Friday, May 29, 2020

Oakland Restaurateurs Ask City for Post-Pandemic Support

Over 150 small-business stakeholders sign proposal requesting protection from eviction, liability, and more.

by S. Rufus
Fri, May 29, 2020 at 4:00 AM

A group of Oakland restaurant owners has composed and sent a "Retail Recovery Proposal" letter this week to the City of Oakland, expressing their collective urgency around saving their businesses while reopening safely and protecting their workers while moving "back into what is hopefully a new and improved 'normal.'"

"Something has to be done immediately to avoid the certainty of mass restaurant closures," reads the letter, signed thus far by over 150 Oakland-based small-business owners, workers, and stakeholders and originally coauthored by Miles Palliser, owner of the Athletic Club Oakland; Chris Pastena, owner of Chop Bar, Tribune Tavern, and Calavera (depicted above); Jake Freed, owner of Shiba Ramen; Derreck Johnson, owner of Home of Chicken and Waffles; Melissa Axelrod, owner of Mockingbird; and Romney Steele, owner of The Cook and Her Farmer.

"Small retail businesses, and the restaurant industry more specifically, were already suffering and in need of support prior to this crisis," the letter reads. "These businesses are particularly vulnerable now due to COVID-19. ...

"Restaurants, bars, cafes, and nightlife venues are a crucial part of the fabric of any city, particularly Oakland. ... We are in a period of social distancing, but we will again be in a place where social gathering is part of daily life. We need to make sure our public spaces are still standing and positioned to thrive.

"Restaurants are also the driver of a much larger economic ecosystem. Along with thousands of jobs for hospitality workers, we also support vendors, farmers, delivery drivers, cleaners, tradespeople, and more. ...

"One thing that is critical for everyone to realize is that ‘allowing’ restaurants to reopen does not necessarily save restaurants or improve the economy. It does not mean that the public will come out or that we will have jobs for many people to come back to."

Among other requests, the letter asks for eviction protections, increased Covid-19 testing, a Covid-19 improvements fund to finance pandemic-mandated changes, and protection "from unfair and unnecessary legal action."

The letter also requests liability protection, given that restaurateurs "could face action from a customer who states that they contracted COVID-19 while on our premises. Our insurance policies ​do not​ cover us if a customer sues us claiming this happened."

Signers of the letter include Cortt Dunlap (Awaken Café); Mayra Velazquez (Xingones); William Tsui (Viridian); Matt Kreutz (Firebrand Artisan Bread); Blake Joffe (Beauty's Bagel Shop); May Seto Wasem (Grand Lake Kitchen); Austin Cheung (Marica); Akara Sutraromluck (Pintoh Thai); Amy Hillyard (Farley's Coffee); Susanne Breen (Downtown Wine Merchants), and many more.

To sign the letter and/or show support, click here.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Fremont-Based Pathwater Debuts New Bottle Benefiting Frontline Workers

The sustainable aluminum bottles celebrate American heroes; a portion of sales benefits a medical-aid nonprofit.

by S. Rufus
Thu, May 28, 2020 at 4:00 AM

PHOTO COURTESY OF PATHWATER
  • Photo courtesy of Pathwater

Fremont-based bottled-water brand Pathwater has just debuted a limited-edition aluminum bottle celebrating American heroes — and is donating a percentage of the sale price of each such bottle to Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization providing medical aid and supplies to communities affected by COVID-19 nationwide.

Adorned with a boldly red, white, and blue design incorporating the American flag and bald eagle, the brand-new bottle celebrates Pathwater's commitment to maintaining all of its processes — from manufacturing to marketing — within the continental USA.

Pathwater is also committed to sustainable practices: After just four refills, its bottles become carbon-neutral. Being made and sold within the USA also raises the bottles' sustainability factor.

"Especially now during these unprecedented times, we're committed to supporting our country, community, and the environment with the launch of our new Made In USA bottle," Pathwater co-founder and CEO Shadi Bakour said in a press release.

"We are so proud to have 100 percent of our products manufactured  and bottled in the United States and are passionate about supporting our local communities and minimizing our carbon footprint," Bakour said.

Released this week, amidst shelter-in-place-flavored Memorial Day celebrations, the limited-edition bottles are sold at stores nationwide or on Pathwater's website.

Determined to provide an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic bottles, Pathwater was the first-ever water brand packaged in 100 percent reusable and recyclable aluminum bottles.

The five-year-old Fremont company — whose investors and active brand stewards include celebrity chef Guy Fieri and NFL star Vernon Davis, and which was introduced at San Francisco International Airport as part of the SFO Zero-Waste Concessions Program — offers three types of purified water. Pathwater Still is filled with water that is ultra-purified through a seven-step reverse-osmosis process and enhanced with electrolytes for a pH-balanced beverage. Pathwater Sparkling is delicately carbonated, and Pathwater Alkaline contains specialty electrolytes with a final pH of 9.5+.

Last month, Pathwater released a limited-edition leafy-green bottle to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. Proceeds from the sale of the Earth Day bottles were donated to five ecology-driven nonprofits.

Direct Relief, the organization benefiting from the sales of Pathwater's new red-white-and-blue bottles, equips medical staff with life-saving resources – including money, medicine, and supplies — in eighty different countries and all fifty states.

"We are so excited to be partnering with Direct Relief to help raise money to provide much-needed medical supplies and resources to frontline workers and communities nationwide," said Pathwater co-founder and CMO Ali Orabi.

"None of this would be possible without our amazing team," Orabi said.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Restaurateurs Request Massive Aid Package

Owners of Tacos Oscar, Make Westing, The Kebabery, Bar Shiru and other businesses sign "bail out Main Street" document sent to Congress

by S. Rufus
Tue, May 26, 2020 at 9:37 PM

Owners Glenn Kaplan of Make Westing, Brian Crookes of The Kebabery, Shirin Raza of Bar Shiru, Elizabeth Frumusa of Bellanico Restaurant and co-owner Martina Nemling of Modern Coffee are among the East Bay business owners who have joined thousands more nationwide in formally asking Congress to "bail out Main Street" with stimulus funds during the Covid-19 crisis.

Signed thus far by over 12,000 small-business owners nationwide and processed through the Washington, D.C.-based SmallBusinessMajority.org advocacy outfit, the document addressed to Congress reads in part:

"The COVID-19 pandemic has left America's small businesses and entrepreneurs on the brink of collapse through no fault of our own. People are struggling, our businesses are closing or slowing operations, and many of us are being forced to lay off our hard-working employees en masse. Immediate action is needed by Congress and the administration, which is why we call on you to provide a massive and bold stimulus package for Main Street that includes grant assistance.

"Small businesses employ 47 percent of private sector workers in the U.S. That's nearly 60 million individuals who depend on small businesses like ours for their livelihood and the livelihood of their families. If we're going to rebuild our economy after this crisis, we need our elected officials to put small businesses front and center of this relief effort.

"While preliminary action on economic stimulus packages was a step in the right direction, the funds disbursed for new small business loans will just begin to scratch the surface of what we need. We've reached a point now where small businesses need much more than loans to reopen or keep our businesses going—we need an immediate cash infusion. Otherwise we will still struggle to keep our doors open, rehire staff, mitigate supply chain disruptions and pay off mounting debt.

"We urge you to act now to provide immediate cash flow assistance and other important policy solutions to support America's small businesses. This is the only way to ensure our businesses and our economy can survive the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19."

Other East Bay owners who signed the document include Malaka Wilson-Greene of Two Chicks in the Mix, Olivia Colt of Salt & Honey, Oscar Michel of Oakland's Tacos Oscar and Lito Saldana of Los Moles and many more.


A New Mountain Mike's Pizza Opens in Oakland

Covid-19 or no Covid-19, Mountain Mike's Pizza has just announced the launch of its newest location—near the Oakland Colisum and Oracle Arena. It's the city's fifth Mountain Mike's.

"Although we're not able to open our dining rooms just yet, we are proud to begin serving Mountain Mike's signature pizzas to the Oakland community in the safest way possible," said Bhimsen Khadka, one of the new location's three franchise partners.

Although its dining room is closed until shelter-in-place orders are revised, the restaurant offers a full menu of pizzas, wings, garlic sticks, beers, wines and more via contactless delivery and carry-out, as reported by QSR Magazine.

Customers can also place orders through DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Postmates.

Once the 2,200-square-foot restaurant opens its dining room, customers will be able to enjoy its several big-screen TVs.

"We're thrilled to make Mountain Mike's legendary pizza even easier to access and enjoy with the addition of a new Oakland location and are looking forward to the day we can welcome guests into our restaurant to experience our unique dine-in environment," Khadka said. "Mountain Mike's has offered carryout and delivery for over 40 years, and we've recently added enhanced levels of safety and convenience to our process, like tamper-proof packaging, contactless delivery, as well as adhering to the strictest health and safety guidelines set by the CDC and the State of California to give our guests peace of mind when ordering from Mountain Mike's."

Founded in Palo Alto in 1978, the Newport Beach–based Mountain Mike's group now has over 200 locations throughout California, Oregon and Utah.


Los Moles Owner Plans New Walnut Creek Location

Lito Saldana, the owner and chef of Los Moles restaurants in El Cerrito, Emeryville and San Rafael, is now planning to open a new location in Walnut Creek.

Earlier this month, the Walnut Creek City Council approved Saldana's pursuit of a 10-year lease with two five-year options to occupy the ground floor of the city-owned South Locust Parking Garage, as reported at Patch.

The city of Walnut Creek also negotiated a 20 percent rent reduction for each month during the lease's first two years in which gross sales amount to less than $200,000, Patch reports.

Featuring 100 percent gluten-free menus including organic eggs, coffee, teas, sugar, milk, agave nectar and handcrafted corn tortillas, Los Moles restaurants specialize in mole sauce, as the name suggests.

A choice of eight different types of mole—house-made in copper pots—augments meat platters, tacos and "enmoladas." Burritos are served with mole both inside and on top.

Saldana grew up in Jalisco, Mexico, where he was inspired by the culinary skills of his grandmother and other relatives. His award-winning moles include a mole verde containing fresh chile poblano, spinach, cilantro, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Named after Saldana's mother, his Mama Luisa mole is a relatively light red sauce. His personal favorite is pipián mole—made almost entirely of pumpkin seeds, as reported by VisionHispanaUSA.

He launched El Cerrito's Los Moles Beer Garden in 2017. All three locations are currently open and offering pickup/delivery.

Friday, May 22, 2020

A New Mountain Mike's Pizza Opens in Oakland

It's the city's fifth location for the Newport Beach-based chain.

by S. Rufus
Fri, May 22, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Covid-19 or no Covid-19, Mountain Mike's Pizza has just announced the launch of its newest location — near the Oakland Colisum and Oracle Arena.

It's the city's fifth Mountain Mike's.

“Although we’re not able to open our dining rooms just yet, we are proud to begin serving Mountain Mike’s signature pizzas to the Oakland community in the safest way possible,” said Bhimsen Khadka, one of the new location's three franchise partners.

Although its dining room is closed until shelter-in-place orders are revised, the restaurant offers a full menu of pizzas, wings, garlic sticks, beers, wines, and more via contactless delivery and carry-out, as reported at QSR Magazine.

Customers can also place orders through DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates.

Once the 2,200-square-foot restaurant opens its dining room, customers can enjoy its several big-screen TVs.

“We’re thrilled to make Mountain Mike’s legendary pizza even easier to access and enjoy with the addition of a new Oakland location and are looking forward to the day we can welcome guests into our restaurant to experience our unique dine-in environment," Khadka said.

“Mountain Mike’s has offered carryout and delivery for over forty years," Khadka said, "and we’ve recently added enhanced levels of safety and convenience to our process, like tamper-proof packaging, contactless delivery, as well as adhering to the strictest health and safety guidelines set by the CDC and the State of California to give our guests peace of mind when ordering from Mountain Mike’s.”

Founded in Palo Alto in 1978, the Newport Beach-based Mountain Mike's group now has over 200 locations throughout California, Oregon, and Utah.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

East Bay Restaurateurs Request a "Massive and Bold Stimulus Package"

Owners of Tacos Oscar, Make Westing, The Kebabery, Bar Shiru, and other businesses sign "bail out Main Street" document sent to US Congress.

by S. Rufus
Thu, May 21, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Glenn Kaplan, owner of Make Westing; Brian Crookes, owner of Oakland's The Kebabery; Shirin Raza, owner of Oakland's Bar Shiru; Elizabeth Frumusa, owner of Oakland's Bellanico Restaurant; Martina Nemling,co-owner of Oakland's Modern Coffee; Rhamy Kirdani, owner of Walnut Creek's Twisted Times Restaurant; and Matt Dooling, co-owner of Walnut Creek's North Canyon Cider Company, are among the East Bay business owners who have joined thousands more nationwide in formally asking the US Congress to "bail out Main Street" with stimulus funds during the Covid-19 crisis.

Signed thus far by over 12,000 small-business owners nationwide and processed through the Washington, DC-based SmallBusinessMajority.org advocacy outfit, the document addressed to Congress reads in part:

"The COVID-19 pandemic has left America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs on the brink of collapse through no fault of our own. People are struggling, our businesses are closing or slowing operations, and many of us are being forced to lay off our hard-working employees en masse. Immediate action is needed by Congress and the Administration, which is why we call on you to provide a massive and bold stimulus package for Main Street that includes grant assistance. 

"Small businesses employ 47 percent of private sector workers in the U.S. That’s nearly 60 million individuals who depend on small businesses like ours for their livelihood and the livelihood of their families. If we’re going to rebuild our economy after this crisis, we need our elected officials to put small businesses front and center of this relief effort. 

"While preliminary action on economic stimulus packages was a step in the right direction, the funds disbursed for new small business loans will just begin to scratch the surface of what we need. We’ve reached a point now where small businesses need much more than loans to reopen or keep our businesses going—we need an immediate cash infusion. Otherwise we will still struggle to keep our doors open, rehire staff, mitigate supply chain disruptions, and pay off mounting debt. ...

"We urge you to act now to provide immediate cash flow assistance and other important policy solutions to support America’s small businesses. This is the only way to ensure our businesses and our economy can survive the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19."

Other East Bayites who signed the document include Malaka Wilson-Greene, owner of Oakland's Two Chicks in the Mix; Olivia Colt, owner of Oakland's Salt & Honey; Oscar Michel, owner of Oakland's Tacos Oscar; Lito Saldana, owner of El Cerrito's Los Moles; and many more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Cocktails-to-Go at Spice Monkey

The downtown Oakland restaurant will offer spirits, wines, local beers, and DIY cocktail kits

by S. Rufus
Tue, May 19, 2020 at 6:16 PM

Downtown Oakland's Spice Monkey Restaurant is now launching an innovative new curbside beverages-to-go program. The Spice Monkey Curbside Bottle Shop went live last week offering spirits, wines, beers (especially local brands), hard kombuchas, ciders, bitters, tonics and freshly made cocktails as well as DIY cocktail kits in three different sizes, containing all the ingredients to craft your own at home.

This new program was developed by Ananda Neil, founder of the Oakland-based Craft Bar Services company, which curates drinks for major festivals and sporting events.

"During my 'pandemic gig'—revamping the beer and wine department for [Spice Monkey's adjacent grocery store] Howden Market—Spice Monkey's owner Kanitha Matoury and I came up with the idea to bottle and offer a to-go menu of cocktails," said Neil, a certified sommelier who is also the beverage director for the Oakland Pride Festival.

"The idea is to order online and then pick up the drinks at our sidewalk-accessible counter—or we will literally walk it curbside for drive-up hand-off," Neil said.

Pickup hours will be from 3–7pm daily. An outdoor parklet flanks the restaurant—located in the historic Howden Building, which was built in 1925 and originally housed a floor-tile manufacturer.

The pre-mixed cocktails include Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and Negronis. Containing cups, ice, citrus garnishes and more, and available in 16-, 32- and 64-ounce versions, the cocktail kits allow users to create Pineapple-Poblano Margaritas, Lavender-Cucumber Collinses and Bourbon-Ginger Sours.

A key kit ingredient is Fresh Victor mixers—a local line of seven different fresh, clean-label, cold-pressed juice-based mixers that contain such elements as organic agave nectar and fresh prickly-pear purée—which launched retail distribution throughout the Bay Area late last month.

Since discovering the brand through its cofounder (and his colleague) H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of San Francisco's iconic Elixir Saloon, Neil has used Fresh Victor mixers "almost exclusively" at large events, he said, hailing their "superb quality and consistency."

A Cambodian immigrant who served nine years with the U.S. Air Force and was later renowned locally as a tea artisan and chef, Matoury has helmed Spice Monkey for 13 years.

These strange days call for innovation and reinvention, so Spice Monkey—whose Comedy Oakland stage has thrice won the "Best Place for Comedy" category in the East Bay Express Readers' Poll—stages online comedy performances via Zoom and streams "socially distant performances" by local musicians.

Performing this Friday from 7-8pm online is Oakland-born singer-songwriter Jennifer Johns with a scaled-down band featuring San Francisco guitarist-composer Ben Misterka.

Johns "is one of Oakland's best artists at the moment. Her entire summer tour was cancelled," Neil said.

To place drink orders, call or text 415-264-4866 or email SpiceMonkeyToGo@gmail.com.


Purity is Trippin'

Hip-hop artist Trippie Redd is partnering with the Oakland Purity Organic beverage company to bring refreshing cold drinks to healthcare workers nationwide.

Announced last week, the campaign finds Redd—who at age 20 has already recorded four top-10 albums—personally delivering donated drinks to medical staff and their support networks in New York City, Los Angeles and his hometown: Canton, Ohio.

"This is my way of giving back to the healthcare workers who are working so hard to help people fight off coronavirus," said Redd, whose November 2019 album A Love Letter To You 4 debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

"I just wanted to show my gratitude and do whatever I can to help out all the people who are trying to keep us safe," Redd said in a press release.

Hospitals including UCLA Medical Center, Canton's Mercy Medical Center and New York's Northwell Health are receiving varieties of drinks from Purity Organic—which sells juice-based beverages as well as organic Sweet Leaf teas and lemonades.

Users who make purchases at Purity's website using the special "DONATE" code will receive discounts and, for each purchase, Purity Organic will donate two cases of drinks to local organizations.

"Thank you to Trippie for this donation to the brave men and women working in our hospitals," said Purity Organic CEO Mary Page Platerink.

Los Moles Owner Lito Saldana Plans New Walnut Creek Location

It would be his fourth — joining those in Emeryville, El Cerrito, and San Rafael.

by S. Rufus
Tue, May 19, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Lito Saldana, owner/chef of the Los Moles restaurants in El Cerrito, Emeryville, and San Rafael, is now planning to open a new location in Walnut Creek.

Earlier this month, the Walnut Creek City Council approved Saldana's pursuit of a ten-year lease with two five-year options to occupy the ground floor of the city-owned South Locust Parking Garage, as reported at Patch.

The ground-floor space was formerly occupied by a Tender Greens location that closed in 2018.

The city of Walnut Creek also negotiated a 20 percent rent reduction for each month during the lease's first two years in which the restaurant's gross sales amount to less than $200,000, Patch reports.

Featuring 100 percent gluten-free menus including organic eggs, coffee, teas, sugar, milk, agave nectar, and handcrafted corn tortillas, Los Moles restaurants specialize in mole sauce, as the name suggests.

A choice of eight different types of mole — house-made in copper pots — augments meat platters, tacos, and "enmoladas." Burritos are served with mole both inside and on top.

Saldana grew up in Jalisco, Mexico, where he was inspired by the culinary skills of his grandmother and other relatives. His award-winning moles include a mole verde containing fresh chile poblano, spinach, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Named after Saldana's mother, his Mama Luisa mole is a relatively light red sauce. His personal favorite is pipián mole — made almost entirely of pumpkin seeds, as reported by VisionHispanaUSA.

He launched El Cerrito's Los Moles Beer Garden in 2017. All three locations are currently open and offering pickup/delivery.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Hip-Hop Star Trippie Redd Partners With Oakland's Purity Organic to Donate Drinks

The rapper is delivering beverages to healthcare workers nationwide.

by S. Rufus
Mon, May 18, 2020 at 4:00 AM

PHOTO COURTESY OF PURITY ORGANIC
  • Photo courtesy of Purity Organic

Hip-hop artist Trippie Redd is partnering with the Oakland-based Purity Organic beverage company to bring refreshing cold drinks to healthcare workers nationwide.

Announced last week, the campaign finds Redd — who at age twenty has already recorded four top-ten albums in just three years — personally delivering donated drinks to medical staff and their support networks in New York City, Los Angeles, and his hometown: Canton, Ohio.

"This is my way of giving back to the healthcare workers who are working so hard to help people fight off coronavirus," said Redd, whose November 2019 album A Love Letter To You 4 debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

"I just wanted to show my gratitude and do whatever I can to help out all the people who are trying to keep us safe," Redd said in a press release.

Hospitals including UCLA Medical Center, Canton's Mercy Medical Center, and New York's Northwell Health are receiving varieties of drinks from Purity Organic — which sells juice-based beverages as well as organic Sweet Leaf teas and lemonades.

Users who make purchases at Purity Organic's website using the special "DONATE" code will receive discounts and, for each purchase, Purity Organic will donate two cases of drinks to local organizations.

"Thank you to Trippie for this donation to the brave men and women working in our hospitals," said Purity Organic CEO Mary Page Platerink.

"Trippie is my son's favorite artist, and I love the example he is setting with this donation. We are delighted to have Trippie as part of the Purity Organic and Sweet Leaf Tea Family," Platerink said.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Spice Monkey/Howden Market Launch Curbside Cocktails-to-Go

The downtown Oakland restaurant will offer spirits, wines, local beers, and DIY cocktail kits.

by S. Rufus
Wed, May 13, 2020 at 4:00 AM

PHOTO COURTESY OF SPICE MONKEY
  • Photo courtesy of Spice Monkey

Downtown Oakland's Spice Monkey Restaurant is now launching an innovative new curbside beverages-to-go program.

Images started appearing today on social media, and the Spice Monkey Curbside Bottle Shop goes live this Friday, May 15 — offering spirits, wines, beers (especially local brands), hard kombuchas, ciders, bitters, tonics, and freshly made cocktails as well as DIY cocktail kits in three different sizes, containing all the ingredients to craft your own at home.

This new program was developed by Ananda Neil, founder of the Oakland-based Craft Bar Services company, which curates drinks for major festivals and sporting events.

"During my 'pandemic gig' — revamping the beer and wine department for [Spice Monkey's adjacent grocery store] Howden Market — Spice Monkey's owner Kanitha Matoury and I came up with the idea to bottle and offer a to-go menu of cocktails," explained Neil, a certified sommelier who is also the beverage director for the Oakland Pride Festival.

"The idea is to order online and then pick up the drinks at our sidewalk-accessible counter — or we will literally walk it curbside for drive-up hand-off," Neil said.

Pickup hours will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. An outdoor parklet flanks the restaurant — located in the historic Howden Building, which was built in 1925 and originally housed a floor-tile manufacturer.

The pre-mixed cocktails include Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and Negronis.

Containing cups, ice, citrus garnishes, and more and available in sixteen-, 32-, and 64-ounce versions, the cocktail kits allow users to create Pineapple-Poblano Margaritas, Lavender-Cucumber Collinses, and Bourbon-Ginger Sours.

A key ingredient in the kits is Fresh Victor mixers — a local line of seven different fresh, clean-label, cold-pressed juice-based mixers that contain such elements as organic agave nectar and fresh prickly-pear purée and launched retail distribution throughout the Bay Area late last month.

Since discovering the brand through its cofounder (and his colleague) H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of San Francisco's iconic Elixir Saloon, Neil has used Fresh Victor mixers "almost exclusively" at large events, he said, hailing their "superb quality and consistency."

PHOTO COURTESY OF SPICE MONKEY
  • Photo courtesy of Spice Monkey

A Cambodian immigrant who served nine years with the US Air Force, later renowned locally as a tea artisan and chef, Matoury has helmed Spice Monkey for thirteen years.

These strange days call for innovation and reinvention, so Spice Monkey — whose Comedy Oakland stage has thrice won the "Best Place for Comedy" category in the East Bay Express Readers' Poll — stages online comedy performances via Zoom and streams "socially distant performances" by local musicians.

Performing this Friday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and enjoyable online is Oakland-born singer-songwriter Jennifer Johns with a scaled-down band featuring San Francisco guitarist-composer Ben Misterka.

Johns "is one of Oakland's best artists at the moment. Her entire summer tour was cancelled," Neil said.

To place drink orders, call or text 415-264-4866 or email SpiceMonkeyToGo@gmail.com.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dunkin' Worker Starts DIY Craze

They bring sprinkles, frosting, creativity, and doughy fried roundness to sheltering-in-place.

by S. Rufus
Tue, May 12, 2020 at 6:53 PM

An employee at a Dunkin' in Concord has inspired the company's brand-new DIY Dunkin' Donut Kits.

Norma Valkenaar asked the restaurant's franchisee, Matt Cobo, whether she could bring home some donuts, frosting, and sprinkles so that her young nephews could experiment with customizing their own treats.

When Valkenaar reported that this experiment had proven fun and successful, Cobo realized that it might also enliven sheltering-in-place for many families. "The reality of this experience has set in, and we know it's not going anywhere anytime soon," Cobo said in a press release. "Like most parents, we were looking for ways to entertain our kids and bring a little levity to this situation."

Last month, Cobo's Dunkin' shops in Walnut Creek and Concord started making DIY kits — which workers were encouraged to take home and use with their own families and to deliver on the doorsteps of friends and relatives, and which customers can now buy.

Priced at $6 for four plain donuts and $10 for nine, the kits include three different kinds of sprinkles and several different frostings.

"This is our small way of trying to brighten someone's day," Cobo said.

"The simple joy of getting to create your own donut can make kids light up, and if we can be a part of creating that moment, that makes us happy."

Now Dunkin' restaurants all over the USA have started selling donut kits.

Since March 17, service at Dunkin' restaurants has been limited to drive-thru ordering, carry-out, and delivery, with a few locations also offering curbside service. The company is currently donating a percentage of its proceeds from every gift card sold to the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation — an emergency fund designed especially for nonprofits helping families affected by Covid-19.


Lance Winters Scores Another James Beard Nomination

wtf-2.jpg

Master distiller Lance Winters of Alameda's St. George Spirits has just been nominated for a his fifth straight James Beard Foundation Award in the Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer category.

Having previously worked as a US Navy nuclear engineer, Winters joined St. George in 1996 after offering its founder Jörg Rupf a sample bottle of his homemade whiskey. Since then, Winters has sparked attention worldwide for such distinctive spirits as St. George Single Malt Whiskey, St. George Absinthe Verte, St. George California Agricole Rum, the St. George gins (Botanivore Gin, Terroir Gin, and Dry Rye Gin), the St. George vodkas (All Purpose Vodka, California Citrus Vodka, and Green Chile Vodka), Baller Single Malt Whiskey, and Bruto Americano.

On May 4 — during what will be remembered as one of the restaurant industry's weirdest and most challenging phases ever — the James Beard Foundation livestreamed via its Twitter account this year's nominations in 60 categories spanning restaurateurship, restaurant design, and culinary media. James Beard awards are among the world's most prestigious food-and-drink-related honors.


Impossible Burger Expands Its Retail Presence

wtf-3.jpg

Impossible Foods, whose huge production facility is in 85th Street in Oakland, has just announced a huge retail expansion, with its popular plant-based Impossible Burger being rolled out this week at over 1,700 grocery stores nationwide.

All of those stores are owned by The Kroger Co., which operates in 28 states under many different brands including Pay Less, Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, Fred Meyer, and many more.

Impossible Foods' award-winning Impossible Burger — which won a Food and Beverage Award from the National Restaurant Association and which The New York Times has declared America's top plant-based burger — is now available not just on the shelves of these 1,700-plus stores, but can also be ordered online.

"The launch of Impossible Burger at Kroger grocery stores nationwide signals our intention to make Impossible Burger available everywhere America shops — at brick-and-mortar retailers and their increasingly popular online ordering and delivery services," said Impossible Foods' president Dennis Woodside, as reported at Supermarketnews and other venues.

"Our existing retail partners have achieved record sales of Impossible Burger in recent weeks. We expect our retail footprint to expand more than fifty-fold in 2020, and we are moving as quickly as possible to expand with additional outlets and in more retail channels," Woodside said.

The kosher, halal, and gluten-free-certified Impossible Burger is also served at Burger King, the Hard Rock Café, and thousands of other restaurants.

Demand for plant-based proteins is rising as worried consumers seek innovations and alternatives. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control reported that thousands of workers at American meat- and poultry-processing facilities have tested positive for Covid-19.

Most Popular Stories

© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation