Diablo Dish: Corners Tavern Closes in Walnut Creek
Another restaurant shutters downtown; celebrate Mac and Cheese Day at Homeroom; Bastille Day at Reve Bistro; Ba-Bite gets new life on Piedmont Ave; Boot and Shoe Service rebrands; and more Dish.
Corners Closing Downtown
Say what? Another dining bombshell dropped in downtown Walnut Creek as perennial favorite (especially on sunny days with those garage doors opened) Corners Tavern will close after its last day of service on July 10.
This comes on the heels of other big-name closures such as Stanford’s and Tender Greens, which were just announced just last week, and Lark Creek Walnut Creek and Le Cheval. Undoubtedly, the usual factors like high cost of labor, escalating rents, and increased competition took their toll, while Corners (and Stanford’s) had the additional hurdle of the ongoing construction at Broadway Plaza.
Burma Unique has already taken over in place of Le Cheval, while a new location of Oakland’s Bierhaus is planned for Lark Creek. Replacements have yet to be revealed for Stanford’s, Tender Greens, or Corners—although given the latter’s gorgeous design, we’d imagine it’s only a matter of time. Fingers crossed!
Reve Bistro Beats the Drum for Bastille Day
Actually, no drums will harmed in the Friday and Saturday celebrations at Lafayette’s Reve Bistro, but after a focus on French wines Friday, July 12, Saturday, July 13 will feature two different musicians with a French twist.
Though the main reasons to go to Reve are the quality French food and bistro-like atmosphere, Guillaume Fornerod from Planet Wine will be the guest sommelier Friday night, while Olivier Zyngier (guitarist) and DJ Turker will supply the music on Saturday.
If you have any fireworks left over (unlikely given the number of explosions we heard last week), don’t forget to shoot them off Sunday, July 14, which is Bastille Day.
Oakland’s Homeroom Celebrates Mac and Cheese With Recipe Contest
For a slightly more American holiday, July 14 also happens to be National Mac and Cheese Day. Oakland’s Homeroom, which specializes in the comfort food staple, has already begun its own celebration with an expanded menu. But it will really dig deep on Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14, with live music, games, macaroni art, a prize wheel, and even temporary mac and cheese tattoos.
It all culminates on Sunday at 2 p.m. at 40th and Shafter with a mac and cheese recipe contest—a contest I am honored and excited to be judging. (If you happen to be there, please say hello…) The contest winner not only gets a spot on the Homeroom menu, but he or she will also receive a $250 gift card.
Oakland’s Oliveto Goes Oceanic
The Rockridge standby is doing something special through Sunday, July 14, as it’s Oliveto’s 18th year of Oceanic Dinners. Perceptive readers may have already concluded that there might be a connection between the word “ocean” and seafood on the menu, and they would be correct.
Of course, fresh catch will be used for a variety of items, including starters like scallop in its shell with plums and a plethora of piscine pastas.
Commis, the Only East Bay Spot With Michelin Stars, Turns 10
Ten years in restaurant years is something like 50 years in real time, especially in the heated Bay Area culinary scene. Not only has Commis survived on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue, it has thrived and continues to hold on to its coveted two Michelin stars year after year.
To honor the milestone, chef-owner James Syhabout will be collaborating through August 15 on special eight-course meals with acclaimed guest chefs from across the country, including Mourad Lahlou (chef and owner of Mourad and Amara in San Francisco) and Syhabout’s former boss David Kinch of Los Gatos’ famed Manresa. It’s not cheap—$210 with an optional $120 wine pairing—but if you take dining out seriously and you’ve never been to Commis, there’s no better time to go than now.
Another Ba-Bite of the Apple
There’s more positive news surrounding Piedmont, as well-loved Israeli eatery Ba-Bite—renowned for its velvety hummus—gets new life after shuttering suddenly last year due to a landlord dispute. Its new incarnation, Pomella, will join Doña (the casual iteration of Temescal favorite Doña Tomas) in the former Chow space across the street at 3770 Piedmont Ave. Chef-owner Mica Talmor is bringing back all the Ba-Bite menu favorites, in addition to seasonal Jewish holiday foods like brisket and gefilte fish. She hopes to launch first as a market with prepackaged foods in September and then as a fast-casual restaurant by November.
The Other Shoe Drops
It was only a matter of time before a rebrand of Boot and Shoe Service happened once new ownership took over last summer for Charlie Hallowell—the formerly high-flying Oakland restauranteur accused of sexual harassment by multiple ex-employees. Now on the heels of unveiling all-day café and weekend brunch service, co-owners Jennifer Cremer and Richard Clark announced that next month they’re renaming the Grand Avenue hotspot, Sister.
Not coincidentally, they say, the new name “evokes the feeling of family, familiarity, and a strong female connection.” They also emphasize their continued commitment to a zero-tolerance policy with regards to sexual harassment. Food-related changes include a new fermentation and bread-making program, plus several new dishes from executive chef Martin Salata, such as lamb ribs with herbs and XO sauce, little gems with sorrel and sunflower seed furikake, and square “Grandma” pizza slices (weekends only).
Sometimes, Life is Sweet—With an International Flavor
Tired of ice cream and cupcakes? Well, there’s a whole world of desserts out there, and here are three options that add sugar to the unfamiliar, starting with matcha.
Matcha, a kind of green tea that includes the tea leaves themselves, is spreading like kudzu in the Bay Area, and the latest incarnation focuses on matcha desserts. International chain Amausaan Uji Matcha—in Berkeley on Shattuck between McDonald’s and Triple Rock Brewery—has more than 70 desserts available, which should make it a repeat stop for matcha lovers all over the East Bay.
Speaking of international chains, Meet Fresh can now be found in Oakland on 8th Street between Webster and Franklin, which means custom shaved ice, tofu pudding, and other Taiwanese favorites are close at hand.
Even closer at hand is Fudo on North Main across from Kara’s Cupcakes and CREAM, which is rapidly transforming into Walnut Creek’s version of sweet tooth heaven. And this too is international, with a definite Japanese twist and, of course, even some matcha.
Mezcal to Highlight Comal’s Latest Abajo Dinner
Continuing its series of collaborations with beer, wine, and spirits producers, on Tuesday, July 16th an Abajo Dinner at Berkeley’s Comal will feature Susan Coss, an expert on not only the taste of mezcal, but on its impact on the Mexican communities where it is made.
The co-founder of Mezcalistas will discuss the positive and negative ways the mezcal boom is affecting small towns while pouring a sampling of boutique spirits accompanied by Comal’s excellent food. The cost is $75, and it all begins at 6:30 p.m.