Fresh New Dishes at The Half Orange

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Zac and I have recently been working on adding more dishes to the menu at The Half Orange that feature the pop of fresh produce, and also that are delicious vegetarian options.

We came up with a couple.

Above, pictured, is our new “harvest pancake”, a thick savory dish packed with broccoli rabe, shiitake mushrooms, summer squash and kale. We can throw some wild harvested Baja shrimp in there, if you like, too. It’s served with a sesame-soy dipping sauce that’s super addicting.

Below is a curried vegetable wrap, which highlights eggplant, summer squash, and roasted red peppers wrapped up with arugula and cucumber raita. You can also add a thick melty slice of Havarti cheese, which is a nice decadent treat.

Both of these are on the menu now, and our kitchen is open from noon to 9pm every day that’s not Sunday, to serve them to you.

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Fall Down Brown – Special Beer Night with Ale Industries, Wed, Nov 5

Not all pumpkin beers are created equal. Some taste like pumpkin pie…and others taste like smoke.

We’re pleased to announce that on Wednesday, November 5, we’ll be hosting a party at The Half Orange featuring only keg to be released this year of Fall Down Brown, the smoked pumpkin beer made by our awesome neighbors Ale Industries. Steve from AI says: “it’s an Imperial brown ale that we add 200 lbs of smoked pumpkin and some cinnamon and nutmeg to the boil kettle. Instead of a pumpkin pie flavor this drinks more like a German Rauch beer.” Naturally, we’ve got some smoky pairings in mind for this night, as well.

You’ll find bottles of Fall Down Brown in select stores this year, but if you’d like to try it on draft, well, we’ll see you here for a great kickoff to November!

PS If you haven’t been to Ale Industries’ tasting room yet, treat yourself to a visit. They’re on East 10th, a few buildings down from Restaurant Guadalajara, and their tasting room is open Friday 3-10, Saturday 12-10, and Sunday 12 until close.

Fruitvale Days

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A lot of folks I meet who haven’t spent much time in Fruitvale, or in East Oakland in general, ask me what it’s like here. Well, this photo shows what it was like today on The Half Orange patio.

Interesting note: Germans initially populated much of Fruitvale, and for many decades the town was a regional destination for its beer gardens which basked in particularly sunny weather against a backdrop of fruit trees. It’s pretty easy to picture on a day like today.

Michael’s 40th Birthday Party and “Welcome back to California” party, October 14

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This dude turns 40 soon

If you didn’t know, Michael and Steph are back in California, living in the East Bay.

Their arrival happens to coincide nicely with Michael’s 40th birthday, so we’re having a combination birthday party and welcome-back-to-California party for them on Tuesday, October 14th, at The Half Orange.

Starts at 5pm. There will definitely be country ham. Probably some other treats, too.

Uncle Jesse Ice Cream

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Luis Abundis of Nieves Cinco de Mayo is an alchemist who turned Ale Industries “Uncle Jesse” ale into delicious, hop-forward ice cream

The other day we were sitting around with Luis, who operates the amazing Nieves Cinco de Mayo artisanal ice cream shop adjacent to our restaurant The Half Orange, drinking beers from Ale Industries, which brews amazing craft beers a couple blocks from us.

It suddenly seemed very important that Luis make ice cream from the Ale Industries’ “Uncle Jesse” session ale. So he did. And it’s really good, with a distinct hop character in balance with the sweetness — just like in a great West Coast style ale!

Come in to the Half Orange and try it, it’s on the menu now until it sells out.

Los Pilares Wine Party, Thursday October 9 at The Half Orange

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Los Pilares tasting at El Take It Easy, August 2011

Now that their wine is possibly San Diego’s most well-regarded culinary export to the Bay Area, we get to brag that we’ve been friends with Michael Christian and the crew from Los Pilares since back in the day. We love both their philosophy and drinking their wine.

It wouldn’t even be too far to say that, when Katie and I started seeing Los Pilares wine pouring at Ordinaire and on the shelves at Bi-Rite Market, it helped me understand what some of the possibilities might be for me here, as a San Diego import myself.

In any event, we’re open now, and there’s wine, and it seems like a great time to celebrate. So on Thursday, October 8th, starting at 6pm, Michael will be in the house while we pour from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 vintages of Los Pilares red, and also taste some of their “garage” experiments that provided the foundation of their winemaking decisions. We’ll of course whip up some food pairings for the occasion, too.

These are the minimalist reds that attracted attention to San Diego wine from the likes of Jon Bonné, Alice Feiring, and many others. For us, though, this is about great wine from home, to be enjoyed with tasty food and friends old and new.

We hope you’ll join us.

Poco a Poco

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It hasn’t come all at once, but The Half Orange is, in fact, coming along. We got our beer & wine license about two weeks ago and have a nice list of local draft beers I’m really stoked to serve. We’re open on Saturdays as well now too. And best of all, we’re starting to really get to know our regulars, including folks who work in downtown Fruitvale and many people who live nearby as well.

I’m very grateful to be back in the business of running a neighborhood restaurant that serves great local beer and food made with good ingredients. I confess, I just love doing it for a living. I’m particularly glad to be serving these products in Fruitvale, the community I call home, and a place which is widely, inspiringly, diverse in just about every dimension. I know it’s often thought that our kind of food and drink is suited only for a very narrow demographic of the bourgeoisie, but I don’t see it that way. In fact, I see The Half Orange as an opportunity to show that well-sourced food and drink appeals to all sorts of people. I think that’s the case, anyway.

In any event, we’re having a great time, and hope you can join us.

Full Days at The Half Orange

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I’m happy to announce that, starting today, The Half Orange is open until 8pm every weekday. Our full hours are 11:30am to 8pm, Monday through Friday.

We’re still waiting on our beer and wine license, and we’ll probably hold off on weekend hours until that comes through. But in the meantime we’re really happy with how the food is coming out, and we’d love for you to come enjoy it.

We’re Open!

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It’s a been almost a year since we’ve gotten to do what we love most — making and serving food to our neighbors. But we’re back at it again today at The Half Orange, in the heart of Fruitvale.

For now, we’re open M-F lunch only (11:30am-2:00pm), with dinner and weekend service coming soon. You can see our menu here.

Thanks for all your support in years past, and in the times to come.

Fruitvale 1878

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We were at Alameda Flea yesterday searching for the perfect host stand (which we found, thank you very much vendor at stall Q21) and we stumbled up this map of downtown Fruitvale from 1878. Right in the center (block 111 of the Levy Tract, in the green polygon) is the current location of The Half Orange, our restaurant which opens tomorrow, 136 years after this map was drawn up.

Fruitvale’s a bit different now: The Oakland, Fruit Vale & Mills Seminary Railroad is long gone, but we do have BART and we’re getting a Bus Rapid Transit line, too. We also have one of the strongest concentrations of delicious restaurants of any community in the Bay Area, which sets a high standard for The Half Orange as we do our thing. We hope to contribute something personal and authentic.

We’ll have the map framed and on the wall somewhere, too, if you’d like to check it out.