Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

restaurants

Sweet talk for Pican

By awoodall

Did you all see the write up by Michael Bauer in the Chron for Pican, our southern belle on Broadway? (Strangely enough I can’t seem to find the article online just yet.) Chip Johnson is still declaring the sky is about to fall on everyone this side of the Bay Bridge.  But the Chron’s coverage of Oakland – at least in the Food and Wine section — has been low on my snark barometer. Here’s more about our city’s dining scene from Bauer.

Posted on Monday, July 6th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, restaurants | 4 Comments »
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Arrivaderla Di Bartolo’s

By awoodall

The restaurant anyway. The cafe is staying open but the restaurant is history, a victim of a bad economy at least the owners say.  A swank pizzaiola kind of place is going in, word has it. I just hope it’s not another one of the generic places like Sidebar that packs in tables and could be anywhere — Oakland, NY, Kansas, Cleveland…

Posted on Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, restaurants | 5 Comments »
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La Cucina Italiana downtown open for dinner

By awoodall

La Cucina Italiana is opening evenings now, from 5 pm to 9:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday. That’s still pretty early but at least they’re not a lunch-only spot anymore because we need a good Italian place downtown (or at least, I hope it’s good!) and that corner needs some nightlife. Plus I need somewhere to practice my Italian. 1410 Jefferson St.  Tel# is 452-2533. E-mail: ninousnino@aol.com. Ciao.

Posted on Monday, April 27th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, restaurants | No Comments »
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Spenger’s fancy fish&beer feast

By awoodall

Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto is putting on a Beer Dinner February 22, beginning at 6:30 PM. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 6th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, restaurants | No Comments »
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New restaurant/bar soon to open

By awoodall

The place has been empty for about a year (remodeling etc. I assume), but the Trio Bistro on Grand Avenue is being replaced by a “gastropub” — Sidebar – that will showcase contemporary California cuisine. Has anyone ever heard of a gastropub before?

 Sidebar opens Feb. 6, “providing the East Bay with an intriguing, urbane new dining option.” I hated to see the Trio Bistro go and I know the ladies of the bistro are not too happy about the whole thing. Anyway, here are the rest of the details about the new place… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Under: Night Owl, restaurants | No Comments »
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Banyan 14: new on the downtown block

By awoodall

Even night owls need diurnal nourishment so I thought I’d post this, esp for the downtown workers.
Banyan 14 just opened a week ago at 578 14th St. (@ Jefferson) serving what its menu describes as traditional Thai and Vietnamese street food with a fresh California twist.  The woman handing out menus in front of City Hall said the Web site goes live soon: www.banyan14.com.

Posted on Friday, December 12th, 2008
Under: Night Owl, restaurants | 1 Comment »
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Mua

By awoodall

So now that Mua has been open for a while I’d like to know how people are feeling about the lofty (as in archicture not attitude) restaurant over on Auto Row at 24th and Webster. I still haven’t made it over although I was eager for it to open. The owners seem to have taken their super low-key approach from Soizic and applied it to Mua. The only sign that it’s a restuarant (lunch, dinner, bar) rather than the owner Hi-Suk Dong’s painting studio (his art is on the walls) is a graffiti-style tag reading “We are open” or something like that on the sliding metal door like on garages, which is what the space used to be once upon a time in Oakland. They even left the original signage up instead of plastering MUA on it. They stay open late (bravo) and after 10 p.m. a DJ takes over.

Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife, restaurants | 2 Comments »
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There was westling in the streets

By awoodall

I just got back from the soft opening of Ozumo, a slick Japanese downtown restaurant that will open to the public Saturday. Owner Jeremy Umland must have had some big bucks for PR because in addition to the actual restaurant (which looks gorgeous although they were putting finishing touches on the interior until the last minute), massive tunas filleted on the spot into sashimi, sushi, Robata grilled meat, fountains of fine cold sake and an open bar, there were Sumo wrestlers (the white guy from Idaho was the only real giant) grappling with each other in a ring set up where traffic usually is along West Grand and Broadway, geishas (faux, of course),  Taiko drums and so on. Quite a spectacle. The only hitch in my mind was all the slurs against Oakland that slid like pickled ginger from the tongues of guests waiting in line for a few minutes (“What do you expect? This is Oakland.”) or at the sound of an ambulance outside (“Welcome to Oakland,” said one dude for the benefit of the Sumo wrestlers he was watching. PLLLEASE get a grip, I was thinking, especially when a guest in Oakland or resident of Oakland enjoying a cool event.   The other weird incident is when I was walking across Tel and West Grand near a bus stop.  When an old, disheveled man asked me for change he was scolded by a young dude who raged: “I told you not to be doing that here!” What was that all about?  I’m telling you, downtown was looking HOT tonight. Now picture First Fridays – or any Friday - with Ozumo + the dance club Era that’s going in across the street to round out the mix sparked by the art galleries and Luka’s and enhanced by the wine bar and several other developments that are coming soon. That reminds me: I keep meaning to check who moved into Esteban Sabar’s old gallery…

Posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2008
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife, restaurants | No Comments »
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From the dept. of nightlife

By awoodall

Oh Oaklanders, we are about to yet more nightlife in coming months. First, the owners of B Restaurant and Bar, Air lounge and FIVEten Studio are collaborating on a split-level art bar and gallery, ERA. Patrons will want to get out on the dancefloor because of the DJs who will spinning — some of them big-name hot shots.  Era is going to be slick enough to give San Francisco a run for its money, according to Kevin, co-founder of B. It also will be a welcome addition when it opens around January to the Broadway/Grand interesection just across the street at 19 and 21 Grand from Luka’s, Ozumo, Vo’s and the galleries, plus the new Bakesale Betty’s store. Not too far away, near the SEARS building on Telegraph is AVE, where the old Bear Cave is.

Posted on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife, restaurants | 6 Comments »
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A SWARM of changes

By awoodall

I was looking for some art-world gossip a couple weeks ago so I stopped by SWARM Gallery to find a sleep-deprived Svea in the midst of several new ventures. She is moving the gallery around the corner to a much larger space on Third and Jefferson. The artist studios, however, will stay behind. Hopefully whoever takes over the Second Street space will keep the studios going. She’s also launching a consulting business for new commercial buildings that need art to hang on the corporate walls. And she was preparing for the Art Basel in Miama, an annual art exhibition on a scale the Bay Area could only dream of. That’s the cool thing about Los Angeles and Miami Beach and other brash new-money kind of cities: Adventurous buyers and fearless exhibitionism. Who should stop by but Metrovation developer Merritt Sher, who helped start SWARM and is opening a wine bar on 3rd and Jackson (hopefully I got the location right this time). I think it’s going in the ground level of the condos on the corner there. But I’m not sure and can’t remember the name (sorry!). It struck me how many restaurants are being built into condos. The arrangement makes sense but I’m getting nostalgic for the eclectic free-standing establishments that fill every available crack in New York.   Maybe it’s this weather.

Posted on Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Under: Night Owl, restaurants | No Comments »
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