You know it's a good week for eating in the East Bay when Oakland's best pizza place goes into expansion mode and a new Philz coffee opens up. And have we mentioned, pozole at Camino, late night eats in Temescal, and the cafe-cum-literary salon?
Let's start with the pizza: Nick Yapor-Cox and Aron Ford, the team behind beloved Nick's Pizza on Shattuck, have opened Nick and Aron's in Temescal. The two have strong baking backgrounds, and have been tight since high school. Nick's is behind some of our very favorite pies in town, featuring Yapor-Cox's signature sourdough crust and a bevy of top-notch local ingredients. The pies will feature strongly on the new restaurant's lunch and dinner menus, with much more to whet your appetite. Breakfast will include fresh pastries and bread (if you've been to Nick's, you may have gotten a taste of Ford's prowess with pastry); lunch will have a selection of salads (sandwiches are forthcoming); while dinner gets even more ambitious with starters like roasted bone marrow and lamb meatballs with harissa, plus wood-oven mains including manila clams and roast chicken.
Right across the street? Grange Hall, a spot specializing in high quality cocktails, upscale comfort food, and later hours (they plan to be open until midnight). The cocktail program, from Jason Huffman of Roka Akor, includes house made sodas, tinctures and bitters (featured prominently in the GH Apothecary section of the drink menu); a selection of new and classic drinks; and tableside bottle service. The food menu, from chef Matt Burger, is drink-friendly and hearty, with choices like pastrami fries, a signature burger, and a lobster roll. There will be a smaller menu available from 10 p.m. to 12 p.m.
Photo: Octopus Literary Salon
Add this to our must-visit list: the Octopus Literary Salon is open in Uptown Oakland, and combines a daytime cafe, bookstore, and evening event space in one. Food options include homemade strata and granola, Arizmendi pastries; plus sandwiches and salads for lunch (and roast chicken!). Sip a glass of wine or a craft beer over a book, or while checking out one of the varied performances (right now, they've got live music, comedy, and a one woman play on the docket).
Pozole at Camino.
In case you needed yet another reason to get to Camino, chef Russ Moore is continuing his delectable Pozole Mondays series this month. The weekly changing menu includes three courses for $40 — this coming Monday's menu includes a puntarelle salad with roasted beets, grilled endive, and wild fennel; fireplace-cooked pozole blanco with pork, chicharones, hominy, chiles, and green garlic; and burnt nut-flavored ice cream with wood oven-roasted rhubarb and candied pecans.
Finally, consider your Rockridge caffeine needs filled — the north Oakland 'hood is now home to a brand new Philz Coffee.