Chef Kim Alter and Haven in Jack London Square

Nov 5, 2011 / By Serena
Posted in East Bay / Garden Maven / Good Ideas / Magazine / Oakland / Travel / Videos and Podcasts
Chef Kim Alter

Haven started at the Farmers’ Market, like so many great things. Chefs Kim Alter and Daniel Patterson – the man behind Coi – dipped in and out of farmer stalls as they talked about their philosophies of food, whether or not to use seaweed considering the dire environmental ocean situation, and what was next for California cuisine.

They got along well. After a month-long “let’s see how we work together” stage at Coi, Kim joined the team at his recently-opened Plum in Oakland’s burgeoning Uptown district. (I may have said this before, but this was my choice for a birthday meal last year, and I don’t regret that decision in least even though I was compelled to have ‘cheesecake in a jar’ rather than the requisite birthday chocolate something-or-other. It was enjoyably memorable.)

Now this vibrant chef is making her next leap with the Daniel Patterson group – creating the concept and acting as head chef at a soon-to-open Jack London Square restaurant she’ll call Haven. With her impressive experience at keystones like Aqua, Ubuntu, and Manresa, her technical prowess will go into evolving thoughtful yet casual food. There will be family-style offerings and plenty of garden goodies, many grown in partnership with a local Oakland school interested in teaching biology in a hands on way. Patisserie will be headed by Matt Tinder, who’s also developing desserts for two and marvels like moon-shaped Parker House rolls in addition to Haven’s breads. Scott Beattie is busy foraging for aromatic anise fronds and borage blossoms for his whimsical gin-focused cocktail menu that will highlight local spirit producers like St. George and No. 209 among others.

(Listen to the podcast just after the jump)

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Barbecue bliss

Jul 17, 2011 / By Serena
Posted in Good Ideas / San Francisco Bay Area / Travel
barbecue from around the block

Saturday screams barbecue, at least this Saturday did. I’m happy to live in one of those neighborhoods with a propensity for impromptu restaurants – today there were no less than three sandwich boards dedicated to barbecue on my afternoon dog walk. And that’s without counting things like Rogue Cafe, a new Saturday pop-up “coffee house” a few blocks down from me…

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