Oakland news and notes 2018

Katherine Hamilton has been named the new food critic for the East Bay Express and Janelle Bitker is continuing to do art reviews for the Express as well as her contributions to SF Eater.

Here are some reviews from Katherine:

Luke Tsai in SF Magazine (which has announced significant layoffs to its staff):


In Washington, D.C., Bad Saint ranked second on Bon Appétit ’s 2016 list of the nation’s best new restaurants. Lasa and Rice Bar are two of the buzziest restaurants in L.A. In New York, a handful of places, like Purple Yam and Maharlika, have been holding it down for years. Locally, Suzara was recently written up in Bon Appétit , and Ang was named one of the San Francisco Chronicle ’s Rising Star Chefs this year. Beyond the bevy of instant-hit spots, this fall will also mark Mission district pop-up FOB Kitche n ’s leap to full-service brick-and-mortardom, in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. The kitchen at 7th West , the cavernous new West Oakland bar, now serves as home base for chef Dennis Villafranca, the lechon-slinging proprietor of the food truck Jeepney Guy. And Undiscovered SF , a massive monthly Filipino night market, is entering its second year—part of the SOMA Pilipinas cultural district’s efforts to encourage Filipino-owned restaurants and retail shops in a wide swath of SoMa.

With a population of more than 450,000 Filipino Americans, the Bay Area has never exactly suffered from a lack of Filipino food options, especially in places like Hayward and Daly City.


FOB Kitchen 5179 Telegraph Ave. (at 51st St.), Oakland, 510-817-4169
Likha at Hometown Heroes , 4000 Adeline St. (at 40th St.), Emeryville, 510-250-9311
The West , 7th West 1255 7th St. (at Union St.), Oakland, 510-250-9832

Camino is closing, and will be replaced by a branch of Zachary’s:

Cohen-Bray House and Oak Tree Farm in Fruitvale. The Victorian house was built in 1884
1440 29th Ave
Oakland, CA 94601

East Oakland

(https://www.cohenbrayhouse.org/drinking-historically) October 14, Noon-5pm Beer, food, music, Tours of house.

The 38 Essential East Bay Restaurants, Fall 2018

Updated Oct 16, 2018, 10:47am PDT

Just posted about La Grana Fish: La Grana Fish -- 50th Avenue, Oakland - Fish and shrimp tacos!

It was good!!!

Now that Tanya Holland has closed her West Oakland brunch destination Brown Sugar Kitchen and her new restaurants are still in the works, there isn’t anywhere to eat her distinctive soul food. That changes next week. On Thursday, November 8, fans will be able to eat Holland’s dishes at a Whole Foods, of all places.

Specifically, Holland created a new food menu for the Oakland Floodcraft Taproom inside the Whole Foods by Lake Merritt, at 230 Bay Place.


He’s hoping to open in February, 2019.

Armstead hopes to add rotating specials, too, like smoked lamb and oxtails. He envisions Crave BBQ as part of Oakland’s burgeoning barbecue revival, drawing crowds from all over the Bay Area alongside Smokin’ Woods BBQ and Horn Barbecue.

In the 1930s and ‘40s, the hotel featured legendary blues and jazz musicians like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington, but it closed in 1971 and fell into disrepair. The East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation has renovated the building with low-income housing, a community garden, and on-site social services. Now, the organization — along with the San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative — is also transforming the hotel and its surrounding area into a cultural, arts, and music campus. It’s the new home to Grammy winner Fantastic Negrito’s studio as well as the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, which will also collaborate with Armstead for a separate blues cafe. Details are scarce on that, but it’s expected to open at the end of 2018.

Crave BBQ

3501 San Pablo Ave
Oakland, CA 94608

hoping to open in February, 2019.

Visit Website

Sweet Maria’s continues to be one of the (if not THE) premiere sources for green beans in North America. There, I said it.

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We visited a bunch of the 'tenangos when I was a young protoHound as well (Chichi, Chimal, Huehue, Chichicas, and others I have forgotten). What an amazing part of the world it was all those years ago! I don’t remember the food so much as the people, who were kind and open even not speaking much Spanish as many didn’t back then. Large numbers of folks also sported traditional garb which was pretty darn cool. I wonder what it would be like to go back… I hope I get the chance.

And PS thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. It is invaluable!


While kabobs may be the most popular choices, I was equally enamored with the Afghan appetizers. The mantu, which were made fresh in-house, came stuffed with flavorful, spiced ground beef and topped with yogurt, lentils, and dried mint. However, the wrappers were a little soft for my liking and tended to fall apart. But the potato bolani received perfect marks: a crisp, stuffed flatbread served piping hot, with a thin layer of creamy potato for richness and green onions for sharp contrast. The bread was fried until golden and crisp, and the oil added flavor without excess grease. The bolani came with a cool yogurt sauce and a cilantro-based spicy chutney, both of which complemented the bolani well. While potato is currently the only option, Bakhtary said he also plans to offer squash bolani and leek bolani soon.

Yummy Grill Afghan Kabob House
4300 International Blvd., Oakland
Hours: Mon.-Sun. 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Cash, all major credit cards

Sample Menu
Quabili pallow … $14.99
Chapli kabob … $12.99
Mantu … $7.99
Bolani … $6.99
Eggplant … $8.99
Ferni …$2.00

LOL. Sometimes I thought no one here read these kinds of posts…!

The food largely depends on the cooking skills of the family that houses the travelers, if one goes the homestay route. I had classmate who stayed with families who put emphasis in cooking (but unfortunately didn’t have space for me), and the food seemed delicious from their descriptions. Unfortunately I got the other spectrum. My homestay family didn’t really focus on food. It was beans, tortillas, eggs every meal, and the kitchen was infested. After a week of eating the same stuff and getting the prerequisite gastroenteritis that everyone warned me about, let’s just say for a period I unfortunately acquainted myself quite well with El Pollo Loco. (The rationale- frying at high temp has to kill all the bugs!)

As in much of developing world, restaurant dining seems to cater to gringo travellers. Or there’s fast food, where some locals go on special occasion because the food is so different. Its easier to find a restaurant serving pasta than a restaurant serving good traditional Guatemalan food. That was my pre-foodie days, I didn’t especially go look for Guatemalan food, but I don’t remember seeing many options.

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Agreed! I’ve been buying green beans from them for years, and they’re conveniently located by Ghost Town Brewing for those able to pick up their orders at Sweet Maria’s


Chefs Duncan Kwitkor and Andrew Greene are the creative force behind Abstract Table, a permanent pop-up inside Oakland’s casual eatery The Gastropig in Uptown. During the day, The Gastropig serves up breakfast sandwiches and meaty fare, and on Friday and Saturday nights Kwitkor and Greene take over to present a five- or seven-course tasting menu ($50 and $70 respectively).

Greene said that concepts they learned in art school come into play in their cooking. “Composition is of the upmost importance,” he said. “It’s all art to us. It’s just a different environment and a much different pace.”

Hojicha pannacotta, persimmon, white chocolate tuile, pomegranate granita.
Photo by Benjamin Seto

Abstract Table
at The Gastropig
2123 Franklin St. (between 21st and 22nd)


“Permanent Pop-Up” Double Speak?images:grinning:


The full-service restaurant will be more casual than Co Nam’s original location on Polk Street in San Francisco. It’s modeled after Vietnam’s quan nhau , which owner Trung Nguyen likens to Japanese izakayas.

Head chef and co-owner Vy Lieou, who is also Nguyen’s wife, will have creative control over a rotating menu inspired by the south Vietnamese street food of the couple’s youth — jalapeño-glazed chicken hearts, fried octopus, build-your-own rice bowls, pho and even a burger.

Co Nam
3936 Telegraph Ave. (near MacArthur BART station)

soft opening this weekend
fully open on Tuesday from 5-10 p.m.

It’ll be closed on Thanksgiving, but going forward, it will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 5-10 p.m., and eventually for lunch as well.


Aside from blini, the menu also features several regional specialties. Doren said the pelmeni — stuffed meat dumplings — originated in Siberia. The pelmeni are served with a cabbage-jalapeño slaw. Although jalapeño isn’t traditionally Russian, Doren said it serves as a locally available substitute for the spicy peppers you’d find in Russia. There’s also plov, a Southern Russian dish of spiced chicken and rice. As the weather cools down, Doren also plans to offer Georgian and Armenian stews.

Kolobok will be at Snow Park on Nov. 28, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; at San Lorenzo Street Eats on Nov. 29, from 5-9 p.m.; at the Oakland Museum on Nov. 30, from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; and at Alameda South Shore Center on Dec. 1, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. For more scheduled dates, follow Kolobok on Facebook or on Instagram @kolobokfood.

to open at
420 40th St.
on Dec. 6

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