Diablo Dish: Chef Shake-Up at Chez Panisse
Picán closes; Brown Sugar Kitchen and Bocanova head to Uptown; Hopscotch celebrates five years; and a foodie fête at the Oakland Zoo.
Chef Change at Chez Panisse
After 22 years, chef Cal Peternell will leave Chez Panisse on July 5—a momentous change at Alice Waters’ iconic Berkeley restaurant.
Peternell started cooking at Chez Panisse in 1995, and five years later, took over the kitchen. He presided over the revolutionary restaurant as it rose into the culinary stratosphere and secured its global reputation as a leader in local, sustainable, and organic food.
Peternell plans to continue working in the food industry, but neither he nor Chez Panisse released any information about next steps. We’ll keep you posted!
Picán Closes Doors, but Others Will Open
After a seven-year run on Broadway Street in Oakland, Picán shuttered on Sunday and will remain closed—for now, at least.
As reported by The Mercury News, the Southern restaurant may reopen in a new yet nearby space that will house four eateries, including Brown Sugar Kitchen and Bocanova. Celebrity chef Tanya Holland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen will debut its second location at the repurposed space sometime in the fall, while the Latin-themed Bocanova will permanently relocate to Uptown Oakland from Jack London Square.
The high-profile restaurants will be taking over some of the space vacated by Picán and Ozumo, which closed last year. The two large spaces will be carved into four smaller footprints for eateries. Since there’s a chance a downsized Picán will join the fun as well, diners could gain even more scrumptious options by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.
Tokyo Meets Oakland at Shinmai
Chef Yingji Huang, best known for his Kakui Sushi in Oakland’s Montclair neighborhood, is opening his second restaurant in early July. Shinmai will be located right down the street from Hopscotch in Uptown, offering Tokyo’s most popular culinary offerings—izakaya and ramen—with an Oakland twist. Chef Jerrod Doss will draw from his Southwestern roots and fine-dining experience at The French Laundry to incorporate traditional and unique ingredients and techniques. And co-owner Andy Liu, a former sushi chef at Kakui who recently returned to the Bay after spending two years in Japan learning the art of ramen, will be the lead ramen chef.
Aside from authentic ramen, diners can expect such delicious offerings as fried potato salad, Berkshire ribs brushed with miso barbecue sauce, and a raw menu featuring a rotating selection of fresh seafood such as trout and Spanish blue fin tuna.
Barclay’s Berkeley Debut
After spending 25 years in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, Barclay’s Restaurant and Pub recently moved to Berkeley and will have its grand opening at its new location on Shattuck Avenue tomorrow.
Expect the same quality food and service as before—and of course, Barclay’s top-shelf craft beers.
Lungomare Helps Out Flooded Happy Boy Farms
Normally, lots of rain would be good news for farms, but Happy Boy Farms—which has long supplied organic produce for Lungomare—was an unfortunate exception. The record rainfall this year led to flooding at the farm, and almost half of its fields were underwater for weeks, causing catastrophic damage.
In response, the Jack London Square restaurant is offering a special menu tonight from 6 to 9:30 p.m. to benefit Happy Boy Farms. The $65 prix-fixe menu will feature radishes, beets, snap peas, and other produce from the Northern California farm.
Happy Birthday to Hopscotch
Everyone will get to join in on the fun when Hopscotch celebrates its fifth birthday tomorrow, as chef-owner Kyle Itani will offer a special $5 menu of Hopscotch favorites during lunch and dinner. Such menu items will include the First Base Burger, kakiage, and donuts with butterscotch cream—though the full lunch and dinner menu will also be available if you feel like in indulging in other comfort food classics.
The celebration will continue on Father’s Day, with a special Pig Roast Birthday Party. For $24, diners can enjoy smoky pork, cornbread, kimchi collard greens, and potato salad.
And if you really want to make it a celebration, order one (or more) of Hopscotch’s famous cocktails.
A Final Father’s Day Option
On Dad’s Day, Telefèric Barcelona in Walnut Creek will be offering its special El Chuleton Del Norte (grilled tomahawk steak with garlic, thyme, rosemary, and Spanish olive oil) for $89. When guests order the steak, they will receive two complimentary glasses of Tempranillo red wine to pair with it.
Sounds good to us!
Rêve Bistro Helps Young Musicians on Fête de la Musique
Next Wednesday, take advantage of a nice summer evening, and see a jazz show performed by talented local students while enjoying classic French cuisine. Lafayette’s Rêve Bistro is hosting a special performance by Half Past Seven, a jazz ensemble formed by Dublin High School students. The group will be playing on Fête de la Musique (aka Music Day) as they try to raise money to play at New York’s iconic Carnegie Hall next year. Catch Half Past Seven on the patio from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and order some wine if it strikes your fancy—10 percent of Rêve’s wine sales for the evening will go to the young musicians.
The concert melds especially well with the French holiday, as it is the one day of the year in France that street musicians can perform without a permit.
Take a Walk in the Wild at the Oakland Zoo
Oakland Zoo’s 25th annual Walk in the Wild event will very likely sell out (per usual), so those who want to attend the June 24 event—which features live music, scrumptious bites, and an impressive selection of regional beers and wines—should make their reservations as soon as possible.
More than 100 Bay Area restaurants, chefs, wineries, breweries, and bakeries are participating this year, so as guests will definitely not go hungry as they stroll through the zoo. Tickets for the evening event start at $150 per person, and all proceeds support the Oakland Zoo. (Please note that since alcohol is being served at the event, no one under age 21 will be admitted.)