Diablo Dish: Lokanta’s Walnut Creek Location Opening in March
Another boba tea shop arriving soon; Shiba Ramen heads to downtown Oakland; three East Bay standouts snag James Beard Foundation Award nominations; a beer fest in Livermore; and a Mardi Gras celebration at the Walnut Creek Yacht Club.
Yes, Lokanta is Coming Soon
As issues with PG&E are being resolved, plans are moving ahead for Lokanta Mediterranean Grill and Bar to open its Walnut Creek iteration in early March.
Pleasanton residents are already familiar with Lokanta’s scrumptious Mediterranean fare, and Central Contra Costa County folks (like us) are looking forward to joining in on the foodie fun.
Stay tuned for an official opening date!
You Say “Boba,” I Say “Bubble”—But It’s Still Taiwanese Tea
And it’s really popular. iTea will be the newest boba/bubble tea shop to come to Walnut Creek (and the 15th iTea location in the Bay Area) when it opens next to Jamba Juice in the Broadway Pointe plaza later this year. It will join the likes of Mr. Green Bubble and Chalogy Tea Bar on Locust Street; Forever Yogurt Bee and Tea on North Main Street; and Ice Monster on Oak Grove Road.
All serve variants of the sweet Taiwanese tea–based treat made with milk or fruit and spiced with chewy tapioca balls. Regardless of whether you call it “boba” or “bubble” tea, the product is the same, and it’s come a long way since it was first sold in Taiwan in the 1980s.
The Culinary Chemistry of Shiba Ramen Comes to Oakland
Jake Freed and Hiroko Nakamura were chemists by trade, but in December 2015, the husband-and-wife team opened Shiba Ramen in the Emeryville Public Market—and their successful blend of moderate prices and quality Japanese food allowed them open a new 40-seat, fast-casual restaurant in downtown Oakland earlier this week.
The new Shiba Ramen across from Oakland City Hall will be the flagship restaurant, making it ground zero for more delicious Freed and Nakamura experiments at reasonable prices.
James Beard Foundation Honors Three in the East Bay
Christian Geideman of Berkeley’s Ippuku and Preeti Mistry of Oakland’s Juhu Beach Club are both semifinalists in the Best Chef of the West category, which covers California, Hawaii, and Nevada. Meanwhile, Lance Winters of Alameda’s St. George Spirits was named a semifinalist in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional category. (There are 21 different categories, by the way.)
Ippuku (authentic Japanese dishes) and Juhu (innovative Indian-fusion fare) are familiar to many diners, and St. George is renowned for its array of fine spirits, including various whiskies, gins, vodkas, brandies, and liqueurs.
There were 24,000 entries, so getting to the semifinals is clearly an achievement in itself. The finalists will be announced on March 15, with the winners getting their due on May 1.
Livermore Offers More Than Wine
A quartet of Livermore microbreweries will offer a pub’s worth of foamy flights at the fourth annual Beer Tasting and Sudsy Supper event on Sunday. The fun starts at 5:30 at Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Livermore.
Returning this year are Altamont Beer Works, Working Man Brewing Company, and Eight Bridges Brewing. Pouring for the first time at this event is the intriguingly named Shadow Puppet Brewing Company, which opened in October (though its official grand opening is on Saturday).
But there will be more than just beer—hard cider from Oakland's Crooked City Cider will be available for pairing with another Sudsy Supper innovation: French crepes, which are a respectful nod to the traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake supper before Lent.
Tickets for adults cost $35 in advance ($40 at the door) and include a five-beer sampling, a tasting glass, and a dinner platter of your choice. Tickets for youth (under age 21) cost $15 and cover supper, beverages, and dessert. Guests of all ages will be able to enjoy the big-band music of the Mellotones Jazz Combo and the songs of the Queen of Hearts Combo.
Mardi Gras Isn’t Just for New Orleans
February 28 is Shrove Tuesday, the day before many people begin observing Lent, which traditionally means making sacrifices for the 40 days prior to Easter—and those sacrifices often involve giving up favorite foods like chocolate or bacon.
But even if you’re not planning on renouncing fine food, the Walnut Creek Yacht Club is ready to help you celebrate what’s also known as Fat Tuesday. The seafood restaurant will offer a three-course, $30 prix-fixe menu that features iceberg salad with pecans and roasted red peppers, gumbo ya ya, and banana bread pudding. There will even be some special innovative cocktails, including the Dirty Cajun Martini and Nawlins Sunset Punch, to help you get your Mardi Gras on.