Bites: Teacher discounts during strike, free In-N-Out hot chocolate for kids, Tamarack opens in Oakland

Five teachers sit around a round table at Farley's East holding signs supporting teachers on strike in Oakland.
Teachers enjoy $5 lunches at Farley’s East in Oakland. Photo: Farley’s East/Instagram

TEACHERS AID Today marks day five of the Oakland teachers strike. Teachers — with the support of many students and parents — continue to picket for higher pay, smaller class sizes, more student support and fewer school closures. Several local restaurants and bars have joined the cause by offering support and on-site discounts to Oakland teachers.

Note that most discounts, unless noted, are on food only. Be prepared to show a valid Oakland Education Association ID when ordering to get the offer: À Côté (25% discount), Awaken Café (15% discount), Beauty’s Bagels (15% discount for teachers and students), Bellanico Restaurant and Wine Bar (20% discount at lunch), Boot and Shoe Service (25% discount in café and during dinner service), Calavera (10% discount), Chica (20% discount), Chop Bar (10% discount), Commis (15% discount), Commonwealth (free draft beer/cider or kombucha with purchase of lunch or dinner), The Cook and Her Farmer (10% discount), Donut Farm (20% discount), Dopo (20% discount at lunch), Farley’s East ($5 lunches), Fig & Poe Coffee Bar (20% discount, free coffee), Firebrand Artisan Breads (15% discount), Fournee Bakery (20% discount), The Good Hop (15% discount) Grand Lake Kitchen (25% discount), Golden Squirrel (10% discount), Hawk & Pony (free coffee), Hawking Bird (15% discount), Highwire Coffee (free coffee), Hopscotch (25% discount), Julie’s Oakland (free coffee), The Kebabery (free fries), Lungomare (10% discount, Make Westing (happy hour all day), Modern Coffee (15% discount), Nido (20% discount), North Light (free glass of wine, unlimited house coffee), Old Kan Beer & Co. (15% discount), Pizzaiolo (25% discount, free coffee in café), Ratto’s (show your red t-shirt, get 10% off lunch) Reem’s (20% discount, free coffee), Starline Social Club (free drink), Super Juiced (50% discount), Tamarack (50% discount on dinner and drinks) Tamarindo (10% discount), Tacos Oscar (free Tecate), Tay Ho (20% discount, free coffee), Temescal Brewing (free pint), Western Pacific (25% discount, free coffee in café)

Alice Waters. Photo: Emilie Raguso

ENLIGHTENED CHEZ PANISSE? Danny Meyer, founder of Shake Shack and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, recently spoke on “enlightened hospitality” during an Edible Schoolyard Project’s lecture. Meyer focused on how the restaurant industry can improve its labor practices, including getting rid of tipping in favor of  “hospitality included” pricing, as a way to distribute pay among workers in both the kitchen and in the dining room. Edible Schoolyard founder Alice Waters, who was in the audience during the Feb. 20 lecture, was so inspired by Meyer’s talk that she announced at the end of his lecture that she wants to “eliminate tipping entirely” at her Gourmet Ghetto restaurant Chez Panisse, where a service charge has been added to every bill for the last 20 years. Waters said that the 17% service charge is distributed among all the cooks and waiters, but the front-of-house has always had an advantage. “Even with the service charge there, people get the impression it’s only at 17 (%), maybe they should leave a few more dollars. And people do put cash on the table, and the people in the kitchen see them doing that. And the waiters keep that money, and it’s in the dining room and it’s not in the kitchen. And I really was convinced by everything that was said. And I’m just going back to the restaurant and make it happen!”

According to Jennifer Sherman, general manager at Chez Panisse, the restaurant has not yet changed its tipping policy, and although there are no current plans in place, it hopes to stick to Waters’ enthusiastic pronouncement… someday. “We are going to take as much time as is necessarily to explore all kinds of different options to make this transition,” Sherman wrote in an email.


People stand in front of the storefront of Tamarack Restaurant in Oakland featuring a sign supporting teachers during the OUSD teachers strike.
Tamarack, a new collectively run café and restaurant in Downtown Oakland, just opened. It is offering teachers a 50% discount on food and drinks during the OUSD teachers strike. Photo courtesy of Tamarack

COLLECTIVE GOOD Tamarack, a new collectively run, socially conscious café and restaurant opened in Downtown Oakland on Feb. 15. In an email to Nosh, collective member Joshua Kit Clayton (who is also a well-known local artist and musician) explained its backstory and mission: “We are a collective that has come together through various social movements over the years. As such moments erupt and fade, we see a need for ways to sustain and build new relationships in between. Tamarack is an experiment to try and bridge those gaps by coming together to eat and drink, learn and grow, providing a resource for solidarity events, classes, film screenings and discussions.”

Tamarack’s menu will change frequently, especially during its soft opening, but it will always focus on “simple home-style meals with omnivore and vegan options.” Clayton said the menus are decided by the collective, but led by its kitchen manager who has longtime experience in the food world. Last week’s menu featured sides like fried fingerling potatoes, kale and beet salad and roasted mushrooms with chimichurri and two hearty, vegetable-forward main entrees: miso kale polenta soup and house rice and beans, both of which can be ordered as a single serving or family-style for up to six people. Most everything on the menu is, or can be made, vegan, but there are meaty options, like andouille sausage that can be added on. To drink, Tamarack offers rotating craft cocktails, local beer and wine. During soft opening, which will continue over the next few weeks, Tamarack’s hours are 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday. It will eventually expand hours, including morning hours on weekdays for coffee service. Tamarack, 1501 Harrison St. (at 15th), Oakland   

STRONGER TOGETHER A new East Bay alliance has formed that stands for racial justice, equitable food systems and improving the community’s health and well-being, especially for the city’s underrepresented residents. Communities United for Equity and Justice (OCUEJ) is the umbrella non-profit that includes three groups: North Oakland Restorative Justice Council, which supports and assists people who’ve experienced violence in the community; The Self Help Hunger Program, a South Berkeley/North Oakland-based collective founded by Black Panther Aunti Frances Moore that helps people living on the streets, and Phat Beets Produce, a North Oakland CSA and farmers market program. Those interested in learning more about the OCUEJ or wanting to help support the organization can attend the next East Bay Eats benefit dinner, taking place from 5-11 p.m., March 17, at Benchmark Pizzeria in Old Oakland. Tickets are $60-$100 sliding scale.

A close-up of a traditional New Orleans-style king cake decorated with purple, green and gold sugar crystals. The cake is from Angeline's Lousiana Kitchen in Berkeley.
A king cake from Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen. Photo: Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen

LAISSEZ LES BONS TEMPS ROULER In New Orleans, Fat Tuesday is a time to feast. The last day of Mardi Gras season is the day before Ash Wednesday, a time for fasting for Lent, so revelers traditionally load up on fried, rich and fatty delicacies. This year, Fat Tuesday falls on March 5, and Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen in Berkeley is offering two New Orleans specialties to celebrate. Starting today through Monday, March 4, Angeline’s is taking orders for 12″ blueberry and cream cheese king cakes, decorated with the traditional purple, green and gold-dyed sugar and hiding a plastic baby figurine within (cakes are $31.99 each). If you just want a taste of Mardi Gras, on March 5, the restaurant will offer king cake by the slice, as well as a fried alligator special. Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, 2261 Shattuck Ave. (at Kittredge), Berkeley

OHLONE BRUNCH Berkeley’s Café Ohlone announced this week that it will be starting a new brunch series on Sundays. The first sunwii Sunday brunch takes place this weekend, 12:30 p.m. on March 3, at a cost of $50 a person. Sunwii is the Chochenyo word for breakfast, and if you’re wondering what an Ohlone brunch might be, feast your eyes on this sample menu (offerings will change weekly): acorn flour pancakes served with honey and fresh berries; duck egg frittata with watercress, pickleweed and piñon; duck bacon; smoked salmon wrapped in local herbs, served with soft boiled quail eggs and Ohlone salad; and to drink, bay nut-infused coffee with hand-pressed walnut milk or bay laurel blossom soda. As with Café Ohlone’s tawwa-sii Tuesdays tea hour and Saturday Mur evening dinners, the event will feature more than just food. Expect to learn more about Ohlone culture, hear contemporary native music from Ras K’dee, and even play some games with your co-diners. Café Ohlone, on the back patio of University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft Way, Berkeley

A night photo of the In-N-Out fast food restaurant in Oakland, California.
The In-N-Out in Oakland. Photo: In-N-Out

CHOCOLATE RAIN With the showers coming and going for the next few days, we wanted to bring your attention to a special freebie for kids offered at In-N-Out. On rainy days, the Irvine-based fast-food chain offers its hot cocoa, a beverage added to its menu last year, for free to kids 12 and under. The drink, made with a chocolate powder sourced from Ghirardelli and tiny freeze-dried marshmallows, normally costs $2.10. To get the deal, the child must be present at the restaurant when ordering. There are several Bay Area locations of In-N-Out, with East Bay locations in Oakland, Alameda, Pinole and San Leandro. In-N-Out, 8300 Oakport St. (near Edgewater), Oakland; 555 Willie Stargell Ave. (near Webster), Alameda;  1417 Fitzgerald Dr. (near Jovita), Pinole; 15575 Hesperian Blvd. (at Lewelling), San Leandro

A dining room decorated in Tibetan prayer flags and other Tibetan decor at Westside Organic Café in Berkeley.
Westside Organic Café in Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

ON THE WESTSIDE What once was Janice Chaplin-Wilcox’s California comfort food institution Westside Café for 31 years has changed hands for a second time since Chaplin-Wilcox sold the café in 2017. The first time, it became 9th Street Café under owner Randa Ammsso, who kept its breakfast offerings, but added Mediterranean dishes to its menu. And last fall, it changed owners again, reopening in November as Westside Organic Café. This day-time spot — decked out in Tibetan prayer flags, artwork and a display of  Zambala incense for sale — now specializes in Tibetan cuisine, like momos, noodle soup and stir-fried dishes. The new owners told Nosh that this is their first restaurant in Berkeley, but they’ve owned previous eateries in New York and India. Like 9th Street Café before it, the new Westside has retained a breakfast menu, with egg dishes, yogurt parfait and sandwiches, but most diners will likely opt for Tibetan-style lunch specials, including combo meals, where diners can get a little taste of many of its dishes. Westside Organic Café, 2570 9th St., Berkeley