An array of Shuk Shuka dips in refillable glass jars.
An array of Shuk Shuka dips in refillable glass jars.

Shuk Shuka’s new dips; Toy Boat Café gets a new owner; Wise Sons goes for kimchi in Oakland; etc.

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Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.

Last year, we wrote about Shuk Shuka, a pop-up dinner with live music hosted by an Israeli and Palestinian that was as much about bringing people together as it was about delicious food. Though Covid-19 has put an end to the dinners for now, Israeli partner and founder Inon Tzadok decided he wasn’t ready to allow the pandemic to diminish his aspirations to feed people.

“Once Covid started, we were looking for a way to sell our food to our community and to interact and educate people about this food,” said Tzadok. “Where does each dish come from? How and with what can we eat it?”

Together with his sister Yael Tzadok, a baker, they’ve launched an online shuk with dips and baked goods under the Shuk Shuka label. Dips come in glass jars that can be returned to the company for reuse and credit on the next order; there is hummus, beet hummus, labneh, z’hug, and two types of tahini, regular and green, made with herbs. Available spices are za’atar and sumac. There’s also challah and several varieties of babka. Order online, with delivery available on Fridays throughout the Bay Area.

Shuk Shuka is holding an outdoor, masked and socially distanced launch event and dinner on Oct. 1 in Richmond, at Anaviv’s Table, incorporating many of the new items. There will be live music, and the event will be livestreamed. Tickets and information here.


Speaking of Israeli food, another Oren’s Hummus opened in August in Los Gatos. While the growing chain’s restaurants differ from place to place, this one has counter service and limited outdoor seating; a full dining room will open when it is allowed. Visit it at 1 North Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos.


Chef Chaya-Ryvka Diehl has gotten her share of ink in this publication over the years, first as a vegan chef sharing Rosh Hashanah recipes in 2009, and then as the subject of this columnist’s first food piece back in 2012, when she taught a workshop at the Berkeley Chabad House on making nut-based, nondairy cheesecakes for Shavuot.

Diehl’s latest venture is a home-based operation, Motzi Gluten Free. Under recent cottage laws, Diehl can sell baked goods made in her home oven in Richmond. She is specializing in gluten-free challahs: regular, with honey and eggs, and vegan, which relies on flaxseed and coconut nectar (many vegans refrain from honey because it’s produced by an animal). The texture is soft, she says, and doesn’t need toasting to be enjoyed as many gluten-free breads do. Orders need to be placed by 9 a.m. Thursday for pickup on Friday in Richmond. Diehl continues to make raw desserts for private clients as well. Her web site is motziglutenfree.com.


As we reported recently, Beauty’s Bagels has been acquired by Wise Sons. The San Francisco deli’s Oakland shop opened last month in the former Beauty’s space at 1700 Franklin St. While the new Wise Sons offers only takeout for now, Eater reported, the menu has some items not available at its other outlets. Making its debut is a kimchi Reuben, with kimchi replacing the sauerkraut and American cheese replacing the Swiss. The sandwich is an homage to owner Evan Bloom’s Korean wife. The Beauty’s in the Temescal neighborhood remains largely unchanged.


When we dedicated a column in June to Jesse Fink, owner of the San Francisco institution Toy Boat Café who had decided to sell and retire after 38 years, we wrote about how it was not only a piece of city nostalgia but also had become an important informal meeting place for the Jewish community.

Toy Boat has a new owner, according to Eater. Amanda Michael, the proprietor of San Francisco mini-chain Jane the Bakery, is a San Francisco native who regularly went to Toy Boat as a high school student and later brought her children there, and she couldn’t bear the thought of there being no more Toy Boat, Tablehopper reports. Toy Boat by Jane the Bakery opened last month, with Jane the Bakery breads, pastries, cookies, salads and sandwiches. It still sells Double Rainbow ice cream, along with house-made sundae toppings and, in the spirit of the times, sundae kits. Whether it remains a hangout place for Jews without Fink’s Brooklyn Jewish spirit remains to be seen as soon as people can meet again.

The counter at Toy Boat Dessert Café in San Francisco. (Photo/Courtesy)
The counter at Toy Boat Dessert Café in San Francisco. (Photo/Courtesy)
Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."