2022 Northern and Central California Food News and Journalism [SF Bay Area, Northern California, Central California, Northern Nevada]

Here’s a link to the old 2021 California Food News thread -

There is a new 2022 Southern California Food News thread started by “ElsieDee” on the Los Angeles Board covering LA/Orange County/Southern California with additional contributions so far from “ipsedixit.” –

This new thread will cover Northern California, Central California and Northern Nevada and I plan to have links to news and writing from Luke Tsai, Soleil Ho. Elena Kadvany, Kim Severson, John Birdsall, Jon Kauffman, Eve Batey, Berkeleyside/Oaklandside, East Bay Express, Hoodline Oakland, SF Chronicle, YouTube, and others.

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Chez Panisse reopens for in-person dining today March 8 2022.

Shoutout to James Syhabout and the HAWKER FARE cookbook I helped with. https://t.co/RFrFNo1TMk

— John Birdsall (@John_Birdsall) March 8, 2022

Wow! All-star lineup! Including @John_Birdsall The Man Who Ate Too Much - Lindsay Gardner: Why We Cook - Eric Kim: Korean American - Erin Gleeson: Forest Feast Road Trip - Trevor Felch: SF Cocktails - Andy Baraghani: The Cook You Want to Be https://t.co/uYxULb54et

— Edible San Francisco (@EdibleSF) March 8, 2022

Growing group is protesting Cèsar’s closure outside Chez Panisse on the iconic Berkeley restaurant’s first night of indoor dining in two years. pic.twitter.com/UOnuhd2oQa

— Elena Kadvany (@ekadvany) March 9, 2022

YouTuber Jermaine Ellis makes pickups and deliveries for Ubereats on a bicycle in San Francisco and gets recognized by a pedestrian (at the 4:58 mark). -

Luke Tsai -


End of a Golden Age

In many ways, Miss Ollie’s departure also marks the end of a very specific golden age for restaurants in Oakland. The late 2000s and early 2010s were when Oakland first came to national prominence as a notable food city—when publications like the New York Times started parachuting writers into Temescal and Piedmont Avenue to document the burgeoning scene. What struck me at the time was that the buzziest restaurants all seemed to be helmed by folks of color—women of color, in particular.

Janelle Butler in the SF Chronicle -

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Oakland Restaurant Week - March 18 - 27, 2022

Soleil Ho in the SF Chronicle:

Shibabaw’s fresh flatbread is a simple dough of all-purpose flour, oil and butter, mixed by machine and pan-fried to order. (A vegan version without butter is also available.) She credits her technique to a Burmese friend she met while working at Burma Superstar. What’s really interesting is that while the roti is Malaysian, it seems to have a universal appeal. Shibabaw told me she likens it to Ethiopian kita, a similar unleavened bread cooked in a hot pan. Impressed Jamaican customers sometimes ask if the bread Aman serves is Jamaican roti. “Sure,” she says. “It can be if you want it to be!”

Aman Cafe

4021 Broadway, Oakland. (510) 922-8749 or amancafeoakland.com

Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Transportation: On the 51A and 57 AC Transit lines. Street parking.

Azucena Rasilla in Oaklandside/Berkeleyside:




*San Francisco was booming in the mid-nineteenth century, and along with adventurers seeking their fortunes came sacks of green coffee beans. The old Yerba Buena Cove swiftly filled with ships, and the city emerged as the third-largest coffee port in the United States. What followed was the rise—and local demise—of the “big three” coffee roasters: Folger’s, Hills Brothers and MJB. Specialized Bay Area roasters like Peerless, Peet’s and Blue Bottle sprang up in their wake, while places such as Tosca’s, Caffé Trieste and the Blue Unicorn blazed the way for modern coffeehouses. Join author Monika Trobits as she traces the historic voyage of the humble coffee bean to the shores of San Francisco Bay.*emphasized text


Luke Tsai -

Ashyan’s Lu Rou Fan is delivering homemade Taiwanese braised pork rice to customers in San Francisco’s western neighborhoods. (Ashyan’s Lu Rou Fan)


In order to capture that elusive taste, Yan adheres to what she calls the “golden ratio”: pork belly that is roughly 70% fat and 30% meat. Searing off the slabs of pork belly and cutting them up by hand is by far the most labor-intensive part of the cooking process, so Yan says she understands why local restaurants would choose to substitute ground pork.


we’ve ordered from Ashyan a couple of times this past year, and it is a great lu rou fan. I like it better than Taiwan bento, since the meat+sauce over rice ratio is quite good, I need more rice on it sometimes (which we always have). A lot more meat+sauce compared to Taiwan bento, and a bit more flavorful than TB’s frozen lu rou fan meat (which is awesome in its own right)

We also got the chicken noodle soup in the last order (a few weeks back). My wife liked it a lot, I’m not a big fan of noodle soup’s in general, so can’t comment

definitely would highly recommend. really great food at great price :slight_smile:


Eve Batey -

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Wesley Severson in Hoodline Oakland -

Jeffrey Edalatpour in the East Bay Express -

Nuevo Sol, open Thurs to Mon 8am-3pm; 1335 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. 510.529.4157. nuevosolberkeley.com.

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Nice read, take aways: better food for staff and patients, hired Michellin chefs to shape menu.


San Francisco Spring Restaurant Week April 1 - 10, 2022


Momo Chang in SF Eater -

13 Cooperatively-Owned Restaurants, Bakeries, and Markets in the Bay Area

From Rainbow Grocery to Cheeseboard to Understory, a baker’s dozen businesses where workers lead


Persian New Year, Nowruz, is the celebration of the vernal equinox and occurs in California on Sunday, March 29, 3033 at 8:33 am.

from SF Eater:

As Persian New Year Approaches, 3 Iranian American Restaurants Bring a Bit of Home to the Bay Area

The owners behind Zibatreats, Lavash, and Shekoh Confections lean into their Iranian roots as they grow their businesses

Dishes for Nowruz as shown in a PBS NewsHour feature from 3 years ago with Najmieh Batmanglij, author of eight cookbooks on Iranian cuisine:


On Monday, March 21 2022, KQED FM 88.5
at 9 am will broadcast this segment on Bay Area cheese culture hosted by Alexis Madrigal. One of the guests will be Miyoko of Miyoko’s Creamery which makes alternative cheeses with cashew milk which I like - good texture with tanginess, much better than the other vegan cheeses I’ve tried. I will post the audio when it is available.

59-second YouTube review of dim sum at Harborview in San Francisco by Rainais:

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YouTube description:

This weekend marks the beginning of a pandemic-postponed Oakland Restaurant Week with diners, chefs, wait staff and owners optimistic about brighter days ahead. John Ramos reports. (3-19-22)*

Before I Became a Food Writer, I Was a Chowhound

Luke Tsai

Mar 20

Melanie Wong reminisces about local food writer Luke Tsai’s early days as a Chowhound:

Melanie Wong | about 1 hour ago

Today Luke Tsai of KQED offered his condolences on the demise of this site, calling out chowpals Ruth Lafler, rworange, and ckshen, as well as founders, Jim Leff and Bob Okumura. Luke was a member of our community himself and weaves his personal arc into the piece.

"… While subsequent review sites like Yelp provided a platform for the restaurant-going masses, Chowhound prided itself on offering a home to the expert food explorer—the person who had eaten and documented every single al pastor taco in Fruitvale, or the post-doctoral researcher from China who translated local restaurants’ special menus and arcane food-related historical texts in their spare time. A super-user named ‘Ruth Lafler’ introduced me to the pleasures of an hours-long taco crawl; another who went by ‘rworange’ first inspired my curiosity about the culinary delights of Richmond and San Pablo. Meanwhile, Leff himself wrote that he, in fact, actively sought to repel the kind of casual posters who might fill the message board with ‘trendy ditz.’

Luke, who contributed to Chowhound
even before his formal debut as food
writer in the East Bay Express in 2012,
writes of the contribution of
Melanie Wong and her secret
promise to Jonathan Gold:

Perhaps no one embodies the Chowhound ethos better than Wong, the aforementioned retired pharmaceutical executive whose discerning posts on everything from döner kebab shops to the local competitive barbecue circuit on the Bay Area board were the stuff of legend—to the point that the Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold once wrote her a fan letter and, eventually, struck up a friendship. (Like many professional food writers, Gold would post on Chowhound under a secret alias; even after Gold’s death in 2018, Wong has kept her promise to never reveal it.)

Wong is now one of the site’s last remaining regular active users, and says she’s posted her food discoveries on Chowhound nearly every day since around 2000. “Being part of an online community is as natural for me as going out for drinks with friends after work,” Wong says. “It has been my daily habit.” Even during Chowhound’s lean recent years, when I’d check in on the site once every couple of months, Wong kept up her prodigious output. Most days, it seemed like she was the only person who was still posting on the Bay Area board.

Sampson Shen of Hungry Onion, has created the closest thing yet to the old Chowhound, according to Luke. HungryOnion is nonprofit and has expenses of about $100 per month.


Sampson Shen, who posted on Chowhound under the user name “ckshen,” was one of those who migrated from the site in 2015. He wound up creating his own alternative: a not-for-profit discussion forum called Hungry Onion that he hosts on a monthly budget of less than $100. It’s probably the closest thing on the web right now to the old Chowhound: It has a similar stripped-down aesthetic, and counts a large number of Chowhound exiles among its frequent contributors.

Still, Shen admits that Hungry Onion would struggle to even come close to the vibrancy of Chowhound’s golden age when, in any given discussion thread, you might have 20 knowledgeable posters writing in-depth analyses of the merits of a particular dish. An immigrant from Hong Kong, Shen says that while he knew quite a bit about his own culture’s cuisine, Chowhound provided him access to deep knowledge about so many other genres of food. Hungry Onion simply doesn’t have the critical mass of active members to do that to the same extent.


America’s first vegan convenience store in the West, Hangry Mart, is in a gas station food mart in a San Bruno gas station at El Camino Real and Sneath Ln.

YouTube video by Jermaine Ellis.

This Tanforan Shell Gas station in San Bruno is 100% vegan/plant-based! This is billed as “North America’s First Plant-Based Food Mart” and we can agree this is probably the first gas station we’ve seen that’s fully vegan! In addition to gas and touch free car wash, there’s a store full of plant-based treats from candy bars, chips, donuts, pastries, hot ready made foods (only during the morning/afternoons), coffee station, icee, and even an @oatly soft serve station!


1199 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066


SF Eater:

Businesses in San Francisco’s Little Russia Say They’re Being Impacted by War in Ukraine

Plus, Starbucks union organizer runs for State Assembly and more food news

by Paolo Bicchieri Mar 18, 2022, 10:08am PDT

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In case folks are interested, the next round of ordering is happening now:

The next rounds of Ashyan’s Lu Ruo Fan will be…

🍴March 30th - Wednesday Lunch, delivery only
🍴March 31st - Thursday Lunch, delivery only

🍴 April 1st - Friday Dinner - pick up only, from Inner Richmond. Pick up window between 5-7pm

This time around I’ll be adding the option of a dessert - sweetened red bean soup with ginger to accompany the LRF if you so choose :slight_smile:

Help cover Hungry Onion's costs when you shop at Amazon!

Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr