Weekly Dish: New Plans for Downtown Rooftop Dining
Concept tweaked for Walnut Creek project; crawfish boils in Berkeley; Candy Counter in Walnut Creek; and more!
Brian Hirahara has tweaked the plans again for his ambitious new development in downtown Walnut Creek. The developer behind successful building projects such as Sasa and Va de Vi, Hirahara has found it slow going in signing up a restaurant to take the marquee spot in his planned three-story building at 1500 Mt. Diablo Boulevard. So, after originally looking for a tenant to occupy all three stories, Hirahara has split the building up into three separate spaces: a ground-floor café (plus retail); a second-story restaurant; and a third rooftop bar-restaurant with views over downtown and even out to Mount Diablo. As always with this project, the fun part is in seeing the impressive potential of this space via cool renderings. Imagine the possibilities …
Smitten is officially open in Oakland. The liquid nitrogen–fueled ice cream shop from founder Robyn Fisher debuted in the Rockridge district Tuesday, April 1. It’ll be open seven days a week, roughly from noon to 10 p.m., and will carry six different flavors, including this month’s special, Rhubarb Crisp. And, coming soon Brrrgers: ice cream sandwiches enveloped in shortcake. They’ve already launched in Fisher’s Los Altos store and should be debuting in the East Bay later this spring. As for the Lafayette location, it’s looking like a May opening. smittenicecream.com.
OK, so it looks like what I’ve been referring to as "Dumpling Factory" is indeed Mayflower Seafood Restaurant, part of small chain of Chinese restaurants with locations in Union City, Millbrae, and Milpitas. Regardless of the name, the restaurant, whose sister establishments are known for their seafood and dim sum, is now open in Dublin’s Grafton Station. mayflower-seafood.com.
A new candy store debuted in downtown Walnut Creek. The Candy Counter, at 1385 North Main Street, opened softly earlier in March and plans to host an official grand opening Saturday, April 5. Started by Walnut Creek natives Mark and Carol Sherry, the store feature a variety of retro, modern, bulk, and packaged candy.
Beyond the Creek notes that Breads of India, a longtime presence in downtown Walnut Creek, is up for sale. No word on anyone taking over yet.
Also per BtC, a new Burmese restaurant, the Refined Palate, opened in Orinda Village at 19 Orinda Way. According to the website, chef-owner William Lue helped open a Burmese restaurant in San Francisco in the late 1970s, and recently had been operating a food truck called Burmese Gourmet. Looks like a nice, fairly affordable menu with items such as Burmese tea leaf salad—fermented green tea leaves, fresh roasted garlic, a medley of roasted nuts and seeds, and special dressing—a dish made famous at Burma Superstar. CLICK HERE to check out the menu for yourself.
A little update on the sad news of the passing of Allison Chen, the owner of the in-progress Pi Dan in Uptown Oakland. While Chen’s friends had originally planned to follow through with opening the Taiwanese noodle house in Chen’s honor, they’ve since decided against it, citing the privacy concerns of her family.
Also in Oakland, Moroccan restaurant Tangia is remodeling and switching up its concept. The Temescal eatery is closed until April 16, when it will reopen as Doukkala, a "California-Moroccan restaurant." Dishes on the opening menu include escargots (braised snails in mint & spice broth), Monterey Squid a la Plancha, Harira Moroccan soup, vegetables tagine (with eggplant, carrots, leeks, artichokes, peas, garbanzo beans, potato, tomato, preserved lemons, fava beans, and dried apricots), and a maple leaf duck tagine.
Foodie events for you...
► Oakland's Camino is hosting a party to celebrate San Francisco Chronicle wine writer Jon Bonné's new James Beard-nominated book, The New California Wine, next Wednesday, April 9. Bonné will sign books starting at 6 p.m., to be followed by a dinner featuring wines from four winemakers features in the book: Jolie-Laide, La Clarine Farms, Horse & Plow, and Broc Cellars. Camino chef-owner Russ Moore, by the way, just got a nice plug from New York Times food writer Mark Bittman.
► That same day, A16 Rockridge is hosting a Spirit Maker dinner, featuring a special a la carte menu to be paired with samples from master distiller Carter Raff from Treasure Island's Raffe Distilerie.
► And also on that day, Angeline's in Berkeley is starting up its annual crawfish boils, with product flown directly from Louisiana. They'll be happening every other week thereafter through June 4.