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The dining room at the newly opened Antoinette Brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. Photo: Fairmont Group

Openings, closings…

ANTOINETTE BRASSERIE AT CLAREMONT NOW OPEN Last week, we gave you an update on Antoinette, the new brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. The French restaurant, overseen by Michelin-starred Dominique Crenn, with Justin Mauz as executive chef, opened Tuesday. Eater SF has a photo gallery of the revamped former Paragon restaurant and bar. And Inside Scoop has the opening-night menu which leans traditional French — with foie gras and wine-based sauces much in evidence — and pricey. Among the starters: Warm Broccoli Velouté with Sea Urchin and Blood Orange ($18); Sweetbreads with Foie Gras, Dates, Baby Chicory, and Banyuls ($23); and Basil-fed Escargot with Champagne and Hazelnut Chartreuse ($18). Entrées include Coq au Vin with Pinot Noir Braise and Maitake ($29); Schmitz Ranch Prime Strip Steak with Celeriac Dauphinoise and Sauce Bordelaise ($60); Whole Roasted Monkfish Tail with Bouillabaisse, Cous Cous and Vadouven (serves 2-3, $95); and a whole Liberty Farms Rotisserie Duck with Abalone Mushroom, Foie Gras, Chou Rouge and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (serves 3-4, $200). A spokeswoman for the Fairmont Group, owners of the Claremont, said Thursday the team was reworking the menu, so what you see here might change. (The hotel’s other restaurant, the Meritage, offers a more down-to-earth dinner menu.)

The New Normal brewpub location. Photo: The New Normal/Facebook
Temescal Brewing is under construction at 4115 Telegraph Ave. Photo: Temescal Brewing/Facebook

TEMESCAL BREWING UPDATE Last March, we got wind of a new brewery headed to Temescal. The brewery, which first called itself The New Normal, has changed its name to Temescal Brewing. Why the name change? Owner Sam Gilbert wrote in an email that he and his team have “learned that being a good neighbor means more than just setting up shop and doing your thing. It means respecting and supporting what’s already here, and genuinely listening to those around you,” he said. “This has been a very humbling learning experience for us. We are more excited than ever to bring our passion for beer and our Good Vibes to the neighborhood, but we want to do so as a humble contribution to all the amazing stuff already happening here. Our name, New Normal, suggests a certain relentless dedication to newness that just doesn’t fit these values. So we’re changing it! From now on, we are Temescal Brewing!” The production-scale brewery was hosting ad-hoc art galleries in its space last year as it experimented with beers and began working on construction. It is now “deep into construction” and Gilbert hopes to open this spring. Temescal Brewing will be at 4115 Telegraph Ave. (at 41st Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Kobani is back open. Photo: Anna Mindess
Kobani is back — same menu but a “spiffed up” interior. Photo: Anna Mindess
Kobani is back — same menu but a “spiffed up” interior. Photo: Anna Mindess

KOBANI NOW OPEN A quick update on the University Avenue Mediterranean restaurant — Kobani re-opened last Friday after closing for renovations last fall. The restaurant’s kebabs, hummus, dolmas, lentil soup and gyros received generous praise upon the restaurant’s opening last May. NOSH contributor Anna Mindess reports the restaurant has pretty much the same menu, but that it has “spiffed up their kitchen.”  “While I waited for my order I heard several customers come in and express relief that they are back in business,” she said. (Read Mindess’s fascinating story on Kobani and owner Emin Tekin.) Kobani is at 1901 University Ave. (at Martin Luther King Jr. Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

BELOTTI RISORANTE UP AND RUNNING We last brought you news of Belotti Ristorante e Bottega, a new pasta restaurant headed to Rockridge, in December. The restaurant is now open, according to Inside Scoop. Belotti Ristorante, which took over the former Homespun Fare/I Squared Kabobery space at 5403 College Ave., is the newest venture from chef Michele Belotti, who had been at San Francisco’s Ristobar since 2011. The menu is mostly comprised of pasta dishes, plus a few starters, a salad and two entrees. Eventually, Belotti plans to add a multi-course pasta tasting menu. He told Inside Scoop that his dishes are “simple, traditional ones that he’s been cooking since he was 18” — think spaghetti with a tomatoes, burrata, basil and olive oil or pappardelle with hen of the woods mushrooms, beef reduction, parsley and grana padano. Belotti Ristorante e Bottega is at 5403 College Ave. (at Hudson Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Hawker Fare has been packed since its opening, with diners regularly enduring waits of up to an hour for what amounts to a decorated bowl of rice. Photo: Kate Williams
Hawker Fare. Photo: Kate Williams

HAWKER FARE ENDS LUNCH; WILL HOLD SPECIAL POP-UPS As of today, Feb. 12, Hawker Fare is no longer serving lunch. Owner James Syhabout has decided to pause afternoon service in order to focus on testing for his upcoming cookbook. Syhabout told Inside Scoop: “It was difficult to concentrate and focus on the book while service is going on during a bustling lunch in a tiny kitchen. … I really want to truly say and stand behind that the book is ‘Made in Oakland,’ and that’s especially true in this space.” Fortunately for fans of Syhabout’s Southeast Asian street food fare, the lunchtime closure is only temporary. And on Fridays, Syhabout will host a pop-up lunch featuring dishes that he is recipe testing for the book. The pop-ups, which start Feb. 26, will only have one dish on the menu, and it will be served “food stall-style” with counter service. He’ll only be cooking around 50 portions of each dish, and they will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hawker Fare is at 2300 Webster St. (at 23rd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Peak Point. Photo: Google Maps
Photo: Google Maps

PEAK POINT TEA HOUSE A self-described “mini hot pot” restaurant called Peak Point replaced Sichuan restaurant Pepper King on Telegraph Avenue in December. Peak Point serves six different styles of hot pots, like kimchi, milk, and “extreme super seafood.” Each is served with a choice of protein. Not surprisingly, Peak Point also offers plenty of tea to drink, including ever-popular bubble tea. Peak Point Tea House is at 2502 Telegraph Ave. (at Dwight Way). 

KAU KAU CORNER CLOSED The Hawaiian restaurant Kau Kau Corner, which started as a pop-up restaurant at Alameda’s West End Flea Market and opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant last summer, has now closed. A tipster on Chowhound said that the restaurant “appears to be defunct.” Kau Kau Corner specialized in Hawaiian comfort foods like chicken katsu, SPAM musubi and barbecue pork.

TIDBITS Temescal’s Ramen Tomo has closed, and it looks like it will be replaced by a restaurant called Azit. No word yet on what Azit will serve, but it has filed for an ABC license to serve beer and wine. In East Oakland, it looks like the creole restaurant Crazy Crawfish is not long for this world. A new restaurant called Yo 510 has now filed for an ABC license in its location. Azit will be at 4309 Telegraph Ave. (at 44th Street), Oakland. Yo 510 will be at 1120 International Blvd. (at 11th Avenue), Oakland.

What else is going on…

Comal. Photo: Postcard PR
Comal is one of many restaurants participating in this year’s Berkeley Dine Out. Photo: Postcard PR
Comal is one of many restaurants participating in this year’s Berkeley Dine Out. Photo: Postcard PR

DINE OUT WITH BERKELEY SCHOOLS Berkeley Unified School District’s is holding its annual fundraiser for its cooking and gardening program on Feb. 18. The event — Berkeley Dine Out — partners with close to 20 different Berkeley restaurants that will contribute a portion of their profits for the day to the school program. Participating restaurants include Café Rouge, Cancun, Comal, Gaumenkitzel, La Note and The Local Butcher Shop. From 4 to 8 p.m. that evening at the Downtown Berkeley BART station, BUSD will be selling $5 raffle tickets for prizes such as gift cards to several of the participating restaurants. Learn more about Berkeley Dine Out here. Those who are willing to drop a little more money on culinary education can reserve a seat at a $2000 dinner at Chez Panisse benefitting the Edible Schoolyard Foundation. The “convivial supper” takes place this Sunday, Feb. 14. Tickets are available hereChez Panisse is at 1517 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Liba Falafel
Liba Falafel is one of many Oakland food trucks that could benefit from a new city ordinance. Photo: Kate Williams
Liba Falafel is one of many Oakland food trucks that could benefit from a new city ordinance. Photo: Kate Williams

GOOD NEWS FOR OAKLAND FOOD TRUCKS The city of Oakland has unveiled a new policy aimed at spreading the food truck love around the city. The East Bay Express had the scoop, writing that the new policy will allow food truck operators to set up shop at metered parking spaces in all of Oakland’s major commercial districts — downtown, Temescal, Rockridge, Piedmont Avenue and more. The new policy also would allow for hot dog cart-style food trailers to set up shop on public sidewalks and will allow food truck “pod” organizers to run up to five weekly pods, instead of only two. Stakeholders have until Feb. 19 to submit feedback on the draft proposal. The actual ordinance will be submitted to the city planning commission in late April or May. After that, the law will need to be discussed at two city council meetings before getting passed.

wine soul
Wine Soul Train

OAKLAND FOOD POLICY COUNCIL WINS  FOR WINE SOUL TRAIN The Oakland Food Policy Council has won the Taste Awards‘ Honoree Award for an Outstanding Culinary Travel Experience for its Wine Soul Train. The creation of OFPC’s Wine Soul Train was prompted by an act of racial discrimination in Napa in August 2015 when 11 female book club members, 10 of whom were black, were escorted by police off the Napa Valley Wine Train for “laughing too loudly.” The Wine Soul Train, which toured Maldonado Winery and Esterlina Vineyards on Sept. 26, 2015, brought national attention to successful black and brown-owned wineries in Northern California. The positive response to the initiative, was says OFPC, “one example of the Oakland Food Policy Council’s approach to combating the city’s food issues: focusing on actionable, specific ways to create a more equitable food system while examining the deeper, systemic racial and economic inequities that have corrupted our food system.”

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Kate Williams has been writing about food since 2009. After spending two years developing recipes for cookbooks at America’s Test Kitchen, she moved to Berkeley and began work as a freelance writer and...