El Garage’s quesabirria tacos have a home
El Garage, the family-run pop-up that was founded in the driveway of its founders’ home in Richmond and started the quesabirria craze in the Bay Area, opened its brick-and-mortar location this past Saturday. According to Eater SF, whose editor Luke Tsai may be El Garage’s biggest fan, the Montano family is being very cautious about opening their new brick-and-mortar restaurant during the pandemic. Due to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in Contra Costa County, El Garage is not offering walk-up service; customers must order in advance online for pickup at a designated time to prevent crowds.
For now, El Garage is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday through Sunday, with a limited menu, mainly of three-packs of its signature Tijuana-style beef birria tacos — with or without cheese — and sides of consome dipping sauce. It plans to expand offerings in the coming week. El Garage, 1428 McDonald Ave. (at 15th Street), Richmond
Berkeley Bowl employee is missing
[Updated July 17] On Thursday, family member identified the body of a man found Sunday in Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve as Alameda resident and Berkeley Bowl worker, Donald Adams-Stanifer who had been missing for several days. The 21-year-old was last seen leaving his house around 6 or 7 p.m, July 5. According to KTVU, his mother became concerned when he didn’t appear for work, as he hadn’t missed a day in three years. Adams-Stanifer’s vehicle and destroyed cell phone were found by police last week. Alameda police are investigating the death and ask anyone with information to contact 510-881-1833 or 510-690-6521 (anonymous tip line).
Delhi Diner opens on Telegraph Avenue
The second location of Delhi Diner, a popular Indian restaurant in Albany, opened today in the Southside neighborhood of Berkeley. The new restaurant is on Telegraph Avenue, in the space last occupied by The Bird. Owner Subhash Arora, who runs the business with his wife, Krishna Arora, told the Daily Cal in April they chose this location to serve Cal students, and will focus on Indian street food here. As with the Albany location, the Berkeley spot offers many vegan and gluten-free options, along with halal meat dishes and changing, seasonal dishes. Delhi Diner, 2400 Telegraph Ave. (at Channing Way), Berkeley
JusLa Eats pops up at Palmetto
While Palmetto is currently closed for business, the sister restaurant-bar to the Kon-Tiki that closed just a month after its grand opening has not gone completely dark. Co-owner Christ Aivaliotis and Matthew Reagan have partnered with chef Lala Harrison of pop-up Jusla Eats to hawk her Cajun and southern soul food at Palmetto on Fridays and every other Tuesdays. They’ll also be offering a rotating menu of Kon-Tiki tropical cocktails that can be added to takeout orders. Reagan told Nosh, “It’s a partnership we are extremely excited about. Christ and I have known Lala for years, she was at Flora for almost 8 years, many of those years as the sous chef.”
Alternately, The Kon-Tiki is also keeping a little taste of Palmetto alive — on Wednesdays, it serves up Palmetto’s signature 10 oz. cumin-rubbed ribeye with pickled pineapple butter, served with roasted sweet and sour turnips, Jimmy Nardello peppers and charred green onions. The $38 plate is available for takeout and delivery, along with the Kon-Tiki’s regular eats and cocktails. Jusla Eats pop-up at Palmetto, 1900 Telegraph Ave. (at 19th Street), Oakland; The Kon-Tiki, 347 14th St. (at Webster Street), Oakland
Foie gras is once again legal to serve in California
[Updated July 18] In 2017, the U.S. Ninth Court of Appeals banned the sale and production of foie gras in California. The ruling reinstated a 2004 ban that was overturned in 2015. But this week, a federal judge ruled in favor of out-of-state foie gras producers. According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled the state’s health code does not prohibit the sale of the contested luxury ingredient of fattened duck or goose liver as long as it’s produced out of state and shipped through a third party. But the SF Chronicle points out the new ruling has caused confusion. According to Chronicle reporter Janelle Bitker, the new ruling doesn’t really change much, as consumers have always been able to buy foie gras from third-party vendors outside the state. Even now, California restaurants can’t serve the ingredient or even give it away as a gift. “The ruling doesn’t change the stakes in restaurants: California businesses still can’t sell foie gras.”
Berkeley’s 1951 Coffee Company cafe has reopened
After nearly four months of being closed since the shelter-in-place order was first enacted, the Berkeley location of 1951 Coffee Company reopened today. The nonprofit coffee company that trains refugees and asylees to become baristas has another location in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, which reopened in mid-May.
While the Berkeley cafe has been closed, 1951 Coffee Company has remained focused on its mission to support refugees. On June 20, World Refugee Day, it released a trailer of a new documentary it created in partnership HOME Storytellers, a nonprofit documentary film organization that focuses its lens on refugees. No Single Origin tells the story of four refugees who took part in 1951’s Barista Training Program. The film will be released in August. 1951 Coffee Company, 2410 Channing Way (near Dana Street), Berkeley (open 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday); 6023 College Ave. (at 62nd Street), Oakland (open 9 a.m.-3 p.m., daily)
GIO Gelati has a new gelato club
Using real-deal Italian family recipes and seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, San Francisco’s GIO Gelati makes creamy, dreamy flavors that will convert even the staunchest gelato skeptics. The East Bay got its own GIO Gelati outpost last year, when it opened a second location at the San Ramon City Center, which is still a bit of a trek for those of us living in the inner East Bay. So it’s welcome news that the company launched a new gelato subscription service to reach even more gelato lovers across the Bay Area. GIO Club is a membership program that delivers gelato directly to homes or offices every two or four weeks. Members can choose between two subscription sizes — either 3 pints or 5 mezzo boxes (21 oz in each box) — and can curate their flavor selections before each delivery. Vegans and lactose-intolerant folks take note: GIO offers a wide variety of egg-free and/or dairy-free flavors made with alternative nut milks. (I was blown away by the dairy-free chocolate made with oat milk, which tasted like a chewy, fudgy brownie in gelato form.) For now, GIO Club only delivers to San Francisco, Marin County, the South Bay and Contra Costa County, but a GIO Gelati representative tells Nosh it will expand coverage to Berkeley, Oakland and other Alameda County cities by the end of the year. (In the meantime, Berkeley gelato fans are lucky to have Almare close to home.)