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Food & Drink

Dining Review of East End

Paul Manousos blipped onto my radar more than a decade ago, when my primary gig was writing about music and his was recording and touring as a singer-songwriter (with a sound that brought Graham Parker, Elvis Costello, and Bruce Springsteen to mind). Sometime in 2007, I crossed paths with Manousos in the Alameda Marketplace, where he was working alongside Jeff Diamond at Farmstead Cheeses & Wines. Then, in spring 2010, I watched from afar as Manousos, inspired in part by a trip to Italy and encouraged by Diamond, took over a back corner of the Marketplace (when Feel Good Bakery moved into larger digs), installed an imported Mugnaini wood-fired oven, and launched East End Pizza Co.

Seasonal Berries

In May, the fragrance of strawberries drifts through local farmers markets. Follow the scent, and you may find yourself at the Swanton Berry Farm stand. Swanton is one of a number of excellent organic strawberry farms serving the East Bay, but this grower stands out with its distinctive blue boxes overflowing with Chandler strawberries, which are very much the strawberries of our dreams—red all the way through and juicy.

Bibimbop at Bowl'd

Korea’s national dish, bibimbop, combines within each mouthful many different textures (tender, crunchy, chewy, gooey) and flavors (fresh, sweet, smoky, starchy, tangy, salty, fiery). And in its modest simplicity, this farm-fresh family favorite also manages to be many different dishes—even different courses—all at once.

Recently Visited Restaurants

We eat our way through Alameda, Jack London Square, and Downtown.

Transported by the Flavors of Parmesan

A millimeter may not seem like a big deal, but when it comes to the thickness of the Berkeley Bowl’s shaved Parmesan, a millimeter goes a long way.

Backyard Beekeeping Gains Fans

You don't need your own beehive to enjoy honey anymore in the East Bay.

Cafe Colucci Creates Delicious Suff

restaurants, Ethiopian cuisine would make up a sizable slice. Nearly every neighborhood sports at least one Ethiopian restaurant; Rockridge and Temescal sport a lot. Granted, Oakland is home to one of North America’s largest Ethiopian and Eritrean populations. But face it: East Africans aren’t the only ones wolfing the wat.

Legionnaire Black Derby Updates an Old Favorite

Zack Turner’s bar, the Legionnaire, on Telegraph between Grand Avenue and 23rd Street, is truly a brick-and-mortar extension of himself. It’s named in part for his long-running hip-hop crew, Foreign Legion, but also for the historically inclusive modus operandi of that French military service. “They come from all over; they don’t turn anyone away,” says Turner.

Fava Beans Star in Cosecha Tamales

One doesn’t generally think of fava beans as part of Mexico’s native culture. In the Bay Area, one’s apt to find them in the springtime, heaped in farmers market stalls and on the menus of local Cal-Ital restaurants. They can be large and starchy, or tender, with a green, fresh taste.

Iyasare Commands Attention

Dining Review: When Shotaro “Sho” Kamio took command of the kitchen at Yoshi’s Jazz Club and Japanese Restaurant in Oakland in 2006, the food took a dramatic turn for the better. Kamio, who had previously made his mark in San Francisco at Ozumo, expanded his sphere of influence with the opening of the much larger Yoshi’s in the Fillmore District. Last year, he left all that behind to strike out on his own in much more intimate digs, the West Berkeley space long inhabited by the beloved O Chamé.