It's time to rev it up, East Bay—in addition to a whole lot of noteworthy openings and updates, we've got a number of delectable Christmas and New Years feasts for your dining pleasure. Ready to close out 2014 with a bang?
To begin, Berkeley is now home to the very first U.S. location of Smoke's Poutinerie. The Canada-based chain is slinging 20+ varieties of french fry-topped goodness, ranging from bacon cheeseburger to a classic iteration with brown gravy and cheese curds. What's more, they're open until 4am. Perfect for all of those UC Berkeley students who were up late... studying.
Over in Oakland, Downtown Wine Merchants has opened its doors, with a well-curated wine list of sustainable small production wines (around 140, to be exact)—25 available by the glass, 8 of which are on tap. They've also got a food menu showcasing dishes from wine-growing regions (think Spanish mussels and chorizo, Italian meats, and California cheeses).
Another noteworthy Oakland addition, much-loved mac 'n' cheese joint Homeroom, has opened a to-go operation just down the street from their restaurant. Fittingly titled Homeroom To-Go, you can get all of their regular mac 'n' cheese goodness, plus bottled sauces and dressings, beer and wine, sample platters, and more.
Once you've binged on wine and cheese (uh huh), cleanse yourself at La Sombra Juice Bar, a brand-new spot from the good people behind San Francisco's Bissip Baobab. Expect fresh and invigorating juices, smoothies, and hot drinks. All feature locally-sourced produce.
Moving on to holiday feasting, get your Christmas on, Italian-style, at A16 Rockridge. The restaurant is putting on a traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, featuring California-fied dishes like Dungeness crab with Calabrian chile and Meyer lemon. Bocanova is also throwing a Christmas Eve shindig, with dishes liek green tamales with chicken and persimmon pudding with egg nog ice cream.
Still finalizing your New Years plans? We've got tons of options for you, starting for a Latin funk dance party at Comal in Berkeley. In addition to sweet beats, expect heavy apps and a one-night only mezcal cocktail. Hog's Apothecary in Oakland is throwing a Butcher's Banquet and Beer Bonanza, a four-course meat feast paired with Craftsman Brewing Company beers from Pasadena. Even more suggestions: Hopscotch is hosting a five-course prix fixe meal (with cocktail pairings available; plank in Jack London Square is throwing a major bash complete with live music and a balloon drop; and Gather in Berkeley is hosting a five-course vegetarian feast (complete with truffles).