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Diablo Dish: Comal Next Door Is Open

Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea opening soon in Walnut Creek; the highly anticipated Salt Craft is now open; CK Restaurant is open in Alameda; Chef Jacques Pépin visits Rockridge Market Hall; and more Dish.


Charlie Villyard

It Just Got Easier to Enjoy Comal

As Yogi Berra could have said about Berkeley’s Comal, “It’s so crowded nobody goes there anymore,” as long waits for the highly praised Mexican cuisine are common on Shattuck Avenue. But now Comal Next Door has opened, offering a fast casual version of original’s high quality eats, so the hungry have an option.

“The menu is some of our greatest hits repurposed,” says co-owner Andrew Hoffman, as the burritos and tacos on the menu contain the same ingredients, and are cooked with the same recipes as in Comal itself. There is also beer and frozen margaritas (“We didn’t have room for a bar so we can’t shake the margaritas,” explains Hoffman), and no longer does anyone with a Comal craving have to wait until 5:30 p.m. to satisfy it. Comal Next Door—and yes, it’s literally next door—is open at 11:30 a.m. seven days a week.


Sweetwaters Helps Walnut Creek’s Lyric Wake Up

Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea will open on North California Boulevard at the end of May, which will be extremely convenient for residents of Lyric apartments, who will just walk downstairs to get their caffeine fix—as well as the usual light fare associated with such cafés.

This is an outlier for Sweetwaters, though, which has outlets in Michigan and Ohio, but has never ventured into the wilds of California before.


Original Pattern’s Grand Opening Is Saturday

Original Pattern Brewing Company will celebrate its arrival with a festival on 4th Street (near Jack London Square) Saturday, April 21. The brewery is in a former warehouse and features a light-filled, indoor beer garden that will offer a wide variety of beers.

Tickets to Saturday’s grand opening are just $10 in advance ($15 day of), which includes a free drink ticket plus an Original Pattern glass, as well as access to live music and food trucks.


Eli Pitta

Salt Craft Sets Sail in Pleasanton

Matt Greco’s labor of love, Salt Craft, made its debut last Thursday on St. Mary Street, bringing high-quality yet family-friendly breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to downtown Pleasanton.

Greco is focused on local, sustainable ingredients in his house-turned-kitchen, and diners will benefit from his background, which extends from New York City to The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards.


Walnut Creek Yacht Club Gets a Jump on Cinco de Mayo

OK, it’s neither “cinco” nor “Mayo,” so the Bonanza Street restaurant is calling April 25 (next Wednesday) a Cinco de Mayo warm-up, and rolling out a $70 prix fixe meal that includes three courses of Mexican food, a cocktail, wine, and beer.

As always for these events at the Yacht Club, reservations are a necessity. The fun starts at 6 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m.


Ivan Tellez

Canasta Kitchen Chef Shifts Gears with Expansion to Alameda

“I love tacos,” says Concord’s Canasta Kitchen chef/owner Ivan Tellez. “If I could eat tacos every day, I would,—which is why his food trucks and restaurant (just off Todos Santos Plaza) focus on Mexican food. But Tellez’s new venture, CK Restaurant on Webster Street in Alameda is an American bistro.

“I don’t want to be known as the taco stand guy,” says Tellez. “I can cook anything,” and CK Restaurant is the proof. Look for salmon, steak, prawns, and roasted bone marrow on the menu, as well as vegan options. For tacos, though, you’ll have to go to Concord.


Celebrated Chef Jacques Pépin at Market Hall Thursday

Jacques Pépin, the internationally recognized chef, author, and TV host, will be at Rockridge Market Hall from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19 to sign copies of his books Poulets & Légumes: My Favorite Chicken & Vegetable Recipes and A Grandfather’s Lessons.

There will also be tasting stations to sample some of his recipes and many of his other cookbooks will also be available to purchase, however, admission is free.

Pépin is best known for his TV work with Julia Child, but his book La Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Cooking is a staple in cooking school curricula.


Hop Culture Brings Juicy Brews West Fest to Oakland

The New York-based magazine Hop Culture heads to the East Bay Sunday, April 22, with a two-session sampling of fresh-tapped and limited-release hazy IPAs and sour beers at Classic Cars West on 26th Street just off Broadway.

For $45, visitors to either the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., or 3 to 6 p.m. sessions will sample brews from local spots (Alvarado Street Brewery) to Oregon (Little Beast Brewing) to Missouri (Narrow Gauge) to Pittsburgh (Dancing Gnome).

The pours are unlimited, and brewers and founders will be on site to answer questions and just talk about beer. In addition, a portion of proceeds will benefit Oakland’s City Slicker Farms—a food justice organization.


Berkeley’s Gather Combines Reading and Eating

Well, not literally—the menus are not parboiled, doused in sauce, and served à la carte. Instead, on Tuesday, April 24, there is a fundraising dinner at Gather benefiting the Bay Area Book Festival—which not coincidentally is set for April 28 and 29 in Berkeley.

The dinner will be a multi-option $60 prix fixe meal, and 10 percent of all food and drink proceeds from 5 to 9 p.m. will go to the Foundation for Literature and Literacy, which produces the annual book festival.

Got Dish? Send an email to dish@maildiablo.com. Or follow me on Twitter @DiabloDish.

Happy Hour Bar & Bites at
The Cooperage

Monday through Friday
3pm – 5:30pm


This isn’t your typical happy hour. This quintessential neighborhood spot offers high-quality craft cocktails on tap and tasty bites. Menu features: $10 cocktails on tap, $5 select beer & wine, $1 oysters, $7 bacon cheeseburger sliders, $7 crispy beer battered shrimp sliders, $9 sashimi-grade ahi tuna tartare. 

32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette
​Reservations: www.thecooperagelafayette.com or 925.298.5915

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