Diablo Dish: Jack London Food Hall Details Announced
Ambitious Oakland Assembly lures high-profile chefs; Doña Tomás says goodbye in Temescal; voodoo tiki pops up in Port Costa; Telefèric paella tutorial; and more Dish.
Under Construction: Oakland Assembly
It’s been 15 years of false starts and failed expectations since plans were announced in Jack London Square for a large, multi-level food hall—billed at the time as Oakland’s answer to San Francisco’s Ferry Building. The long-promised foodie oasis at 55 Water Street appears set to finally become a reality, as developer John McEnery IV revealed an aggressive timetable for launching the first phase of a 40,000-square-food food, beverage, and entertainment venue called Oakland Assembly by summer 2020. What’s more promising is that McEnery has several exciting, mostly East Bay–based food and drink purveyors signed on to the project.
Among the dozen or so chefs on board to occupy food kiosks in the market: acclaimed pit master Matt Horn of Horn Barbecue (an all-chicken concept called KowBird); Reem Assil of Reem’s California (focusing on stuffed falafel and al pastor-style chicken shawarma); and Juhu Beach Club’s Preeti Mistry, (two concepts, one centered on Indian sweets and snacks and another on Indo-Chinese fare). In addition, Oakland Assembly will boast the first brick-and-mortar location of popular pop-up Okkon, renowned for its Japanese okonomiyaki; an on-site working winery with wine bar and mixing lab; the first East Bay outpost of Mensho Tokyo; and two concepts—one centered around crafts burgers, the other on charcuterie, cheese, and panini—by Santa Cruz chef Anthony Kresge.
McEnery is the mastermind behind downtown San Jose’s successful San Pedro Square Market and is approaching Oakland with a similar philosophy of creating an entertainment venue accented by food and drink offerings. Along those lines, a large U-shaped bar with an attached stage for bands will serve as the heart of the market, which will host live entertainment—yoga, music, and movies—daily both inside and outside on the waterfront green. Now just imagine if the Oakland A’s can actually get their new waterfront stadium approved down there …
And More From Jack London…
As if Oakland Assembly weren’t enough, additional morsels of food news emerged from this burgeoning waterfront dining destination over at Lungomare. Slanted Door alum Phillip Le takes over as general manager and Phillip Taddei as executive chef. Taddei, who boasts kitchen experience from San Francisco’s Tony's Pizza Napoletana and Jardinière, plans to shift the restaurant’s focus to coastal Italian cuisine “with an emphasis on seafood and a warm, family-sharing atmosphere.” Expect a new look and new menu to be unveiled for Oakland Restaurant Week in January.
Meanwhile at Daniel Patterson’s Dyafa, located in the corner space of the future Oakland Assembly home, Palestinian-American chef Mona Leena Michael signed on as lead consulting chef (following the publicized departure of the opening culinary visionary, Reem Assil). She plans a more refined, seasonally-driven menu that extends beyond traditional Palestinian fare.
Temescal Pioneer Doña Tomás Says Goodbye Sunday, November 24
After 20 years, Dona Savitsky is closing down her landmark Oakland restaurant, but as one would expect, she’s going out with a bang.
The Sunday party—which begins at 6 p.m.—will include mariachi music, complimentary food, a huge piñata, games, and full bar service. (Note, however, that the dinner menu will not be available.)
And not to worry—Savitsky’s Tacubaya is a staple of Berkeley’s Fourth Street, and Doña will open soon on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.
Bull Valley Roadhouse Goes Polynesian-Noir—Say What?
The critical raves for the Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa are impressive enough, given the remote location and traditional menu, but on Wednesday, November 20, the old-style restaurant is breaking new ground.
Last Rites, a boundary-pushing San Francisco bar that takes tiki to a new level by giving its voodoo roots full rein, will pop up in Port Costa from 6:30 to 9 p.m. with a menu of specialty cocktails that will pair neatly with Bull Valley Roadhouse bites. We’re not sure exactly how this will play out, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to be an interesting evening.
Homemade Cafe Celebrates 40th Birthday This Weekend
Like dog years, restaurant years are counted differently, so a 40-year-old restaurant is pretty much equivalent to Methuselah—and the storied breakfast spot on Sacramento Street in Berkeley is still going strong.
So to celebrate—and celebration is deserved—Homemade Cafe will be offering sides of bacon for $1 and coffee for 40 cents (the prices in 1979), and carafes of mimosas will go for just $10. And of course, the eggs, pancakes, coffee cakes, and other longtime staples will be available as well.
Telefèric Barcelona Puts Paella in Reach
Downtown Walnut Creek hotspot Telefèric Barcelona will host a 6 p.m. class on Tuesday, November 26 that will teach home cooks how to bring Catalan cooking to their own dining room table. Chef Oscar Cabezas begins the session with a lesson in sangria making—which of course includes tasting the result—and then moves on to the mysteries of paella. The cost is $75, for the meal and the mastery.
Oakland’s Homestead Satisfies Crab Cravings Next Week
For the sixth straight year, Homestead on Piedmont will feature crab during Thanksgiving week rather than turkey, so those looking for a change of pace Tuesday and Wednesday (from 5 to 10 p.m.) know where to go.
The Dungeness Crab Dinners are $68 per person (gratuity included), but if that’s not enough of the scrumptious crustacean, extra crabs are $18 apiece.
Fat Slice Pizza Ends its 34-year Run on Telegraph
So who hasn’t had at least one Fat Slice Pizza piece of pizza over the years? Maybe newcomers who never spent much time on Telegraph, but those who did sooner or later had to give in and suck down one of those huge, delicious and yes, greasy slices.
But those days are now gone, as Fat Slice has joined a long list of familiar restaurants that have given up the ghost in recent year—and though it hardly ranked high in the gourmet category, it certainly filled a lot of student stomachs.
Thanksgiving’s a Week Away, so There’s No Need to Panic
The prime-time reservations may be already booked, but don’t give up hope—there’s still time to make the first big holiday of the season go smoothly.
Market Hall: A traditional Thanksgiving take-out meal is a Market Hall tradition, and there are plenty of options. Turkey and all the trimmings for eight to 10 people? $285. For four to six, the cost is $145. And if you want everything but the turkey, it’s $205 for the bigger group and $103 for the more intimate one. Orders must be placed by noon Saturday, November 23 and will be available for pickup Monday through Wednesday at both the Rockridge (Oakland) and 4th Street (Berkeley) locations.
PLaYT: Unlike many take-out Thanksgiving meals, Hayward’s PLaYT offers plenty of choices so hosts can craft their menus so everyone’s happy—even those (like me) who don’t really like turkey. Orders must be in by Tuesday, November 26, and pickup is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Sabio on Main: One of Pleasanton’s best will offer a $69, four-course prix fixe Thanksgiving meal ($29 for children) from 1 to 7 p.m. with an optional $30 wine pairing.