Change is in the air at Oakland food incubator Forage Kitchen, which is trading the cult-followed sandwich shop Pal’s Takeaway for new incubees Smokin Woods BBQ and gluten free baker Ducks and Dragons. After 10 months, which he points out is an extension over his originally planned tenure, it was time for Pal’s somewhat itinerant chef Jeff Mason to mosey along, and yesterday was his last day at Forage Kitchen.
When asked where he’s headed next, Mason just laughs. He’s wondering the same thing. The chef and his popular deep-fried lao sausage and salad niçoise sandwiches have often been on the move — previous to Forage Kitchen, Pal’s had a pop-up at Firebrand Artisan Breads — and he’s once again searching for a more permanent space.
For now, Mason will continue with some Pal’s pop up appearances. Next Wednesday, September 20th, Pal’s will be at Temescal Brewing, on the 30th at Cole Coffee, and on October 14th at Bartavelle Coffee & Wine. More will be listed on Pal’s website.
Meanwhile, incoming Smokin Woods BBQ, an Oakland caterer since 2013, will start serving next week. Diners can expect barbecue at lunch and dinner on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Duck and Dragons will arrive on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting the 26th. The gluten-free bread and bagel operation based in San Carlos uses a blend of finely ground almonds and coconuts for its flour.
The change is in keeping with Forage co-founder Iso Rabins’ ambitions for the space. “Our vision for the cafe is to give the chefs using the kitchen a chance at a brick-and-mortar without the crazy expense of opening their own spot,” he explains. “These new chefs are the next wave we're moving in.”