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Diablo Dish: 54 Mint Forno Italiano Is Heating Up

Savor the stone soup special at Oakland’s Calavera; Third Culture Bakery turns three; Easter brunch options in the East Bay; Burmese bumps Vietnamese in Walnut Creek; and more Dish.


Walnut Creek’s 54 Mint Forno Italiano to Explode Thursday

No, it’s not a dynamite demolition of the Locust Street restaurant (located next to Katy’s Kreek) but rather a celebration of two of Italy’s famous volcanoes—Mount Etna in Sicily and Mount Vesuvius near Naples.

It’s a truism among wine lovers that vines grown on the slopes of volcanos have a certain ineffable quality, and 54 Mint Forno Italiano will give diners a chance to find out for themselves on Thursday, April 11 at 5 p.m. by pairing five wines from those volcanos with southern Italian and Sicilian courses.

The cost will be $65—pyroclastic flows not included. 


Caldo de Piedra

Oakland’s Calavera Hopes Everyone Will Get Stoned

And why not? Caldo de Piedra, or stone soup, is an ancient Oaxacan recipe that was originally prepared by men as an offering to women, children, and elders. On Sunday, April 14, it comes to Oakland, courtesy of Oaxaca’s Caldo de Piedra restaurant.

Calavera, located in the Hive on Broadway in Uptown Oakland, is bringing members of the Gauchupin family—who own Caldo de Piedra—to prepare their special version of stone soup for diners at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The Gauchupins are bringing stones from Oaxaca to use in the recipe, which calls for heated rocks to be dropped into a hollowed gourd filled with a spicy broth.

The unique meal costs $40; other items on Calavera’s menu will be available as well. 


Threes are Wild: Third Culture Celebrates Its Third Birthday

For one day only, Berkeley’s adored Third Culture Bakery will offer an exclusive savory menu featuring Indonesian favorites and signature desserts—plus the original mochi muffins and butter mochi donuts that put Third Culture on the culinary map.

Third Culture is on Eighth Street between Carleton and Pardee and the birthday party runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. 


Town Square Eats Joins Crooked City Cider in Jack London Square

Well, technically Second and Broadway isn’t actually Jack London Square, but it’s definitely in the neighborhood. Now for those in search of dry cider, there’s another reason—aside from the dry cider at the long-running Crooked City Cider—to walk those couple of blocks from the waterfront.

Rob Lam and Helen Chandra of Montclair’s wonderful Perle Wine Bar, and James and Lea Yu of Berkeley’s Michelin-mentioned Great China Restaurant have joined forces with Town Square Eats, which will share the 2,800-square-foot space next to Starbucks with Crooked City.

Though a full rollout won’t take place until April 17, a soft opening is ongoing with a limited menu and hours. For now, there’s upscale bar food, pizza, salads, and sandwiches, but more options will arrive soon. 


Lungomare, Stephanie Amberg

Easter Is Late, But You Don’t Have To Be

Easter eggs are fun, but not much of a meal. So, after the kids destroy the garden finding the hidden hard-boiled eggs that they are unlikely to eat, head out to enjoy a special breakfast. Here are some options for Easter Sunday, on April 21 this year.

Wente Vineyards: Even though the Livermore restaurant itself is closed for renovations, the cooking team is staying sharp by hosting an Easter buffet in the Events Center. The 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. seatings are $75 for adults, $35 for children 4 to 12, and free to those younger than 4. 

The Peasant and Pear: The three-course prix fixe Easter brunch at Danville’s The Peasant and the Pear is $45 per person and will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Postino: Along with its regular menu, Lafayette’s Postino will offer a two-course $40 prix fixe brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with children able to chow down on one course for $12. 

Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill: Specials such as lamb shoulder with grits and pan-roasted striped bass will be served in addition to the regular menu at the Oakland eatery—and the Easter Bunny will be in attendance from noon to 3 p.m. 

The Terrace Room: Views of Lake Merritt (from 19th and Oak) complement a $69 brunch buffet ($39 for children under 12) that includes, appropriately, carrot muffins. The buffet is available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Duende: The Spanish-focused restaurant is only open for brunch two days a year, and Easter is one of them. So, the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. brunch in Oakland’s Uptown district is not to be missed. 

Lungomare: The Jack London Square restaurant gives you a lot of time to enjoy the buffet, as it will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The price is $60, with children under 12 getting in for $25. 


Burma Unique Takes Over the Old Le Cheval Spot

Burma Unique is set to open on Monday, April 15 at the former home of Le Cheval on Broadway in Walnut Creek. We’re not sure that opening a restaurant on the day people file their taxes is the best idea, but hopefully a lot of folks have figured out they’re getting refunds.


Emeryville Public Market Says a Pair of Goodbyes

We Sushi and Mayo and Mustard were both part of the Emeryville Public Market revamp but, sadly, both have closed. There are still plenty of great options down by the Amtrak station, and after years of construction, there’s now parking galore. 

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Happy Hour Bar & Bites at
The Cooperage

Monday through Friday
3pm – 5:30pm


This isn’t your typical happy hour. This quintessential neighborhood spot offers high-quality craft cocktails on tap and tasty bites. Menu features: $10 cocktails on tap, $5 select beer & wine, $1 oysters, $7 bacon cheeseburger sliders, $7 crispy beer battered shrimp sliders, $9 sashimi-grade ahi tuna tartare. 

32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette
​Reservations: www.thecooperagelafayette.com or 925.298.5915

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