A Bay Area custard truck will open its first brick and mortar location in a Berkeley parking garage
Berkeley’s Center Street Garage made headlines in 2018, when it opened with 350 bicycle spots, 20 electric vehicle charging stations, and a public art area. And soon it will welcome a sweet-and-chilly new tenant to its retail space: Lexie’s Frozen Custard, which until now has operated as a food truck, serving up frozen desserts to patrons across the Bay Area.
I’ve always been surprised that frozen custard isn’t more ubiquitous in the Bay Area. I moved here from Indiana in the 1990s, and have often thought that a Midwestern chain like Ritter’s could own this town. Ice cream is great, don’t get me wrong, but frozen custard is next-level, a silky and eggy dessert with an impressively fatty mouthfeel made manageable by the air whipped into it via the soft serve process. While you can find it on the menus of some spots, we’re definitely short on custard specialists here in the Bay, and I’ve never understood why. (Bloomberg has some thoughts on why frozen custard is more of a Midwestern thing that I don’t completely agree with, here’s their take if you’re interested.)
Soon, you’ll be prepared to either agree or argue with me on frozen custard’s superiority to ice cream, as Lexie’s is set to lease a 480-square-foot space at 2010 Addison St., on the ground floor of the garage. for the next ten years. The business, which is named after founder Alexis LeCount, specializes in scoops, pints and little sundaes; they also offer an impressive array of frozen pies. Nosh has reached out to Lexie’s regarding an opening date, as this is an opening I’ll be watching for with interest. Lexie’s Frozen Custard, 2010 Addison St. (inside the Center Street Garage), Berkeley.
These German-Californian pretzels might be the perfect Father’s Day gift
Uli Elser’s cult favorite pretzels are a Kensington Farmers Market standby, with unexpected flavors like “anchovies & capers” and “lil’ smokie” sold every Sunday from his Squabisch pretzel stand. For Father’s Day (that’s Sunday, June 20), Elser tells Nosh that he’s also offering the treats for pickup or delivery, but orders must be placed online by Friday evening.
The German-born Elser has been making pretzels for decades, using a variation on his mother’s Swabia-style recipe. That means that unlike the pretzels you might see at the ballpark, Squabisch pretzels are make with flour, butter, milk and some malted barley powder — a far richer and heartier than the flour-and-water concoctions you might grab from a stand at the mall. Elser calls them “Schwaebisch food with a California twist,” and since he started selling on Sundays at Kensington, his pretzels have attracted a passionate fanbase that buys the $3-$8 snacks by the handful.
If you’re buying for a dad, these pretzels seem like a brilliant plan: They’re a delicious, special treat that pop might not buy himself. They’re consumable so they won’t collect dust or take up space. Wnd even the Wall Street Journal says that ties have become irrelevant, so even that standby gift is officially out. Pretzels it is, then.
This week’s menu is a wide-ranging list of sweet and savory pretzels, including a classic pretzel topped with bacon and cheese, a vegetarian sausage encased in pretzel dough and even a milk-and-butterless vegan pretzel. You can see the full list of offerings here. Elser says that to place an order for this weekend, do so here by end-of-day Friday. Your order will be available for pickup on Saturday June 19 between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. inside The Bread Project; delivery is also available to addresses within Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Emeryville, North Oakland and West Oakland. Squabisch Father’s Day pickup at The Bread Project, 1615 University Ave. (near California Street), Berkeley
Can a cooking class taught by a celebrity chef help fight Alzheimer’s?
Online attempts to research foods to support neurological health are often stymied by conflicting information and questionable “cures.” According to institutions like Harvard Medical School, the best thing you can do for your brain is eat the same kinds of foods that bolster heart and circulatory function: leafy greens, fatty fish and berries. You know, virtuous stuff.
According to Oakland chef Nelson German (Sobre Mesa, alaMar), those brain-healthy foods can also be indulgent treats. He’ll attempt to prove that claim on June 22, when he’ll teach an online cooking class for the NorCal Alzheimer’s Association. From the kitchen of seafood-centric alaMar, German will whip up “roasted branzino with farro verde, golden raisin, spinach and tomato ginger sauce.” To cook along with German from the comfort of your own home, register here for the course, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Apparently, Matt Horn doesn’t have quite enough going on
Matt Horn, the pit master whose Horn Barbecue just opened last fall in Oakland, has already announced that he’s launching two new businesses this summer: Kowbird, a chicken sandwich spot that’ll open this summer in West Oakland, and Matty’s Old Fashioned, a burger spot next to The Trappist that should open in July. Now, reports the SF Chronicle, he’s also planning to park a taco trailer called Dalia outside Horn, where he’ll serve up homemade tortillas laden with his smoked meats for breakfast and lunch.
“Every morning when we’re here cooking, a nice flour tortilla with a slice of brisket and an egg, maybe some salsa just sounds amazing,” Horn tells the Chron. “I want to take things I love and share them with others.” A launch date for Dalia has yet to be announced, nor has Horn made a public statement on how he manages to do so many things at once, and all so very well. Dalia at Horn Barbecue 2534 Mandela Parkway (at 26th Street), Oakland; Kowbird, 1733 Peralta St. (near 18th Street), Oakland; Matty’s Old Fashioned, 464 8th St. (near Broadway), Oakland.