Craft & Spoon

When Charleen Caabay won Food Network’s Chopped, she put her popular Filipino comfort-food restaurant Kainbigan on hiatus and took off for the Philippines.

“Going to the Philippines was like a little reset to get my creative juices again, see what I want to be doing with restaurants,” Caabay told the Express.

Somewhat surprisingly, that inspiration didn’t lead to a new Filipino restaurant.

Next week, chef Caabay will open her second restaurant, Craft & Spoon, with partners Christine De La Rosa (also of Kainbigan), Aima Paule, and Michael Schlieker.

[Read the full story in the East Bay Express here.]

Craft & Spoon
1629 Broadway, Oakland

Tacos El Último Baile

Dominic Prado is no ordinary taco slinger. Originally from the Central Valley, he was incarcerated as a teenager and spent a few years in and out of prison until he was 26. When he got out, he enrolled in a community college and transferred to UC Santa Cruz, and he recognizes that many formerly incarcerated don’t have the chance to go to college. “My story is so different,” he told the Express.

Prado has used his tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit to grow his taco business, which is currently one of the top food stops in the busy Uptown neighborhood. Before starting it, he held short stints at McDonald’s, Burger King, and later at farmers’ markets, selling organic produce. In Oakland, he’s worked at the now shuttered Uptown Juice and at Red Bay Coffee near The Hive.

[Full article here.]

Mobile food, follow @tacoselultimobaile.

The Temple Club

After 16 years in Vietnam, chef Geoffrey Deetz is back in Oakland and ready to unveil his first local restaurant since he left in 2000: The Temple Club at 2307 International Boulevard, in what used to be Bakeshop Oakland. He expects to open in three to four weeks.

Naturally, the Temple Club is Vietnamese. But Deetz promises a decidedly different style of Vietnamese restaurant for the East Bay. It will offer a short menu, focusing on dishes from central Vietnam, along with some from the north. Instead of a cocktail bar, he envisions a juice bar. And once a week, he plans to host a special themed dinner, offering just one entree, like so many restaurants do in Vietnam. Expect loads of accompaniments — herbs, pickled vegetables, sauces, crushed nuts — specific to dishes you can't find at other area restaurants.

Read the full article in the Express here.

2307 International Boulevard, Oakland.

Lady Esther's

“Lady Esther’s has been open a little over a week, and the place is already drawing on five decades of Oakland soul-food history. 

The restaurant only recently took over the Frank Ogawa Plaza space last occupied by Crossburgers, but oldtimers should remember the name: In 1968, a Louisiana native named Esther Clay — aka Lady Esther — opened the original Lady Esther’s, then moved the soul food restaurant down the road a few times before settling into the tiny East Oakland storefront at the corner of E. 14th and 53rd streets that it occupied for 27 years. 

Read the full article in the Express


Red Bay Coffee

Oakland coffee company Red Bay Coffee was recognized Monday for its work in empowering employees at an award ceremony honoring small businesses throughout the state

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, honored Red Bay as “Small Business of the Year” at the California Small Business Day Awards, an award and event sponsored by the California Small Business Association that seeks to recognize “important contributions small businesses make throughout the state,” according to a news release from Skinner’s office.

Read the full article in the East Bay Times.


Agave Fest At Calavera in Oakland Showcases Love For Mezcal 

If you're looking to explore something new in the world of alcoholic libations — and why wouldn't you be — then the second-annual Agave Fest Oakland is probably a can't-fail destination.

Agave Fest is the brainchild of Chris Pastena, who owns and operates Calavera in Uptown, among other city eateries. About a decade ago, he took a deep dive into the world of mezcal, and embraced, he explained, how the spirit "invokes a sense of place."

Read the full story in the Express

Christ Pastena (left) and a staffer at Calavera in Uptown Oakland

Christ Pastena (left) and a staffer at Calavera in Uptown Oakland

Mamacita's Cafe

Kickstart Women-of-Color in the Food Scene 

For the past three years, Mamacitas Café served donut kebabs and coffee to thousands of people at festivals, catering gigs, and for a moment in a downtown brick-and-mortar. Now, they have a chance to move into a permanent retail space, where they’ll run a full service café. But owners need at least $60,000 to get their dream cafe off the ground. 

Read the full story in the Express.

Reem's Bakery

It wouldn’t be Friday at the lower Broadway farmers market without the “Classic” flatbread rolled sandwich at Reem’s pop-up for lunch: Gently sweet Arab bread griddled on a man’oushe, which is like a comal that cooks tortillas, then dusted with za’atar spices, and filled with mint, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Simple and fresh. But now, beginning next week, most every day can be Friday, since Reem’s Bakery will now be open in the Fruitvale, in the village near the BART station. 

Read the full announcement in the Express

Novel Brewing Company

A Chat With the Owners of Novel Brewing Company in Oakland 

Teresa Tamburello and Brian Koloszyc bought a home brew kit on one of their initial dates. Now, years later the husband and wife own Novel Brewing Company, which serves the neighborhood along San Pablo Avenue near the Oakland-Berkeley border. Koloszyc, who attended the American Brewers Guild program, and later interned at Firestone Walker Brewing Co., is often found behind the bar. Ditto Tamburello. They also live in the neighborhood that their brewery serves — and they pour everything from hoppy brews to kettle sours to some German styles to dessert-inspired beers. The Express chatted with the couple recently in advance of Beer Week. 

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