California Food Journalism and News 2020 [SF Bay Area, Los Angeles and the rest of California]

John Birdsall in - Where to Eat in 2020: Oakland



Oakland is currently one of America’s most dynamic food cities not because of the polish of its restaurants, the number of their James Beard medals, or any galaxy of Michelin stars, but because of its loyalty to cooks telling complicated stories through food: where they came from, their struggle for equity, or how we, as citizens, believe we ought to treat one another.

Birdsall: 17 Best Restaurants in Oakland


I’ve got to go down there more.

Merrill Schindler has been writing about food in the LA area for decades and decafes.


Carnival Lebanese

4356 Woodman Ave., Sherman Oaks; 818-784-3469,

Little known fact: I spent many years writing “American Top 40” for Casey Kasem. Casey was Lebanese. He was also a vegan. And so, when he took the staff out to a meal, it was to a restaurant where he felt at home. Which was, more often than not, Carnival Lebanese, where they offer an extensive collection of the greatest hits of Lebanese cooking, with many of the dishes collected into convenient combination plates.



With each of Jew’s projects, the chef says he thought about exactly what kind of Chinese restaurant he wanted to evoke or pay homage to. There is, for instance, the picture of a traditional Chinese family restaurant that many Chinese Americans might have in their mind’s eye — the big fish tank, the round tables with lazy Susans. Then there’s the prototypical quick-service dim sum deli, and the old-school Chinese-American takeout joint, with its white takeout cartons, disposable chopsticks, and soy sauce packets.

Mamahuhu aims to strike a happy medium between those two categories of Chinese dining experiences, Jew says. It’s meant, first and foremost, to be a restaurant where customers can sit and enjoy their meal — but with counter service, and a more casual vibe than the kind of place where the waiter ladles your soup out at the table. And unlike at, say, Mister Jiu’s and Moongate Lounge, Jew wants Mamahuhu to be the sort of restaurant where customers can come in just to order takeout.

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The 2020 Isleton Spam Festival was conducted on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020 in Isleton which is between Sacramento and Stockton.

Here is the KCBS Radio report:

Here is video from the 2018 Festival:


SF Chronicle food writer Janelle Bitker, formerly of the East Bay Express and SF, on KCBS News Radio:


Preorder for

The Man Who Ate Too Much

The Life of James Beard

by John Birdsall (Author)

Available October, 2020.

East Bay Express sold and now part of a minichain of 5 alternative weeklies in Bay Area and Santa Cruz.

from the Express:

The East Bay Express has joined colleagues in the region’s alternative weekly press to form a five-newspaper group that will circulate throughout seven counties in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Anchored by the Metro Silicon Valley weekly, the group also includes Santa Cruz’s Good Times , the North Bay Bohemian and the Pacific Sun , the nation’s longest publishing alt weekly.

During Alameda County’s shelter-in-place order, the Express continues to publish on its regular schedule, with content primarily focused on the coronavirus outbreak, including news about the health crisis and coverage of food and entertainment options available during the shelter-in-place order. Buel continues as a contractor and editor during the transition.

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L.A.'s taquerias are in survival mode

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

― Jonathan Gold