Forget June gloom — most of last month shimmered with renewed energy and boosted pride, generations of folks getting outside and overall heightened vibes. It was a month of surprises — some welcome, like the mostly gorgeous local weather (minus the roasted solstice) — but then some not so welcome.
To fuel yet another long American summer of political upheaval, division, anger and resistance, Nosh recommends a return to that mid-June mood with gently rejuvenating summer foods: ripe stone fruit, barbecue, lemonade, ice cream, a great grilled hot dog, the perfect tomato sandwich. Misguided leaders can take away rights, but they can’t diminish our resolve, break our souls — or steal our summer.
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KUBOBA SPOT Boba drinks and rich Filipino empanadas and desserts (including tempting baked goods) are injecting fresh energy and snack appeal into this stretch of Telegraph Avenue, in the revived site of a ghosted Subway shop. Kuboba Spot softly opened mid-June, and celebrates its grand opening July 2. Head there now for summertime treats; Nosh predicts heavy traffic come August’s student return. Kuboba Spot, 2618 Telegraph Ave. (between Parker and Carleton streets), Berkeley
NOODY For many of us — and especially for busy young people — the entire food pyramid often rests on a base of noodles. Sather Lane newcomer Noody embraces this with fast, custom-built bowls featuring various noodle styles and toppings, in flavor profiles that range from carbonara to Buldak Spicy to coconut udon. Noody, Sather Lane, 2431 Durant Ave., Suite B (between Dana Street and Telegraph Avenue), Berkeley
THE SLANTED DOOR AT RICE AND BONES Charles Phan’s iconic Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door’s pop-up at U.C. Berkeley’s Rice & Bones is not a permanent new opening, it’s true. But with Slanted Door’s main Ferry Building location closed in San Francisco, Nosh says enjoy this special visit while it lasts. Which, thanks to added dates, continues into July. Slanted Door at Rice & Bones, 230 Wurster Hall (near Bancroft Way), Berkeley
BELLADI KITCHEN Open since the end of May, Belladi Kitchen, from the team behind House Kombucha, brings nourishing Yemeni and Egyptian cuisine, fresh juices and a kombucha bar to Jack London Square. The zero-waste restaurant’s cuisine includes savory bowls and pita sandwiches loaded with well-spiced ingredients, much of it veg-friendly, but with lean, roasted proteins if desired. Belladi’s fresh cuisine, service and environmental practices are getting enthusiastic reviews on all counts, including from Nosh readers, whom we thank for the tip. Belladi Kitchen, 378 Embarcadero West (between Franklin and Webster streets), Oakland
BELLY ROCKRIDGE Fill your belly with Belly at their new, second location: The Oakland spot’s Asian-inflected tacos, burritos and other flavorful Asian-Mexican fusion offerings have long been favorites for lunch and dinner in Uptown, and are now available for lunch in Rockridge, the Merc was the first to note. (Look for dinner to come.) Locals might remember the space as the former Hideaway. Belly, 5634 College Ave. (between Keith Avenue and Ocean View Drive), Oakland
DUSK COFFEE Softly open since May, locals are loving this bright new independent coffee shop with rich coffee drinks and fresh pastries in downtown’s Cathedral Building. The shop is housed in a former Peet’s. Dusk Coffee, 1615 Broadway (between Telegraph Avenue and 15th Street), Oakland
NIGHT HERON A pitch-perfect name for an Oakland bar (and fitting tribute to its official bird, one of the area’s coolest and most haunting), Night Heron from bartender-artist Sequoya Lee (Honor Bar, Lake Chalet, Miss Ollie’s) and bar owner Cory Hunt (Oakland’s First Edition, Jackalope and Soda Popinski’s in San Francisco) brings together innovative cocktails and the work of cutting-edge local artists into the former Here’s How bar space, as first promised by What Now SF several months ago. Dedicated bento boxes from Uptown neighbor Itani Ramen add to the experience. Night Heron, 1780 Telegraph Ave. (between 17th and 19th streets), Oakland
OCCITANIA Beloved local celeb chef Paul Canales (Oliveto, Duende) brings his infectious enthusiasm — for art, Oakland and cooking with intricate, sultry European flavors — to his new restaurant Occitania, this time with a focus on the south of France. Call us old fashioned, but Nosh is excited for this “classic” restaurant opening (which was first teased by the Chron last year) among the fast-casual pandemic newcomers: The date-night-worthy dining room on the ground floor of the new Kissel Uptown Oakland appears warm, modern and inviting, and the sophisticated French (and France-adjacent) cuisine ranges from bouillabaisse to just-seared steak frites to escargots to ris de veau. Oui, merci. Occitania, 422 24th St. (near Broadway), Oakland
GOLDEN HOUR POP-UPS These small, sunny pop-ups outside the Golden Hour shop in Albany began earlier this year, and have become regular fixtures in recent months. The Solano Avenue boutique itself is lovely and serene — a woman-owned shop filled with ceramics, home goods, accessories and more. Outside, small food businesses such as Three Little Cookies, Petite LaFleur, Swelter Coffee, and, starting in June, coveted SoDo Donuts vend their wares — mostly sweet indulgences, and mostly goods made by women. Check Instagram for schedules. Food Pop-Ups at Golden Hour, 1250 Solano Ave. (near Masonic Avenue), Albany
NARU SUSHI The Public Market has an appealing new sushi kiosk in Naru Sushi, softly opened by the team behind long-loved tenant NabiQ, a market favorite for 15 years. According to the E’ville Eye, Naru serves a menu of nigiri, sashimi, rice bowls, bento boxes and other typical sushi-counter fare. Naru Sushi inside The Public Market Emeryville, 5959 Shellmound, Emeryville
PANAMA BAY COFFEE CO. AT THE CASTLE Thanks to the San Jose Mercury News for the story of this renovated little “castle” in Walnut Creek that is now a friendly coffee and natural energy-drink shop from Livermore-based Panama Bay Coffee Co. (The fairytale-worthy site is noticeably reminiscent of Berkeley’s also-lovely MY Coffee Roastery. Storybook coffee tour, anyone?) Panama Bay Coffee Co., 1499 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek
THE NOODLE LOVER CLUB The nonstop demand for noodles in the East Bay continues with this elegant, new little restaurant focused on mostly Thai-style noodle bowls and soups, as well as hot pot with rice, and playful ingredient combinations and inflections throughout the menu. Check out the wine collection, and the impressive list of noodle bowl and soup add-ons. The Noodle Lover Club, 1700 Park St. #100 (at Buena Vista Avenue), Alameda
SWEETGREEN WALNUT CREEK Slowly taking over the national salad and grain bowl market is East Coast-based juggernaut Sweetgreen, now serving its nourishing, formulaic-yet-irresistible fare in Walnut Creek. According to the East Bay Times, the new location is the Bay Area’s tenth. Try the peach and goat cheese salad. Sweetgreen, 1556 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek