Mid-Week Menu: El Gusano Opens, Caffe Venezia Says Goodbye, and Betty Crocker Gets Veganized



Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) El Gusano (1015 Clay St.), the new Old Oakland venture from the owners of San Francisco’s Tropisueño, is now open, according to Inside Scoop. It’s a taqueria by day and a full-service restaurant by night. I haven’t been able to track down a menu yet, but Tropisueño’s menu should serve as a good reference point. Entonces, more Baja-style fish tacos for Oakland.

2) Berkeleyside notes the opening of a new coffeehouse in downtown Berkeley, not far from Cal campus: Lindgren’s Coffee & Cafe (2120 Dwight Way). It’s the kind of place that roasts its own beans and bakes its own pastries in-house.

3) Courtesy of Diablo Dish, we have some more details on Township (1545 Broadway), the Uptown Oakland restaurant project from urban farmer Abeni Ramsey. Chef Brent Johnson will serve New American cuisine, and local ingredient sourcing will be taken to the next level, as Ramsey plans to showcase unusual fruit and vegetable varietals — lollipop kale, flamingo chard, and such — that she’ll be growing herself in West Oakland.

Final months for Caffe Venezia (via Facebook)
  • Final months for Caffe Venezia (via Facebook)
4) By now you may have heard that Berkeley stalwart Caffe Venezia is closing this year. A Berkeleyside article reminisces on the restaurant’s three-decade-long history and also notes that the Venezia will remain open for a couple more months, giving longtime customers a chance to revisit perennial favorites from menus past.

5) Edible Communities takes us through a day in the life of seafood distributor Joe Conte, giving a glimpse of just how much work goes into providing restaurants like Berkeley’s Comal with local, sustainable seafood (h/t to Inside Scoop).

6) As previously reported, Temescal newcomer Juhu Beach Club (5179 Telegraph Ave.) opens for business this Friday, March 1, at 5:30 p.m. Chef Preeti Mistry will be serving her full menu of curries and Indian street food specialties.

7) Berkeleyside has been monitoring the situation regarding a controversial new 7-Eleven that will occupy an empty building at the intersection of University Ave. and San Pablo Ave. in West Berkeley. Despite fairly outspoken opposition from local residents and neighboring businesses, Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board approved the application, with the caveat that store will not be allowed to open 24 hours as had been requested.

via Facebook
  • via Facebook
8) Vegans and vegan sympathizers may want to check out tonight’s PETA-hosted book signing and discussion with Dan and Annie Shannon, the authors of a new vegan cookbook (Betty Goes Vegan) that contains vegan reinterpretations of 500 classic Betty Crocker recipes. The event starts at 7 p.m., at PETA’s Oakland office (554 Grand Ave.). Vegan refreshments will be provided by Berkeley’s Cinnaholic.

9) Finally, ICYMI, check out this week’s sad news about Scream Sorbet’s imminent (but maybe, hopefully, avoidable?) closure and get the scoop on one of downtown Oakland’s best-kept secrets: high tea at the Pardee Home.

Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I'll read ‘em all.