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There was plenty to be thankful for in November, starting with the party-like atmosphere at local vaccination clinics, as children ages 5-11 proudly received their first doses of COVID-19 protection. Last week, beautiful Bay Area weather provided an assist for fresh-air-filled Thanksgiving gatherings with friends and family. Hope your chosen celebration was safe, nourishing, drama-free and filled with deep breaths and gratitude.
Meanwhile, things with the restaurant industry are busy but uncertain thanks to the pandemic’s ever-shifting challenges (we’re looking at you, supply chain issues and looming omicron variant). Thanks to dedicated owners and staff for doing their best to safely take care of growing numbers of indoor diners in a strange season.
We are also grateful to readers for keeping us posted on new and old favorite spots. Please send news and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRAVE SUBS Fast-casual favorite Crave Subs Berkeley has left its digs on Center Street and is now slinging halal specialties at a larger downtown space at 2122 Shattuck Ave. The broad sandwich menu features plenty of options, including choices for vegetarian and vegan diets. Locals might remember the roomy, central location from when it was the former Seasons of Japan. Crave Subs, 2122 Shattuck Ave. (between Center and Addison streets), Berkeley
HEROIC ITALIAN Gourmet Italian delicatessen Heroic Italian has moved into the former Mise en Place cafe, gathering fans for its well-crafted sandwiches, salads and antipasti made with imported Italian meats, cheeses and other ingredients. (Fresh pasta dishes coming soon.) Don’t miss the wine list, the specialty tinned fish, or the breakfast sandwich made with eggs, Fontal, truffle mayo, aioli, roasted tomatoes and a choice of nduja, porchetta or avocado, served all day. As reported by Nosh editor Eve Batey, this is the Santa Monica-based deli’s second Bay Area location; the first opened in the Castro in San Francisco last December. Heroic Italian, 2020 Kittredge Ave. (between Milvia Street and Harold Way), Berkeley
BABA’S HOUSE Follow the White Rabbit candy into this stylish warren of nostalgic Asian-American treats, as first shared by the Chronicle’s Elena Kadvany. The multilevel Oakland den is a restaurant, a market, a snack and gift shop, art gallery (with pieces for sale) and entertainment venue with mah jongg, a DJ booth and other fun fare. Chef is AC Boral, known for modern takes on Filipino cuisine, though his menu runs the munchies gamut from gyoza to salted-egg Caesar salad with crispy shrimp-head croutons. Check out the snack shop that peddles local and imported Asian-inflected goodies and drinks. Baba’s House, 410 15th St. (between Broadway and Franklin Street), Oakland
CAIRO STATION CAFE Opened earlier this fall, Uptown’s new Cairo Station Cafe serves falafel (including specialty shrimp falafel), shawarma, gyros and rice plates for dine in or take-out, and aims to treat “all customers like pharaohs.” Sign us up. Cairo Station Cafe, 1720 Telegraph Ave. (between 17th and 18th streets), Oakland
MAM HANOI Already garnering impressive support is Vietnamese restaurant newcomer Mam Hanoi. The eatery near Chinatown serves banh mi, pho and noodle plates, and specialty main platters large enough for two. Mam Hanoi Restaurant, 261A 10th St. (at Alice Street), Oakland
MIETTE PATISSERIE & CONFISERIE In a sweet switch, Montclair’s former Batch Pastries is now Miette. The beloved dessert shop mini-chain from chef-owner Meg Ray began as a Berkeley and Ferry Building farmer’s market stand in 2001, before graduating into distinctive, boutique-like pastry and sweet shops in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, Hayes Valley, and Marin County. In 2009, Ray opened a bakery and retail flagship in Jack London Square, but as Tablehopper reported last month, a landlord dispute forced closure there — so she has resettled in Montclair Village. Look for a lovely array of cakes, macarons, tarts and other confections (Monteclairs!), as well as Ray’s newest project, sourdough. Miette Patisserie & Confiserie at Montclair Village, 2220 Mountain Blvd., Oakland
M2 MIMOSA ON GRAND This stylish new cocktail and champagne bar and lounge provides bar bites, bottle service and a roomy space for celebrations and private events. Sundays feature bottomless brunch. M2 Mimosa on Grand, 3320 Grand Ave. (between Mandana Boulevard and Lake Park Avenue), Oakland
OSHA THAI EXPRESS In 1996, chef Lalita Souksamlane opened a modest noodle shop on Geary Street in San Francisco and called it Osha, the royal Thai word for “ambrosial.” Since then, the Thai-born chef with an eye for opulence has grown a small empire, including the spacious Osha Restaurant at the Embarcadero Center, multiple fast-casual Osha Thai Express locations in San Francisco, as well as Lao Table in SoMa. She has also expanded overseas to Bangkok; is behind Torsap Thai Kitchen in Walnut Creek (and, soon, Hawaii); and even opened a Thai-themed luxury resort in Napa during the pandemic called BANN at Oak Knoll. This month she adds Oakland to her quiver, with the new Osha Thai Express near Daughter’s Diner in Uptown, featuring curries, noodles, rice plates, salads and soups. Osha Thai Express, 326 23rd St., Oakland
PHILLY’S BEST The Oakland Food Hall ghost kitchen’s newest tenant for take-out or delivery only is cheesesteak eatery Philly’s Best, serving East Coast-style cheesesteaks (yes, on Amoroso rolls), chicken cheesesteaks, hoagies and burgers. This is the California-based chain’s first foray into ghost kitchen service; there is also a brick-and-mortar Philly’s Best located near Oakland airport. Philly’s Best inside Oakland Food Hall, 2352 E 12th St., Oakland
TAQUERIA LA VENGANZA Plant-based Mexican cuisine from longtime favorite vegan pop-up chef Raul Medina is on offer at this new market and eatery. Dishes include vegan burritos, gorditas, empanadas, tacos, loaded fries and posole, with orders being taken now for holiday tamales and chilaquiles to come. Pantry staples include bags of 100-percent plant-based carnitas and other spicy vegan goodies. Taqueria La Venganza, 597 15th St. (at Jefferson Street), Oakland
LA FONTAINE The popular Mountain View restaurant opened a second location in Walnut Creek in November, inside the space best known as the home of Le Cheval for over 11 years. The Bay Area News Group reports that the East Bay outpost of the French-Italian spot serves a Provençale menu for lunch and dinner, with standbys like branzino, steak frites and pastas. La Fontaine, 375 N. Broadway (near Arroyo Way, Walnut Creek — Eve Batey
MOLLI RESTAURANT & LOUNGE Reyes Ramos, the owner of the Agave Grill inside Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza, has made an interesting pivot: He hired Julián Lopez-Kelly, a buzzy East Bay chef who drew crowds with his Molli pop-up at nearby Nicaraguan spot La Fritanguera, to run the place. So in many ways, this is a story of a pop-up that’s found a permanent home, then refocused to become a fine dining destination. Molli’s opening prompted the Bay Area News Group to ask if Concord is ready for fine dining, but if emails to Nosh are any indication, there’s plenty of demand in the area for a menu like Lopez-Kelly’s with a ribeye steak that’s aged for 60 days, ramenbirra (the name tells the tale) or a meaty $44 paella for two. Molli Restaurant & Lounge, 1935 Galindo St. (in Todos Santos Plaza), Concord — Eve Batey
RAMEN GAGA 2 Pleasanton’s woman-owned Ramen GaGa has landed a second location in Richmond at the Pacific East Mall, offering signature and build-your-own ramen as well as small plates, salads, tempura and other specialties. Dishes feature imported Japanese and fresh local ingredients. Ramen GaGa 2, Pacific East Mall, 3288 Pierce St., Suite C136, Richmond
SAMMY’S AT WONDROUS BREWING A PSA to fans of this young Korean comfort food pop-up serving crispy-chewy stuffed pancakes called hodduck (sometimes spelled hotteok): Sammy’s is now pressing hodduck at Wondrous Brewing in Emeryville on the regular, as well as at the Aloha Club, Original Pattern Brewing and Novel Brewing. Readers may have spotted Elena Kadvany’s piece on the trending street-snack pop-up and its chef Sammy Pak. Watch Instagram for dates and locations. Sammy’s, various East Bay locations
SHELL SHOCK SEAFOOD HOUSE What used to be Katsu in Alameda is now Shell Shock Seafood House. The Hayward-based Cajun seafood restaurant piles plates high with crab, shrimp, fried catfish and other seafood, as well as gumbo, garlic noodles and lots of spice. Shell Shock Seafood House, 1465 Webster St. (at Santa Clara Avenue), Alameda