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Diablo Dish: Prix Fixe Bites for Valentine's Day

La Boulangerie de San Francisco in Oakland is up and running; The Counter is finally open in Pleasanton; Pizza lovers rejoice in Berkeley; All-you-can-eat Korean barbecue in Concord; and more Dish.


Kristopher Shinn

Valentine’s Day Is Just a Heartbeat Away

And that means it’s time to start thinking about reservations for one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants. Here are some dining options for your night out.

Maria Maria: The $90 shared menu at Maria Maria locations in Danville and Walnut Creek allows each person in the pair to choose his or her own salad and entrée, but they will have to battle over the molten chocolate cake for dessert. (The quicker the fork, the more bites to savor.) Two glasses of sparkling wine are also included.

The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards: Wend your way into the hills and enjoy a four-course, prix fixe meal for $115 ($40 for the optional wine pairing). And if you arrive before darkness sets in, you can enjoy what just might be the most romantic restaurant setting.

The Peasant and the Pear: The Danville restaurant will offer a three-course, $65 prix fixe menu featuring five appetizer and main course options. There are only four choices for dessert, but you’ll just have to bear up and maybe settle for the crepes Suzette.

The Terrace Room: Along with the $65 four-course prix-fixe meal comes live music and a view of Oakland’s Lake Merritt—all in all, a combination that promises more than a hint of romance.

Kristopher Shinn

Rooftop: The downtown Walnut Creek spot is offering a shared Valentine prix fixe meal for $99 that includes an appetizer, main course and dessert, plus champagne specials—including a champagne flight for $24.

Doña Tomás: Looking for a special touch? Temescal’s Mexican restaurant is partnering with Crimson Horticultural Rarities for a unique option: a $35 or $50 flower arrangement at your table. The request has to be made in advance, but even without the flowers, there will be a special 3 course menu on Valentine’s Day for $60.

Rockridge Ice Cream and Gelato Tour: If you want to get straight to the sweet stuff, join Local Food Adventures on its hour-long walking tour exploring a variety of ice-cream desserts with a side of history. The tour starts at 7:30 p.m. and costs $20 per person.

Copper Spoon: To make sure all flows smoothly for Valentine’s Day daters, the Copper Spoon in Oakland’s Temescal District will offer a $89 five-course, prix fixe special during two separate seatings: the first begins at 6 p.m., and the second at 9 p.m. And make sure to check out the cocktail menu—they too will help the evening go smoothly.


La Boulangerie Opens in Oakland

Those who miss La Boulange in Lafayette can add three letters and drive to Rockridge, where San Francisco's bakery chain—La Boulangerie de San Francisco—just opened in the former Pasta Pomodoro space.

The menu includes egg dishes, sandwiches, tartines, and plenty of coffee and tea options, much like the old La Boulange on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. There is a sizable to-go section for those who just want to grab something and run. Otherwise, order at the counter and the food will be brought to your table. 

This is the eighth La Boulangerie, with the first seven all in San Francisco.


The Counter

Change In Pleasanton: The Counter, Bottle Taps, 85°C Bakery Open; Ascona Closes

The Counter and its custom patties—already popular in Walnut Creek—are now open for burger business at Stoneridge Shopping Center. Meanwhile, 85°C Bakery Cafe has been up and running for a couple of weeks in the Pacific Pearl shopping center. (85°C Bakery focuses on coffee and sweets but does offer some savory items as well.)

Bottle Taps opened on Bernal Avenue, offering a rotating selection of 30 beers on tap—plus more than 140 in bottles—along with wine, cider, mead, kombucha, and craft soda. There’s also a rotating selection of charcuterie, small plates, and tasty bites to keep the hunger pangs at bay.

As for Ascona Pizza Company, there are still locations in Danville and San Ramon, but the Pleasanton restaurant is sadly no longer with us.


George Maracineanu

Berkeley Gives Pizza Lovers a Reason to Love February

Get your Pizza Lovers card, and start sampling a variety of Berkeley restaurants and pizzerias during February—you might wind up winning gift certificates or a night out in downtown.

It’s a tough job, though, because the Pizza Lovers Crawl requires you to eat pizza on a regular basis and collect punches on your Pizza Lovers card—which then qualifies you for the end-of-the-month raffle.

Find out how to get your card and which pizza joints are participating by checking out the Downtown Berkeley Association website.


Gen Korean BBQ Opens in Concord

The all-you-can-eat concept is outfitted with grills at each table so diners can keep the food coming and watch it cook. There are Gen Korean BBQs in Fremont and Milpitas—among other places—so obviously the plan is working.

Sometimes the waits can be long, so reservations are probably a good idea.


Homegrown Proves to Be Unsustainable

It’s been less than a year since Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches moved into the spot vacated by the beloved La Boulange, but Beyond the Creek reports that time is already up for the Seattle-based chain’s Lafayette outpost.

Some found it a little pricey, but those who still want one of Homegrown’s meals can visit the Danville location on Railroad Avenue.


Happy Hour Bar & Bites at
The Cooperage

Monday through Friday
3pm – 5:30pm


This isn’t your typical happy hour. This quintessential neighborhood spot offers high-quality craft cocktails on tap and tasty bites. Menu features: $10 cocktails on tap, $5 select beer & wine, $1 oysters, $7 bacon cheeseburger sliders, $7 crispy beer battered shrimp sliders, $9 sashimi-grade ahi tuna tartare. 

32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette
​Reservations: www.thecooperagelafayette.com or 925.298.5915

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