Get to know fried biscuits with chicken and duck liver mousse at The Wolf.
Expectations are always high whenever a newcomer takes the place of a 40-year-old stalwart beloved by the community.
Such was the case when The Wolf opened last year in the iconic Craftsman building that for so long housed the iconic Bay Wolf restaurant.
But diners needn’t have worried. After all, The Wolf was opened by Rich and Rebekah Wood, who also own Wood Tavern and Southie, both in Oakland. In fact, Wood Tavern Chef Yang Peng made the leap to helm the kitchen at The Wolf.
The chic bar.
The classic bones of the restaurant remain, but the place has been brightened with an open kitchen and a sleek solid stone bar that’s illuminated underneath.
A two-fisted chicken schnitzel at the new Manresa Bread in Campbell.
If you already love the artisan loaves at Manresa Bread, then you are sure to go bonkers for the new downtown Campbell location that opened less than two weeks ago.
That’s because it features not only its already adored long-fermented loaves made with its freshly milled flours, but bread in so many other incarnations.
We’re talking chicken schnitzel breaded in the bakery’s own crumbs before being fried to a crisp and loaded into a fresh-baked bun with caper, mayo and house-fermented kraut.
Spaetzle made with a sourdough starter, and finished in a sauce of whey, butter and Pecorino.
And bone marrow matzo balls bobbing in bone broth, with the tender, moist dumplings actually made with levain bread crumbs.
Shelves of bread where you help yourself to loaves.
At 2,100 square feet, the Campbell locale is twice the size of the Los Gatos and Los Altos locations, enabling it to also operate much more like an all-day cafe, with hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tempeh and spaetzel at Millennium that taste like beef stroganoff.
Recently, I dined with a companion at a vegan restaurant.
No, it was not with my husband, aka Meat Boy.
But even he enjoyed the leftovers I brought home afterward.
That tells you just how satisfying the cuisine is at Millennium in Oakland.
In fact, the majority of diners there are not strictly vegan. But they are lured by the creativity of Chef Eric Tucker’s dishes.
Millennium first opened in 1994 in San Francisco before moving to the Rockridge neighborhood across the Bay in 2015.
Even on a Monday night, typically a slow time for most restaurants, the dining room was packed.
Fried oyster mushrooms.
My friend Sheila (also not a vegan) and I started with a big pile of Coriander and Arborio Crusted Oyster Mushrooms ($13.95). The Italian risotto rice used in the coating gives the mushrooms a heavier and toastier tasting crust. Pick one up and dip into the sweet-spicy habanero jam. It’s perfect finger-food.
Almost too pretty to drink: the Speaker Box cocktail at Tartine Manufactory.
I should rename myself Carb Gal because when it comes to artisan bread, I have no will power.
So when I recently met a colleague for dinner at Tartine Manufactory in San Francisco, I was all set to indulge in some very fine bread — and to take a loaf home for later. But no such luck on the latter. More often than not, the bakery-restaurant runs out of retail to-go loaves long before dinner, and reserves the rest for the evening service.
I may have left with an empty hand, but in no way with an empty stomach.
We still managed to order some slices of oat porridge bread to enjoy at the table. The thick, substantial slices were made for spreading butter on. It really does have a cooked grain, porridge-like flavor. This is bread you could happily eat all on its own and be satisfied. But if you know Tartine, you know that already.
Loaves reserved for dinner service.
What you might not know is how inspired the cocktails are, and how beautiful the food is in a naturalistic, non-contrived way.
Fondue 2.0 at Bardo Lounge & Supper Club.
If you grew up watching “The Brady Bunch” (as I did) or lived in an Eichler-designed house (as I did), you know full well the timeless appeal of mid-century modernity.
That’s the aesthetic that Bardo Lounge & Supper Club in Oakland brings to life in a 21st century way.
Opened in October, this new restaurant looks to the past for inspiration, but interprets it in a cool new way going forward with global influences.
Owner Seth Bregman modeled it after the cocktail parties his parents threw in their Southern California home. In fact, the main floor lounge even features a vintage lamp and sofa that he hijacked from his parents’ living room.
You can enjoy a casual, a la carte menu in the lounge, while planted on that sofa or other ones. I always find it a little precarious to juggle drink and food while having to reach up and over to a coffee table.
The logo sign.
The main floor lounge with mid-century decor.
But you can always take the slightly more formal route upstairs, where a three-course, $59 per person prix fixe is served. It’s a quieter area, where you can still overlook the buzzy lounge area.