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

Sears Fine Food on Powell St near Union Square since 1938. Good photos by Lance Yamamoto. Story by Madeline Wells in SFGATE.


Google Photos


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So what is a chocolate salami? It’s a non-bake dessert made of chocolate, butter, crushed cookies, nuts, liqueur and sometimes fruit, rolled into a tube, coated in powdered sugar and trussed up like a sausage! A tasty little trompe l’oeil confection. And for a limited time, they are available as a holiday confection at Oakland California/Israeli restaurant Pomella.


Eve Batey in Berkeleyside


I ate at Calavera before the pandemic. I didn’t know anything about it, wasn’t planned and I think the quick phone search said Mexican influenced. Didn’t think about gentrification at the time. Just happen to be by with a friend so stopped in. Haven’t thought about this place until now.

Purely on a food basis, poorly executed meal and a bad experience. Ordered some tacos that were okay but don’t remember, and a whole fish prepared traditionally…which came out under-cooked and had to send it back. Wasn’t quite right after it came back. Overall, underwhelming and off…then the bill. Never went back.

Thinking back, I remember the interior was a just bit odd…modern/minimalist elements, building was shelled and recently rebuilt but not much character except modern/open. So bad dining experience, new interior/renovated building… gentrification is a fair take. If the food was okay, would be a different take.

p.s. I just read the article (just read the headline before) and it’s a fair take.


Today Dec 20 on KQED FM radio 88.5 at 10 am on Forum, discussion of expiration dates on food and issues of food waste. The show is repeated at 9 pm and the audio will be posted online. This topic was also the subject of a recent article in The Atlantic.

TUES at 10 AM PT w/ @scottshafer:

We'll speak w/ @dgunders, @yeahyeahyasmin & @LadyDiLara562 about how to interpret expiration dates and make the most of the surplus in our food system.

❓ What do you do with food that's past its expiration date?https://t.co/RidNq8Y6rx

— KQED Forum (@KQEDForum) December 20, 2022

TCHO Chocolate

3100 San Pablo Ave. (near Ashby Avenue), Berkeley
Factory tour tickets (which include a tasting) are available online for a $15 deposit

Good Luck dim sum at 736 Clement in SF -

Can’t go to Clement St. and not get some Dim Sum. pic.twitter.com/ojL7DGucX7

— (((BrokeAssStuart))) (@BrokeAssStuart) December 16, 2022


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After his initial menu of homestyle Shanghainese food struggled to bring in business, Peter began experimenting with new takes on familiar favorites. He noticed the distinctly American combination of sweet potatoes and turkey during Thanksgiving, and came up with the restaurant’s longtime best-selling dish: the Nanking sesame chicken, a crispy chicken item with a little spice and toasted sesame that’s paired with glazed sweet potato. Peanut butter was always an object of fascination to him, reminiscent of the sesame paste ubiquitous in China — so he whipped up the restaurant’s peanut sauce, now described on the menu, with only slight exaggeration, as “world famous.

the … show…premieres on December 27 on Food Network and streaming on Discovery Plus.

John’s Grill at 63 Ellis St in SF -

The restaurant's Christmas Day menu will dish out a lobster bisque, a filet mignon with a lobster tail and your choice of dessert for $95, as well as a prime rib special. https://t.co/oIVnOQl8ml

— SF Examiner (@sfexaminer) December 20, 2022


1 Like

THCO Chocolate recently (earlier this year) changed their chocolate formula to 100% plant based and discontinued the old recipe for all their bars. Instead of solid bars with added ingredients like nuts or caramel, bars are now soft-centered truffle bars. I was a big fan of the old formula, especially their mochachino bar. Not a fan of the new bars. Major bummer. Photo in linked article shows new packaging. Or go to: https://tcho.com/collections/bars


Here’s the audio from the Dec 20 KQED Forum broadcasr on food waste and expiration dates -

Crab seaon opens Dec 31

Emeryville food news -


from KQED -

The cold weather has hit California and for many Californians, that means the smell of warm tamales wafting through the house. We wanted to learn more about this iconic dish, and it’s evolution in California, and why it’s so popular during the Christmas holiday.
Guest: Bill Esparza, Author of the book L.A. Mexicano

Audio is abo
ut 7-minutes long.

Mr. Charlie’s, a vegan knock-off of McDonald’s, opens Dec 31 at 432 Sutter near Union Sq in SF


Hadn’t heard of Mr. Charlie’s until this post. Two observations:

  1. How is it an “LA chain” if there’s only one LA location?
  2. When will the lawsuit be filed by McDonalds? If you go to Mr. Charlie’s’ website the marketing look is very familiar.

Sadly, the tamale stand down the street didn’t show up yesterday or today. I’ll get some next week.

Whoever wrote the Mr. Charlie’s review needs to turn in their fast food badge.

“The burger tasted incredibly similar to a McDonald’s hamburger. The thin burger patty, made from Impossible Burger, was honestly barely noticeable. The dominant flavors were the ketchup and mustard combo and the acidity from the sliced pickles. If you think about it, that’s mostly what you taste when eating a Big Mac.”
and the pic is of a double cheeseburger :hamburger:

Shoddy :slight_smile:

Gao Viet Kitxhen
1900 Irving St

The Phozilla at Gao Viet Kitchen features a giant beef rib and whole lobster. It costs $95 and equates to three full servings of pho.

Charles Russo/SFGATE

SFGATE food reporter Nico Madrigal-Yankowski leans in for a bite of the massive beef rib that comes with the Phozilla (along with an entire Maine lobster) at Gao Viet Kitchen on Irving Street in the Inner Sunset, on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022.


Merry Christmas.

Matts of Fisherman’s Life fishes for crab somewhere on the SF Bay Area coast . The video link starts at about the 12:50 mark where he slips and falls into a small pool. At about the 13:30 mark he catches a Dungeness crab and starts to prepare it for a sandwich made with crab butter (pancreas) on the seashore.


I feel very fortunate that last week, we were able to have local Dungeness crab thanks to a guy I know who does recreational fishing (we’ve previously gotten halibut and lingcod from him). He even boiled and cleaned the crabs for us.


The best San Francisco restaurant dishes SFGATE staff ate in 2022: https://www.sfgate.com/food/article/best-sf-restaurant-dishes-2022-17672943.php.

Spouse and I don’t get into SF any longer but the list ends with a place that is getting increasingly hyped. For all the raves about Vinoma/Rohnert Park, their hand pies – whether the empanada or open-faced style – are vastly inferior to BurtoNZ Bakery/Windsor. We have been buying BurtoNZ’s handpies since 2015, and we buy them by the dozen on every trip to bring home.

We were recently in Sonoma Dec 13-17th and ended our trip by stopping at Vinoma and taking them home for dinner. We tried six types (all the meat ones; I haven’t checked my notes yet to do a review so can’t give details right now). But we wouldn’t bother buying any of them again.

Also better than Vinoma, although not quite as good as BurtoNZ, are the Peruvian empanadas from LiMA/Concord, under owner/chef John Marquez. Vinoma is the cheapest around, however, by price altho not value.

Do take Vinoma’s recommendation of getting multiples VERY seriously. These are tiny, 2-bite goodies - very daintily sized!


Dutch Crunch