Weekly Dish: Food Truck Mania
Mobile food all over the East Bay; CPK set to debut in Pleasanton; Uptown Oakland keeps up the foodie momentum (including a possible new Umami Burger location); Lafayette Fenton's update; foodie events happening all week; and more in this week's Dish!
You've probably heard plenty about the whole mobile food craze, and I've certainly written plenty about it... but damned if it doesn't keep getting bigger and bigger, especially out here in the East Bay. Here's a link to a story we did a few weeks ago on East Bay food truck gatherings and now we've got two new events to add to the list.
1) Stoneridge in Pleasanton has jumped on the bandwagon, organizing Stoneridge Street Eats, a weekly food truck gathering every Friday at lunch (11 a.m.–2 p.m.) in the shopping center's parking lot. I went with Diablo's food truck lovin' managing editor to check out the initial happening and we can report back that... it was pretty cool. There were only four trucks, which felt a little empty in the vast lot, but Stoneridge hopes to eventually up that number to ten and there was a healthy turnout even though it seemed like a lot of folks in the area hadn't heard about it yet. CLICK HERE to check out some photos.
2) The second one debuts this Saturday and really sounds fun. Organized by the folks behind San Francisco's popular Off the Grid event, around 30 food trucks will converge at Berkeley's Golden Gate Fields race track for the next four Saturdays. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in retro race track style (there will be a hat vendor on-site as well as live music) and eat their fill as they play the ponies. Admission is $6, go to offthegridsf.com/goldengatefields for more info.
Attention California Pizza Kitchen lovers—and I know there's a lot of you out there—CPK is getting ready to debut in Stoneridge Shopping Center this coming Monday, August 29. Stoneridge reps also said that the Buckhorn Grill replacing the CPK ASAP likely won't come on line until next year.
There's still plenty going on in Uptown Oakland. Monday marked the official grand opening of Make Westing, the new bar from Glenn Kaplan and Chris Foott located across the street from the Fox Theater (as first covered in Dish!). A tired but happy Kaplan reported yesterday that the bar, named after a Jack London short story, had "killed it" (that's good) on its opening night. The two Bay Area natives bring a little Brooklyn flavor to the (510), as they both helped open bars there and received consulting help from some well-known players in the NYC drinking/dining scene including restaurant designer/builder John Kole of Hecho, Inc and Matthew Maddy, who designed the popular No. 7 restaurant in Brooklyn among others and was the lead designer for the Oakland bar. Make Westing has a selection of upscale but approachable cocktails, local wine and beer on tap, an outdoor patio, a bar menu designed by a well-known NYC chef, and not to be forgotten, two indoor bocce courts. Cool photos below courtesy of Pam Torno via Flickr. 1741 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 251-1400, makewesting.com
Make Westing joins a plethora of new bars in the area, including Bar Dogwood, Disco Volante, as well as the new Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe (a restaurant but it has a full bar). And there's more to come. I touched base with the Daniel Patterson folks who said they're aiming to open Plum Bar, located right next door to Plum restaurant at Broadway and Grand Ave., by the end of the September. Acclaimed Bay Area cocktail guru Scott Beattie is consulting on the drinks program there, which should feature plenty of fresh, local ingredients. Speaking of killer cocktails, Flora is also planning to expand their bar into the building next door but that likely won't happen until 2012.
Meanwhile, rumors are swirling of planned new Uptown projects involving very well known East Bay and San Francisco restaurateurs, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. One thing I can confirm is that Umami Burger, the southern California mini-chain that was voted burger of the year by GQ, is actively looking for spaces in the Uptown area and hope to announce something soon. Umami has already secured a spot in San Francisco at Union and Fillmore streets.
A couple of opening updates: Turkish restaurant Bosphorous is officially open for business on Locust Street, and just from passing by it looks like they did a nice job remodeling the space. 1512 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-5484, bosphoruswalnutcreek.com.
And just down the street, Cypress has added a baby grand piano to the front lounge and put up a sign saying "Opening Soon!!!" (their exclamation marks, not mine). Owner and executive chef Rick Delamain already told me he was aiming for a late August debut, so look for an imminent opening for this contemporary American brasserie serving "local, sustainable, and seasonal produced prepared with a hint of French passion and panache." 1529 Cypress Street, Walnut Creek.
Also, a little update on the possible Fentons Ice Creamery that has been proposed to take over the Lafayette Park Theater. The project hit a snag because of a lack of parking available on site, but according to Jay Lifson from the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, a specially appointed city task force has made some progress in the last couple weeks, working with neighboring businesses to potentially secure around 70 parking spots around the proposed site. The idea is for the city to designate the area a special historical site to get around the current parking requirements and the task force is supposed meet again in three weeks—but will it be quick enough for Fentons who are hoping to move on a new place soon? "That's the question; but we've really come a long way in a few weeks, I've been amazed," Lifson says.
It's the famed Chez Panisse's 40th anniversary and we've got a rundown on what's happening to celebrate: CLICK HERE.
Foodie events abound this week! Our excellent new intern Yael Levy put together a list of what's going on, including the Danville Art and Wine festival and a cool discussion on the urban winemaking phenomenon in Lafayette, both this Thursday, and a "beer versus wine dinner" at the Lafayette Park Hotel on Friday. CLICK HERE for the whole list.
Finally, look out for Trader Vic's Lahaina Luau this Friday, August 26 in the Emeryville Tiki restaurant. $35 gets you passed apps like Ahi Poke and pork belly kabobs, a soup and salad, plus your pick of some serious entrees, including Kalua roasted pig, Kona beef steak, and grilled Mahi Mahi. And don't forget about the pineapple & coconut upside-down cake and $5 mai tais. Cocktails and appetizers start at 6:30 p.m. Reservations required: call (510) 653-3400. 9 anchor Drive, Emeryville, (510) 653-3400, tradervicsemeryville.com.
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