Bites is Berkeleyside Nosh’s round-up of restaurant, bar and food-related news in the East Bay. To stay up-to-speed with all that’s going on locally, read our daily Nosh Wire, and check out previous editions of Bites. We always love receiving food-related tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PURPLE KOW Popular San Francisco boba (tapioca) tea and dessert spot Purple Kow is making its move into Berkeley. It’s setting up a new location on Center Street. (According to license applications, it’s replacing La Cascada at 2164 Center, though the business has been somewhat coy about its exact location so far in its online posts.) Cafe reps say it plans to open by mid- to late-April, and that Purple Kow is accepting resumes. Learn more about Purple Kow on Facebook. There are lots of details about available drinks, toppings and other menu options on the company website. Reader ECHang, who tipped Berkeleyside to the news, noted “Long lines stretching” at the San Francisco location on Balboa Street. (Purple Kow also applied for its on-sale beer and wine license earlier this month.)
CLAYPOT Claypot Restaurant, set to move into the old Bacheeso’s location at 2501 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley, is gearing up to open by the end of March, according to an ad on Craigslist that was posted in late February. (Berkeleyside first noted the business’ plans earlier this year.) According to the ad, Claypot will feature Asian fusion casual dining along with beer and wine. We’re taking it as a good sign that Claypot launched its Facebook page on Wednesday, promising one thing: “Claypot Restaurant will be opened soon.”
UNIVERSITY PRODUCE We hear, though it’s still unconfirmed, that University Produce, at 1700 University Ave., is closing. Notes reader Lilybear: “It’s been our neighborhood little corner store for years… I am sad. Trader Joe’s is near us but it’s all the same food and the same expensive items.” Lilybear noted a new landlord and rent hike as reasons for the move, adding “I think you will see a whole block of stores go poof!” She said the market made great sandwichs and “always had long lines at lunch time.”
TEMESCAL HAPPENINGS Tablehopper notes several newsworthy items about Temescal this week. One: Scream Sorbet, which has been struggling financially, may have sparked the interest of “a group of investors” who are “looking into saving the business,” at 5030 Telegraph Ave. [Update, 2 p.m.: As tipped to Nosh by East Bay Dish, Scream owner Nate Kurz posted the following on Twitter earlier this week: “Although we are exploring many options and hope to find a way to continue making our sorbet, the [Tablehopper] article is not quite correct. We have talked to Ici and several other local businesses about possible collaboration, but this has been separate from our talks with potential investors. Mary [Canales] has offered kind advice and encouragement but has no plans to invest — at least not that she has told me! Still, feel free to send other collaborators or illustrious prospects our way.”] Tablehopper also said that Barkada Bakery and Cafe will be moving into the old Remedy spot at 4316 Telegraph. She writes that the menu is “full of breads, tarts, quiche, and more; looks tasty.” Barkada plans to open in the third week of April, according to its Facebook page. Beware: Its photos on Facebook will have you drooling in no time.
TEMESCAL TASTES Also in Temescal, Edible Excursions is launching its new Temescal Tastes Tour. Tastes may include Indian street food, Ethiopian injera, Baja-style fish tacos, Korean tofu stew and banchan, classic American grilled cheese, artisan doughnuts, iced coffee and flaky pastries. At most stops the local, small-batch producers and restaurant chefs meet with guests to talk about the food they make and their culinary background. The tour begins at the Temescal farmers market, 5300 Claremont Ave., and runs every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
OLDE DEPOT Down in Oakland’s Jack London Square, Beer Revolution has finally opened The Olde Depot at 468 Third St. The restaurant is open from noon to midnight daily, and serves up all kinds of craft beer — from 35 rotating taps — along with a short menu of pretzels and sausage. (See a sample menu here.) Apparently it’s all vegan, too. The place has a “sunny patio” that’s dog-friendly, according to a recent in-depth review from vegansaurus. The Olde Depot has a very active Facebook page to keep you informed about all the excitement. On Saturday, March 23, for example, the Imperial Stout Fest is taking over, with “special pours from Deschutes, Sierra Nevada, Iron Springs, Dogfish Head, North Coast, Drakes, Almanac, Schubros, Ommegang, Marin, 101 North, Lagunitas, and many many many more!”
BOCANOVA Bocanova, at 55 Webster St. and also in Jack London Square, plans to serve a special Easter soup on Good Friday, March 29. The dish is called Fanesca, and is described as “a traditional Ecuadorian dish served only during the week leading up to Easter. The elaborate, rich soup is made with 12 different beans and grains, Salt cod cooked in milk and served with fried plantains, hard boiled eggs, onion salsa and a vegetarian empanada.” On Easter Sunday, Bocanova will offer pounded lamb leg steaks à la plancha, along with its full regular menu. If Easter isn’t your bag, Bocanova is continuing its “Rick’s Supper Club” events throughout the spring, with the next one coming April 4.
MORE ON EASTER Camino is open for brunch and dinner on Easter. Brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with dinner from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Ajanta will also be open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Ajanta will serve a $27 Chef’s Tasting Menu for dinner with three appetizers and four main dishes, plus sides of rice, naan, chutneys and pickles. (See a Nosh photo gallery of the tasting menu.) A vegetarian option will run $24. If you hear of other Easter restaurant specials, let us know in the comments below.
SPRING LAMB And, if you can’t wait until next weekend for lamb, we also hear that Oliveto has been preparing spring lamb from McCormack Ranch. Oliveto announced earlier this week: “They arrived wrapped in cheesecloth (the traditional manner) and have been hanging for almost a week, which has slightly dried and aged the meat for a lovely sear and excellent flavor.” Through March 23, or until Oliveto runs out, the dinner menu will feature a combo‐plate of three different lamb dishes.
KNIFE SKILLS 101 If you’re looking to sharpen your knife skills, Raise the Root may have the class for you this Saturday. The class costs $75 and promises to teach “the most efficient and time saving ways to break down a wide variety” of foods. Types of knives, knife care and other subjects will also be covered. The class takes place in Oakland at 372 24th St. on March 23 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
DISHCRAWL GOES ISLAND EXPLORING Dishcrawl has announced a new event in Alameda, coming April 9. Participants will visit four “local island favorites and discover why this small town is exploding with BIG flavors.” Dishcrawl keeps the restaurant names secret, but offers clues to entice attendees: “It’s a guessing game! We’re keeping the names of the restaurants we will be visiting a secret for now, but here and there we’ll give you some hints. Follow us on Twitter @DishcrawlEB and be the first to know!” Tickets cost $45, and 16 were available as of early Friday morning.
BITES OFF BROADWAY MAKES ITS COMEBACK Mark your calendar because the season opener for Bites Off Broadway, at 365 45th St. in Oakland, will be coming May 10. It’s the third year for the street festival/food truck extravaganza, which promises “15 food trucks including many returnees from last year such as Oakland trucks Tina Tamale, Doc’s of the Bay, Fist of Flour, and Annakoot. Our Temescal food frenzy also includes East Bay trucks Le Truc (of the famous converted school bus), Go Streatery, Roderick’s BBQ and Sunrise Deli plus some new surprises to whet your appetite.” And that’s not all. You’ll also find a hula hooper, ping pong, and family movies at dusk, sponsored by Studio One Art Center. “Look for some live music as well. The popular Pop-Up Shabbat occurs mostly the 2nd Friday of the month with live klezmer music starting on opening night, hosted by Kehilla Community Synagogue.”
Quick hits and tidbits
- Diablo Dish describes Brotzeit-Lokal, a waterfront restaurant in the works by Chop Bar-owner Lev Delany. In addition to German-style food, there will also be a berth for boaters. Temescal’s Hog’s Apothecary on 40th Street is also making progress on its launch. [Read more]
- Blackboard Eats is offering a 30% discount coupon for Boriquen Soul in Oakland. (You have to sign up to get the free coupon. The company offers Oakland deals from time to time, though many are for San Francisco.)
- The East Bay Express highlighted Masala Cuisine and a St. Patty’s day party at Starry Plough this week. Luke Tsai took a look at a recipe project and cookbook about Oakland. He also zeroes in on Easter bread from Starter Bakery and some news about Albany’s China Village.
- Our good friend at East Bay Dish notes new brunch and dinner service at Grand Lake Kitchen; the official opening of Northbrae Bottle Shop; new brunch service at Encuentro Cafe & Wine Bar; and an upcoming pop-up market on March 27 by Kitchener Oakland, which will focus on comfort food.
Updates from the ABC
- Moxy Beer Garden, at 3136 Sacramento St., applied for its on-sale beer and wine license on March 18. Read all about this new endeavor, planned for South Berkeley, on Berkeleyside. (It received a temporary permit that day.)
- The Sandy Toes Cafe, at 555 19th St. in Oakland, has applied for its on-sale beer and wine license.
- Hang Ten Boiler in Alameda has applied for its on-sale beer and wine license. (Looks like this Cajun/Creole spot opened earlier this year and has been racking up positive reviews on Yelp.)
- As tipped previously, the owners of Razan’s are opening a Mediterranean-food eatery in the old Great China spot, at 2115 Kittredge St. in Berkeley, and its name is Arabica. No word yet on opening date, but the owner applied for a beer and wine license earlier this month. (Great China, which suffered a serious fire in January 2012, is renovating the old Looney’s BBQ spot on Bancroft, with a scheduled opening date of this spring, but there’s not much sign of construction work on the site.)
- The Varietal, a beer and wine importer based on Rock Lane in Berkeley, applied for its importing, wholesale and off-site sale licenses earlier this month.
- Brotzeit-Lokal, at 1000 Embarcadero East in Oakland, applied for its on-site beer and wine license on March 8.
- Homestead, set to open on Piedmont Avenue in the Zatis space, got its beer and wine license. Read more about the spot on Nosh.
This week’s Nosh news (in case you missed it)
Nano-brewpub and lounge planned for Alcatraz Ave.
Sierra Nevada to open beer tasting room on 4th St.
Chez Panisse closed indefinitely, major rebuild needed
Contest: Name that nosh
Restaurants, delis embrace Passover feasts
City approves sour-beer brewery for ‘beer geeks’
The Nosh Wire: 03.20.13
The Nosh Wire: 03.19.13
The Nosh Wire: 03.18.13
Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant openings, happenings and closings in the East Bay. Got a tip or scoop? Send it our way to email@example.com. Follow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook.