San Francisco-based avocado toast and coffee bar Avotoasty, founded by Colombian-born entrepreneur Sofia Pinzon, now has a location softly open in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood. The fanciful counter offers an elaborate array of healthful smoothies, juices, coffee and other hot drinks (including a beetroot latte), acai bowls, salads and an especially colorful menu of toasts for breakfast and lunch. Avotoasty, 175 Bay Pl. (between Harrison and Grand), Oakland

Cafe Jolie Petit

Devotees of Alameda’s lovely breakfast and brunch cafe Cafe Jolie have been waiting for this “petite” version of the popular Euro-inspired spot. Now open, the Bay Farm annex features a more industrial, shipping-container-counter vibe than its flower-strewn French-style parent cafe, though a bright mural adds a floral touch, and there is comfortable, covered outdoor seating for sipping coffee drinks and mimosas and nibbling on pastries and cafe fare near the waterfront. Cafe Jolie Petit, 1501 Harbor Bay Pkwy., Alameda

Expect “fat stacks” of thick, gooey, freshly baked cookies with names such as Snooperdoodle, Mac Daddy and Crunch Nugget from Cookie Plug, the cookie franchise with an old-school street  vibe now open in Emeryville. The shop softly opened the last week of September, joining the frontlines of what appears to be an East Bay-wide cookieslam among growing franchise brands currently competing for sweet-tooth dollars at counters and on DoorDash (with more to come soon). Thanks to the E’ville Eye for the opening bite. Cookie Plug, 6399 Christie Ave., Emeryville    

Dessert N Spice

The former Poki Poke on University at Bonita (adjacent to Kinda Izakaya) is now Dessert N Spice from baker Maham Dar. The pastry case includes freshly baked cakes, croissants, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, a coffee menu and, as promised, spice, including savory samosas. Anglophiles please note: sticky toffee pudding is also available. The dessert shop softly opened Sept. 29. Dessert N Spice, 1941B University Ave. (at Bonita Avenue), Berkeley

The Essence: Redefining Indian Food

Beyond The Creek first had word that The Essence opened in Walnut Creek. The gleaming, white-tablecloth Indian restaurant purports to “redefine” the cuisine while using traditional flavors and spice profiles, and has good reviews so far, especially for its upscale date-night ambience. The Essence: Redefining Indian Food, 1512 N Main St., Walnut Creek

Ike’s Sandwiches El Cerrito Plaza

The national empire of hefty sandwiches in an array of combinations (there are more than 400 on the menu) founded by Ike Shehadeh in San Francisco in 2007 has arrived in El Cerrito. The new shop is the 15th Ike’s Sandwiches shop in the East Bay alone, and adds to the quickly growing set of fast-casual dining options in the El Cerrito Plaza. Ike’s Sandwiches El Cerrito, 350 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito 

Lavender Bakery & Cafe San Pablo Avenue

As reported last week, the space that once housed States Coffee in Berkeley has already become the second location for Lavender Bakery, joining the original location of the European-style patisserie on Solano Avenue that opened in 2018. According to preliminary reports from Nosh readers, the swift transformation has been agreeable for neighborhood customers, as many similar fresh breads and toasts loved at States have been included on the new Lavender menu, and coffee drinks are getting favorable reviews. The stately space seems to have fallen into good hands. Lavender Bakery & Cafe, 2101 San Pablo Ave. (at Addison Street), Berkeley

Poindexter Coffee

Nosh tipsters alerted us to this newer Graduate Hotel chain coffee shop (with the fantastic name) now open near U.C. Berkeley. Poindexter cafe counters with coffee drinks and light pastries are present in most Graduate Hotel chain lobbies, but here in Berkeley the Poindexter makes use of the lovely former Tartine space, once a flower shop, a sunny standalone space attached to the hotel property. The coffee shop opened at the end of August. Poindexter Coffee at The Graduate Hotel, 2600 Durant Ave., Berkeley 

Willows and Pine

Chef Michauxnée Olier, who was born in Berkeley and raised in Oakland, has now opened her first restaurant after launching the Busy Wife Personal Chef and Catering service in 2017. Located in the Dimond District, Willows and Pine features a menu of Creole soul food including braised oxtails served with collard greens, chicken etouffee, and an “Everything Gumbo” loaded with crab legs, shrimp, chicken and sausage. Willows and Pine, which will also offer catering, soft opened in September and officially opened this week. Willows and Pine, 3525 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland — Tovin Lapan