Cholita Linda staff
Staff at the newly opened Cholita Linda in the Temescal neighborhood. Photo: Cholita Linda

Openings, closings…

Cholita Linda. Photo: Citizen reporter
Cholita Linda. Photo: Citizen reporter

CHOLITA LINDA  Temescal now has an “eclectic Latin” place to add to its enviable portfolio of food options. Cholita Linda, which until now had been popping up at farmers markets and the like, opened for business last week at 4923 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th St.). (Finally! We’ve been tracking the place for almost a year.) On the menu: dishes inspired by street food, such as  Baja fish tacos, spit-roast chicken tacos, and carnitas tacos. Sandwiches include Pan con Lomito (peruvian grilled flank steak, marinated roma tomatoes, sautéed red onions, watercress, herbed olive oil), Pollo Picante (tortilla crusted chicken breast, gaujillo sauce, cabbage salad, lime vinaigrette), Tocino (Niman Ranch bacon, butter lettuce, roma tomatoes, chipotle aioli), and Butifarra (Roasted Pork Loin, butter lettuce, Salsa Criolla and aioli). Aguas Frescas come in mango, strawberry and fresh squeezed lime flavors.

Fournee pastries at Grand Fare. Photo: Albertino M.

GRAND FARE  A new Ferry Building-style project is emerging at 3265 Grand Avenue, close to Charlie Hallowell’s Boot & Shoe and Penrose restaurants. Doug Washington, owner of Anchor & Hope and Salt House, is the visionary behind the plan which will see a number of food artisans selling their wares from the space, according to SFWeekly. The first part of the project to open is Grand Fare café which has replaced the Indonesian art gallery-cum-café Monkey Forest Road. On the menu: Linea coffee and pastries from Berkeley’s Fournée. In a few months, Grand Fare will shut down and reemerge as part market, part restaurant, part café. “We’re shooting for this to be a place where you discover all of these amazing foods and coffees and ice creams, but it’s also about discovery of your own neighborhood,” Washington told SF Weekly. “Good people making really good food, and doing it all without the pretense.”

New: 938 Crawfish on San Pablo. Ave.

938 CRAWFISH A new Asian Cajun spot has opened in Albany called 938 Crawfish. Mussels, oysters, crab, shrimp, and, of course crawfish are all on the menu. Or you can opt for the “full combo” that involves half a pound each of crawfish, shrimp, clams and mussels, as well as corn, potatoes and sausages. That will set you back $32.95. For dessert, why go for simple ice cream when you can order fried ice cream or fried Oreos? There’s also a full bar. 938 Crawfish is at 938 San Pablo Avenue, just south of Solano.

New: BBQ Hut on Shattuck Ave.

BBQ HUT  It’s been a long time coming (we last wrote about them in May 2013, but southern style BBQ Hut has finally opened  at Shattuck and Alcatraz avenues in North Oakland. Early review on Yelp for the brisket (“tender, juicy and packed with flavor”), potato salad and beans, and the ribs are positive. Along with those there’s a chicken meal and sausage links. The menu is lean with just one dessert — banana pudding — and a small selection of drinks, including wine and a Margarita. We await your reports.

LEVANT CAFÉ CLOSED Downtown Berkeley coffee shop Levant at 2177 Kittredge St. has closed after opening just last fall. It’s understood that Shihadeh Kitami, who also runs Razan’s Organic Kitchen and Arabica Mediterranean Cuisine, is selling the business.

What else is going on…

OAKLAND CHINATOWN TOUR  Savor Oakland, who organize food-focused tours, recently added a second tour to join the one it does of Jack London Square. The Oakland Chinatown Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour is a three-hour guided exploration of the tastes (Vietnamese and Cambodian, as well as Chinese) of Oakland’s historic Chinatown. Between samples, participants receive a behind-the-scenes look at Oakland’s Chinatown. As they put it: “The culinary tour includes visits to intriguing cultural, religious and historic landmarks and the guide shares their expertise of local customs, eclectic folklore and authentic specialty stores.” The $59  tour takes place Saturdays, from 10 a.m-1 p.m.

Benchmark Pizzeria. Photo: Fer Fernandez
Benchmark Pizzeria. Photo: Fer Fernandez

BENCHMARK PIZZERIA Benchmark Pizzeria on the Colusa Circle in Kensington has been open for a year and a half and the couple behind it, Melissa and Peter Swanson, who met while working at Oliveto, say they have hit their stride. They have already proven themselves as a farm to oven spot serving delicious pizza paired with good wines and topped off with soft-served Strauss ice-creams. Now they have expanded the menu to “graduate into a broader, better version of our neighborhood pizzeria.” There’s antipasti, more seasonal dishes, housemade pasta, and full entrees. Recent offerings include Pulled pork with shelling beans & salsa verde; meatballs, served with Dirty Girl Produce’s castelfranco radicchio & toast; and marinated sardines with house pulled mozzarella. later hours.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...