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Diablo Dish — July '09

The Farmer Restaurant in Pleasanton; wine and olive bars opening; and a new sous chef for The Peasant and the Pear.


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The Farmer Restaurant is due to open this month, replacing the decades-old Pleasanton Hotel. Owner Sue Martinovich says the new place will serve “down-home normal food that Mom or Grandma would cook,” such as pork chops, pot roast, and house-made desserts. Drawing on the historic hotel’s original name, Farmer’s Hotel, the newly renovated restaurant will continue a tradition of hosting banquets, weddings, and live music in the garden patio.

A few blocks away, Little Valley Winery has opened its new tasting room, where Main Street shoppers can wander in to try the Livermore winery’s latest releases and browse through a boutique and gallery, featuring local art. The new spot, relocated from Sunol, will bring in food from Main Street restaurants for special events. Meanwhile, the nearby Oasis Wine Lounge now caters to more than just wine lovers. Its new full bar means that it can serve martinis and other cocktails alongside its Pinots.

Downtown Walnut Creek is getting a new brand of tasting bar. We Olive, a purveyor of all things olive oil, with six other California locations, was set to open this month on North Main Street.

Some Danville news: Brandy Ho’s, a Hunan-style Chinese restaurant, with two popular San Francisco locations, opened on Crow Canyon Road near Blackhawk Plaza. Danville’s The Peasant and the Pear has hired Erik Romme, former executive chef at Left Bank, as sous chef. The addition brings no menu changes, but “Erik will enhance what we’re already doing,” says General Manager Stephen Patrick. And Danville will soon participate in Contra Costa’s hugely successful restaurant recycling program, which collects food scraps destined for the landfill and turns them into methane gas power. Forty-five restaurants, including Lark Creek and the Duck Club, currently participate in the pilot program run through the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Management Authority, Allied Waste, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

The sister store of the famed Berkeley Bowl supermarket has finally opened its doors. Berkeley Bowl West, located just off San Pablo and Ashby avenues in West Berkeley, will carry the same dizzying array of organic foods, but in a much larger space and with more parking. A new café and community room are also part of the project. Meanwhile, Albany is awaiting Green Market Lane—a hybrid farmers market and local market. The SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) foods project will include a bistro-brasserie, events program, quick-service restaurant, specialty food store (think Oakville Grocery), and wine store. Owners hope to open the brasserie by November.

Terrain is set for a fall opening on the main floor of Berkeley’s greenest building, the David Brower Center. The restaurant/café/bar launched by Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster, owners of Back to Earth Organic Catering, is thoroughly local and organic, down to the wine and brunch-time Bloody Mary. Executive Chef Sean Baker will create seasonal menus split between omnivore and vegetarian dishes, served in the utilitarian chic dining room, large outdoor patio, or to-go café.

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