Tamara Palmer

Contemporary Ohlone Cuisine Comes Alive in Berkeley

Tamara Palmer
Contemporary Ohlone Cuisine Comes Alive in Berkeley

BY TAMARA PALMER

I just got home and didn’t want to wait too long to tell you to go eat at Cafe Ohlone, a pop-up by mak-’amham located on the back patio of University Press Books in Berkeley. I want you to be infused with the same joyous spirit (and delicious food) that I was just blessed to try!

Founders Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino represent Ohlone tribes from the East Bay (Muwekma Ohlone) and Carmel Valley (Rumsen Ohlone), respectively. They are creating a modern form of Ohlone cuisine that honors their past and pushes into the future and nurturing a cross-cultural community spirit with their work at University Press Books.

They currently serve lunch on Thursdays and host select dinners and evening events. The lunch menus change weekly and feature foods that their ancestors would have known and had names for as well as newer ideas that they think would have been celebrated. Here’s a quick taste of what we tried today:

Louis Trevino and Vincent Medina (Photo: Tamara Palmer)

Louis Trevino and Vincent Medina (Photo: Tamara Palmer)

Pictures and family treasures (TP).

Pictures and family treasures (TP).

Vincent Medina prepares a plate during lunch service (TP).

Vincent Medina prepares a plate during lunch service (TP).

Ohlone salad, boiled quail egg, hazelnut flour cakes with yellowfoot mushrooms, piñon and pickleweed, acorn soup, dark chocolate chia porridge and currants (TP).

Ohlone salad, boiled quail egg, hazelnut flour cakes with yellowfoot mushrooms, piñon and pickleweed, acorn soup, dark chocolate chia porridge and currants (TP).

Cafe Ohlone begins each meal with a prayer recited in Chochenyo, the first language spoken in the East Bay, and Rumsen, which originated in the Carmel Valley. (TP).

Cafe Ohlone begins each meal with a prayer recited in Chochenyo, the first language spoken in the East Bay, and Rumsen, which originated in the Carmel Valley. (TP).

I look forward to writing more about mak-’amham and Cafe Ohlone in the second print issue of California Eating, which is now a quarterly magazine thanks to reader support on Kickstarter! Order the issue or a subscription here.