Meet T-Rex and César

    Shaping the sophistication of Berkeley cuisine is an enormous undertaking. But for Haig and Cindy Krikorian, it has become a lifestyle. From the Berkeley duo behind Lalime’s, Fonda, Jimmy Bean’s and Sea Salt now comes T-Rex BBQ, the East Bay’s latest headquarters for barbeque.
    Taking barbeque to the next level included remodeling the interior of an empty warehouse and dazzling customers with an astonishing menu of smoked meats. Two spacious and airy levels are home to a colorful restaurant with outdoor seating, two in-house smokers and a full bar. A grand list of salads, sandwiches, smoked dishes and entrees are enticing as they are eclectic, ranging from a frisée salad with fried oysters to a pulled pork shoulder sandwich. “No avenue of meat is left untouched,” declares Anthony Paone, the head chef.
    T-Rex BBQ, 1300 10th Street, Berkeley, (510) 527-0099. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m-2 a.m. Friday through Saturday,
—Ashley Burns

    César, the swanky tapas bar that keeps Berkeley’s gourmet ghetto rockin’ til midnight every night is expanding into a franchise. This May, Chez Panisse alums Richard Mazzera, Dennis Lapuyade, Stephen Singer and chef Maggie Pond are bring their Spanish cuisine and hippie/hipster following to Piedmont Ave. in the space formerly occupied by Le Boulanger.
    After spending the past five years scouring the Bay Area for new digs, the owners settled on the Oakland storefront a year ago. According to Mazzera, the new café will have a similar feel to the flagship and boast much of the same clientele. But, with a bigger kitchen, the Oakland César may offer a more extensive menu and a Spanish-style mercado where patrons can pick up imported food products from Spain and sauces and dishes made fresh from the César kitchen.
    For construction updates and more information, visit 4039 Piedmont Ave., (510) 406-5928. Or visit the Berkeley location, 1515 Shattuck Ave., (510) 883-0222. Full bar. Open daily noon-midnight.
—Amanda Cherrin

    CremaLita Dessert Café is an East Coast franchise that specializes in low-cal, low-fat, low-carb ice cream. Franchise owner Kemi Aladegbami, originally from Nigeria, says she decided to bring the product to Oakland and open her parlor on Piedmont Avenue because she is health conscious and saw a need in the area for a dessert that invites guilt-free indulgence. She was also itching to switch from the high-flying corporate environment in which she had long worked. (She has an MBA and a strong finance background.) Dutch Chocolate and French Vanilla ice cream are always available, and the other 20 flavors rotate. The ice cream is made daily at the store. Nutritional info is posted and on take-home cards. They make smoothies and shakes, sell ice cream cakes, have toppings that are not low-cal and serve coffee and pastries.
    CremeLita Dessert Café, 4301A Piedmont Ave., (510) 428-1009, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.
—Wanda Hennig

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