Diablo Dish: Livermore Ropes in Range Life
Walnut Creek gets a new deli; Hawking Bird lands in Oakland; DESCO bids adieu; Postino and Rooftop ring in the New Year with a bang; and more Dish.
Happy Holidays to Our Readers and Restaurateurs!
Sometimes it’s hard to step back from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and appreciate those around us, but what better time for us to thank our faithful readers? We want to express our appreciation for you as well as for those who work hard to make our local restaurant scene so vibrant and special. It’s not easy working in the food industry—whether it’s in the front of the house, in the kitchen, or in the back office trying to balance the books—and in the spirit of the season, we want to thank everyone who makes dining out in Diabloland something we all look forward to.
Range Life Will Make Livermore Even More Lively
Named after a song by Pavement (a Stockton indie band that was big in the ‘90s) and run by alums of San Francisco’s ultra-cool Outerlands and highly acclaimed Tartine Manufactory, Range Life will be the talk of the town when it opens in Livermore in mid-February.
Set to take over the former Charlotte’s Web space on Railroad Avenue, the restaurant will deliver rustic and seasonal cuisine as well as a market offering housewares, bar goods, and wines curated by sommelier/owner Sarah Niles. Co-owner Bill Niles, who was most recently the co-chef at Tartine, will helm the kitchen and serve up vegetable-forward dishes, roasted and grilled meats, and fresh-baked bread and other bakery items six day a week for lunch and dinner.
Bill and Sarah are opening Range Life alongside two of their longtime friends, Lauren Heanes and Waine Longwell. Longwell will man the bar, where diners can order craft cocktails featuring house-made products.
"We're hoping to be a neighborhood establishment and to serve the wine industry here by providing a place for visitors to come for a meal after wine-tasting in the valley," says Heanes.
We’ll keep you posted on a tentative opening date.
Main Street Deli Opens in Walnut Creek
Sliding into the spot vacated by Brass Bear Delicatessen on North Main, the new Main Street Deli features traditional sandwiches at reasonable prices—along with beer and wine.
Owner Brian Alikhani makes familiar favorites such as Reuben and tuna salad sammies, but also offers delicious creations of his own, including The Huntsman: a hefty sandwich stuffed with Black Forest ham, smoked cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Dijonnaise on a Dutch Crunch roll.
Hawking Bird Arrives, Bourbon and Beef Officially Departs
James Syhabout just can’t keep still. He runs Commis—his two Michelin–starred restaurant—on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, he opened CDP next door to Commis in October, and most recently, he introduced Hawking Bird to the Temescal district. But this latest eatery is nothing like his other two establishments.
Hawking Bird specializes in khao mun gai, a popular Thai street food featuring poached chicken, rice, mung bean sauce, cucumber, and cilantro. It’s a fast-casual, low-tech restaurant, but given Syhabout’s solid reputation, expect the food to be tasty regardless of the quality of the plates it’s served on.
In other news, Berkeleyside Nosh reports that Rockridge’s Bourbon and Beef has officially called it quits. The North Bay fires destroyed owner Abraham Masarweh’s home, so his focus is now on rebuilding there. Keep an eye out for a gourmet burger spot—with craft cocktails—to spring up in the empty College Avenue space early next year.
No More DESCO in Downtown Oakland
Donato Scotti, who recently opened Donato and Co. on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley, is permanently closing DESCO at the end of the year. Scotti pointed to issues with the landlord as the reason for the closure, but he plans to go out with a bang.
On Christmas Eve, DESCO will offer a $52 prix fixe meal featuring crab ravioli, risotto-stuffed cuttlefish, and house-made doughnuts with quince jam. And on New Year’s Eve, a $68 prix fixe will consist of Dungeness crab salad, prosciutto-wrapped rabbit, porcini-and-cheese tortellini, and chocolate ganache tart.
Find a Christmas Eve Feast of Seven Fishes at Lungomare
It’s an Italian-American tradition to celebrate Christmas Eve with a Feast of Seven Fishes (since Catholics are supposed to abstain from meat on December 24), and Oakland’s Lungomare is honoring that custom with its own version (though non-seafood items will also be available).
The $60 prix fixe dinner (wine pairings cost an additional $20) will be chock full of seafood offerings (though dessert, luckily, is fish-free), including oysters, eel, and octopus. Those who want something more in line with their own traditions can opt for ham, pasta, or even—ho, ho, ho—pizza.
Ring in the New Year at Rooftop
Walnut Creek’s Rooftop Restaurant and Bar will welcome the New Year with a special dinner and a fun party, and celebrants can choose to partake in one or both.
There will be dinner seatings at 6 and 8 p.m., featuring seafood appetizers, salmon, chicken or short ribs, and dessert—all for $120—followed by an after-party at 10 p.m. DJ Ducci will run the show, and there will of course be a New Year’s toast, a champagne toast, and a balloon drop to welcome 2018.
Diners can add the after-party for $30 (for a total of $150). For those who just want to join in on the late-night fun (which goes until 1 a.m.), the cost is $50.
Postino Plans Its New Year’s Eve Prix Fixe
On New Year’s Eve, Postino in Lafayette will offer a $100 prix fixe, four-course meal featuring a wide array of delicacies, including braised short ribs, seared scallops, crab tagliatelle, osso bucco, and filet mignon.
The restaurant will be open from 5 to 10:30 p.m. on December 31, so there will be plenty of time for you to dine before moving on to celebrate the arrival of 2018.