Chef James Syhabout Helping Oakland Schools, Restaurant Weeks & More

Chef James Syhabout gives back to Oakland schools. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef James Syhabout gives back to Oakland schools. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef James Syhabout’s Dine About Oakland Public Schools Initiative

Oakland’s native son and only Michelin-starred chef, James Syhabout has launched “Dine About Oakland Public Schools.” Under the initiative, 5 percent of all sales in January at his Oakland restaurants, Hawker Fare, Box & Bells, The Dock, and Commis, will be donated to a designated Oakland school.

Through Jan. 17, proceeds will go to Claremont Middle School. From Jan. 18-24, funds will go to Chabot Elementary. And from Jan. 25-31, proceeds will benefit Oakland  Tech.

Restaurant Weeks

Chef James Syhabout’s Hawker Fare, Box & Bells, and The Dock also will be among the restaurants participating in Oakland Restaurant Week, Jan. 15-25.

For those 10 days, a slew of restaurants will be offering special prix-fixe lunch and/or dinner menus for $20, $30 and $40.

Among the other Oakland restaurants participating are: A Cote, A16 Rockridge, Bocanova, B-Side BBQ, Camino, Duende, Hopscotch, Mua and Pican. For a complete list, click here.


Across the Bay, from Jan. 21-30, you’ll find more of the same at San Francisco Restaurant Week. More than 100 restaurants will take part, offering everything from “Classic Enhanced Prix-Fixe Menus” of two-course lunches for $25 or three-course dinners for $40; and “Discovery Menus” for $85 per person.

Among those offering Enhanced Prix Fixe menus are: Le Marais Bakery, Chino SF and Bartlett Hall.

Among those creating Discovery Menus are: AQ, Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar, and Hog & Rocks.

The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank will receive 25 cents of every cover sold through OpenTable reservations during San Francisco Restaurant Week.

New Yogurt At Whole Foods

You’re probably rejoicing the opening — finally — of the long-awaited Whole Foods at 777 The Alameda in San Jose, which features the grocery’s first on-site microbrewery and tap room in California. It’s overseen by brew master Guy Cameron, formerly of Russian River Brewing Company.


Now, here’s another reason to check it out or another Northern California Whole Foods store — the debut of Blue Hill Yogurt in savory flavors. Yes, Blue Hill, the dairy farm associated with Chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill restaurant in New York City, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY.

The yogurts are made from whole milk from grass-fed cows. They come in six unusual flavors: Carrot, Sweet Potato, Beet, Butternut Squash, Tomato and Parsnip. My local Whole Foods didn’t have them in stock yet, but I hope it does soon, as I’m itching to try them.

A 6-ounce container is $2.69.

Update (May 2015): Finally spying the yogurt at my local Whole Foods, I bought the Carrot, and Butternut Squash to try. The Carrot has a sweet-savory quality and a beautiful orange hue. The Butternut Squash is almost like a subtle pumpkin mousse. Each of the yogurts is not nearly as sweet as so many fruit-on-the-bottom, mass-marketed yogurts. They also have a thinner consistency than, say, Greek yogurt.

The containers also come with serving suggestions, though they are printed on the inside of the container, so you may not see them if you’re eating straight out of the carton until you’ve had about a third of the yogurt. For instance, the Butternut Squash one is recommended to top with walnuts and a splash of balsamic vinegar. If you like more purity of flavor without an overwhelming sugariness, you will find these yogurts a nice welcome change.

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