OFF THE GRID EMERYVILLE Food truck market Off The Grid made its debut in Emeryville this week with a soft-launch on Wednesday at Haven St. between Park Ave. and 40th St. Each week will see a rotating list of four trucks at that spot between 11am and 2pm. This week saw a line-up of three: Go Streatery, Little Green Cyclo, and Sanguchon.
LOLABEE’S HARVEST The online delivery service for local produce, LolaBee’s, which previously only served the San Francisco area, has extended to Oakland and Berkeley as of Wednesday, June 25. Now East Bay customers can join in choosing from a weekly changing stock of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, preserves and snacks — all produced on local farms and delivered to homes and businesses. LolaBee’s also offers a weekly harvest box, filled with seasonal veggies and fruits, to which customers can add a few items from the master list if they want to cover all the food groups. The LolaBee’s website offers cooking tips and profiles on its contributing farmers.
ZENSEN SUSHI EXPRESS The Taiwanese chain we tipped you about last month, Zensen Sushi Express, is due to officially open its doors today, Friday, June 28, at 2516 Durant Ave. in Berkeley. It took over the old La Val’s Pizza space. The sushi conveyer-belt eatery will be offering $1 sushi deals from Friday through Sunday. The restaurant is part of a chain of more than 300 restaurants started by Chin-Chou “Stanley” Chen in Taiwan in 1996, and this is his first U.S. location. Zensen Sushi Express is a play on words, meaning “vying for freshness,” according to the company’s website. Watch Zensen’s cute animated series on YouTube called “I Love Sushi.”
DESCO Borgo Italia, at 499 Ninth Street in Old Oakland, has closed, and Desco will take its place in late July or early August. Borgo Italia’s Paul Ferrari is handing over the reins to long-time friend Donato Scotti of Donato Enoteca in Redwood City, and the concept is not expected to change dramatically. Scotti will fix up the interior and shift the kitchen’s structure to focus on fresh pasta production, but will continue to put the Borgo Italia pizza oven to use. He also hopes to introduce seasonal changes in the menu and redesign the wine selection. The comfortable, old-world feel of the dining room at Desco will evoke a 1940s Italian caffé, according to the new owner, in part, to antique wooden furnishings and wall decorations. The building housing Desco is an historic structure erected in 1876 and a portion of the restaurant’s mosaic and tile flooring has been in place for the better part of a century. Meanwhile Ferrari said he plans to be “Donato’s best customer.”
PHOENIX PASTIFICIO Berkeley’s Phoenix Pastificio plans to take over the former Café Zeste storefront at 1250 Addison St. and reopen a retail space there (as reported on Berkeleyside Shop Talk earlier this week). Phoenix owners Carole and Eric Sartenaer hope to open in mid-July, and they’ll be offering Italian soul food, starting with soups, salads and pasta dishes before getting more ambitious with pizza and calzone, which they didn’t offer at their old Shattuck location. “We’re going to sort of ease into it,” Eric said.
SPOONROCKET Cal graduates Anson Tsui and Steven Hsiao felt the need to bring a healthier delivery service to the Berkeley community. “We want to change the way people eat,” Tsui told Berkeleyside Shop Talk earlier this week. “Fast food shouldn’t be the only option that’s cheap and affordable and convenient.” So they’ve introduced SpoonRocket, a speedy mobile service that delivers healthy, gourmet meals made by executive chef David Cramer. SpoonRocket offers a daily changing menu with just two options, one of which is always vegetarian or vegan. Eventually, the service will run on a membership system to help finance delivery operations, but for the next few weeks, customers can request a free lifetime membership on the SpoonRocket website. So far, the SpoonRocket team is living up to its promise of being fast and affordable — it delivers its $6 entrées in an average 8-9 minutes.
LEGION OF SUPERWINGS The owners of SpoonRocket also recently opened Legion of Superwings, a beer-and-wing joint at 1725 University Ave. with a menu that honors comic book classics. Currently open daily from 6-11 p.m. (though they hope to extend hours soon), the eatery offers eight varieties of chicken wings named after superheros — the Bumblebee, for example, is flavored with honey mustard, and the Sandman features their dry-rub seasoning. More daring customers can try the Incredible Hulk, which is coated in a green jalapeño-cream-cheese concoction.
What else is going on…
BREAKFAST AT GREGOIRE Grégoire Restaurant (pictured top) is now serving breakfast from 7-11 a.m. exclusively at its Berkeley location, at at 2109 Cedar St. in the Gourmet Ghetto. On the menu is a classic selection of pastries, omelettes, and breakfast meats, along with French favorites quiche Lorraine and a toasted baguette topped with housemade salmon, chive cream cheese, and pickled onions. Gregoire also makes its own granola, which it serves with yogurt and seasonal fruit.
MONTCLAIR BEER & WINE CELEBRATION The Montclair Beer & Wine Celebration takes place on Saturday June 29, 11am-5pm. Look for live music, kids’ activities and art displays along with the drinking opportunties. Admission is free, but for $30 ($50/couple) you can taste over 20 artisan wines and craft beers including Rock Wall Wine Company, Esterlina Vineyards, HGC Imports, Cerutti Cellars, Banshee Wines, Rombauer Vineyards, Tricycle Wine Company, Linden Street Brewery, Ale Industries, Keenan Winery, Drake’s Brewing Company, Rosenblum Cellars, Lagunitas IPA, North Coast Brewing, Urbano Cellars, Crabbies Ginger Beer, J. Moss Winery and J. Lhor Vineyards and Wines. Proceeds go towards community improvement projects. Event is at 6100 Medau Place between Mountain Blvd and Moraga Ave, Oakland.
PRIDE WINE POP UP Mugsy Wine Bar, which describes itself as “a pop-up wine bar with an emphasis on women, urban, and people of color winemakers as well as all around enjoyment,” will be doing a pop-up on Sunday at Miss Ollie’s in Oakland to mark this week’s landmark rulings. The event will feature wines from LGBT and gay-friendly winemakers. According to Eater SF, chef Sarah Kirnon will be on hand with plenty of her famous fried chicken.
Recent Nosh stories (in case you missed them):
It’s back! Inside the newly re-opened Chez Panisse (photos)
Comal owners plan new Berkeley restaurant in the Elmwood
Nosh on the Town: HS Lordships in Berkeley
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.