2024 Northern and Central California Food News and Journalism [SF Bay Area, Northern California, Central California, Northern Nevada]

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San Francisco North Beach residents, business gear up for “Festa Italiana” June 1-2, 2024 11am - 5 pm near Stockton and Union Streets

https://sfiacfoundation.org/festa-coloniale-italiana#:~:text=We%20look%20forward%20to%20celebrating,held%20on%20Sunday%2C%20June%202.

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Use to live nears Bill’s Place. Saw Robin Williams there a few times. Every time everyone said the same thing…he’s smaller than I thought.

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Luke Tsai -

Nation’s has 28 locations in Northern California, mostly concentrated in the East Bay (plus two in Texas). The original San Pablo location at 13296 San Pablo Dam Rd. is open 24/7.

" The stunner, though, is the individual-size strawberry tart: a fairly standard pie shell with a mound of whole, fresh strawberries piled probably six inches high, ringed with spray-can whipped cream and coated in goopy red glaze — a pleasing juxtaposition in the way it’s both natural and unnatural. Despite the glop, the luxuriousness of this Nation’s pie is that you’re essentially just eating a whole pint’s worth of surprisingly sweet, ripe strawberries."

The original San Pablo location of Nation’s is still open 24/7. (Briana Loewinsohn

Oaklandside-

Ladeling coconut milk onto Cambodian national dish fish amok in charred coconut shells. Credit: Florence Middleton

“It’s fish amok, a Cambodian national dish. Chan, in a colorful apron she sewed, blends red chilis with coconut milk, then stirs the mix into the kroeung paste she made earlier.”

“Rock cod is chopped, spooned into the marinade, and cooked. Pre-soaked coconut shells are toasted over an open flame and turned into serving bowls.”

https://www.sfgate.com/food/article/little-original-joes-opens-marina-19489149.php

“The latest addition, Little Original Joe’s at 2301 Chestnut St., opened Thursday across the street from Marina Deli. And while it shares a name with Little Original Joe’s in West Portal, it doesn’t share the same pared-down concept — the Marina outpost is a full sit-down restaurant.”

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I love Nation’s pies and strawberry tarts. Most of the food is just OK, except they have nice salmon burgers.

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We used to go to our Nation’s all the time! I don’t think I ever tried the pie nor the salmon burger!

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Nation’s breakfast is okay and decent. Served all day, standard eggs, bacon, hash browns etc, reasonable prices. I wouldn’t make a special trip but it beats Denny’s at 2 a.m., or if it’s close, convenient. If the hash browns were better (crispy, a crust) that would elevate things to very good. It’s hard to mess up bacon and eggs, and they do a good job, cooked to order.

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How are the burgers at Nation’s? Luke said that they are arguably better than the ones at In-N-Out:

A Nation’s cheeseburger has its own particular architecture. It has a surprising heft, mostly attributable to the thick, 5-ounce patty, but the main points of distinction are 1) the massive dollop of mayonnaise slathered underneath the patty and 2) the thick rounds of crunchy raw onion that provide a sharp counterpoint to the salty, fatty beef and cheese. (Ignore the wrongheaded people who try to convince you that it’s “too much onion.”) It’s a tasty, well-constructed burger — and if you’re feeling decadent, the fried egg and the uncommonly crispy bacon are both excellent add-ons.

I seem to recall enjoying them when we first moved to the area, but I can’t recall the last time I went there, nor can I recall why! It must have been at least 15 years, probably more.

It certainly seems like a good time to try one, and their strawberry pie, although I can’t imagine why they would get better strawberries than the rest of us. :person_shrugging:t5:

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The only thing “better” (arguably or otherwise) about Nation’s than In-N-Out is that their burgers are bigger. They should be, I suppose, since they’re about 2x the price.

That said, I don’t really go to either to get my burger fix, either in NoCal or SoCal, or anywhere in between.

I like onions but that huge chunk of raw onion has always turned me away. IMO, it over powers the burger, makes it unwieldy. So have to disagree with Luke.

Not sure I’d say better than InO, so it’s personal preference. Supposedly you can order the burger with grilled onions. That could be a game changer but never tried it.

Good news! I saw it on Eater as well:

I hope they do well under the new ownership.

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It’s been a really long time since I had a burger at Nation’s, but from what I remember In-n-Out is far better.

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from ABC 10 in Sacramento -

The Chicago Café in Woodland, a family-run Chinese restaurant since 1903, is the oldest continuously operated Chinese restaurant in America.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen will have a grand opening on Sept. 3, after a soft launch in late August at JCCSF 3200 California St. San Francisco

Edalatpour in the East Bay Express -

After ordering, the waitstaff encourages diners to fill small bowls at the sauce bar. From ponzu to plum to sesame and soy, every imaginable dipping sauce is available for maximum spillage alongside diced cilantro, green onions and garlic. At the end of a meal, tables resemble Jackson Pollock paintings—bits of rice, sauce, meat and vegetables are strewn every which way in all directions. It’s definitely a kid-friendly space.

Mumu Hot Pot, open Sun–Fri, 11:30am to 2:30pm and 5–9pm, and Sat, 5–9pm; 5699 Bay St., Emeryville. 510.879.7857. mumuhotpot.net.

from East Bay Express -

Rock & Roll Beer Stroll

June 22, 1-5pm | Downtown Alameda | alamedastrolls.com

What better way to wander through Alameda’s vibrant food and beer scene than by being part of its third annual Rock & Roll Beer Stroll? Sample and sip craft beer on tap from Bay Area breweries including Alameda Island Brewing, Canyon Club Brewery and Faction Brewing—perfectly paired with bites from more than a dozen local chefs. Along the way, enjoy live entertainment to help raise funds to beautify Downtown Alameda. That’s a very good Saturday indeed.

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I miss those days…such wonderful cultural events around the lake and neighboring towns.

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from SF Standard -

" Nite Yun is hardcore. The untrained Cambodian chef has never leaned on a business partner nor taken money from a single investor for her restaurants. To open her celebrated Fruitvale spot Nyum Bai, she scraped the funds together on her own. And in 2022, when it closed, she picked herself up and decided to start over—this time in San Francisco."

:round_pushpin:Battambang Market, 339 Eddy St, Tenderloin
:round_pushpin:Lunette Cambodia, 1 Ferry Building, #33

Prahok, or fermented mudfish sauce, brings maximum umami to Cambodian cooking. | Source:Laura Morton for The Standard

from jweekly -

Shavuot, which begins at sunset on June 11, means that dairy is on the menu. Here is a decadent dessert to help you celebrate.

Blintzes Baked in Banana Custard — inspired by a friend’s description of her recipe — features a rich but slightly tangy custard, plenty of bananas, vanilla cookies and store-bought, frozen cheese blintzes.

Cheese blintzes baked in banana custard. (Photo/Faith Kramer)

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‘Unbearable smoke’: S.F.’s Tadich Grill faced safety violations, retaliation lawsuit

https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/restaurants/article/tadich-grill-lawsuit-sf-19457786.php

More bad news on Tadich Grill. Lawsuits, OSHA fines. Sounds like a crappy place to work. Pretty scathing article. Behind paywall. Read it on Apple news.

The OSHA stuff and retaliation are bad. The food handling is concerning.

In addition to the Cal/OSHA investigation, routine health department inspections since 2019 have flagged violations at Tadich, including cockroaches and vermin, and issues maintaining safe temperatures for “potentially hazardous foods,” including raw oysters, crab meat and breaded calamari, according to records obtained from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Tadich passed its most recent health inspection in October 2023 after correcting similar issues, including thawing calamari in two bins under standing water

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I hate paywalls. I subscribed with home delivery to The Chron for 40 years, you’d think they’d let a former reader view an article.
Sad news about Tadich.

Damn. Cross Tadich off my list for good. Such a shame.

I hope Sam’s Grill makes good Hangtown Fry.

Luke Tsai interviews Clarissa Wei about her cookbook “Made in Taiwan” cowritten with Ivy Chen.

from KQED.org -

Wei will host a meet-and-greet at Liang’s Village on Monday, June 10, 5:30–7:30 p.m. (A $25 meal set inspired by ‘Made in Taiwan’ is already sold out, but the restaurant will still be open for regular dinner service.) On Tuesday, June 11, 7:30–9 p.m., Wei will participate in a free — but already fully sold out — panel discussion that addresses the question, “What is Taiwanese cuisine?” at Good to Eat (1298 65th St., Emeryville).

A spread of family-style Taiwanese dishes from Clarissa Wei’s cookbook, ‘Made in Taiwan.’ (Ryan Chen and Yen Wei)

In the interview, Clarissa discusses Good to Eat in Emeryville and Liang’s Village in Cupertino, places where she will holding events on June 10 and 11:

If anything, people are better at storytelling or identifying the origins of their food. Good to Eat in Emeryville, where I’m doing one of my events, is such a good example. It’s so fascinating how the owners moved over from Taiwan, and now they’re specializing in bando. Bando is a very niche subset of Taiwanese cuisine — a style of outdoor banquet food that’s been around for hundreds of years. Chef Tony will come to Taiwan, she’ll study with these bando chefs, and then she’ll bring that spirit to the Bay Area and do these tasting menus.

A new Koreatown in SF Japantown.

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