Archive for the ‘Oakland’ Category

Abstract Table, An Interesting Tasting Menu in Oakland, California

Duncan Kwitkor and Andrew Greene, Abstract Table
Chefs Duncan Kwitkor and Andrew Greene — Abstract Table, offering up a 5 and 7 course tasting menu Friday and Saturday nights at Gastropig.

Last night my wife and I had a chance to dine at the opening of a new pop up style 7 course tasting menu called Abstract Table, currently being offered as permanent Friday and Saturday night dinner service at the Gastropig in Oakland’s Uptown District. The menu is prepared by chefs/artists/friends Andrew Greene and Duncan Kwitkorand (formerly of Duchess in Oakland’s Rockridge District). The duo’s initial tasting menu features many unique and interesting flavors put together loosely around a Japanese style with a “Fine Dining on Paper” theme. Courses are served on paper and metal trays.

This is the first dinner series at the Gastropig and Greene and Kwitkorand plan to offer a winter themed tasting menu later this year as well. The tasting menu is modestly priced at $50 for a 5 course tasting and $70 for a 7 course tasting. Wine and sake are offered to accompany the meal or you can bring your own bottle (like we did with the excellent 2000 Peter Michael Les Pavots) and pay corkage.

Of the 7 courses that we tried I think my personal favorites were the ocean trout with wild arugula sage, pickled grilled cucumber and coconut and the dessert panna cotta. My wife enjoyed the bok choy quite a bit and thought it was an interesting and unique approach to a salad. Overall I found every course quite enjoyable and appreciated the artistic orientation and presentation to the food. It is nice to see an interesting tasting menu approach and a new addition to Oakland’s food scene, especially at a fairly reasonable price.

They are currently offering two dinner services, one at 6pm and one at 8:30pm. Reservations are available via Resy.

More from Eater San Francisco here and the San Francisco Chronicle here.

More of my photos from last night’s opening here.

Oh and if you still haven’t had the baconslut egg sandwich at breakfast at Gastropig yet you are missing out!

Abstract Table

Abstract Table
First course: Japanese mushroom soup, mitsuba, negs oil

Abstract Table
Second course: Bok choy, sea bean, pear, hazelnut, yuzu kasha vinaigrette

Abstract Table
Intermezzo: Coastlive Farms heirloom tomato, purple yam, miso

Abstract Table
Third course: Charcoal beet, oyster mushroom, furikake granola, fish caramel

Abstract Table
Fourth course: Ocean trout, wild arugula sage, pickled grilled cucumber, coconut

Abstract Table
Fifth course: Beef cheek, turnip, tamari onion, edamame puree, sake glaze

Abstract Table
Sixth course: Lamb breast, smoked cauliflower, Japanese eggplant, togarashi honey

Abstract Table
Seventh course: Hojicha panna cotta, persimmon, white chocolate tile, pomegranate granita

Peter Michael Winery 2000 Les Pavots
The excellent 2000 Peter Michael Les Pavots

Abstract Table
Dinner service Friday and Saturday evenings at Abstract Table

Belotti, Oakland, California

Belotti, 5403 College Avenue, Oakland, CA

Had dinner tonight at the lovely Belotti on College Avenue in Oakland, California — a wonderful Italian restaurant with some of the most amazing dishes. Definitely a memorable meal and definitely a new local favorite. Since we were speaking Italian, brought a nicely cellared 1998 Barolo which accompanied the meal perfectly.

Belotti

Belotti

Seńor Belotti

Clerico 1998  Ciabot Ginestra Mentin Barolo

Belotti
Hand cut certified Piedmontese ribeye dry aged beef tartare, carasau bread, parmigiano reggiano, micro arugula, aged balsamic, truffle caviar, quail egg yolk.

INSALATA DI BURRATA
INSALATA DI BURRATA — Organic mixed leaves, celery, California nectarines, Italian burrata, crostini, Piedmontese amaretti cookies, 8 years aged balsamic Giuseppe Giusti

Tortino
My favorite dish of the night. Don’t miss this one! Tortino. Organic spinach flan with runny egg yolk center, Grana Padano D.O.P. sauce, sauteed spinach, brown butter, Alba black truffle.

AGNOLOTTI DI LIDIA
AGNOLOTTI DI LIDIA — Traditional Piedmontese style stuffed pasta with beef shank, flat iron, pork loin, sausage, escarole, spinach, parmigiano, beef reduction

BRASATO
Brasato — 5-hour braised flat iron, Italian organic polenta, organic hen of woods mushrooms, nebbiolo reduction

Panna Cota
Panna Cota for dessert.

Note, they also have a bottega on Piedmont Avenue at 4001B Piedmont Ave. Oakland.

Brown Sugar Kitchen, Great Chicken and Waffles in Oakland, California

Brown Sugar Kitchen, West Oakland
Chicken and waffles at Brown Sugar Kitchen

Brown Sugar Kitchen
2534 Mandela Parkway
Oakland, CA 94607

If you haven’t had breakfast/lunch at Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland yet you are missing out. Having eaten here several times now I’ll make some observations.

Plan on waiting a long time to get a seat. Every time I’ve been to breakfast/lunch at Brown Sugar Kitchen I’ve had to wait at least 30 – 60 minutes — this is on Saturday or Sunday mornings though. I suspect weekday the wait is not as long. This is fine if you plan to make it a full weekend morning event, but be aware that you are in for a long wait time. I always love photographing around West Oakland, so I really don’t mind so much. I just put my name on the list and set a timer for how long I’m supposed to wait and go walk around and shoot some local street art. American Steel Studios is just down the street and there usually are interesting things to photograph around down there.

Of course the thing to order here is the chicken and waffles. The waffles are cornmeal waffles and taste delightful. They come with an apple cider based syrup but I recommend paying the $2 extra for real maple syrup. It’s worth it. The chicken is a buttermilk fried chicken and is equally delicious.

Most everything is good here, but other standouts for me include the mac and cheese (only available at noon or later), the breakfast potatoes, the pork hash and the cheesy grits.

Definitely order the coffee — it’s Bicycle Coffee and is one of the best tasting local brews I’ve had anywhere for breakfast. They also sell it by the bag if you want to take some to go.

Obviously with wait times being as long as there at Brown Sugar Kitchen it’s nice to know that they are in the process of opening up a second location (inside the old space where Pican was before they closed down in Uptown on Broadway). No word yet on the timing, but the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.

Enjoy some photos of breakfast at Brown Sugar and some of the local West Oakland street art below.

Brown Sugar Kitchen, West Oakland
Chicken and waffles, cheesy grits, pork hash at Brown Sugar Kitchen

Brown Sugar Kitchen, West Oakland
Poached eggs and pork hash at Brown Sugar Kitchen

Jamaica the Artist
A mural by Jamaica the Artist at American Steel Studios down the street from Brown Sugar Kitchen

Brown Sugar Kitchen, West Oakland
Artwork on the wall at Brown Sugar Kitchen

For Dave Johnson
A mural by Gats at American Steel Studios

Brown Sugar Kitchen, West Oakland
Homemade pop tarts, Brown Sugar Kitchen

Homestead Restaurant, Oakland, California

Homestead Restaurant
Address: 4029, Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
Phone:(510) 420-6962
Menu: homesteadoakland.com

Tried Homestead Restaurant on Piedmont Avenue last night with @mrsth. Highly recommended. 🙂

The restaurant has great light with an open air kitchen where you can watch the chefs work.

The menu changes daily. The squid, duck and horchata ice cream were my favorites. Here’s what we had:


date night.


Great open air kitchen where you can watch the chefs work.


First course, spicy pepperoni and meat plate.


First course, little gems, avocado, fried onions, buttermilk dressing


Second course, local squid, grilled summer beans, almond & sherry vinaigrette


Third course, grilled duck breast, fried farro, fava beans, apricots, wild arugula


Third course, poached egg, porcini mushrooms, sweet corn, thyme, watercress


Dessert, horchata ice cream, strawberries, churros


Dessert, brown sugar chocolate cake, toasted meringue


I’ve never had madeira on ice before. It was really nice and refreshing with a twist of lemon.


Homestead seasonal spritzer


Fresh garden vegetables used by the chef.


Wood fire grill in the open kitchen.


Welcome to Homestead.


We brought our own bottle of wine, a wonderful 1997 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino. Corkage was $20.


Loved the colors of the kitchen.

A Taste of Oakland Uptown Block Party

A Taste of Oakland
$2 micro Brew beers tonight at Kitchener in Oakland for A Taste of Oakland.

Earlier tonight mrsth and I enjoyed a night out on the town in Oakland at A Taste of Oakland’s Uptown Block Party. The food/cocktail event included 24 participating Uptown Oakland restaurants and bars.

A Taste of Oakland was founded by two Oakland natives, Helen Wyman (of Oakland Events) and Lamont Dawson. Their mission is to promote local businesses, highlight Oakland’s assets, change perceptions of Oakland, build a sense of community between the residents and the business community and showcase the culinary revolution that has become prominent in the food industry, establishing Oakland as a culinary destination.

I’d say based on tonight’s successful event, they did just that.

Participating restaurants/bars included: Kitchener, Sweet Bar Bakery, Hawker Fare, Pican, Ozumo, Luka’s Taproom & Lounge, Plum Bar, Donut Savant, Era Art Bar & Lounge, Torpedo Sushi, Farley’s East, Anfilo Coffee, Vo’s Restaurant, Telegraph, The Legionnaire Saloon, Kingston 11 Cuisine (although they weren’t open yet), Hutch Bar & Kitchen, Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, Make Westing, Somar Bar, Camber, Bench & Bar, Dogwood and Mockingbird.

The evening gave Oakland food and restaurant aficionados a great opportunity to sample a ton of different restaurants and bars over the course of the three hour event in stylish Uptown. It was a great opportunity to check out new places and plan for further dinners and reservations down the road.

My favorite restaurant of the event was the newcomer Mockingbird. They served a duck pate that was delicious! I’ve been wanting to try Mockingbird and that will probably be the next dinner I have out.

I also really enjoyed the North Carolina pull pork that Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe served, the pull pork sandwich served by Telegraph, the Thai food at Camber and the Four Roses Bourbon cocktail served by Hutch. The pork meatball at Ozumo was pretty tasty too. The restaurants were all within walking distance and it was priced at a very affordable $20 per ticket.

With 24 venues, the event had a lot of local community support, it felt like most of the restaurants in Uptown participated — although the woman at Catered to You was outside offering samples of her decadent buffalo french fries complaining that this was the second time she’d asked to be included and wasn’t. Hopefully she gets in on the next one. 🙂

Thanks for a great night out A Taste of Oakland. Looking forward to more of your great events in the future! #taseteuptown #tasteofoakland

To see more photos from tonight’s event, check out this set on Flickr here.

A Taste of Oakland
maitre d’ at Pican.

A Taste of Oakland
Serving at the Pop Up Outside Hawker Fare.

A Taste of Oakland
$5 specialty cocktails at a Taste of Oakland restaurants and bars. This one at Pican.

A Taste of Oakland
Hutch served an excellent Four Roses Bourbon cocktail along with popcorn popped in bacon fat.

A Taste of Oakland
A little Oakland street art between restaurants — a Homer Simpson / Stormtrooper mashup outside Hawker Fare.

A Taste of Oakland
Serving Thai food at Camber.

A Taste of Oakland
Torpedo Sushi was serving up their California roll on a potato chip.

A Taste of Oakland
The dreamland of neon cupcakes at Sweet Bar Bakery who were serving a taste of chocolate or ginger cookies.

A Taste of Oakland
Newcomer Mockingbird, my favorite restaurant of the evening.

A Taste of Oakland
Enjoying a cocktail at the bar at Ozumo.

A Taste of Oakland
Making Jameson and tea cocktails at Plum Bar.

A Taste of Oakland
That pork meatball at Ozumo was pretty damn good.

A Taste of Oakland
Serving pull pork sandwiches at Telegraph.

A 16, A Southern Italian Gem in Rockridge, Oakland

Tonight, along with mrsth, I finally decided to check out one of the highly regarded Oakland restaurant newcomers, A 16, in the Rockridge District of Oakland.

A 16 has been open for about 5 months now and is a sister restaurant to the popular restaurant with the same name in San Francisco’s Marina district. The restaurant took over the old Hudsons/Garibaldi’s space on College Avenue. Like their Marina counterpart, the restaurant focuses on Southern Italian Campania region food. A 16 is a highway in Italy that runs from Naples in Campania to Canosa in Puglia.

Unlike their Marina relative, A 16 Rockridge has a liquor license allowing it a full bar and cocktail service to go along with their menu.

Chef Rocky Maselli has put together a wonderful menu that focuses on pasta and gourmet pizzas, with lots of little extras worth exploring on the menu. Everything we had tonight was absolutely first rate. No dish disappointed. The fresh handmade pasta was the highlight.

Before beginning our meal we started out with two cocktails from A 16’s creative cocktail menu. I had the Hemingway Negroni, which was served over a couple of giant ice cubes in an attractive oversized tumbler. It was made with papa pilar rum and was delicious.

After cocktails we ordered the roasted beets and heirloom tomato salad. The salad was complemented with ricotta and generously dressed with olive oil. The beets, tomatoes and cheese, went well together and it was a refreshing end of a Bay Area summer salad.

After we finished the salad, our main dishes arrived. For our main dishes we decided to share the capunti — pancetta, chanterelles, cherry tomato, smoked caciocavallo pasta and the montanara rockridge pizza.

All three of these dishes tonight were recommendations of the very knowledgeable bartenders who took care of us at the bar. Mrsth and I always prefer sitting at the bar over a table and find that the bartenders frequently are the most knowledgable of a restaurant’s service staff. Tonight, especially, they did not disappoint.

The capunti pasta was my favorite dish of the evening. The taste of the caciocavallo cheese in the pasta gave it a wonderful smokey taste. It was a rich, full flavored rewarding dish. The montanara pizza, named for the local neighborhood, was also splendid. We added prosciutto and arugula to the burrata (again at the bartender’s recommendation) on the pizza and it complemented it perfectly as did the Scrimshaw Pilsner I ordered with it.

Finally for dessert we decided on the fried apple turnovers which came alongside a rich caramel honey type sauce. Before serving us our turnovers, the staff brought us over a complementary plate of Italian cookies to enjoy. The three turnovers were the perfect amount of sweet to end our evening.

We didn’t have any wine with our meal, choosing to stick to more cocktails and a beer with the pizza. The restaurant does have a wonderfully full wine list though. You can also bring your own bottle (with corkage charge). The menu said that they would waive corkage charge per bottle brought with each bottle bought from their list. They offered both tastes and full pours of wines by the glass.

The ambience of the restaurant was very nice. The bar is large and oversized with plenty of room on a large marble slab. The restaurant is open and airy, and once the sun went down and they opened the shades, a rich, warm evening sunset sunlight filled the restaurant.

The service for our meal could not have been better. Two bartenders managed the bar, and even with a full restaurant, were able to give us the highest quality of service. The recommendations of our bartenders were all absolutely spot on. Meals were promptly delivered and dishes quickly removed. They allowed us to sample taste some of the liquors used in the cocktails when deciding on which drinks to order. I usually find that I get better service at the bar, which is one of the reasons why I prefer the bar over a table, and it was especially true tonight.

We were both delighted tonight with our A 16 experience and definitely will be back to this neighborhood gem to try even more dishes. The only downside to tonight was that they didn’t have a television set at the bar and so we had to rely on our cell phones to keep track of the A’s/Tigers American League Divisional Series deciding game. The restaurant also doesn’t have wifi service and cell service in the restaurant was spotty.

Lack of a TV and good cell service, however, are probably a bonus for many. 🙂

Hemingway Negroni, A 16, Oakland
Hemingway Negroni, A 16, Oakland

A 16, College Ave in Oakland's Rockridge District
A 16, College Ave in Oakland’s Rockridge District

MMMMM... Beets and Heirloom Tomato Salad
MMMMM… Beets and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Cocktail #2, A 16, Oakland
Cocktail #2, A 16, Oakland

Fresh Handmade Pasta, A 16, Oakland
Fresh Handmade Pasta, A 16, Oakland

Dinner at the Bar, A 16 Oakland
Dinner at the Bar, A 16 Oakland

Fried Apple Turnovers with Caramel Sauce, A 16 Oakland
Fried Apple Turnovers with Caramel Sauce, A 16 Oakland

A Little Prosciutto and Arugula to Complement the Pizza, A 16, Oakland
A Little Prosciutto and Arugula to Complement the Pizza, A 16, Oakland

Cooking Pizzas in the Open Kitchen of A 16, Oakland
Cooking Pizzas in the Open Kitchen of A 16, Oakland

A 16, Oakland
A 16, Oakland

Fresh Cocktail Ingredients, A 16 Oakland
Fresh Cocktail Ingredients, A 16 Oakland

Cookie Time, A 16 Oakland
Cookie Time, A 16 Oakland

Cocktail Menu, A 16 Oakland
Cocktail Menu, A 16 Oakland