The James Beard Award-nominated creator of the 2018 cookbook Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food and curator of the exceptionally regarded blog A Brown Table, Nik Sharma is changing the culinary game one recipe at a time. While a recipe for chocolate-chip cookies might not seem thoroughly original, it’s the manner Sharma makes use of components that are taking traditional cuisine to a new stage. Rather than a ho-hum cookie that requires all-purpose flour, sugar, and shop-bought chocolate, Sharma takes the reader on an adventure to his local Mumbai and demanding situations home chefs to encompass an aromatic hit of ginger or the tickle of sparkling-floor black pepper for a not-so-common baked top.
“I need to make contributions some thing new,” the Oakland resident says. “I need to introduce flavors like tamarind, ghee, and jaggery—all flavors of my formative years—to the public that would in any other case be untouched.”
By the usage of ingredients no longer commonly found inside the common American kitchen, Sharma hopes to spotlight cultural cuisines and elements of the Indian diaspora which are undiscussed and underrepresented in the culinary global.
“Indian meals isn’t just about curry,” he says. “I want to push the conversation to expose that there’s a versatility to ingredients traditionally determined in Indian delicacies.”
Sharma’s greatest passion is the flavor. The San Francisco Chronicle columnist and current Julia Child Award nominee asserts that making use of sudden spices to regular cooking is easy, once you are taking that first step.
“A lot of human beings are terrified of the unknown, even on the subject of elements,” Sharma says. “But it’s OK to fail, and no longer every body is a professional. You just examine out of your errors, and hold pushing ahead.”
Favorite eating place: Dyafa in Jack London Square.
Favorite region to shop for spices: Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland (“They’re very knowledgeable and ethical approximately how they source their stock,” Sharma says), or Bombay Spice House in Berkeley “for spices usually located in Indian cuisine.”
Favorite place to get sparkling produce: Lake Merritt farmers marketplace.
Forty-five Years Millie’s Kitchen has been dispensing scrumptious food. Lafayette’s preferred breakfast spot has been a fixture within the East Bay for decades, and this homey diner isn’t going anywhere. Every day Best of the East Bay winner, Millie’s offers locals with a reminder to slow down and experience the good stuff—whether or not it’s traditional eggs Benedict, a juicy burger, or Millie’s famous espresso cake. And the servers at this lovely little space deliver every plate with a friendly smile
Eco-Friendly Café: Rooted Coffee Co., Pleasant Hill
Though small in size, this charming café and espresso roaster is on an assignment to make a huge environmental impact through presenting handiest plant-primarily based food and drink. Unique “milk” made from peas, oats, almonds and extra are to be had to pour into the killer espresso. And the owners, a husband-and-wife crew, serve all their menu objects—which includes gluten-unfastened cornmeal waffles and chia-seed pudding
Authentic Italian Ice Cream: Almare Gelato Italiano, Berkeley, and Pleasanton
The owners of Almare, Alberto Malvestio and Simone Arpaio, hail from Italy, in which Malvestio found out the secrets of traditional gelato-making from his awesome-uncle, a legend within the Italian frozen-dessert scene. Today, the duo hire those generations-old techniques to craft their very own decadent gelato—and that they supply many of their components from Italy too. The result is an extremely rich treat that’s organized fresh each day in quite a number of innovative flavors.
Artisanal Dining Experience: Abstract Table, Oakland
Innovative in its menu theory, business model, and suave plating, the everlasting after-hours pop-up internal The Gastropig is a whirl of innovative electricity, way to owners Andrew Greene and Duncan Kwitkor’s studio- arts backgrounds. The painters grew to become cooks curate menus with seasonal and geographic themes and prepare delicious and attractive dishes each weekend in the course of two seatings. This summer time, diners get tastes of world avenue meals on the chefs’ culinary canvas.