Diablo Dish: Homeroom Brushes Up
A mac and cheese makeover; Bamboo Sushi debuts in San Ramon; Viaggio replaces MidiCi Italian Kitchen (but keeps it Italian); Gingerbread workshop at Wente Vineyards; the Oakland restaurant wheel spins; and more Dish.
Homeroom Upgrades its Look, but the Mac and Cheese is Still Classic
Since 2011, Homeroom in Oakland (on 40th Street, a couple blocks north of Broadway) has been dishing up delicious varieties of that American staple, mac and cheese, but now the restaurant has a new look and more flexibility to keep up with its growing popularity.
Expect the same playful schoolhouse elements, but there are some more sophisticated touches, thanks to design studio Roy, which has made its mark in the Bay Area at such restaurants as the Riddler, Elda, and Wildseed.
Viaggio Will Step in for Concord’s MidiCi Italian Kitchen in January
Though the ownership and staff will remain the same, MidiCi Italian Kitchen, in the Willows Shopping Center, will change its name to Viaggio and update its menu in early 2020. (MidiCi, however, will remain open until the shift.)
Roberto Rose, who’s familiar to East County diners due to his involvement in the Byron Inn Cafe and Vin Alegro in Discovery Bay, recently came in fourth at the World Food Competition in Dallas and will take over the kitchen. He’s from a small town near Naples, so he’ll be adding an authentic feel to the pasta- and pizza-centric menu.
In other Willows news, the Dos Coyotes Border Café there has closed, though its other locations (including the one in San Ramon) will remain open.
Book Events Dig Deep into Wine and Kitchen Larders
It’s a safe bet that anyone who reads Diablo Dish enjoys a glass of wine now and then, and Ten Grapes to Know: The Ten and Done Wine Guide is a fun and approachable guide to the fermented grapes that have been humanity’s faithful companion for the past 10,000 years or so. Catherine Fallis, the author, will be at Rockridge Market Hall on College Avenue on Saturday, December 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. to talk about her book and wine, and that’s just part of the Market Hall Holiday Fair, which begins at noon and goes until 4 p.m.
On Sunday, December 8, John McReynolds of Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma describes how to use and cook from larders in Stone Edge Farm Larder Cookbook. He’ll be at Nathan and Co in Oakland (the one on College Avenue) from 2 to 4 p.m. to sign books and show off samples of the recipes.
The Wheel Turns on Oakland’s Dining Scene
Two longtime favorites, Flora in Uptown and Hog’s Apothecary in Temescal, have shut down recently, but replacements are on the way.
The owners of The Kon-Tiki in Oakland plan to open Palmetto, which will feature steaks and chops in a tropical atmosphere, with, of course, a bar featuring craft cocktails. In fact, Fauna, which was the bar next to Flora, will now be renamed The Kon-Tiki Room at Palmetto, with a new menu of drinks that will differentiate it from the original Kon-Tiki.
Hog’s Apothecary will soon become Magpie, which will focus on pizza, small plates, salad, and brunch but will take advantage of the taps already in place to serve local ciders and craft beers.
Though Palmetto may not be in operation until February, look for Magpie to open sometime this month.
Already open is Zella’s Soulful Kitchen (near the 12th Street BART station), which has relocated from the Mandela Grocery Cooperative in West Oakland. Expect the same biscuit sandwiches, fried chicken, and homemade soups.
Bamboo Sushi Adds Another Option to San Ramon’s City Center Bishop Ranch
As mentioned last week, Bamboo Sushi is now officially open in San Ramon, adding to a lengthy list of lunch and dinner options available on Bollinger Canyon Road. It’s also worth noting that Bamboo Sushi, a Northwest-based chain, is the world’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant and that the San Ramon location is the first to open in California.
Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana Toasts Tequila and Mezcal in Oakland
Upscale Mexican spot Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana (which recently announced it was closing after a 14-year run in Old Oakland) will throw in some antojitos from 3 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 8 in the last Mezcal and Tequila tasting of the year. The cost is $55 and also includes live music.