Homestead Debuts a Sandwich Venture

Plus, Purity Organic sells direct to consumers, and Reem's California closes.

The owners of Oakland’s Homestead Restaurant have debuted a new concept meant to outlast the COVID-19 crisis.

Currently operating at the restaurant’s 4029 Piedmont Ave. space Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. via curbside pickup and Caviar or Doordash delivery, The Humble Sandwich comprises a selection of classic deli sandos made with the same high-quality ingredients for which the seven-year-old restaurant is revered.

The Humble Sandwich “is not a replacement for Homestead but a new venture that we are planning on continuing after the shelter-in-place is lifted,” said co-owner Fred Sassen, who opened Homestead in 2013 with his wife and fellow chef Elizabeth Sassen. He had previously cooked at Farallon in San Francisco and Camino in Oakland; she had cooked at San Francisco’s Waterbar and also at Farallon.

“We are not changing Homestead at all; it will reopen when appropriate and continue serving dinner as always,” Sassen said.

Priced between $10 and $16, The Humble Sandwich’s options include grilled ham and cheese with Black Forest ham, gruyere, and aioli; a grilled Cuban with smoked ham, chile-roasted pork shoulder, gruyere, mustard, aioli, and pickles; grilled herb-rubbed steak with horseradish crème fraîche and arugula; Italian cold cuts with coppa, salami, soppressata, lettuce, pickled chile, and provolone; roast turkey with avocado, sprouts, chile aioli, and aged cheddar; a vegetarian option with goat cheese, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, sprouts, and roasted pepper; and a kids’ combo featuring cheddar and provolone grilled cheese with chips. The menu also includes salads, kettle chips, and chocolate-chip cookies.

Purity Organic Retails drinks

Oakland’s Purity Organic is launching a limited new line of Sweet Leaf beverages that consumers can buy directly online.

“We can’t wait to get Sweet Leaf back into the hands of our customers online,” said Purity Organic vice president of marketing Bill Porter. “We are continuing to work with regional distributors to get products back on shelves, but given the current global crisis we are hoping some organic tea and juice delivered to your door will bring a bit of joy,” Porter wrote.

The Sweet Leaf drinks newly available online in sixteen-ounce bottles include Texas Honey Tea; Mint & Honey Green Tea; Half & Half Lemonade Tea; Original Iced Tea; Peach Iced Tea; Raspberry Tea; Semi-Sweet Lemon Tea; Unsweet Lemon Tea; Classic Lemonade; Pomegranate Blueberry Lemonade; and Orange Mango Lemonade.

Reem’s California Closes

Noted restaurateur Reem Assil has closed her Fruitvale restaurant, Reem’s California.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we’d like to thank everyone who has supported us in keeping our humble oakland restaurant operation a force in our community. Today will be our Fruitvale location’s last day open to the public for the foreseeable future,” Assil announced on Istagram.

“After much reflection and conversation, we have decided that it is no longer viable or desirable to try to sustain our current model in an economic system that will never allow us to live out our values,” lamented Assil, a former labor organizer who was named a Rising Star last year by the Star Chefs organization, and who attracted controversy because one wall of Reem’s California featured a large painting of Palestinian activist Rasmeah Odeh, who was convicted of being linked with a 1969 grocery-store bombing in Jerusalem that killed two students.

“The scrambling for dollars just to keep us ‘in the game’ is a distraction from the more important work we must do. That is to take care of our own in the absence of government and confront power to demand change.” She reassured fans that, over the next few months, “we will turn our space into a commissary kitchen providing hundreds of meals a day to those most vulnerable in this pandemic.”

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