2020 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley CA, 94704 (510) 926.6300
Hours
Sunday thru Thursday 5:30-10pm
Friday & Saturday 5:30-11pm
Front bar opens at 5pm nightly
Hours
Sunday thru Thursday 5:30-10pm
Friday & Saturday 5:30-11pm
Front bar opens at 5pm nightly

Reflections on this week’s Oaxacan Harvest Dinner

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

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When Adam Sanders first walked through our door a year ago, I must admit that I had never heard of his small company.   But from our first conversation, I knew that we would forge a great relationship.   Copala distributes produce from a small collective of organic farms in the Salinas valley and Hollister area.

What is so unique about this farm collective is that all of the farmers are Mixtec, Triqui, or other ethnic minority immigrants from the Mexican state of Oaxaca.   Because it goes essentially unreported, most of the world is unaware that there is discrimination and violent repression waged against these ethnic minority villages in Oaxaca by the regimes in political power.   Adam first became involved with this community while working as a juvenile probation officer, and upon realizing their plight, has become a tireless advocate for those seeking political asylum in the US.  While a very small percentage of political asylum cases brought before a judge are successful, 100% of the immigrants that Adam has helped have been granted asylum.

Most of these immigrants were subsistence farmers back in their villages. They were already using organic farming practices because that was all that they knew.  Adam saw this as an opportunity for this community to build a life here in America, doing what came naturally.  All he had to do was connect the farmers with chefs and grocers who wanted their produce.

What was so exciting for me was that through Adam, I was able to ask these farmers to grow certain produce that was familiar to them in Oaxaca, but unavailable until now in the Bay Area.  This last year, Adam brought seed from Mexico, and the Copala farmers started growing several heretofore unavailable chiles , herbs and greens, that have become important staples on our menu.

This past Tuesday, we had the opportunity to host Adam and one of his Triqui farmers, Francisco, for a special Oaxacan Harvest Dinner and wine pairing that highlighted produce grown on their farms.  It was truly a special event for those who attended, and a thrill for Francisco to sit at the table and eat the fruits of his labor.  As the days grow short and the fields are turned over, we’d would like to thank Adam and his farmers for bring fantastic produce to our table, and look forward to next year’s harvest.

MG

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Sunday Streets returns to Berkeley this Sunday!

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Shattuck Avenue will be taken over by walkers, bikers, eaters, hoopers, yogis and many more from 11am-4pm this Sunday. Comal will be serving mini-tamales and agua fresca out our front door. Stop by and say hello!  Click here for more info.

A full list of events and activities is also available here.

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¡El Grito!

Monday, September 16th, 2013

In 1808, Napolean invaded Spain and installed his brother José as king.   With this shift in power, Mexico’s “criollos” (locally born people of Spanish ancestry) saw an opportunity to seek independence.   In Spain’s stratified caste system, criollos were treated as second class citizens, which led to increasing discontent.

Two years later, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest spoke El Grito de la Independencia (the Cry of Independence) in the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato on September 16, 1810, marking the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence.

It took over ten years for Mexico to actually gain its independence from Spain, but since October 1825, the anniversary of “El Grito” is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day.  It is a festive, celebratory day in Mexico with colorful decorations and spirited gatherings.  The highlight is a huge gathering in Mexico City’s “Zocalo”, where the president delivers “El Grito” followed by fireworks and other revelry.

At Comal we will mark today’s holiday by serving our newest “plato fuerte”, roast turkey with three moles (negro, amarillo and coloradito).  Hope to see you tonight to mark this occasion!

JP

Photo (below): statue of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in front of the church in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato

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Oaxacan Harvest Dinner with Copala Organics at Comal

Monday, September 9th, 2013

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Adam Sanders started Copala Organics in 2010 in Hollister, CA.   Its mission is to promote social justice by connecting fresh, high quality, mostly hand tended, family owned and worked, dry farm, organic produce from indigenous Oaxacan and other immigrant and first generation small farmers with markets and restaurants in the Bay Area through cooperative marketing and distribution.

Copala supplies Comal with a variety of hard to find, distinctly Oaxacan chiles, herbs and vegetables, many of which are grown by Francisco de Jesús López of Francisco’s Oaxacan Organic Farm.

On Tuesday, October 8th, Comal will welcome Adam and Francisco for a special dinner prepared by executive chef Matt Gandin showcasing some of these Oaxacan specialties: papalo, quintonil, costeño chiles, chilhuacle chiles, chiles de agua, verdolagas and Huicha squash.   Chef Gandin’s dishes will be paired with wines drawn from Comal’s list, selected by wine director Corin Weihemuller.

This is the latest in Comal’s ongoing series of special dinners (previous events include Mexican Passover and winemaker dinners with Wind Gap, Donkey & Goat, and Arnot-Roberts) held in Comal’s private dining room, Abajo.   All previous dinners have sold out in advance.

Details:

DATE/TIME:  Tuesday, October 8th at 6:30 PM

PRICE: Tickets are $90 inclusive of food, wine and gratuity

RESERVATIONS:  Space is limited – to purchase tickets, follow this link: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/367891

ADDRESS:  Comal is located at 2020 Shattuck Avenue (at University Avenue) in Berkeley

WEBSITE & TELEPHONE:  www.comalberkeley.com – 510.926.6300

Dinner Menu:

Heirloom tomatoes pickled costeño chiles, requeson, verdolagas

2012 Rosé, Arnot-Roberts “Luchsinger Vineyard” Clear Lake

Local halibut crudo papalo, chile de agua salsa

2011 Napa Valley White, Matthiasson

White bean-quintonil soup

2011 Chardonnay, Le P’tit Paysan, “Jack’s Hill” Monterey County

Turkey and huicha squash tamal chilhuacle mole negro

2012 Cabernet Franc, Broc Cellars, Santa Barbara County

Oaxacan chocolate budin whipped crema




Winemaker Dinner with Berkeley’s Donkey & Goat Winery at Comal

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

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Berkeley, CA; August 1, 2013 – Donkey & Goat was recently singled out by NY Times wine critic Eric Asimov as being among the leaders of a wine renaissance happening in CA:

A new wave of energetic California winemakers has helped to push stylistic boundaries while bringing more attention to older producers who had been considered behind the times or out of fashion. 

He praised their minimalistic style and made special note of their manifesto, which eloquently describes their uncompromising and rigorous approach to natural winemaking.

On Tuesday, August 27th, Comal will welcome Donkey & Goat Winery owners, husband-and-wife team Jared and Tracey Brandt, for a special dinner showcasing a selection of their wines from the El Dorado appellation in the Sierra Foothills paired with dishes by Comal’s executive chef Matt Gandin. Dinner guests will have the opportunity to engage in lively conversation with Jared and Tracey and learn firsthand about their winemaking approach.

This is the third in a new series of producer dinners (previous dinners include Wind Gap Wines and Arnot-Roberts Wines) held in Comal’s private dining room, Abajo.  Both previous events sold out in advance.

Details:

DATE/TIME:  Tuesday, August 27th at 6:30 PM

PRICE: Tickets are $90 inclusive of food, wine and gratuity

RESERVATIONS:  Space is limited – to purchase tickets, follow this link: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/339921

ADDRESS:  Comal is located at 2020 Shattuck Avenue (at University Avenue) in Berkeley

Dinner Menu:

Early Girl tomato gazpacho cucumber, papalo

2012 Grenache Gris Rosé, “Isabelle’s Cuvée” El Dorado

Jamón Serrano cantaloupe, chile arbol, mint

2012 Chardonnay, “Improbable” El Dorado

Goat and chepil tamal mole amarillo, queso fresco

2012 Grenache Blanc, 100% Skin Fermented, El Dorado

Oxtails in ancho chile adobo fresh shelling beans

 2012 Grenache Noir, El Dorado 

Oaxacan chocolate budin Maldon salt, whipped crema

 

About Donkey & Goat:

Donkey & Goat is a family owned and operated winery located in Berkeley, California. Tracey and Jared Brandt craft their natural wines from Rhône varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge, and the undiscovered El Dorado appellation in the Sierra Foothills. Named one of five “Winemakers to Watch for 2011” by Jon Bonné at the San Francisco Chronicle, Tracey and Jared trained in France, and their maverick winemaking has helped pave the way for the natural wine movement.


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