2021 California Food Journalism and News [SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, the rest of California and Northern Nevada]

Janelle Bitker in today’s SF Chronicle -


Growing up, Arcadio remembers eating cochinita every Sunday and seeing achiote in just about everything. Achiote trees, with their fuzzy orange bulbs encasing prized annatto seeds, grow easily in the Yucatán. While many Bay Area residents likely know achiote as the paste that gives al pastor its reddish tint, Arcadio says it’s the ingredient that most distinguishes Mayan and Yucatán dishes from other Mexican fare.


La Casita Yuca. Cochinita pibil, $30 (serves one to two); achiote grilled chicken, $25 (serves two to three). Delivery weekends only in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Albany and El Cerrito

Arcadio Cach removes cochinita pibil from an underground oven for pop-up La Casita Yuca in Richmond.

| Noah Berger / Special To The Chronicle

Luke -

1 Like
1 Like


The ground floor will have a cafe that will serve lattes, teas and its popular seasonal drinks like candied yam lattes and vanilla charcoal lattes. It will also have a full production kitchen where they will make baked goods and savory meals, like chocolate chip cookies and veggie asparagus mushroom croissant tarts, for the company’s various locations throughout the Bay Area.

Red Bay Coffee: 3136 International Blvd., Oakland. 510-399-2441. Grand opening Monday from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Open seven days a week. www.redbaycoffee.com

Great for them! I know they’d been working on that location since before the pandemic. And I’m also glad to hear that they’re coming to the Ferry Building. (Had no idea that the Peet’s there had closed.)


There was a 2-alarm fire at that bank building on the northwest corner of Fruitvale and International almost 5 years ago and and there were plans to condemn it. Glad they could refurbish it and repurpose it. There are a lot of good bakeries and Central American restaurants in that area.

Luke Tsai writes about Vietnamese tacos in East Oakland near Lake Merritt:

The process isn’t very different from what you’d see at a birria shop, though the flavors are distinctly Vietnamese: To make his bo kho, Nguyen simmers brisket for four or five hours until it reaches maximal tenderness, then shreds the meat. He scoops out some of the rendered fat that collects at the top of the pot and uses it as a dip for the corn tortillas, which get crisped up on the griddle. He melts some Colby Jack on top of the stew to add a little bit of chile heat. And then, in addition to the standard taco toppings of cilantro and onion, Nguyen also tops his bo kho tacos with Thai basil and slices of raw jalapeño, like you’d get with a bowl of pho, and sweet carrot and daikon pickles like the kind served on banh mi.

Pho Vy is currently open for takeout and outdoor seating at 401 International Blvd. in Oakland, from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. every day except Thursdays. For now, the bo kho tacos aren’t listed on the menu, but they’re always available.

1 Like

today’s offering is sold out

Inspired by Luke’s article about Pho Vy’s off-menu quesabirria, I took the new 1 Tempo BRT (bus rapid transit with doors on both side of the bus to facilitate passenger movement when stopped at some of the bus islands that are located in the middle of the street) from Downtown Oakland to about a mile south of Lake Merritt at 4th Avenue and International Blvd.

Pho Vy is open every day except Thursday and the other patrons I could see in the outdoor dining area were eating very large bowls of pho.

The order comes with 3 tacos and side garnish, was $12.95 plus tax and took maybe 10-15 minutes to prepare and serve.

The tacos were manageably crispy yet pliable, browned on the edges but not burnt with cheese embedded that wasn’t overpowering or gooey.

Inside was shredded stewed beef (bo kho) which, according to Luke is simmered for hours, and I tasted hints of clove. The tacos also have cilantro and chopped onion within the fold. They were vary tasty, not oily and avoided being overpowered by heat or cheese.

There was a small side garnish bowl of jalapenos, pickled radish, and ridged carrot pieces.

The staff was friendly and engaging, and talked of the possibility of expanding the menu with other Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese items.

The slideshow above is composed of pictures I took with a compact Olympus TG-4 pocket camera and edited using the slideshow feature in Cyberlink PowerDirector 365.


Peripherally food related. :wink:


Jolly-Jolly is open at 1498 7th Street in West Oakland, Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.–7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Call in orders at 415-941-8817 (preferred) or order online .

1 Like

Luke in KQEDarts -

So what exactly do American barbecue and Mexican food look like when they’re combined together? Try Ruby Q’s barbecue brisket quesadilla—a soft, warm and decadently cheesy mixture of avocado, queso Mexicano, pico de gallo and, of course, a mound of lightly crisped, not-too-tangy brisket inside the gooey middle. You get a taste of both cultures in each mouthful. As a Mexican American from the Bay, I can honestly say it’s the most flavorful (and filling) quesadilla I’ve ever eaten. Sorry, abuelita.

The barbecue brisket quesadilla is one of the highlights. (Briana Chazaro)

Ruby Q Smoke Fusion is open at 954 Fruitvale Blvd. in Oakland Wednesday through Saturday, noon–8pm, and Sunday, 1–8pm.

1 Like

What makes America great!
Combining 2 cuisines and making both better.

Correction: The article above, “Fruitvale’s Ruby Q…” is by Alan Chazaro, not Luke.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold