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Diablo Dish: Chef Philippe Chevalier Is Back

Philz Coffee to open in Lafayette; Pleasant Hill gets a new burger joint; Itani Ramen hosts a dinner for Japanese whiskey lovers; Lake Chalet throws an Oktoberfest party; and more Dish.


Photo courtesy of Hilton Concord

Philippe Chevalier Takes Charge at the Hilton Concord

Acclaimed chef Philippe Chevalier developed a loyal following with his two highly rated, much-missed restaurants (La Salamander in Danville in the early aughts, and Chevalier in Lafayette from 2008–2015). Now, he is bringing his classic French training to Plate and Vine at the Hilton Concord (across from the Willows Shopping Center).

This is good news for fans of Chevalier as well as for fans of the excellent Hilton happy hour—which should get even better once Chevalier’s food is added to the menu.


San Ramon Is Just Step One for SAJJ Mediterranean

The SAJJ Mediterranean invasion will begin in the first quarter of the New Year, as the popular family of food trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants—which already has seven locations in San Francisco and the Peninsula—comes to the Shops at Bishop Ranch, with 15 more locales slated to open by the end of 2019.

So get ready for an array of fresh, healthy, and customizable Middle Eastern cuisine (the falafel is highly rated, by the way) in a fast-casual setting.


Philz Will Make Thanksgiving Happier in Lafayette

Starting right around Thanksgiving, which brings shorter days and more hectic schedules, ingesting large amounts of caffeine becomes even more critical to daily functioning—so the Philz Coffee opening is perfect timing.

According to Beyond the Creek, the new store will be in the Lafayette Mercantile, in the space where Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches had a brief run.


Photo by Dana Plucinski

Expect the Unexpected at Oakland’s Abstract Table

Chefs Andrew Greene and Duncan Kwitkor met in art school, so it’s not a surprise that their latest venture (they were previously at Rockridge’s now-shuttered Duchess restaurant) combines the conceptual, the unusual, and the delicious.

Abstract Table opens this Friday, October 5, at The Gastropig (on Franklin Street in Uptown Oakland) and will start out as a Friday and Saturday night dinner series, but it may expand to five nights a week in 2019. The multi-course tasting menu will combine Japanese influences with global flavors, and though boundaries will be pushed, the ambience will remain relaxed and playful.


Burgerim Makes Its East Bay Debut in Pleasant Hill

As one would expect, your basic burgers are the specialty at the rapidly expanding Burgerim. But the national restaurant chain's three-ounce patties can be made with nine other types of protein—ranging from merguez (spicy beef), to lamb, to salmon—and capped with an array of toppings. The menu also features fries, onion rings, salads, and three desserts. To check it out, head to the Crossroads Shopping Center in Pleasant Hill (near Dick’s Sporting Goods).


You Could Say "Free" is a Super-Duper Price

Giving away free breakfasts is a pretty darned good way to attract more customers, and that's just what Super Duper Burgers at The Veranda in Concord will be doing Monday through Friday of next week. The $7.75 breakfast combo includes an organic egg sandwich with sausage and cheese—plus hash browns or a house-made mini-donut, and a Mr. Espresso coffee. And if you drop in or drive through between 7 and 8 a.m. October 8 through 12, the breakfast-combo price drops to zero.

It's hard to beat that ...


Original Pattern Brewing Company

Original Pattern Mounts the Podium at the Great American Beer Festival

The Great American Beer Festival—or GABF, as people in the industry call it—is the largest commercial beer competition in the world, and Oakland’s Original Pattern Brewing Company walked away with a silver medal in the “Other Belgian-Style Ale” category.

Call of the Void was the successful entry, and there was plenty of competition, as 293 judges sampled 8,496 beers from 2,554 breweries.


It’s Never Too Early for Halloween—Especially if Food Is Involved

OK, maybe it’s a little ghoulish to combine a daylong celebration of the dead with a celebration of Oakland’s food scene, but if kids get candy for Halloween, why can’t adults get red velvet cupcakes and mai tais?

Starting at 4 p.m. this Friday, October 5, Local Food Adventures will offer a new 90-minute food tour: The Oakland Sweets Spirits and The Beyond Food Tour will stop at the Julia Morgan–designed Chapel of the Chimes columbarium and mausoleum and at the Mountain View Cemetery to commemorate the famous (and infamous) in Bay Area history.

One such famous local, Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron, is credited with inventing the mai tai, so the nearby Kona Club will offer an opportunity to toast to him (and other spirits).

The tour costs $30 per person and will be offered every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through October 28.


Photo courtesy of Itani Ramen

Itani Ramen Goes All in for Whiskey 

Or is it “whisky?" We’ll get to the spelling later, but Oakland’s Itani Ramen is less concerned with such mundane details and is more focused on a special three-course Japanese whiskey dinner this Saturday, October 6, that features whiskies from the House of Suntory along with dishes crafted by chef Kyle Itani.

The 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. seatings each cost $58, which includes the food and drink pairings—plus commentary from Suntory’s Shigeharu Tamaya.

Now, back to the spelling: The Gaelic name for “whiskey” or “whisky” is “uisge beatha,” which actually means “water of life.” Somehow, "uisge beatha" sounds like whiskey, which is how the Irish and Americans spell it. The rest of the world drops the “e,” but it’s not really worth arguing about. Just settle for “water of life,” and enjoy.


Rose Levy Beranbaum to Talk Baking in Rockridge

Award-winning author and baker Rose Levy Beranbaum—who’s written 11 cookbooks (including The Cake Bible)—will be at Rockridge Market Hall on Saturday, October 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. to sign her latest book, Rose’s Baking Basics, and to try to dispel the all-too-common fear of baking.

There will also be samples of whoopie pie and lemon bundt cake, which are further inducements to head to Oakland this weekend.


Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill

October Equals Oktoberfest at Oakland’s Lake Chalet

Yes, it’s time to celebrate the traditional—and always welcome—German beer festival, and Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill gives you the opportunity to do so this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The $25 ticket ensures admission to an Oktoberfest event that often sells out and includes a special full-liter stein. There will also be a costume contest, special menu items, and of course, a gorgeous view of Lake Merritt from the deck. Prost!

Got Dish? Send an email to dish@maildiablo.com. Or follow me on Twitter @DiabloDish.

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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