Weekly Dish: Go All Local at Wente
In this week's Dish: a new affordable-and-local menu at Wente; a new chef at Postino; Los Panchos comes to Danville; and a new Bakesale opens in Oakland.
When Wente brought on new executive chef Eric Berg a few months ago, the Livermore restaurant emphasized that he would be committed to featuring local and seasonal food on the menu. Well, the first appearance of spring produce is offering Berg's first chance to prove that commitment with Wente's new "Local Menu." The Local Menu features ingredients handpicked from the restaurant's own 1,000-square-foot herb and vegetable garden (as well as honey from resident bees). It's also a pretty good deal: a two-course lunch, Mon.–Fri., for $19, and a three-course dinner, Sun.–Wed., for $29 (wine pairings extra). The menu will change weekly according to what's fresh, but here are a couple of examples of what to expect, courtesy of Wente: Grilled Asparagus Salad with crisp pancetta and eight minute glaum farm egg (lunch), and Braised Pozzi Ranch Spring Lamb with minted gnocchi, fava beans, and leaves, garden onions, three sisters serena cheese (dinner). The Restaurant at Wente, 5050 Arroyo Road, Livermore, (925) 456-2450, wentevineyards.com/restaurant.
Postino in Lafayette has a new executive chef, promoting Stewart Beatty, who has worked at the restaurant since 2002 and served as chef de cuisine since 2006. The California Culinary Academy grad and Walnut Creek-native will continue to develop relationships with local farmers and food purveyors and emphasize seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine, according to Postino's Paul Crotty. Beatty replaces Michael Zeiter, who left in February, taking a position down the street at Lark Creek's Yankee Pier. As for the menu, Beatty will bring a bit of a lighter, Pacific Rim touch to his food, and is also experimenting with house-cured meats, including a pancetta and spicy sausage. Beatty just came out with some new menu items last week—the Bucatini with pancetta in particular is flying off the shelves, according to Crotty. Postino, 3565 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, (925) 299-8700, postinorestaurant.com.
Fans of Los Panchos' tasty crispy tacos will be happy to hear that the popular Mexican spot is planning a third location, this one in Danville, where they will take over the old El Balazo on San Ramon Valley Blvd. and Hartz Lane (El Balazo abruptly shut down all of their East Bay locations last month). The new restaurant, which will have the same menu as the other locations plus a larger sit-down area, is set to open in late-May. Los Panchos, locations in Pacheco and San Ramon, lospanchosrestaurant.com.
And finally, Bakesale Betty brings its famous fried chicken sandwiches to Oakland's Uptown, just announcing htat its long-anticipated second location would be opening this Thursday. It's at a great spot on the corner of Broadway and Grand Avenue, and the bigger kitchen means you can expect some new menu items in the future (including cakes, according to one source). Bakesale Betty's new location: 2228 Broadway, bakesalebetty.com.
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