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Weekly Dish: Meatopia at Eat Real

Meat-tastic event Friday night kicks off Eat Real Feast this weekend; tomatoes are wild at Lark Creek and Oliveto; SF Cocktail Week spills into the East Bay; Korean BBQ in Pleasant Hill; upscale Mexican in Jack London Square; and more in this week's Dish!



OK foodies, it's Eat Real Fest time this weekend, Jack London Square's food festival that celebrates street food—and a whole lot more. Started just a few years ago with the idea to feature the burgeoning mobile food scene, Eat Real has become a massively successful annual event (bringing in hundreds of thousands to the Oakland waterfront) that has evolved to include a pretty broad spectrum of food-related subjects—so let's let the organizers define exactly what it's become... "The Eat Real Festival celebrates all things tasty, fresh, and handmade with a focus on street food, local wines, handcrafted beers, and traditional food craft—all featuring sustainable, local ingredients. And no dish costs more than $5." Sounds good to me.

Kicking off this weekend's festivities is Meatopia. Founded in New York City by James Beard Award-winning food writer Josh Ozersky, the Friday night event boasts some of the country's most noted BBQ masters, butchery professionals, and just plain chefs in the country including star local chefs Kim Alter and Rick Hackett from nearby Haven and Bocanova restaurants. Tickets are $50 and get you—you guessed it—all the meat you can eat, plus two drinks. CLICK HERE for details and tix.

Plenty of other happenings over the weekend, including a Milk Fed Brunch on Sunday morning courtesy of Oakland restaurateur Daniel Patterson with whole animals donated by locally-based sustainable meat company Belcampo  (CLICK HERE for the menu); the Jam Bar, a mixology demo and tasting featuring cocktails made with jams from Oakland's Blue Chair Fruit; a Kraut-a-thon in which (I kid you not) audience members can help transform 300 pounds of cabbage into sauerkraut; in addition to all the other great demos, music, venders, and, of course, food trucks. Fun event and entry is absolutely free! Go to eatrealfest.com for all the details...


Speaking of which, more details were released about Nido, the foodie-Mexican restaurant set for a fall opening on the edge of Jack London Square. As was first reported here, Silvia and Cory McCollow are planning a farm-to-table Mexican concept with executive chef Sylvia (who has cooked at Cosecha, Chez Panisse, and B Restaurant) featuring recipes inspired by the coastal region of Nayarit, Mexico where her family is from. Also part of the project will be Jaynelle St. Jean, of Pietisserie fame, who will be manning a pie stand. It sounds like a very cool, ambitious project: they're currently raising money on Kickstarter, so CLICK HERE to chip in a few dollars if you're into it...


Borgo Italia, AG-Ferrari-owner Paul Ferrari's new Italian restaurant debuted yesterday in Old Oakland. CLICK HERE for a full description, but the new spot will be open all day featuring Italian pastries in the morning and wood-fried Neapolitan-style pizzas and housemade pastas among other authentic Italian dishes, for lunch and dinner. 499 9th St., Oakland, (510) 251-1008, borgoitaliaoakland.com.


Tomatoes are wild this week. The Lark Creek group are celebrating their annual Heirloom Tomato Festival all this month with special menu items highlighting the mighty tomato at all their restaurants. That includes a grilled NY steak with chopped heirloom tomato and bread salad, and Shafts blue cheese butter from Chef Scott Wall at Lark Creek Walnut Creek and an heirloom tomato “BLT” with applewood smoked bacon, butter lettuce, mayonnaise, and whole wheat toast, served with kettle chips, from Chef Michael Dunn at Yankee Pier Lafayette.

Also, this week Oliveto is hosting it's annual tomato dinners this week through Friday. Executive chef Jonah Rhodehamel and his team pick out a wide variety of different kinds of tomatoes and craft dishes that highlight each tomatoes particular characteristics. I had a chance to dine there on Tuesday evening and had a fantastic meal. Highlights included a refreshing (and gorgeous) bi-colored tomato gazpacho using Aunt Ruby’s German Green and German Red tomatoes; hearty fried green tomatoes with a creamy lobster remoulade (with pieces of lobster); and pristine ravioli di tre formaggi spiked wonderful with smoked mozzarella and served simply with a delicate with Early Girl tomato sauce. Highly recommended: CLICK HERE for more details... 5655 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 547-5356, oliveto.com


Photo by Marc Fiorito of Gamma NineIt's SF Cocktail week this week and if you can't make it across the Bay, there are a couple of very cool-sounding East Bay events to check out. First up is the radly-named Totally Awesome East Bay to the Max, an '80s-themed event at The New Parish in which mixologists will offer artisan takes on dated cocktails like the Fuzzy Navel and Slippery Nipple. Costumes encouraged, CLICK HERE for details and tix. Then on Sunday, the Grand Finale will be hosted at the, again, totally rad outdoor yard of Alameda's St. George's Spirits. Some sort of cops and robbers theme going on at that one: CLICK HERE for deets...


A little bird told me that Chop Chop Korean BBQ is debuting today in Pleasant Hill at 1428 Contra Costa Blvd, the former home of Playa Azul. There are going to be grills at the tables to cook your own meat. No full bar, but there will be beer, wine, and soju cocktails...


Through this fall, Wente Vineyards is offering a nice happy hour on Thursday Nights called Thursday Nights at The Grill. Overlooking the 18th hole (and vineyards) on Wente golf course, the Grill will be offering specials such as grilled shishito peppers with lemon aioli and wood fired marin oysters with salsa verde from 4 to 7 p.m. every Thursday night. wentevineyards.com/golf/the_grill


Pleasanton cooking school Pans on Fire is celebrating their grand reopening at their new Hopyard Road location on Thursday. Aspiring chefs, CLICK HERE for a list of classes offered... 3059 Hopyard Rd., Pleasanton, (925) 600-7267, pansonfire.com


Holy Names University in the Oakland hills has a few interesting foodie events coming up this fall, starting with a talk this Thursday 4:30–7 p.m., by Mary Clark Bartlett, founder & CEO of the Epicurean Group. It'll be in the Valley Center for the Performing Arts, Studio Theatre, and it's free: CLICK HERE for details and other upcoming events.


The Hilton Concord is dipping its toes into the local/sustainable foodie waters with its new Plate & Vine restaurant, "a uniquely California-style restaurant dedicated to using locally-sourced foods in everything we make." Looks like they're not messing around either, as a quick glance at their menu showed they were actually naming the source (farm, ranch, city) of quite a few of their ingredients. 1970 Diamond Blvd., Concord, (925) 680-1700, plateandvinerestaurant.com.


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Milk Fed Brunch
Sunday, September 23, 11:00am – 2:00 pm
Menu courtesy of Chef Daniel Patterson (Coi, Il Cane Rosso),  whole animals donated by Belcampo Meat Co.

WARM SUCKLING PIG CONFIT SALAD - $5
with fresh pole and shell beans, charred okra, padron peppers, red wine vinaigrette

MILK POACHED VEAL - $5
with young carrots and greens, baia whole wheat paccheri, wild sage, broth of grilled bones

LAMB GRILLED OVER CHARCOAL - $5
with grains, aromatic herbs, hot sauce