No more flan. Giovanni on Shattuck has closed its door after 25 years in business. I’d been there once when I suddenly had a craving for Italian pastas. Not that it had amazing Italian, but it certainly was unique. Anything old is unique. There was the bar in the front. In the back there was a big warm brick fireplace around which tables were set, the old school fireplace with a real log burning and real fire sparkles you know. And it’s also the only place in Downtown Berkeley that actually had flan. Not amazing flan, but any flan was better than none. UPDATE: Giovanni is back!
Not sure if it’s the economic downtime or just the common evolution of restaurants that is turning certain dishes into forlorn memories. Phở Hòa has been replaced by PunToh Fresh Thai Food, and of course that means no more bò kho (beef stew), something that’s really hard to come across even in San Jose. Bánh Cuốn Tây Hồ #9 in Oakland has a new owner, Duyên – the niece of the old owner, who schicked up the place with a young, modern, Westernized vibe. Their business takes off, but so is bún mộc from the menu. People only order it once or twice every two weeks, said Duyên, and she finds no point in straining the pot for something so unpopular.