Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
• Cocktail bar/dessert spot/Instagram dream Viridian opened in February 2020, right before the world shut down due to the pandemic. But now that the Bay Area is slowly reopening, so shall the technicolor Uptown Oakland establishment. On Wednesday, April 7, Viridian opens with a new executive chef, George Meza (formerly of Onsen) and new executive pastry chef Vince Soriano Bugtong (formerly of Mourad). When it first opened, Viridian was known for serving cocktails and desserts with Asian influences, meaning whiskey and tequila drinks alongside char siu bao, salt-and-pepper chicken nuggets, Thai tea tiramisu, and coconut-pandan cream pie.
• Perhaps one of the only celebrity-endorsed boat tours in Monterey Bay, Chris’ Fishing and Whale Watching recently posted a photo with mega musicians Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton on one of the company’s vessels. The “Just a Girl” and “Austin” stars posed with a couple of crabs for the photo. “Thank you Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton for coming and enjoying an amazing day on the Bay with us,” wrote the fishing and whale watching company on Facebook. No word on whether they consumed the crustaceans after the catch.
• In February 2020, Bay Area employees of Tartine Bakery handed letters to management to formally declare their intention to unionize. The workers wished to unionize in hopes of attaining a fair balance of power between workers and management, as well as “quality benefits, high morale, and good wages.” Now, after votes to join the union, challenges, and more than a year later, Tartine is officially unionized. [SF Chronicle]
• Long-standing North Berkeley restaurant Corso closed down in November 2020, due to complications related to the pandemic, but now it will resurrect as Via del Corso this summer. New owner Peter Chastain previously worked as executive chef at former Italian restaurant Prima. He brings two other Prima alums, chef de cuisine Massimo Orlando and general manager Marco Penitenti. While this is a Prima reunion, Via del Corso will bring back some beloved Corso dishes like the pollo al burro. [Berkeleyside]