Two pale ales from Temescal Brewing. Photo: Kate Williams
Two pale ales from Temescal Brewing. Photo: Kate Williams

Openings, closings

TEMESCAL BREWING OPENS SUNDAY Hot on the heels of Novel Brewing, which opened last week, Temescal Brewing is holding its grand opening celebration this Sunday. The brewery will be open from noon to 10 p.m. and will be participating in that day’s Temescal Street Fair. To mark the opening, Temescal Brewing is releasing a special beer called Block Party, a “super refreshing pale ale specially formulated for optimum block party enjoyment.” After Sunday, the brewery will be open Thurdays from 4-10 p.m., Fridays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m. Temescal Brewing is focusing on what it calls “sunny day” beers; in other words, beers that are lower in alcohol and easier to drink on, yes, a sunny day. Its 15 barrel brewing system does, however, have the capacity to make lots of beers, so Temescal will also serve a range of beer types. “We owe it to the neighborhood to offer a wide variety of beers to match everyone’s taste,” Gilbert told Nosh earlier this spring. “We really get a kick out of exploring the whole spectrum of what beer can be, and constantly trying new stuff.” Temescal Brewing is at 4115 Telegraph Ave. (at 41st Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

The Sandwich Spot. Photo: Google Maps

BOMBA DOUGHNUTS GETTING SET FOR A POP-UP Downtown Berkeley will soon no longer lack craft doughnuts. William Armanino Jr., owner of The Sandwich Spot, is planning to launch a doughnut pop-up called Bomba Doughnuts in the deli’s front dining area on Wednesday mornings starting in July. A doughnut shop is not a stretch for Armanino — he’s been a partner in Las Vegas’s highly popular Pink Box Doughnuts for the past three years. Bomba Doughnuts, which gets its name from the Italian word for doughnut (bombolone), will start out serving 42 dozen doughnuts each week. The base for the doughnuts will in be the ever-popular “cronut” style, and Armanino will offer eight different toppings ranging from playful (bacon maple) to classic (chocolate). As the pop-up picks up steam, Armanino plans to increase service to 5 days a week and to eventually look for a standalone space somewhere nearby. Bomba Doughnuts will be in The Sandwich Spot at 2106 Shattuck Ave. (at Addison Street), Berkeley.

The new bar at Rockridge Improvement Club. Photo: Rockridge Improvement Club/Facebook

ROCKRIDGE IMPROVEMENT CLUB NOW OPEN We told you back in April that Ye Olde Hut had closed; its successor, the Rockridge Improvement Club has now opened. The new bar is far less divey than Ye Olde Hut; its menu boasts $9-12 cocktails and local beers, and the interior has gotten a facelift. Two of the new owners — Jeff Saltzman and Scott Ayers — are entering the bar scene after decades of work in the music business. (Saltzman produced the Killers’ first album and was a manager for Green Day in the 1990s), according to Inside Scoop. The third owner, Julie Figueres, and Ayers (her fiancé), have experience working at Bay Area bars like Ben & Nick’s, Trappist Provisions, Bourbon & Branch, Plum Bar and Drexl. The name, which may appear to some as a dig at the previous establishment, is a throw-back to the original name of the group occupying the building; the first Rockridge Improvement Club was a pro-prohibition group. “There’s a great irony for a bar,” Salesman told the Scoop. “The history of this building is crazy; it’s pretty awesome.” Rockridge Improvement Club is at 5515 College Ave. (at Forest Street), Oakland.

Photo: Izzy’s Steaks and Chops/Facebook

CASA CUBANA SHUTTERS, WILL BECOME IZZY’S After only five months in operation in Uptown, Casa Cubana has closed. Owners Sam DuVall and Joe Kohn will replace the Cuban restaurant with a third location of Izzy’s Steak and Chop House. Izzy’s is currently located in both San Francisco and San Carlos. As for the reasoning behind the switch, Kohn said, “Cuban cuisine has apparently not fully come into its own in the East Bay but there’s always room for a great steak at a great price. Casa Cuban was certainly enthusiastically received by many but we need to look at the bigger picture and today that’s Izzy’s.” Izzy’s will open June 20, and it will serve classics dishes like a variety of steaks, wedge and Caesar salads, seafood, and potato- and spinach-heavy sides. Izzy’s Steak and Chop House will be at 59 Grand Ave. (at Webster Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: Taqueria La Venganza/Facebook

WEDNESDAY IS VEGAN TACO NIGHT Berkeley’s The Butcher’s Son is no longer just a home for vegan deli meats. Every Wednesday night, it transforms into a taqueria, hosting Oakland-based Taqueria La Venganza. We learned of the new pop-up in the East Bay Express’s weekly restaurant review, which called La Venganza’s Aztec spice-marinated yuba skin carnitas “delicious!” Behind the pop-up is Mexican-American chef Raul Medina, who is cooking food shaped by the memories of the dishes he ate as a kid while visiting his grandmother’s ranch in Durango, Mexico. Taqueria La Venganza is at The Butcher’s Son at 1941 University Ave. (at Bonita Street) on Wednesdays from 5-10 p.m. Connect with the taqueria on Facebook.

Hand-cut noodles from Famous Bao. Photo: Famous Bao/Facebook

FAMOUS BAO REPLACES BERKELEY’S DOT ISLAND GRILL The newest Chinese restaurant in Berkeley, Famous Bao, opened last week. According to its Facebook page, Famous Bao specializes in traditional baozi, Xi’an style burgers, baing baing hand-cut noodles and “iron pot,” a style of hot pot. We heard from the Daily Cal that Famous Bao is owned by UC Berkeley alum Francis Sun, and is taking over the spot formerly occupied by Dot Island Grill. Dot Island closed this spring. Early reviews on Hungry Onion are mixed; diners so far like the iron pot and the house noodles, but think the burgers need work. Famous Bao is at 2431-A Durant Ave. (between Dana Street and Telegraph Avenue), Berkeley.

Photo: Icey Cream/Instagram

ICEY CREAM OPENS DOORS IN OAKLAND After a long wait, the new ice cream restaurant from the owners of Oasis Kitchen, Icey Cream, is now open. The very pink ice cream shop officially started scooping on May 30, according to Splash Pad. Owner Jasmine Othman told Splash Pad that she named the shop Icey Cream because it was “cute, fun and memorable.” In addition to Lappert’s ice cream, the shop serves house-made macarons and meringues, as well as doughnuts that can be made into ice cream sandwiches. Many of the ice cream flavors are Hawaiian-inspired (Lappert’s has ties to the state), like Kanai Pie and Carmel Coconut Macadamia Nut. Icey Cream is at 346 Grand Ave. (at Perkins Street), Oakland. Connect with the shop on Facebook and Instagram.

Blondie’s. Photo: Ted Friedman

TIDBITS: THAI NOODLE, BLONDIES, DELAGE, BBQ, DUNKIN’ DONUTS We’ve heard that Shattuck Avenue’s Thai Noodle has closed as of early June. The windows have been papered over and a sign posted on the outside of the building reads: “Coming Soon.” No word yet on the new business, but we will keep you posted. Also in Berkeley, we hear that Blondie’s Pizza has changed hands and will be undergoing renovations. According to the Daily Cal, the new owners will revamp the facilities at night in order to keep the restaurant open during normal hours. Blondie’s will also get a new menu, including crepes, garlic fries and chicken wings. The pizzas will, apparently, remain the same. In Oakland, Delage has now officially opened, following its five-week soft opening period. The restaurant is still serving exclusively prix-fixe omakase meals, and the price has risen from $50 to $65 for the menu. In Alameda, Famous Dave’s Barbecue will be opening June 14. Famous Dave’s is a Hayward, Wisconsin-based barbecue chain that serves a range of barbecue dishes spanning everything from brisket to St. Louis spareribs to chopped pork. Out in Walnut Creek, the Bay Area’s first Dunkin’ Donuts is slated to open June 22. It is the first of 12 locations planned for Contra Costa County alone. Blondie’s Pizza is at 2340 Telegraph Ave. (at Durant Avenue), Berkeley. Delage is at 536 Ninth St. (between Clay and Washington Streets), Oakland. Famous Dave’s Barbecue will be at 2690 5th St. Ste. J, (at Mosley Avenue), Alameda. Dunkin’ Donuts will be at 1250 Newell Ave. (at Newell Hill Place), Walnut Creek.

Dinners and events

Backyard gardeners on a field trip to Soul Flower Farm on May 9, 2015. Photo: courtesy City Slicker Farms

GRAND OPENING PARTY FOR CITY SLICKER Last summer, we told you about the farming nonprofit City Slicker Farms’ plans to open a new farm in West Oakland. The farm has now become a reality, and the organization is holding grand opening party this Saturday and Sunday to celebrate. After receiving $4 million from the state via a 2006 bond initiative, City Slicker Farms purchased the 1.4 acre lot in 2013 at a reported cost of $2.25 million. The urban farming nonprofit raised additional  funding through a successful Barnraiser crowdfunding campaign last summer, and these funds when towards construction costs on the farm itself, as well as outdoor recreation and play spaces. The opening celebration will include a free community meal featuring City Slicker produce, a ribbon cutting ceremony, farm tours, gardening classes, kids’ activities, and nutrition and healthy cooking demonstrations. RSVP and find more information hereCity Slicker Farms is at 2847 Peralta St. (between Helen and Hannah streets), Oakland. Connect with the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

TEMESCAL STREET FAIR This Sunday, Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood is hosting its thirteenth annual street fair from noon to 6 p.m. The free event includes food and drink from several Temescal establishments like Cholita Linda, The Avenue, Pyeongchang Tofu House, Tara’s Organic Ice Cream, Curbside Creamery, Linesplitter Pizza and, as mentioned above, Temescal Brewing. Local and regional performing artists will also be performing on multiple stages and there will be plenty of kid-friendly activities going on throughout the afternoon. The event takes over ten blocks of Telegraph Avenue, from 41st to 51st streets, so plan accordingly if you plan to drive.

What else is going on…

Blue Bottle Broadway. Photo: Bethany Newman

BLUE BOTTLE NOW SELLING $16 CUPS OF COFFEE No, that’s not a typo. The newest coffee in Blue Bottle‘s lineup is called Yemen Hayma Hussein al-Haba, and it will be retailing for $16 a cup. At Blue Bottle shops, the drink will come with a Yemeni-inspired cardamom sesame cookie. The coffee comes to Blue Bottle from the Port of Mokha, a Yemini coffee interventionist project. Blue Bottle got wind of the project through a customer, Mokhtar Alkhanshali, who grew up in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. Mokhtar has been working with Yemini coffee farmers to improve their practices, and has brought back some of their coffees to the Bay Area. His journey was, according to Blue Bottle, quite harrowing; as the company writes on its website, “he faced kidnapping and the outbreak of violent civil war, narrowly escaping.” Mokhtar’s beans are also available in 6 ounce packages online; each bag retails for $65. Find more information here.

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Kate Williams

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...