Oakland news and notes 2018

Blue Nile Ethiopian just opened next to Lake Merritt near Chinatown. @hyperbowler

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Thanks! I’m guessing they’re not affiliated with the former Blue Nile in Berkeley.

Looks like they have “Goden tibs”, beef short ribs, which only a few places have and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten.

Janelle Bitker, an excellent food writer at the East Bay Express, has been hired by Eater SF but will freelance for the Express. I think that the Express is looking for another food writer.

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This family recipe is made with more than 20 ingredients, some of which they source from Oaxaca.

Agave Uptown, 2135 Franklin St. (at 22nd), Oakland

4 posts were split to a new topic: Yu’s Idea Cuisine

Photo by Constanza Hevia H.
Steamed in banana leaves, the tamales arrive slick and soft.


But those pupusas. They’re traditional in size — a bit smaller, thinner, and more delicate than those you’ll find at some other Bay Area eateries, which often serve thick, heavy pucks with too much masa and not enough filling. These are pupusas sized for picking up with your hands, as you should. You’ll find the staple fillings of cheese, zucchini, refried beans, and pork, as well as combinations of them. If you order one with cheese, you will get those satisfying cheese pulls — add loroco, small, green unopened flower buds, for a bit of lightness and freshness, or pork for double the unctuousness. Fish and shrimp are other, more unusual options. The itty-bitty flecks of fish melt into the cheese so the flavor is imperceptible, but the juicy hunks of shrimp work well. There’s also a rice flour variation, which arrives a bit paler, firmer, and less sweet than the usual corn.

What most impressed me, though, was the curtido, the lightly fermented cabbage, carrot, onion, and oregano slaw that’s absolutely required for pupusa enjoyment. It delivered beautiful crunch and sharp tang, heightened by the red, tomato-based, and vinegar-forward salsa.

El Salvador Taqueria y Pupuseria
6520 Foothill Blvd., Oakland
Hours: Mon., Tue., Thu. 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., Wed. 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Cash, all major credit cards

Now that Maya Halal Taqueria has taken over, “it’s not just any taqueria,” said Al. “It’s women-owned and operated by the same staff” as La Chata.

The menu appears to be relatively similar, but in keeping with its halal focus, the new spot no longer offers pork. Expect to see Tex-Mex-style fare with halal meats, plus house-made tortilla chips.

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Eat Real Festival
Jack London Square
SEPTEMBER 14 - 16, 2018
FRIDAY 3:00PM – 10:00PM
SATURDAY 11:00AM – 10:00PM
SUNDAY 11:00AM – 6:00PM



That’s really a bummer; I enjoy her East Bay Express pieces - Eater tends to be too trendy as opposed to seeking out the interesting stuff.


Agreed, I was sad after Luke Tsai left but I liked Janelle! A loss for the Express for sure. Hope Eater gives her good assignments

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Always possible that this hiring could be Eater’s effort to add coverage of the mom + pop stuff.

Similar to what they did in NYC when they hired Robert Sietsma from the Village Voice, granted that publication was on its way out anyways.

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The latest addition to the East Bay’s Filipino food scene is FOB Kitchen, in the former Juhu Beach Club restaurant in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. The new restaurant — which will be remade into a Philippines-inspired space with bright colors, decorative art, and ocean-inspired hues — is aiming for a late-September debut, with chef Janice Dulce at the helm and co-owned with her partner Brandi Dulce.


  • FOB Kitchen’s tocino — house-cured pork shoulder, garlic rice, and sunny side up egg.
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Little Spoon’s Maple Chinese Sausage ice cream. Photo: Little Spoon Creamery


More unusual Asian flavors include Lychee, and even more uncommon are the Soy Sauce Swirl, Chrysanthemum Tea & Honey, and Maple Chinese Sausage.

“Chinese sausage is in fried rice a lot, and it’s a dried, cured sausage that is savory with a little bit of sweet, just like bacon,” they said (Ho identifies as gender non-binary, and prefers they and them pronouns). “A maple base makes sense since it’s very similar to the popular maple and bacon combination.”

So sad. I admired him for being able to wrassle very ripe grapes into big, elegant wines. He was devoted to local vineyards; I opened a bottle of 2002 San Francisco Bay appellation mourvedre last year, and it was honestly one of the most profound wines I’ve ever had, layer on layer of almost psychedelic flavors. He was also a supporter of home winemakers, selling grapes from his prime vineyards to us “homies”. In fact, I have a bottle of 2005 Rosenblum Paso Robles zinfandel down in the cellar, next to a couple of bottles of my own wine made from the same grapes. I think I’ll open it soon.

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OAKLAND– Mam Cultural Festival
September 15 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

OAKLAND–The Mayan Cultural Exchange will showcase the traditions and history of Oakland’s indigenous Mam (Mayan) community. Join us for traditional live music and food!

Saturday, September 15
2:00 pm – 4:30pm
César E. Chávez Branch Library
3301 East 12th Street
Cost: Free


Over 6 million people across Mexico and Central America — including diaspora communities here in the United States — speak one of 30 different Mayan languages. Today, East Oakland is home to several thousand speakers of Mam — a Mayan language indigenous to Guatemala.

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Cacao is endemic to the lands of the Maya, who were the first to take the seeds of the fruit and roast them to make hot chocolate. The ancient Maya didn’t make candy bars, nor did they add sugar and milk to the cacao. Instead they took their chocolate as a ceremonial elixir and a savory mood enhancer. For the Maya, cacao was a sacred gift of the gods, and cacao beans were used as currency.