International dumpling clout
San Francisco’s Dumpling Time — known for its variety of dumplings and particularly its Instagram-ready giant soup dumpling — has expanded for the first time. To Japan. How will the SF restaurant’s gyoza fare in the country that invented them? Only time will tell, but Dumpling Time is now open in Shibuya, Tokyo, joining fellow SF businesses like Blue Bottle, A16, and Wise Sons who’ve opened outposts in the country. Omakase Group, the force behind Dumpling Time, Omakase, and Okane, has been on a tear this past week, with its first noodle-focused restaurant, Udon Time, and its wagyu beef retailer, The Butcher Shop by Niku Steakhouse, now open as well.
Plans for Sacramento’s first distillery emerge
Preservation & Co., the well-known purveyor of bloody Mary mix and pickles, is planning to open the first distillery in Sacramento. If successful, the distillery and restaurant will open at 1717 19th Street, Preservation’s former retail shop in Midtown. Preservation Spirits plans to start off with gin and rice vodka before moving onto whiskey and rum, served alongside hot dogs and Preservation & Co.’s own products like balsamic beets.
At least one restaurant week deal continues
Oakland Restaurant Week may be over, but Temescal’s Doña Tomás is extending its special prix-fixe menu on weekdays through spring. The three-course meal is valued at $47 but goes for $30, starting with squash quesadillas, then a choice of carnitas or chiles rellenos with huitlacoche, and finishing off with flourless chocolate cake.
Celebrate Black History Month by eating
Two Bay Area restaurants are busy prepping for Black History Month. Chef David Lawrence (1300 on Fillmore) is collaborating with chef Mark Dommen (One Market Restaurant) on a prix-fixe, $49 menu, though folks can also order certain dishes a la carte, with 10 percent of proceeds from the prix-fixe going to the Museum of the African Diaspora. The meal features Lawrence’s salt-roasted beets and maple-braised beef short ribs as well as Dommen’s Cajun-style boudin and blood orange cornmeal cake. Pair it with one of 13 wines by African American winemakers. The special is available February 1-28.
In Hayward, Playt — from the same owner as Pican in Oakland — will serve a series of specials that reflect black history, either through traditional techniques or African influences. From February 3-9, the restaurant will serve braised oxtails over crispy fried rice with succotash. From February 10-17, there will be curried chicken with peanuts over yellow rice. February 18-24 will see Louisiana-inspired smoked ham hocks with Cajun red beans and rice. And February 25-28 will showcase meatloaf with mashed potatoes, mustard greens, and molasses barbecue sauce. Every Wednesday will also feature a different black-owned winery.