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


Meyer and Paez aren’t the only restaurateurs struggling with access to capital despite being poised for success just months ago. At the beginning of 2020, Uptown Oakland saw the debuts — or planned debuts — of multiple cocktail-centric venues that COVID-19 has since hurled into question, forcing them to temporarily close or, as in the case of Low Bar, forestalling efforts to even begin service. In a city rife with concerns over gentrification, and in a neighborhood where those concerns are especially concrete, these establishments stand out, in part, because their owner-operators identify as Black or Latinx or both, and because they explicitly aim to make the local cocktail scene more inviting and accessible to their communities. Sobre Mesa, for instance, is a stunning Afro-Latino cocktail lounge bathed in Dionysiac forest green and serving Caribbean-inflected food and drinks, informed primarily by chef-owner Nelson German’s Dominican and African ancestry and a particularly inspiring trip he took to Havana.

Author Kathryn Campo Bowen is a Bay Area-based food writer whose work has appeared in the SF Chronicle, Eater, Edible SF/East Bay and other publications. She is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

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Orsa & Winston serves a multicourse menu that successfully bridges Japanese and Italian flavors; rice porridge pooled in Parmesan cream with seafood (perhaps uni or Hokkaido scallop) became a dish that synthesized his aims. Centeno constantly parses ingredient pairings to find the connections between the two cuisines — abalone grilled over binchotan charcoal with a Cal-Ital duo of kumquat and garlic leaf, duck with cherry blossom mostarda, a tart of ume and preserved apricot with yuzu curd — but he never contorts food into bizarre conflations in service of the restaurant’s premise. If a berry clafouti or sardine escabeche finds its way into the mix — well? The fluidity between cuisines feels organic to Centeno’s cooking and to the pluralism of Los Angeles.


When I think back on a lifetime of meals I shared with Jonathan Gold, my late husband and this paper’s restaurant critic until his death in 2018, I like to picture evenings we spent at Post & Beam. Sustained by a rye Old-Fashioned, Jonathan would indulge my craving for the restaurant’s deviled eggs with smoked catfish. And if we’d brought friends, it was never a bad idea to order an extra plate of shrimp and grits for the table. We both felt that Post & Beam had become a vital part of Los Angeles and the national dining scene.

Oakland’s going vegan fast – Owners of pop–up S+M Vegan to open Lion Dance Club, an Oakland vegan Malaysian restaurant, in the Dimond district. It will be located at 380 17th Street in the former Liba Falafel space that closed a few weeks ago. Shooting for Aug 4th but will be doing take-out until in-house dining is allowed:

Luke Tsai in SF Eater:


At its core, the story of Nora Haron’s newest project is a love story. The Oakland-based Indonesian-Singaporean chef tells Eater SF that the man she’s been seeing for the past two years, Diego, is of part Mexican descent. After an inspiring trip to Indonesia this past fall, the couple started cooking together — “making food babies,” as Haron puts it, that combined their respective cultures: a concha flavored with coconut oil and makrut lime, tamales filled wit beef rendang.

IndoMex’s concha fried chicken sandwich - Nora Haron

IndoMex will launch on Sunday, August 23, and will be open for takeout and outdoor dining at Xingones, at 736 Washington Street in Oakland, every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers will be able to preorder up to a day in advance via Haron’s website .

A post was split to a new topic: SF Chinatown (late 2020)


Oakland Chinatown is hosting weekly Chinatown StreetFest Fridays every Friday evening, starting tomorrow, Friday, August 7. 9th Street between Franklin and Webster Streets will be closed off to traffic, and food vendors such as Ming’s Tasty (dim sum), Ruby King Bakery, Sweetheart Cafe, Alice Street Bakery, T4, Sakura Bistro, Aburaya, Sobo Ramen, and Spice Monkey will have tables set up.

Chinatown Street Festival

August 7, 14, 21, 28 2020


There were other soondubu restaurants before BCD but few made the dish as accessible and available. None have been as successful.

Food is prepared in the kitchen of the Wilshire Boulevard BCD Tofu House.

(Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)

Oakland Kosher Foods
3419 Lakeshore Ave,
Oakland, CA 94610

Phone: (510) 839-0177


Sun: 9:00am - 7:00pm
Mon: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Tue: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Wed: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Thu: 9:00am - 7:00pm
Fri: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Sat: Closed

Thanks for posting this! I’ll need a good source of K for P products when the time comes, and this place is closer to me than any Mollie Stone’s.

Oh, I missed the news that Three Twins closed. I guess these were the last I had from them. That was sad.

Beauty’s Bagel Shop is now open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (menu below). The new Oakland branch of Wise Sons will open at 1700 Franklin Street sometime in September — it, too, will be open every day.

Well that sucks, Beauty’s bagel’s were much better than Wise Sons and now they aren’t going to be baked in a wood oven anymore. The first time I went to Wise Sons was when they are doing pop ups and the pastrami was really good. The last time I went 3-4 years ago, they had gone downhill significantly and were using a slicer for the pastrami rather than hand cutting it.

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Wise Sons seems to be all over the Bay Area now. South Bay, East Bay, etc… They seem to like the track of Noah’s Bagels.

I actually like Wise & Sons bagels–the ones I had were very close to my favorite NYC bagels. And if I can get pastrami at Beauty Bagels AND they still have their bialys, then that is an awesome thing! It’s a lot easier for me to get to Temescal than SF.


Chris Ying met Meehan and David Chang in 2009 while putting together an experimental newspaper, called the San Francisco Panorama , which featured a food section, for McSweeney’s. A year later, the pair approached Ying, who had cooked in restaurants, with an idea for a food magazine. The first issue, exuding pork fat and swagger and bad words to spare, was overseen by Meehan and Ying and put together by McSweeney’s staff, with significant input from Chang. In addition to its restaurant cred, the magazine’s aesthetics and zine-like attitude borrowed from indie rock culture, positioning it as a publication for those left out of the mainstream.

Every institution seems to be failing, and failing us. Navigating media jobs over screens during this frightening moment has left workers isolated and exhausted, but also in possession of a strange freedom. As career ladders crumble, many journalists are doubling down on the one thing the job can still offer: a sense of meaning. That meaning grows sour if bosses are cruel or inequities are entrenched, and calling out a famous, perhaps brilliant editor as a bad boss is less intimidating if there’s no newsroom to face them in. The best hope is for a better way of life to rise from America’s disastrous failure, but right now, the pandemic still rages — the worst may just be beginning. Those with professional jobs in cities willing to issue stay-at-home orders, a bleak blessing, are trapped at home with nothing but time to reassess the past’s failures, and enumerate what must be born anew.