OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD Outstanding in the Field, the farm-dinner series that has inspired pop-up supper clubs across the country, is landing close by. It will do two dinners at East Bay Farms this year. On Saturday, June 15, Sibella Kraus, founder of the SF Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, will be hosting a dinner at one of her projects: the Sunol AgPark, an 18-acre farm managed by Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE). Guest chef will be Guillaume Bienaime of Portola Kitchen in Portola Valley. Start time: 4 p.m., $200 per person. The second OITF dinner will be on Sunday, June 30, at Knoll Farm, Brentwood, with guest chef Leif Hedendal, founder of the Dinner Discussion series. This is one of a few vegetarian events OITF does each year. Farmer Rick Knoll is a farming pioneer who has come up with some unusual and successful agricultural techniques that have gained recognition over the years, such as compost teas, minerals for the soil, and growing edible weeds. Start time: 4 p.m., $190 per person. Visit OITF for full information about the dinners.
PATHOS After more than a year under construction, chef Nicholas Eftimiou has unveiled digitalized plans for the interior of his new organic Greek restaurant, Pathos (above) which will be at 2430 Shattuck Ave., next door to Giovanni’s restaurant in downtown Berkeley. Pathos’ cuisine is slated to be “classic and casual, with delicious and affordable Greek staple dishes.” Writing on his blog, Eftimiou said that as a young adult he was struggling to find a career when his passion for food gave him the direction he needed. He went to culinary school and worked at a number of restaurants around the East Bay, he says, before deciding to open his own place. “It so happens that the location that I have chosen is a perfect match for this ideology of food,” Eftimiou wrote in the early days of construction for Pathos. “I have truly opened my soul and poured every ounce of creativity that I have within myself to make my dream come true.” No opening date yet but we’ll keep you posted.
CHOW Looks like “elevated comfort food restaurant” Chow may be coming to Oakland, according to Diablo Dish. Owner Tony Gulisano, who has Chow locations in San Francisco, Lafayette and Danville, is on the brink of snagging a space on Piedmont Avenue. The eatery is likely to include a small market section with fresh produce and pre-made meals to go. Opening slated for summer 2014.
HOMESTEAD Staying on Piedmont Avenue, East Bay Dish brings news of Homestead, which is getting ready to open soon in the former Zatis space. Co-owners Fred Sassen (Camino, Farallon) and his wife Elizabeth Sassen (Farallon and Waterbar) plan to make bread, charcuterie, pasta, cheese, ice cream, vinegar and preserves in house. Their seasonal menu will change frequently and could include starters ($9–14) like grilled asparagus with spicy coppa and preserved Meyer lemon.
TOGO’S Sandwich chain Togo’s, which reaches across the West Coast and has a successful location in Emeryville, is opening a new branch at 2172 Shattuck Ave. CEO Tony Gioia hopes it will be a convenient place for busy students to buy “big, fresh, meaty sandwiches,” but you’ll also find vegetarian sandwiches and salads. “Our roots, you know, from 40-plus years ago, are in the university scene,” Gioia said, referring to the first Togo’s location near San Jose State University. “We always wanted to be in Berkeley.” Gioia said they hope to open the Shattuck store in the first week of August.
BITTERSWEET As tipped by us last week, Bittersweet Café is opening its newest outpost at 2015 University Ave. in Berkeley by the middle of next week (they are currently in Rockridge and downtown Oakland). We caught up with co-owner Penelope Finnie who said that in addition to its signature hot chocolate and chocolate desserts, the café will serve sandwiches and salads. A little known secret about Bittersweet is that it makes all its own bread, yogurt, granola and pastries at its kitchen on Broadway in Oakland. The company also roasts its own coffee and has a bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturing facility. “We have always wanted to be in Berkeley,” said Finnie. Both she and her co-owner Diana Meckfessel live here. “It seemed like a perfect location with the rose garden in the back. So much is changing downtown so it will be fun to be a part of it.” The manager of the café managed the Magnolia Bakery in Los Angeles. Bittersweet is moving into the space once occupied by the New Amsterdam Café and right near Brasa, Chocolatier Blue and Slow.
MENCHIE’S We brought you news back in September that frozen yogurt chain Menchie’s would be moving into 1862 Euclid Ave. in the foodie row north of UC Berkeley. Now Berkeleysider Doug Ng tells us that the fro-yo spot is due to open its doors on June 22.
TSUNAMI DOGS The food stand that sits at the entrance to a parking lot at 2109 Milvia St. in downtown Berkeley is now occupied by Tsunami Dogs, an Asian-themed hot dog eatery. On the menu: beef, Polish, turkey, chicken apple, or vegetarian franks, and a long list of toppings. Standard condiment options are included in the price of a hot dog, but for an extra charge, customers can add rainbow kale salad, roasted seaweed, Asian dried pork sung, cucumber kimchee, or one of their countless other add-ons. Gluten-free options are also available, along with tacos and quesadillas. Jeremie Rivera, who staffs the hot dog stand, said the store’s “biggest attraction is that we are such a fun place. We’re not, like, a big chain.” Rivera said that owner Vicky Dam is a “hot dog enthusiast.” She opened Tsunami Dogs in April. The store opens at 7:30 a.m. to serve bagels and coffee, before opening up its hot dog menu at 11:30 a.m. It is closed on weekends.
What else is going on…
ANDRONICO’S PART OF FOODSTAR Andronico’s has teamed up as the first partner of food start-up FoodStar that brings slightly blemished produce into markets at a fraction of the price. This means less food going to the landfill, and it allows farmers to get paid for their crops while offering huge savings to customers. So, for example, a totally wholesome apple may receive a less-than-perfect grade from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) due to less-than-adequate red coloration, or — heaven forbid — being smaller than what is generally considered to be acceptable for sale in a grocery store. Customers willing to deal with slight blemishes and imperfections sign up on the FoodStar website to be alerted of sales, and discounted produce is clearly marked in the Andronico’s stores. A recent deal was Yukon Gold potatoes in a 10-pound bag for $3.99 (.39 cents per pound). Deals change based on the needs of the farmers and the surplus produce available.
OAKLAND A’S BEER FEST The Oakland A’s 17th Annual Beer Fest is this Saturday, 2:15-4:15 p.m. Before the Seattle Mariners game, there will be live music and tastings from over 40 microbreweries, including 21st Amendment, Drake’s Brewing, EJ Phair Brewing Company, Triple Rock Brewing Co., Trumer Pils, Heretic Brewing and Lagunitas Brewing. Location: Eastside Club, Oakland Coliseum. $10 gets you a commemorative pilsner glass and 2 tastings. Admission is free with a game ticket.
BUILD: MEET THE BREWER BUILD Pizzeria Roma at 2286 Shattuck Ave. in downtown Berkeley will host a Firestone Walker Brewing Company ‘Meet The Brewer’ event on Wednesday, June 19, from 5-7 p.m. A brewery representative will be present to discuss pizza and beer pairings, and the restaurant will be highlighting Firestone Walker beers. BUILD has 16 local craft beers on tap, as well as 12 Northern California wines on tap, plus an Italian-focused wine list by the bottle.
Recent Nosh stories (in case you missed them):
Broc Cellars: Urban winery with a singular vision
Swirl, sniff, slurp, swallow: learning to taste olive oil
Berkeley officials get closer to public parklet policy
Raising the bar in Oaktown: Cheers to Sidebar
Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant openings, happenings and closings in the East Bay. Some of these items will have first appeared in Berkeleyside’s Shop Talk column. Got a tip or scoop? Send it our way to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook.