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Food & Drink

Adriatic mac and cheese sure to please at Troy.

Here’s a pop quiz. First question: What’s a synonym for comfort food?

Two spots to try in the Berkeley: Elmwood Cafe and Padi Restaurant.

When in Elmwood, drop in here for a bite.

This Month's New and Updated Dining Listings

Six restaurants Oakland Magazine has visited recently.

Review of the Bull Valley Roadhouse

Kristy looked radiant in her satin gown when I picked her up in my dad’s leased, lemon-chiffon Lincoln Continental. The luxury ride was less to impress—Kristy wasn’t my girlfriend; I was standing in for her boyfriend in the service—than to smooth out the long and winding ride to Port Costa for our pre-senior ball dinner at the Bull Valley Inn. This was back in the culinary dark ages, before the advent of California cuisine, when we called restaurants “fancy” not “upscale,” and a fancy restaurant served French or, more likely in the suburbs, “continental” cuisine.

Review: Brotzeit Lokal Boathouse & Biergarten

Beer for breakfast. It wasn’t foremost in my mind when we planned a Sunday trip to Brotzeit Lokal. Nor do I advocate it as a daily indulgence. But we arrived around 1 p.m., so we’re really talking brunch. Also, I was having knackwurst with my scrambled eggs (poached not offered), home fries and toast ($10), and doesn’t a German pork sausage (flavored with juniper) just beg for a beer? Moreover, it was still October, so a pint of Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen ($6)—one of 16 rotating German, American and (a few) Belgian brews on tap here ($4.50–$8.50)—seemed perfectly appropriate.

Raves for OctoberFeast’s dense multi-grain bread.

Mention “European bread” or “the breads of Europe,” and what comes to mind? The fluffy stuff. The stretchy stuff. The soft stuff. The spongey stuff. Those golden-crusted rounds, braids, bars, and baguettes that, torn asunder, yield pillowy white poufs perforated with countless air pockets, all of them exhaling the sunny, floury perfumes that make you think of Paris, say. Or Rome, or Mykonos.

Chop Bar's Chris Pastena talks up Oakland.

While the East Bay has gained the recognition it deserves as a foodie mecca, usually only a handful of names are dropped on its behalf: Alice Waters, Charlie Hallowell, Russell Moore, Allison Hopelain, Alison Barakat. But there’s a new cat in town, Chris Pastena, who spent his youth in Manhattan and New Jersey and has no ties to Waters. He has his eyes set on etching his name into Oakland lore, and he’s got a good start with Chop Bar, a homey favorite in Jack London Square; Lungomare, a refined Italian dining establishment in downtown Oakland; and the Tribune Tavern, a chic eatery in a historic landmark. Despite his being spread so thin—we haven’t even mentioned Labna, a Mexican restaurant he has in the works—we caught up with Pastena, who’s 42 “but feels 24,” to talk shop.

Are you “in” or “out” on In-N-Out Burger coming to Alameda?

Here's what Alamedans are saying about the new burger joint coming to town.

The bacon craze lives on through Chunky Pig’s products.

Chunky Pig’s Candied Bacon Caramel Corn has a hypnotizing quality. The first bite tastes like a savory breakfast rich with pork. The second, like sweet breakfast. On the third, the eyes glaze over, transfixed by a stupor-inducing mix of pork fat and maple sugar. One might need to be dragged away from the bag.

Raves for OctoberFeast’s dense multi-grain bread.

Mention “European bread” or “the breads of Europe,” and what comes to mind? The fluffy stuff. The stretchy stuff. The soft stuff. The spongey stuff. Those golden-crusted rounds, braids, bars, and baguettes that, torn asunder, yield pillowy white poufs perforated with countless air pockets, all of them exhaling the sunny, floury perfumes that make you think of Paris, say. Or Rome, or Mykonos.