Weekly Dish: Eat Real Returns
Eat Real Festival starts Friday; Niners and chefs combine for Blackhawk tailgate party; neo-Indian gastropub in Walnut Creek; new details for O Chame replacement; mixology coming to Berkeley; Mockingbird in Uptown; and more!
Doing what I do for a living, I’ve come to mark the passing of the seasons by food-related events and festivals. And so, it’s with just a touch of melancholy that I note the Eat Real Festival comes back to Oakland this weekend, marking the unofficial start of autumn and end of summer …
But really, there’s nothing to be sad about. This is a pretty sweet event if you’ve never been, chockablock full of the best local food trucks, vendors, and chefs. Just check out this list of food offerings: everything from Vietnamese street food and modern Filipino, to farm-to-table Mexican and Neopolitan pizza, to curry… well, you get the idea. There’s a big, old market packed with area artisan food makers. There’s a beer and wine shed—heck, even a jam bar. Plus, tons of food craft demos and talks, including chats with interesting Oakland chefs such as Charlie Hallowell from Pizzaiolo and Kyle Itani from Hopscotch.
And hey, it’s free! Festivities kick off on Friday in Jack London Square. Go to eatrealfest.com for all the details.
One other interesting event happening this Sunday, this one out in Danville: At Sip, Taste, & Tailgate Like a Pro at the Blackhawk Country Club, you’ll get to taste bites from top local chefs such as Rodney Worth of The Peasant & the Pear and Esteban Escobar of Corners Tavern while mingling with 49ers greats including Ronnie Lott, John Taylor, and Roger Craig. Heck, even Kristi Yamaguchi is going to be there. And it’s all for a great cause, benefiting the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano. Click here for all the info and to purchase tickets.
Looks like Walnut Creek resident Paramita Roy’s restaurant, replacing Fujian on 1518 Bonanza Street in downtown Walnut Creek, is starting to come into focus. Roy described her Kanishka’s as a "Neo-Indian Gastropub" concept that will embrace a social, fun, upbeat atmosphere with shared plates that can be paired with craft beers and wines. As for the food, Roy described it as a “global fusion mashup with a modern Indian twist.” The restaurant will be open for dinner Tuesday–Saturday with Sunday brunch. As for the launch? It’s been pushed back a bit, so think October/November versus September/October… Click here to follow the progress.
Another restaurant project coming into focus is that of Shotaro Kamio, the ex-Yoshi’s executive chef who took over the former O Chame space on Berkeley’s Fourth Street. First off, it also has a name: Iyasare. As expected, it’s a Japanese concept with flavors and ingredients, Kamio says, inspired “by the boisterous family meals of [my] childhood in the Northeastern Japanese countryside of Tohoku.”
It’ll be simple, ingredient-driven food. Lunch will have a daily set meal with miso soup, small salads, and daily specials including soba and O-Nigiti (rice balls wrapped in crispy seaweed). Dinner will emphasize shared meals including whole roast fish, Japanese style charcuterie using sake, miso, and Sancho paper, Japanese influenced pastas, and ceramic hot pot dishes. There will also be aburi-yaki tabletop charcoal grilling. Japanese and local beers will join an extensive selection of sake on the drinks menu. Look for a mid-October debut.
More exciting news in Berkeley, as the city’s downtown continues its extreme hipness makeover. Coming soon, per Inside Scoop, a new bar from craft cocktail trendsetters Brian Sheehy and Doug Dalton. Those two are well known in San Francisco artisan-drinks circles for their popular group of speakeasy-style bars such as Bourbon & Branch, Tradition, and Local Edition. Now they’re expanding to the East Bay, taking over the former Becket’s pub space at 2271 Shattuck Avenue. It’ll be called Tupper & Reed, look for a spring 2014 opening. Click here for more.
One more note on that side of the hills. In Uptown Oakland, Mockingbird quietly debuted in the former Hibiscus space next to the New Parish music hall at 1745 San Pablo Avenue. I haven’t been able to dig up much information about the owners, other than very unconfirmed rumors of a gourmet background (possibly worked at Zuni). The menu looks simple and fresh (their Facebook page describes it as fresh Northern California cuisine). Appetizers include Brentwood corn chowder with house cured pancetta and roast pepper, and duck liver mousse with fig jam and spiced Lavash crest. Dinner items include pan roasted local cod with toasted quinoa, summer squash, and beets harissa; a roasted chicken with heirloom tomato panzanella (Zuni influence, perhaps?); and a housemade burger. mockingbirdoakland.com.
Some small bites…
► First ever Tequila Dinner this Thursday, September 26th, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Prickly Pear Cantina in Danville. Featuring Don Julio 1942 paired with a 5-course meal by executive chef Rodney Worth. 3421 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville, (925) 984-2363, thepricklypearcantina.com.
► Another Jersey Mike’s sub shop is on the way. This one is headed for Pleasanton this November at 6654 Koll Center Parkway, Suite 333.
► Venga Paella in Oakland has set an opening date: October 7. 229 Brush Street, Oakland, vengapaella.com.
Couple of interesting tidbits in Berkeleyside Nosh:
► Haig and Cindy Krikorian have sold off one more of their restaurants, this time it’s Jimmy Beans, which was taken over by Lodo Raden and remamed Lama Beans (he’ll maintain the same menu and concept). The Krikorians have also sold off their T-Rex and Sea Salt restaurants over the last year or so.
► And Bleeker Street Bistro, from chef-owner Jason Kwon, launches in the former Ann’s Kitchen at 2498 Telegraph Avenue in about two weeks.