountiful community project. These days, The Berkeley Basket — now run by farmer Marianne Olney-Hamel — has spread to three backyards in Berkeley, growing produce for about 15 families. This year, it hopes to expand membership and cultivation even further. Those in or near Berkeley with sunny yards who are interested in lending their plots to become edible gardens, or those looking to receive weekly CSA boxes, can reach out to Olney-Hamel to learn how to participate.
CLOSING HOUSE Pia Klausen, owner of Berkeley’s Nordic House said the end is near for the business. The building is currently for sale, and when it sells, she plans to close the Scandinavian specialty store before moving out of California. For the past 57 years, Nordic House has carried a wide array of food, cookware, books and decorative products from Norway, Sweden, Denmark. In 2010, Klausen took over the business from her father, moving it from Oakland to its current location in Berkeley on San Pablo Avenue, where it has continued to be a go-to for many local Scandinavians hard-to-find imported products.
“It will be a huge disappointment to the Scandinavian community,” Klausen wrote via email. “Unfortunately, our import laws are just too strict that it makes it impossible for a small store like me to survive.” Nordic House’s closing date will depend on the sale of the building, so if you’ve been meaning to stop by, do it soon and often. Nordic House, 2709 San Pablo Ave. (between Derby and Ward), Berkeley
NAME THAT RESTAURANT Chef Cal Peternell is best known for his time as head chef at Chez Panisse, but his latest endeavors, inside and outside of the kitchen, may have even deeper and longer-term reverberations with the larger Bay Area community. Peternell, who lives in Berkeley, has combined his love of food with social and political activism. These days, he volunteers with Berkeley nonprofit Consider the Homeless! to feed people living on the streets. He also hosts a food podcast called Cooking by Ear that he runs out of Studiotobe, part co-working space and part production studio for local journalists and storytellers, which will also be the home to Peternell’s new “restauranttobe.” Peternell and his business partners are currently crowd-sourcing names for the new restaurant and wine bar. Many of the eight contending monikers reference the eatery’s journalism-media connection in the space, like Storytown, The Stringer and The Lede. Whatever its name, it will be a casual, counter-service eatery that will open this spring.