Eat the Week: Off the Grid North Berkeley, Millennium Sous-Chef Dies, Kink.com Farmers Markets, Hodo Soy Beanery Kiosk Coming
1. Off the Grid North Berkeley plans to kick off as early as June 1st at the corner of Rose and Shattuck, perhaps making the Gourmet Ghetto relevant again. Off the Grid, a food truck gathering that has its beginnings in Fort Mason, was born a year ago. Another Oakland nighttime food truck event, Bites on Broadway, is also ramping up, with live music and vendors such as Fist of Flour and GoStreatery meeting up at Oakland Tech High School starting June 10th.
2. Hawker Fare, James Syhabout’s new Southeast Asian street food restaurant opened in downtown Oakland on Wednesday. The Commis chef, known for his high-end new California cuisine, is keeping it real with kung fu posters, old school hip-hop, and Olde English malt. Rice bowls and fried chicken wings are amongst the menu items.
3. Kink.com, the Internet porn company headquartered in the Mission District, will turn part of their digs in the old National Guard Armory building into a setting for farmer’s markets and other G-rated gatherings. They have been very careful to keep their S&M activities under wraps and, has gained a reputation in the neighborhood for being respectful and respectable. The space is a cavernous 5-story high “drill court” — yes, it’s really called that — was formerly used to hold boxing matches and other events to entertain soldiers.
4. A vacuum has been filled. A new Ferry Building vendor, Takoyenen, will be selling takoyaki, the perfectly round, steaming hot Japanese dumplings made with a cube of fresh octopus at its center, at the Thursday market. A Delica spin-off, Takoyenen came about because Delica’s president couldn’t find any good takoyaki in S.F. Also coming to the Ferry Building: a permanent Hodo Soy Beanery kiosk, serving organic, non-GMO tofu, as well as soy-based smoothies and other gluten-free goodies.
5. In more Hodo news, Oakland’s Bakesale Betty’s has just added another sandwich to its minimalist menu: a vegetarian version of their cult-inspiring fried chicken sandwich, using fried Hodo Soy Tofu.
6. Sneaky’s ,the barbeque kitchen headquartered in Hayes Valley’s new gay bar Rebel, received a nod from Food and Wine magazine as one of the ten best new barbecue restaurants in the country. Sneaky’s almond-wood-smoked kuroboto pork belly got special mention.
7. Summit, the Valencia café known for its rotating art installations, collaborative environment, and white laptops galore, is beginning a series of intimate set menus. The meal, which serves only eight people at the bar on Sundays, is served by chef Eddie Lau himself, complete with background stories on the dish’s origins. Five courses runs $60.
8. Millennium sous-chef Jason Dunbar died suddenly of a heart attack at Yosemite on Wednesday. An experienced rock climber and hiker, Dunbar collapsed on the trail and could not be revived. Dunbar, originally from Walnut Creek, is survived by his father and mother, three brothers and sisters, and his fiancé, Alison Bagby, Millenium’s manager.
9. SFWeekly’s annual Best of list came out this week. Amongst the new arrivals to the list are Senor Sisig for Best Food Truck, 25 Lusk for Best New Restaurant, Mission Chinese Food for Best Chinese Food, and Contraband for Best New Café.
10. Local company OpenTable, the popular online reservation site, has been catching some flack lately for going corporate. A couple of places, notably S.F.’s Incanto and St. Helena’s Terra, have been vocal about their dislike of OpenTable and their subsequent defection to the relatively new reservation service, Urbanspoon. According to the Chronicle, OpenTable’s stock is overvalued, and with Google about to introduce their own Internet reservation site, the company is looking quite vulnerable.