Diablo Dish: Pass the Pizza Pie
New Thai spot will move into old Sunol Ridge space in Walnut Creek; Abstract Table showcases a new edible art exhibit in Oakland; the East Bay gets a few nods at the Saucy Awards; celebrate winter with a hazy brew at Drake’s Brewing Company; and more Dish.
If You Go Through the Tunnel for Pizza …
We confess: We’re not sure how many people do, but just in case, there are two new spots of interest.
The closest is Pizza Marica, near Khana Peena in Rockridge, which specializes in thin-crust pizzas but also has pastas, starters, and desserts. Further out is Berkeley’s Creekwood, and though the menu includes options aside from pizza, the pizza oven has pride of place.
Plus, don’t forget about the newish Benchmark in Old Oakland that serves up wood-fired pizzas made from wild yeast starter.
A Prime Walnut Creek Spot Finally Lands a Tenant
It’s been more than a year since Sunol Ridge closed in downtown Walnut Creek, and the busy corner of Locust and Cypress has been vacant ever since. But Beyond the Creek reports that Torsap Thai Kitchen will soon take over.
We’ve often wondered what took so long to fill the space, but sometimes the wheels just turn more slowly than expected.
Oakland’s Abstract Table Unveils Unusual Second Plating
Abstract Table is the fine-dining brainchild of conceptual artists/chefs Andrew Greene and Duncan Kwitkor, who use carefully crafted food as the basis for an edible “exhibition.”
The duo’s second show is Blizzards, which will bring Scandinavian and Japanese food together in surprising new ways, (Each course features a snow or ice element.) The five-course meal costs $50 and the seven-course dinner is $70, with wine from a Norwegian vintner based in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Sake and craft beer are extra.
Note that Abstract Table is a pop-up restaurant housed inside The Gastropig in Oakland and is offered only on Friday and Saturday nights, with seatings at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
The East Bay Gets Some Saucy Love
Even though there’s a bridge and a lot of traffic between the home of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and the East Bay, this year’s third annual Saucy Awards showed the area’s restaurants some love. One local chef earned a significant honor—and unsurprisingly, it was Nite Yun, who was named Rising Star Chef of the Year for her lauded Nyum Bai in Oakland’s Fruitvale Public Market.
4505 Burgers and BBQ, which is located in San Francisco (and soon in Oakland's Laurel district), won the Community Spirit Award, and Adriano Paganini—whose restaurant empire includes Super Duper Burgers and The Bird—was named Restaurateur of the Year.
Things Get Hazy at Drake's in San Leandro
No, thankfully, we're not talking about smoke, but rather about hazy (unfiltered) IPAs—and San Leandro's Drake's Brewing Company will host its annual Hazy Daze of Winter celebration Saturday, December 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. More than 20 breweries will pour some haze, including Fieldwork Brewing Company, Modern Times, and Temescal Brewing.
In addition, a portion of the event’s proceeds will go to the North Valley Community Foundation to aid Camp Fire relief efforts.
Comal Conflates Oaxaca and Hannukah, Family-Style
The fourth annual Oaxanukkah celebration at Berkeley’s ever-popular Comal is set for next Monday, December 3, and Tuesday, December 4, at 6:30 p.m. The special family-style meal—which combines Jewish and Mexican culinary traditions (think potato-jalapeño latkes)—will be held in Abajo, Comal’s private dining room. Meals are priced at $75.
Three Tips From Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
In her recent Netflix show, Samin Nosrat offered three very helpful hints for home cooks. Here are our favorites to help with any future holiday meal prep:
1) The oven is always hottest at the back, so place food accordingly.
2) Salt is absorbed deep into meat, unlike other spices, but it takes time—so salting meat several hours before cooking will enhance the flavor significantly.
3) Let meat come to room temperature before cooking, otherwise the outside will cook much faster than the inside.
Now, you don’t have to watch the whole series—though “Fat” (aka all about Italy) and “Heat” (which features Berkeley) are the two best episodes. Start with them, and if they work for you, you’ll enjoy the others too.