Bites: Free Humphry Slocombe at Berkeley Bowl; CheeseQuakes! at the Epicurious Garden

Two scoops of Humphry Slocombe ice cream sit in sugar cones placed in a wooden cone holder.
Scoops of Humphry Slocombe ice cream will be given out for free at both locations of Berkeley Bowl this Friday, March 15. Photo: Humprhy Slocombe

CHILLY RECEPTIONS Two ice cream spots are opening soon in Oakland and Berkeley. Here’s the scoop:

[Updated 7:55 p.m. with new opening date] I Scream Donuts plans to celebrate its grand opening at 4 pm., March 28. The upcoming spot in Temescal will open in the former Tara’s Organic Ice Cream store, upping the ante by filling donuts with ice cream. According to the East Bay Express, owner Katie Wages has been a longtime fan of Tara’s, and has decided to use Tara’s ice cream and vegan sorbets to fill her donuts. I Scream Donuts, 4731 Telegraph Ave. (at 48th), Oakland 

Humphry Slocombe is not quite as ready to open, but will soon be selling scoops out of the former Ici Ice Cream Shop in the Elmwood. A grand opening date is not yet on the horizon, but the brand has been making appearances around the East Bay to drum up some excitement for its Berkeley debut. This Friday, March 15,  Humphry Slocombe will be giving away free scoops at both Berkeley Bowl locations. Stop in from noon to 2 p.m. at 2020 Oregon St. and 3-6 p.m. at Berkeley Bowl West (920 Heinz Ave.) to try scoops of Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Matchadoodle, Blueberry Boy Bait, Dark Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt and POG Sorbet.

Peter Rizos, left, with his cousin stand at the CheeseQuakes! retail store in Berkeley
Peter Rizos, left, with his cousin at CheeseQuakes! in the Epicurious Garden food court in Berkeley. Photo: CheeseQuakes!

CHEESEQUAKES! IS NOW OPEN Last week, Nosh reported on the closing of Alegio Chocolaté in the Epicurious Garden and noted that CheeseQuakes! was taking its place. Peter Rizos, owner of CheeseQuakes! (formerly known as the San Francisco Cheesecake Company), confirmed with Nosh that he opened in the space last Thursday and is excited to be in the neighborhood. Rizos said, “I want to create our own version of the welcoming kind of space that Panos had with Alegio.”


This is the second retail shop for CheeseQuakes!, following a two-year-old store at the San Francisco Ferry Building. Rizos says his desserts are better than your average cheesecake because of the high-quality ingredients used. The crusts are made with a combination of graham cracker and chocolate cookie crumbs and butter, while the fillings are made with rBST hormone-free dairy and locally sourced products like Inna Jam, Maison de Monaco jams and Guittard chocolate. He also says that unlike traditional New York cheesecakes, CheeseQuakes! have a softer, creamier filling that are lighter on sugar. Along with familiar cheesecake flavors, some standout CheeseQuake! offerings include Candycap Mushroom, a maple-like flavor made with San Francisco’s Far West Fungi mushrooms, Old Rasputin made with North Coast Brewing beer and Breakout Stout made with Marin Brewing beer. The CheeseQuake! shop also offers a drinkable CheeseQuake Shake and will soon sell Tremors, cookies made with cream cheese and butter, rolled in graham crackers. CheeseQuakes!, at the Epicurious Garden, 1511 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine), Berkeley

ARIZMENDI UPDATE Emeryville Arizmendi has been closed since Dec. 11, when a car crashed into the bakery, rupturing a gas line and starting a fire there. After the accident, the worker-owned business had thought it would reopen as soon as this spring, but the E’ville Eye reported this week that its original deadline will likely get pushed back to the summer due to the slow process of permitting, licensing and construction. The business plans to take this opportunity to give the interior a make-over, something it hasn’t had the opportunity to do in its 15 year of business. Arizmendi Emeryville owner-employee Aja Green told the E’ville Eye that construction on exterior back wall will happen in the next few weeks, followed by interior work. In the meantime, Arizmendi fans in the area can visit the Arizmendi at 3265 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland.
A shallow white bowl filled with a vegetable chowder with a biscuit in the center.
The Chowder and Biscuit is currently on the dinner menu at Baker & Commons, served after 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Photo: Baker & Commons

DINING IN THE DARK A couple of eateries in Berkeley have new evening offerings:

Berkeley’s Venus Restaurant, a popular brunch destination with locations on Shattuck Avenue and Solano Avenue, is hoping to become a go-to for dinner. The restaurants are now open for evening service, but each location is serving different dinner menus. Venus Shattuck offers entrees like lollipop lamb chops served with spinach, fennel and romesco sauce; chicken marsala; and fish and chips. Venus Solano offers a more Indian-focused menu, with dishes like tandoori lamb chops or prawns, vegetable korma and karahi lamb. Note that the Shattuck location is closed on Wednesday, while the Solano spot is closed on Tuesday. Venus Shattuck, 2327 Shattuck Ave. (at Bancroft), Berkeley; Venus Solano, 1889 Solano Ave. (near The Alameda), Berkeley

Baker & Commons in the Elmwood has recently added some new dinnertime dishes to its menu, offered between the hours of 4-8:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Owner Kara Hammond told Nosh, “We dim the lights, put some tealights on the tables for dinner time and it’s just a perfect kind of cozy in this weather!” The menu will “change from time to time,” but for now, diners will find entrees like curry lamb stew, grilled chicken breast and white bean salad, chowder and biscuit, and a burger with fries. The evening menu offers the sandwiches, salads and soup served at lunch, as well as Fieldwork beer on tap and wines by the glass and bottle. If you like a soundtrack to your meal, visit the café on Saturday between 6-8 p.m., when Baker & Commons hosts live music performances. Baker & Commons, 2900 College Ave. (at Russell), Berkeley

Attendees stand over a table of seeds at the Bay Area Seed Swap at the Ecology Center in Berkeley.
A scene from the 2018 Bay Area Seed Swap. Photo: BASIL/Facebook

GARDENERS DELIGHT Gardeners take note: The 20th Annual Bay Area Seed Swap takes place 7-9 p.m., Friday, March 15. Hosted by the Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (BASIL), this event is a wonderful (and thrifty) way to grow new plants in your yard and meet other green thumbs. There’ll also be speakers and a potluck dinner, so be sure to bring a dish along with seeds to share. Tickets are a $5-$20 suggested donation, or $40 for admission and a one-year membership to the Ecology Center. Those who bring a potluck dish and seeds get in free! Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. (between Dwight and Parker), Berkeley 

FORAGE KITCHEN MOVIE NIGHT Next Thursday, Oakland’s shared kitchen and co-working food space, Forage Kitchen is debuting Third Thursday Movie Night, its new outdoor movie screening series featuring films played on a 21-foot blow-up screen. For the first event, the series will feature two films about Oakland — “Town Spirit,” a short film by Sean Wells about the city’s iconic dive bars, including Heinolds, The Alley, Merchant’s, Trader Vic’s, Café Van Kleef and the Ruby Room, followed by a screening of Boots Riley’s dark comedy, “Sorry to Bother You.” Attendees can purchase food from Forage Kitchen tenants Samara Southern Creations and buy drinks to enjoy during the movie. Be sure to dress warm and bring blankets and chairs. Entry is free with advance RSVP, $6 at the door. Forage Kitchen, 478 25th St. (between Broadway and Telegraph), Oakland

AGAVE SPIRITS DINNER Comal’s next Abajo Dinner Series event will host three producers of agave distilled spirits: David Suro of Siembra Spirits, Pedro Jimenez of Mezonte and Mónica Leyva of Pajarote. Guests will taste three Siembra spirits (Azul, Metl Cupreata and Valles Ancetral), along with Mezonte Japo and  Pajarote clove and cardamom ponche, to be enjoyed with Oaxaca-inspired dishes by Comal’s executive chef Matt Gandin, including wild shrimp ceviche served with guacamole, salsa and chips; cauliflower soup with Morita chile oil and tortilla strips; carnitas tacos and Oaxacan chocolate budino. The dinner takes place 6:30 p.m., March 28. Guests must be 21+. Tickets are $75. Comal, 2020 Shattuck Ave. (near University), Berkeley