Monday, November 24th, 2014
This New Year’s Eve, Comal will once again clear out the tables, turn up the volume on their Meyer sound system and transform into a dancehall. Doors will open at 9pm and longtime Bay Area DJ Jose Ruiz (KPFA, KPOO), who has an ongoing residency at Comal on Thursday nights, will spin his infectious mix of Latin and funk into the wee hours.
Chef Matt Gandin and his team will keep a steady stream of antojitos (little snacks) flowing throughout the night – expect some familiar items from Comal’s menu along with a few wild cards, with an emphasis on Oaxacan-style street snacks like quesadillas, de eses and flautas.
Matt Campbell, Comal’s lead bartender (and 2013 SF Chronicle Bar Star), will be twisting up an original NYE cocktail for the occasion. This, along with Comal’s current list of craft cocktails, draft beer, wine and extensive selection of tequila and mezcal, will be on offer.
Tickets are $45 and are on sale at http://www.ticketfly.com/event/728673. All food offerings are included in ticket purchase. All previous parties have sold out in advance, so advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended.
Please make special note: BART is open until 3am on NYE and Comal is less than a block from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Also, Comal’s large beer garden is uncovered, so use of this space is weather dependent. Additional tickets may be released December 30th if weather permits the use of the beer garden for the occasion.
Book Your Holiday Party at Comal
Whether for an office party, a family dinner, a birthday or for no particular reason at all except to gather for a feast, we offer two family-style, fixed price group dining options: Abajo, our private cellar dining room that seats 12-22 people, and Table 30, our community table that seats 8-10. Slots are filling up fast for the Holidays, especially in December.
We hope to see you soon at Comal!
Saturday, November 15th, 2014
The humble tamale is one of the most egalitarian of all foods. Wrapped in a banana or corn leaf, it is eminently portable to the office or to the fields. Stuffed with either the leftovers from the previous day’s stew or the most decadent of fillings for a celebration, it is always satisfying.
For my family, beef brisket falls into the more celebratory category. Tonight at Comal we will be unveiling a new tamale that is filled with chile-citrus braised beef brisket, carrots and potatoes, sauced with mole coloradito. Perfect for either a filling dinner after a long work week, or a festive night out.
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
Click here to read the full article.
Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
Jose Ruiz strikes again!
Preparations are underway for a big weekend at Comal to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. Our multi-talented DJ Jose Ruiz has once again graced our front windows with two matching “calaveras” painted with white tempura paint. Jose formerly owned Casa Latina, a panaderia and cafe on San Pablo – one of their specialties is Pan de Muertos, a special sweet egg bread adorned with “bones” on the top baked for Dia de los Muertos. They make countless loaves around this time every year and distribute them to schools, festivals and other gatherings. We will be sending everyone home with a piece of this very tasty Pan de Muerto on both Saturday and Sunday night. We will also be adding other decorations throughout the restaurant, including marigolds and sugar skulls. And in addition to his normal Thursday night DJ slot this week, Jose will also be doing a special Saturday night stint that focuses on songs that nod to the theme of death in some shape or form.
“November 2 Stroll” by Catalina Trunk
We are honored to be once again featuring four special pieces of “papel picado” by noted folk artist Catalina Delgado-Trunk on the lathe walls in the main dining room, including two new ones. One of the new pieces, titled November 2 Stroll, shows a calavera riding his bicycle with a basket of marigolds on his head. Below him is the earth, signified by the flowers, birds, and heart. The dogs are Xoloitzcuintles, Mexican hairless dogs that were believed by the Aztecs to accompany their masters’ souls through the underworld – therefore their depiction on earth and below it in this piece. The marigolds are a symbol of death, referred to as the “flower of the dead”. Marigolds are often sprinkled on Dia de los Muertos altars and also on graves, sometimes fashioned into elaborate arches. In some villages, people leave a trail of marigolds from their front door to their loved one’s grave, so that the deceased may easily find their way back home again. The attractive scent of the marigold is said to draw them back to earth for the yearly Dia de los Muertos reunion. Thanks to Sean Trunk for generously sharing these stunning pieces with all of us. Catalina is a nationally renowned papel picado artist with an upcoming installation at the Smithsonian and several pieces at the Crystal Bridge Museum’s State of the Art show.
Lastly, our two “Matts” – chef Matt Gandin and lead bartender Matthew Campbell – have also collaborated on a new “limited-run” cocktail for the occasion, aptly named “Matts’ Cocktail” which will debut this Thursday night. The cocktail features jelly made from feijoa, a tropical fruit often referred to as pineapple guava but actually not a guava at all – and the fruit happens to come from a tree in Matt Gandin’s backyard. It’s the latest in our line of backyard cocktails, following in the footsteps of the “Plum Loco”, made from Santa Rosa plums picked in our manager Corin’s backyard. For the full backstory, click here to read chef Matt’s blog post. We hope to see you out at Comal this week! JP
Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
I recently moved to Oakland, and after many years of apartment and condo living, I was very excited about the prospect of having a yard. I’ve always enjoyed gardening and foraging; the idea of either growing or collecting food I find very appealing. When I first took possession of the new house, it was mid-winter and most of the existing plants in the backyard were barren of leaves, so it was very exciting as spring arrived to discover what had been planted in the backyard. In addition to a citrus tree that was producing both Eureka lemons and Seville sour oranges, my neighbor informed me that I also had a pineapple guava tree along the eastern fence of the yard.
I have to admit that I wasn’t really familiar with this particular fruit. In the spring it produced exotic red and white flowers, and I crossed my fingers that I had one of the self-pollinating strains. Within a month I had received an answer, as the flowers began developing into small, green football shaped fruit. Throughout the summer they swelled and as the first week of fall arrived, the first fruit ripened and fell from the tree.
Not even knowing how they should be eaten, I brought several of the ripened fruit to work at Comal. When Andrew saw them, he exclaimed, “Oh, those are feijoa! My daughter Amelie loves to tear them open and scrape out the insides with her teeth.” Amelie’s mother is Colombian, and after doing some research, I learned that although often called pineapple guava in California, or guavasteen, it is actually not a true guava, and its origins are South American.
Certainly contributing to the confusion, their flavor is often described as a cross between guava and pineapple, or guava and strawberry, with overtones of wintergreen or spearmint. It is a truly exotic flavor that is very difficult to pinpoint. I decided to make a jelly with the fruit, as they are very high in natural pectin, and flavored it with Eureka lemon juice and zest from my other backyard tree along with clove and allspice. The resulting jelly tastes like an exotic lemon lollipop. I started brainstorming ideas for a cocktail with Matt Campbell, our lead bartender, and have come up with what I feel is a truly local seasonal cocktail. Mixing the spiced feijoa jelly with tequila, pomegranate and lemon juices, we ended up with a delicious, tart and mysteriously fruity cocktail.