Success Spawns Seconds

    The party started at the new Farmstead Cheeses & Wines in Montclair the moment Jeff Diamond, standing amidst his selection of 200 cheeses and 500-plus wines, cut the first sliver of gently pungent Humboldt Fog for a customer to try. This is store number two for Diamond and his wife and business partner, Carol Huntington, who live in Montclair. They opened their first Farmstead Cheeses & Wines (1650 Park St., Alameda) in November 2003. It was an instant success. The new store is twice the size. At both, they specialize in artisanal cheeses from around the world, hand-selected and hand-cut, which means you get to sample and to buy as much or as little as you want. Diamond has wines from around the world, many from smaller wineries. Most have interesting stories that he’s happy to share. And be sure not to miss his weekly $3 wine flight tastings, which usually feature between four and seven wines. Party on!
    Farmstead Cheeses & Wines, 6218 LaSalle Ave., open 10 a.m.–7 p.m. daily. (510) 864-9463,


    Florentine cuisine, an all-Italian wine list and modern Italian decor. That’s what Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper, the team behind the popular Rivoli (1539 Solano Ave., 510-526-2542), were looking to create with Corso, their new Berkeley restaurant. “Wendy’s dad was a professor of Florentine history, and she spent a lot of time in Florence when she was growing up,” says Skipper, as their new eatery began to take shape at the site of former Misto Italian Bistro and Phoenix Pastificio. He added that their signature dish would be polla al burro di Sostanza, chicken cooked in brown butter, named in honor of Florence’s Trattoria Sostanza—“the only place we’ve ever seen this dish on a menu.” They will use their inherited pizza oven, Skipper says, to make pizzas and Florentine-style flatbreads.
    Corso, 1788 Shattuck Ave., open for lunch 11:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., brunch 10:30 p.m.–3 p.m. Sat.-Sun., dinner 5 p.m.–10 p.m. daily. (510) 848-7100,

—By Wanda Hennig
—Photography by Lori Eanes

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