Siamo Tutti Uniti

The Oakland coffee roaster Mr. Espresso is giving coffee to food banks, clinics, and shelters.

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This month alone, Oakland-based, family-owned Mr. Espresso has already donated more than 2,500 pounds of coffee to Bay Area COVID-19 relief efforts.

During the first two weeks of April, the 42-year-old company — founded in Alameda by enterprising Italian-born Carlo Di Ruocco and now renowned as the first and currently only outfit in the nation that uses oak wood to roast its beans — has given coffee to the Alameda County Community Food Bank and San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, Frontline Foods, East Bay FeedER, Clinica de La Raza, St. Anthony's Dining Room, Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen, and other food-, health-, homeless-, youth-, and family-assistance programs. Coffee also has been donated to workers at eight different Bay Area hospitals.

The company is also donating supplies for displaced industry workers through the LEE Initiative, operating locally through alaMar Kitchen & Bar.

In addition, a portion of all retail purchases (now available online and by phone) go toward Mr. Espresso's In Our Hearts Fund for COVID-19 relief. Follow Mr. Espresso on Instagram for updates. 

"We've been inspired by the ingenuity and tenacity those in our industry have shown refusing to give up if there's a fighting chance, literally reinventing their entire business models overnight in order to survive," Mr. Espresso's vice president and co-owner Luigi Di Ruocco wrote at the company's website. "That same spirit assures us, it guarantees us that everyone and everything is going to be okay. We continue to be driven by the words of our Italian brothers and sisters: Siamo tutti uniti — We are all united."

Sophie's Kitchen Donates Food

East Bay resident Miles Woodruff, CEO of the pioneering vegan-seafood brand Sophie's Kitchen, has just donated 3,000 cases of plant-based Toona to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County as well as several other Bay Area food shelters.

Amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, the company's brand-new Lemon Grass Toona flavor has not yet arrived in grocery stores — but 100 percent of it is now being provided to people in need.

"The best way to get through hardship is to be of service to others," explained Woodruff, whose strong commitment to animal welfare has included working with the Jane Goodall Institute and as a field research assistant in the Republic of Congo. "I was feeling overwhelmed by the impact the pandemic was having and wanted to help where I could."

Founded in 2011, Sebastopol-based Sophie's Kitchen produces plant-based alternatives to crabmeat, shrimp, tuna, and salmon.

"The East Bay is my home and the Bay Area is my community, so I wanted to leverage the resources I had available to help where I could."

Señor Sisig in the town

Just in time to celebrate its ten-year anniversary, popular Filipino-fusion food truck Señor Sisig has established a long-term location in Oakland. The brand-new spot is at 3331 Fruitvale Ave. in the Dimond District.

Trucks from its fleet have served in Oakland before, but until now only at one-time-only events and at Off The Grid — never from a permanent space.

Served chiefly inside soft tacos and burritos, the company's signature dish is sisig: pork shoulder, marinated in rich seasonings for 24 hours before being chopped. Chicken and tofu versions are also available, as are sisig-festooned fries, salads, nachos, and more.

Cofounder and CEO Evan Kidera had been seeking an Oakland location for quite some time before the Dimond District spot emerged amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, as shelter-in-place rules shuttered brick-and-mortar restaurants on both sides of the bay.

The company is celebrating its anniversary by giving back to the community — collaborating with longtime partner The City Eats to feed seniors, low-income families, and others who are struggling financially right now. A new initiative, #Sisig4ThePeople, aims to raise $100,000 to help fund preparation and delivery of meals. Anyone who donates over $100 to #Sisig4ThePeople will receive an early release of the official Señor Sisig commemorative T-shirt.

Local Food Adventures Boxes

Shelter-in-place rules prevent Local Food Adventures founder Lauren McCabe Herpich from leading groups on East Bay culinary walking tours, as is her usual stock-in-trade. But she has come up with another project to further tempt food fans while supporting local makers and proprietors.

Priced at $99 (shipping included) and packaged with festive paper and a handwritten message of your choosing, the Local Love Gift Box is a curated collection of items normally featured on Local Food Adventures tours.

Each Local Love Gift Box includes a 6.78 oz. bottle of Tuscan Herb infused olive oil from Amphora Nueva; a 1/2-cup jar of Poivre a la Mode Citrus Pepper from Oaktown Spice Shop; a 17.6 oz. bag of Rustichella d'Abruzzo pasta from Market Hall Foods; a 18 oz jar of Super Q Mild Barbeque Sauce from Everett & Jones Barbeque; two 1 oz. bars of Barlovento dark chocolate from Diablo Foods; a 4 oz. satchel of Vanilla Creme black tea from Papillon Coffee; online access to Cooking at Home with Local Food Adventures: Recipes from Top Chefs as Seen on Our Tours Digital Cookbook; a $15 gift certificate for any Local Food Adventures food tour; and a Local Food Adventures reusable shopping bag.

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