Plus the truth about monosodium glutamate, a lovely beer week power dinner, and the real way to eat chocolate.
Beer Week Dinner Alert: Comal and Drake's Brewing
Isn't Beer Week the best? On Tuesday, Jan. 26, East Bay heavy-hitters Comal and Drake's Brewing will join forces for a meal of small-batch brews and bites. The all-inclusive $70 meal ticket includes four courses, such as ahi tuna crudo with heirloom oranges, avocado, and fried plantains plus Drake's Hefe; duck tamales with mole coloradito plus Rye Robusto; and a flan with Rockridge Honey Farm Brown. This is way better than the Coors Light and Funyuns dinner your roommate was planning.
“Big Steak, Big Wine” Dinner at Roka Akor
You knew you were lying to yourself when you swore to be more abstemious in 2016. High-end sushi and Wagyu beef palace Roka Akor is celebrating National Meat Month with $120 domestic Wagyu flights (or $200 with wine pairing), as well as a 40-seat “Big Steak, Big Wine” dinner on Saturday, Jan. 16. There will be Wagyu in filet tartare, flat iron, and filet formats, along with a king crab hot pot, bone marrow with sweet chili garlic sauce, and lots more. It's $125 or $175 with the optional wine pairing.
Hillside Supper Club's Third Anniversary
Monday, Jan. 18 marks the third anniversary of Bernal stalwart Hillside Supper Club, and they'll be celebrating with a $72 four-course tasting menu (with $42 beverage pairing) and a “HUGE Champagne party” afterwards. If you like Sweaterfunk, Johan Churchill will be there playing some live tunes, too.
Babette Cafe to Rejoin BAMPFA
Although this was likely in the works a long time, it seems as if the stars are aligning for theaters and performance spaces to acquire better dining options. The renovated Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is set to get a new Babette Cafe on Jan. 31. (The original Babette had been with BAMPFA since 2012. Open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., it will be accessible even to people who aren't headed in for a film, with beer, wine, and small plates available after 3 p.m. There are an impressive four coffee roasters, too: Ritual, Verve, Heart, and Catahoula.
Okane to Open in a Few Weeks Right Next Door to Omakase
Kash Feng, the owner of the fantastic (and Michelin-starred), 14-seat SoMa restaurant Omakase, is set to unveil Okane in mid-January right next door, at 669 Townsend Street. A considerably less expensive endeavor that its neighbor, the 50-seat izakaya will still fly ingredients in from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Look for a jidori egg chawan mushi with crab and mitsuba and anago (freshwater eel) tempura with burdock root and tetsuyu, plus a sake selection.
MSG Is Your Friend
MSG is terrible, right? Wrong. FiveThirtyEight's Anna Maria Barry-Jester demolishes the myths behind this reviled substance (which has caused no small amount of controversy here). The history of the reaction against monosodium glutamate is tied up with bad science, the “nocebo effect,” and a bit of anti-Chinese racism. The bottom line? It's all in your (pounding) head: “Subsequent research has found that the vast majority of people, even those claiming a sensitivity to MSG, don’t have any reaction when they don’t know they are eating it,” Barry-Jester writes.
How to Eat Chocolate the Right Way
The Chronicle's Leah Garchik reports that her colleague Andrea Behr discovered the “real” way to eat chocolate, via Vosges: Among the many sexualized, Goop-esque instructions are “Close your eyes, take three deep, cleansing ujjayi breaths and quiet the mind” and “For the true experience, it is important to add air to the mixture by using a traditional Mexican molinillo or a hand blender.”
The Taco Cleanse Is Real
Do you cleanse? Are you cleansing? You should consider The Taco Cleanse. (It might really clean you out.)