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Weekly Dish: Eating All Around

Foodie events in SF; Izzy's update in Alamo; new deets on Mockingbird in Oakland; and more!



Looking for some special wine dinners or food events? We've got you covered: CLICK HERE for a round-up of foodie happenings around the Bay. Check 'em out! 

Some boozy news …

Yet another brewery is opening in the Tri-Valley. This one is called Eight Bridges Brewery. It’s a production brewery that’ll have a small tasting room attached, and it’s opening in Livermore at the end of the year. Owners are the Pleasanton father-and-son team George and Justin Beardsley. To start, they plan to carry a diverse range of beers available for restaurants and bars that will include everything from Kölsch and Pilsners, to IPA and imperial stouts. It’s been a longtime dream for the Beardsleys, and they’re hoping to launch their beers, in addition to the tasting room, at 332 Earhart Way, by December 1. 8bridgesbrewing.com.

Diving Dog Brewery, the DIY brewery concept from Rob Bailard, continues to progress—albeit at a slow pace. Perhaps not unexpected, given the unconventional nature of the business plan (customers would actually be able to create their own beers, picking it up weeks later when it’s done brewing), Baillard has experienced some bureaucratic delays from the City of Oakland. The good news is, construction is underway, and Diving Dog is now tenatively set to debut by mid November, according to Facebook posts. divingdogbrew.com.

And in Berkeley, more details were released about Sierra Nevada’s new taproom headed for chic Fourth Street. It’ll be called the Torpedo Room (named after the Chico brewery’s Hop Torpedo dry hopping device), and Sierra Nevada is targeting a November opening. Sounds like it’ll be very much a beer geek’s paradise. The intimate space between University Avenue and Addison Street will host educational tastings of “unique and limited” Sierra beers, plus the occasional “craft-centric event dedicated to beer science.” The Torpedo Room will feature 16 taps, with drought beer served in taster flights—guests can also fill up growlers to go and purchase six packs, cases, and specialty bottles. Food consists of light snacks, but there won’t be a full menu. sierranevada.com.


And if you’re sick of beer, you can take solace in knowing that Livermore craft, small-batch Sutherland Distilling Company is making quick progress. The company's beautiful still (pictured left) has been delivered, and it looks like they’re on pace to start producing their first spirits (vodka and rum) by the first weeks of November. Follow progress at facebook.com/SutherlandDistillingCompany.


Over in Concord, Habib Eljacifi, the dynamic owner-chef of Bravo Bistro and Fiore Restaurant, has opened a new pizza-centric spot called P-ZA Pie at Dana Plaza at 4115 Concord Boulevard. The eatery has been open since late August, but it’s celebrating its grand opening October 11-13 with beer and pizza specials all weekend. Menu includes specialty pizzas whole and by the slice (Gluten-free options available), plus panini, salads, crepes, and appetizers. CLICK HERE to check it out.


Speaking of Concord, some cool news for food truck fans (and who isn’t?) out thataways. San Francisco-based Off the Grid announced it will be starting a weekly gathering of mobile eats in Concord, their first in Contra Costa County. Starting this Saturday, the Willows Shopping Center will be hosting ten or so food trucks 11 a.m.-2 p.m. every Saturday. Trucks for this week’s kickoff include The Chairman, Sanguchon SF, Seoul on Wheels, and Lexi's Frozen Custard. CLICK HERE for more info.


Sad news in Peasanton, as longtime Italian restaurant Girasole is closing down after 20 years in business. CLICK HERE to read the nice story in Patch. Owner Skip Hinsley decided to close because of age and health reasons, and sold the business to an Indian restaurant.


I had a chance to chat with William Johnson, the owner of Mockingbird, which quietly opened in Uptown Oakland a couple weeks ago. Johnson is running the kitchen along with his girlfriend, Melissa Axelrod, and they both have a nice culinary background. Johnson (who transitioned later in life to cooking from the comic book industry) has cooked at respected San Francisco spots such as Zuni, Hayes Street Grill, RN74, Spruce, and Alembic, while Axelrod has run her own catering company, California Table. Mockingbird, which is named after the lullaby that Johnson sings to his daughter before bed, is “Northern California cuisine,” meaning simply that they’ll be sourcing as much locally as possible. That’s not just produce, but fish and meat that is caught and killed fresh and locally, too. Bread is from West Oakland’s Firebrand Bakery, and even the wine will be from all East Bay wineries. Prices are reasonable, mostly under $20, and Johnson said they would be working on instituting a special quick-serve prix fixe menu designed specifically for diners catching a show at the next-door New Parish Theater, or Piedmont Piano across the street. It’s dinner to start, but lunch, breakfast, and brunch are on the way, Johnson says. Go to mockingbirdoakland.com for more info.


Izzy’s, the new upscale Italian eatery replacing Forli in Alamo, looks close to launching. (CLICK HERE to read my previous story about Izzy’s.) There are slightly mixed messages as far as the exact opening date—the website says October 18 while their Facebook lists October 11—but either way, the debut sounds imminent. Go to izzysplacealamo.com for more info.


Artistic Table is coming to 56 South Livermore Avenue in Livermore. It’ll feature more than 75 cheeses, in addition to artisan food products, craft beers, and wines, plus daily cheese tastings. Look for a late fall opening.

Berkeleyside Nosh has the scoop on a couple of new places, including a new East Coast style pizzeria in Berkeley, and an organic Thai restaurant headed for Rockridge. 


FOOD EVENTS AROUND THE BAY

TASTE TALK: California Cuisine and How It's Evolved

Interesting panel discussion happening at the San Francisco Cooking School tonight. Topic: What does it really mean when we say “California Cuisine?” Panelists include Laurence Jossel from NOPA, Brett Cooper from Outerlands, and Evan Rich from Rich Table.
Where: San Francisco Cooking School, 690 Van Ness Avenue|
When: October 2, 8 p.m.
Cost: $20
CLICK HERE for more information.

Rick’s Supper Club at Bocanova

This monthly dinner from Bocanova owner Rick Hackett has a Mexican theme in October with a five-course menu that includes fried potato sopes, fish a la plancha, and roasted chicken with housemade chorizo, all paired with tequilas aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels from Expresiones del Corazon.
Where: Bocanova, Jack London Square
When: Thursday, October 3, 7 p.m.
Cost: $75
Go to bocanova.com/events.shtml for more information.

James Beard Foundation’s Taste America

Organized by the prestigious New York City–based foundation devoted to honoring the country’s culinary heritage, this swanky dinner in San Francisco was put together by all-start chefs such as Danny Bowien, Evan and Sarah Rich, and Daniel Patterson. Looks like just the after party has tickets left, but check into availability for the culinary demo by molecular gastronomy pioneer Wylie Dufrense at Sur la Table In Palo Alto.
Where: The St. Regis and Sur la Table Palo Alto
When: October 4–5
Cost: $65–$350
Go to jbftasteamerica.org for more info.

Rockridge Out & About

The annual festival in Oakland's always-pleasant Rockridge nieghborhood features a chef's stage, food court, and cookbook exchange. 
Where: Rockridge, Oakland
When: Sunday, October 6, noon to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free
Go to rockridgeoutandabout.com for more info.

Oaxacan Harvest Dinner with Copala Organics at Comal

Comal in downtown Berkeley is hosting a special dinner by executive chef Matt Gandin showcasing the organic, dry farmed produce from Oaxacan and other immigrant small farmers produced at Hollister coopCopala Organics. Gandin will take advantage of the Oaxacan specialties, such as papalo, chiles de agua, and Huicga squash, grown by Copala, and his dishes will be paired with wine.
Where: Comal’s private dining room, Berkeley
When: Tuesday, October 8, 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $90 includes food, wine, and gratuity
CLICK HERE for more info and tickets.

10th Anniversary Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting

For the tenth year, Wine & Spirits honors the wineries from around the world that delivered the top performances in the magazines tastings throughout the year. Along with sips from those wines, the San Francisco event brings in “new and notable” restaurants and purveyors to pair with them. Proceeds go to non profit San Francisco Baykeeper, which fights water pollution.
Where: San Francisco Metreon
When: October 15, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Cost: $150 general; $150 VIP
Go to wineandspiritsmagazine.com/top100 for more info and tickets.

Wine & Dine in San Ramon

25th annual event brings together top restaurants, wineries, and breweries to a night that includes live music and a silent auction in addition to food and drink.
Where: Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville
When: October 17, 5:30–8:30 p.m.
Cost: $35 in advance; $45 at the door
CLICK HERE for more info.

Taste of the Nation East Bay

Sample delicious bites and drinks from the East Bay’s best chefs, vintners, distillers and brewers at this event at the Claremont Hotel that benefits the No Kid Hungry, Share our Strength foundation.
Where: Claremont Hotel Club & Spa
When: October 20, 4–7 p.m.
Cost: $85; VIP $150
Go to ce.strength.org/events/taste-nation-east-bay for more info.

Piemonte Dinner at Pizza Antica

A series of pasta courses, including tajarin with Devil’s Gulch ranch rabbit and gnocchi alla Piemontese will be paired with Italian wines.
Where: Pizza Antica, Lafayette
When: October 22, 7 p.m.
Cost: $65
Call the restaurant at (925) 299-0500 to reserve a spot.