A plastic container of Boichik Bagels' Pink Label cream cheese.
Boichik Bagels’ new Pink Label whipped cream cheese is based on owner Emily Winston’s favorite New York-based spread, Temp Tee. Photo: Boichik Bagels

Boichik Bagels goes pink label

In its quest to be the best New York-style bagel in the Bay Area, Boichik Bagels is stepping up its cream cheese game. Last week, owner Emily Winston shared that Boichik is now offering Pink Label cream cheese — a housemade homage to Winston’s favorite spread, Temp Tee, a “uniquely New York” whipped cream cheese that comes in a bright pink plastic tub. (“It was a staple in my family’s refrigerator and was held as vastly superior to Philly. Such delicious flavor and texture!” she wrote to Boichik newsletter subscribers.) When efforts to source Temp Tee for the shop were not successful, Winston tried making her own version, but her cream cheese didn’t meet her exacting standards — till now. Winston said her Pink Label spread is “about a 98-99% match” to Temp Tee, which is good enough for her and for homesick New Yorkers. Boichik’s Pink Label spread is $7 and can be ordered online or by walk-up. Boichik Bagels, 3170 College Ave. (at Alcatraz Avenue), Berkeley

California Craft Beer Week goes online

Federation Brewing's Valentine's package features beer-infused chocolates from Michael Mischer and four Federation beers. Photo: Federation Brewing
Federation Brewing’s Valentine’s package features beer-infused chocolates from Michael Mischer and four Federation beers. Photo: Federation Brewing

This year, California beer fanatics will have to make do with a virtual version of the popular California Craft Beer Week. CCBW officially kicks off on Feb. 12, but in an effort to give the most possible support to breweries struggling during the pandemic, online events, sales and activities started in January. As all events are virtual and some breweries are offering statewide shipping, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do something fun while sampling California brews from near and far.

A few upcoming East Bay brewery events and offerings that caught our eye:

  • In honor of Black history month, Drake’s is hosting Oakland’s Uhuru Foods and Pies for weekly Wednesday pop-ups in February at its Barrel House in San Leandro and Dealership in Oakland
  • Almanac’s Virtual Dumpling Making Class with EatChoFood on Feb. 20
  • Federation Brewing’s Valentine’s package, featuring beer-infused chocolates from Oakland’s Michael Mischer and a 4-pack of Federation beers
  • East Brother Beer’s Festival Booth in a Box, which comes with six beers (five core brews and one seasonal), a 10-minute virtual tasting and other schwag to recreate the beer festival experience at home.

Learn more, buy beers and sign up for events at the California Craft Beer Week website.

Changes at Kensington’s Colusa Market

Ike Joh, owner of Colusa Foods, is retiring. His last day is Feb. 7. Photo: Pete Rosos

Thanks to a reader, Nosh learned that ownership changes are afoot at Colusa Market, the small, but mighty Kensington neighborhood grocery store that is well-loved by area shoppers for its quality goods and friendly staff. Writer Anna Mindess, a Colusa Market regular, corroborated the tip by sending us a photo of the sign at the door written by owner Ike Joh about his upcoming retirement. Joh, 65, has owned the market since 1992, when he took over the market from his father. His last day is Sunday, Feb. 7.

Colusa Market’s new owner is Harman Chahal, who owns four other stores in San Francisco. Chahal’s brother, Harry Pabla, will manage Colusa. Pabla knows he has big shoes to fill, especially when it comes to maintaining Colusa’s excellent organic fruit and vegetable selection. Joh diligently wakes up at 4 a.m. four days a week to hit up the produce markets in San Francisco to stock the store. While Pabla is not used to getting up that early, he told Mindess that he accompanied Joh on a produce run last week, and assured her, “We will keep [Colusa Market] the same, and even add new things.” Happy trails to Ike Joh, and good luck to the new owners! Colusa Market, 406 Colusa Ave. (at Berkeley Park Boulevard), Kensington

Kindred pop-up spotlights African diaspora fare

Miss Ollie's in Old Oakland will transition to a non-profit hub for Black chefs and creators called Sanctuary. Photo: Sarah Han
Miss Ollie’s in Old Oakland will host a pop-up every Sunday through Tuesday in February that celebrates dishes of the African diaspora. Photo: Sarah Han

Late last year, chef Sarah Kirnon announced she was transitioning her Old Oakland Afro-Caribbean restaurant Miss Ollie’s to a nonprofit called Sanctuary focused on highlighting Black makers. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether Kirnon would continue serving her menu at the restaurant. We’re happy to report that Kirnon will still be cooking up Miss Ollie’s fare, but on Sundays through Tuesdays in February, the chef-owner will devote her culinary efforts to a Sanctuary pop-up project called Kindred that pays homage to the African diaspora. The pop-up commences this Sunday, Feb. 7, when Kirnon and fellow Sanctuary chef Christian Washington will offer four dishes that tip a hat to four distinct regions of the diaspora: Texas pulled pork sandwich ($18) with red cabbage and crispy potatoes; New Orleans-style cornmeal-fried chicken ($24) with braised greens, black-eyed peas, orange and maple roasted yams; Moroccan vegetable tagine ($21) and a Jamaican-inflected grilled jerk Dungeness crab and shrimp ($50). Pre-order online for pickup. Kindred by Sanctuary at Miss Ollie’s, 901 Washington St., (at Ninth St.), Oakland

Alameda County passes ‘Good Food’ resolution for correctional facilities

In late January, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program for its correctional facilities. The program will require that the Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department  — the county’s largest food purchasers — purchase higher quality foods while taking into account the program’s five core values: local sourcing, nutrition, environmental sustainability, worker’s rights and animal welfare. The first step will be a six-month assessment of the departments’ current food purchases.

This resolution comes on the heels of recent concerns about health and equity issues at Alameda County correctional facilities. The county spends more than $20 million on food, but social justice advocates say that money is going towards food that does not meet health and safety standards, and that poor nutrition is putting incarcerated individuals at risk for illnesses, including COVID-19. Last month, KQED reported that an Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said the county hired multinational food services corporation Aramark to run the jail’s kitchen for cost-saving measures, as well as its work-credit program for inmates. (In 2019, eight inmates sued the county and Aramark for forced labor.) By participating in the Good Food Purchasing Program, the county aims to increase accountability and equity.

Super Bowl eats

Baby back ribs from the Kitchen at Rocky's Market in Brooklyn Basin. Photo: Becca Henry
Baby back ribs from the Kitchen at Rocky’s Market in Brooklyn Basin. Photo: Becca Henry

If you’re looking for tasty snacks for Sunday’s Super Bowl, plenty of East Bay restaurants are offering comforting grub to munch on through the game. Here are just a few game day takeout specials:

    • Eureka (2068 Center St., Berkeley) has a Super Bowl special ($40, serves two) that includes two 32-oz craft beer bags to-go, two pounds of chicken wings and two orders of fries.
    • Arthur Mac’s Tap & Snack (4006 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland) offers three Game Day packages: the Large Game Day Package ($89.75), featuring 18″ specialty pizza, 50 chicken wings, large cheese bread with four dipping sauces; the Small Game Day Package ($49.75), with 18″ specialty pizza and 20 chicken wings; and the Trifecta Wing Package ($59.75), which comes with 60 wings and choice of three sauces.
Cream Co. Meats' Liholiho Yacht Club Super Bowl kit. Photo: Cream Co. Meats
Cream Co. Meats’ Liholiho Yacht Club Super Bowl kit. Photo: Cream Co. Meats
  • Cream Co. Meats (700 Julie Ann Way, Oakland) has a Take Burger Box made in partnership with San Francisco’s Liholiho Yacht Club ($69, serves 4), which includes four 8-oz Cream Co. meat patties, four slices of chef Ravi Kapur’s housemade Spam and all the fixings. Order for pickup on Feb. 5.
  • Itani Ramen and Nikkei Sushi (1736 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) has two Super Bowl combos: The First Down Combo ($75) includes seven maki rolls, 10 pieces of gyoza and sea salt or garlic soy edamame; the Touch Down Combo ($95) includes 12 pieces of assorted nigiri and 5 maki rolls, 10 pieces of gyoza and sea salt or garlic soy edamame.
  • The Kitchen at Rocky’s Market (288 Ninth Ave., Oakland) has an a la carte Super Bowl menu, featuring house-smoked 1/2 rack of baby back ribs with potatoes and salad ($18), grass-fed beef slides ($16), chicken wings three ways ($15), baked macaroni and cheese ($12), cheddar jalapeño and bacon green onion hot dips with baguette slices and veggies ($6).
  • Magnolia Mini Mart (2311 Magnolia St., Oakland) has two Super Bowl Boxes: a birria taco kit ($50, serves 2) featuring taco components and accompaniments from Magnolia Mini Mart, Xingones, Kuali Salsas, Astranda Bakery; and a Share with Friends charcuterie box ($65, serves 3-4), which includes a pho Bloody Mary mix, charcuterie board (can be made vegan) with components from Magnolia Mini Mart, Fish and Bonez, Suzie Cups; and assorted Cronettes from Donut Savant.
  • Vegan Mob (500 Lake Park Ave., Oakland) has two “Mobby Bowl” specials: both the Nacho Platter ($80 serves 5, $150 serves 10) and Gumbo Bucket ($50, serves five) are 100% plant-based. No pre-orders, same day pickup only.
  • Alley & Vine (1332 Park St., Alameda) offers a Super Bowl Party Pack ($99, serves 2) that includes crab and artichoke dip, vegetable crudite with ranch, sloppy Joe sliders, pork ribs, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and cheesecake brownies; add on a margarita kit ($48 for 4 servings) or Old Fashioned kit ($48 for 4 servings).

Farewell to Campo di Bocce

Campo di Bocce in Livermore has closed. Photo: Campo di Bocce/Facebook
Campo di Bocce in Livermore has closed. Photo: Campo di Bocce/Facebook

Finally, we got word yesterday that 15-year-old Livermore Italian restaurant and bocce club Campo di Bocce has closed. The restaurant owners posted a letter on the restaurant’s website explaining that back-to-back restrictive pandemic measures were the reason for its closure: “the continual shut downs, lock downs, changing of the rules, take out food only, outdoor dining only, minimal indoor dining, then once again take out only, finally took its toll, and the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic finally took hold and have forced us into this dire situation.” Campo di Bocce was located at the Livermore Shopping Plaza, where it was a popular, family-friendly go-to, especially amongst bocce enthusiasts. According to the owners, the restaurant hosted four National Bocce Championships, as well as international events, in-house leagues and regional tournaments. While COVID-19 also claimed Campo di Bocce’s Fremont location, the Los Gatos branch, which took a hiatus in December, plans to reopen later this month.

Sarah Han is Senior Editor, Food for Oaklandside and Berkeleyside. She has worked as an editor at The Bold Italic, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Read more stories by Sarah Han on Berkeleyside.