horše ṭuuxi hemmenya—good day, everyone!
The seasons are changing yet again! We are leaving the time of huuyi tiwši warép, the time of blossoming on us, and entering herwe makiš, the time it’s warm on us — the Chochenyo way of saying it’s summertime. As we enter this energized season, prepare for the foods served at Café Ohlone to represent the seasonality and warmth we are experiencing as the world changes around us. We will be serving iced Indian teas, manzanita cider, and hazelnut milk horchata, as well as native blackberry and wild strawberry fruit salads with fresh coyote mint. The warm months and longer days allow us to spend more time smoking traditional meats of salmon, quail and venison — all of which will be on our menu for summertime. We are experimenting with icy sorbets from gathered bay laurel and minty yerba buena and we are adding late mushrooms like porcini and morels to our plates as well. All these meals will be enjoyed exposed to summertime elements in our outdoor cafe space, and our mur candlelit dinners will be under the stars on balmy Berkeley evenings.
We are grateful for the continued outpouring of support and well wishes we are receiving from both our community and the public for the work we are doing at Café Ohlone. We were recently featured in a piece written by John Birdsall in the Los Angeles Times, and just this morning, we were listed as one of the top 100 Bay Area restaurants by the SF Chronicle. Every article we participate in reinforces this communal work we are part of and reminds others of the truths that we have always known: that Ohlone identity is beautiful and strong, our culture is vibrant, and our people continue to persist as we work to undo the damage of colonization and the suppression of our traditional culture. We are proud to show the world, in our own voices, what Indigenous California cuisine looks like and to describe in detail how our food can dispel stereotypes and empower the truth.
All around us, we are seeing the seeds our ancestors and elders planted—when they reminded the world that we exist and endured—continue to blossom in multifaceted ways: land acknowledgements continue to become commonplace across the Bay Area, acknowledging that this is the home of our people; the Mission bell representing the catastrophic California Mission system was removed from UC Santa Cruz last week, an effort led by the Amah Mutsun; after a failed push to name a new California State Park for an American settler who did no good for Rumsen Ohlone people, State Parks instead listened to the Rumsen Ohlone Community and is naming the newest California State Park near Point Lobos Ichxenta State Park, the indigenous name of the area and a formal return to the use of the original place name in that spot; the name of Peter Burnett, the first American governor of California and who legalized state-sponsored genocide against our people was removed as a namesake from a San José middle school and its name was changed to Ohlone Middle School; and, in a historic first, Governor Gavin Newsom apologized last week to California Indian communities and acknowledged the genocide that was waged against our collective Tribes in the mid-1800s and Governor Gavin Newsom established the Truth and Reconciliation Council. Governor Newsom offered these words: ”I’m here to say the following, I'm sorry on behalf of the state of California. I'm sorry that we've had generations—your kids and grandkids, your ancestors—that had to suffer through the indignities, lack of capacity and empathy and understanding, their lives lost, their lives diminished, and the incapacity of the rest of us to fully grasp the magnitude of what we in this state did to your ancestors.”
We are living in a time of tumultuous change; the changes we are seeing happen around us are historic and boundary breaking and are pushing us into a new era of Indigenous sovereignty and visibility here in the Bay Area. We continue to celebrate victories, large and small, as we work for a decolonized future where Ohlone culture, language, and cuisine are a visible and an integral part of the the landscape we are indigenous to.
We continue to operate our now-regular schedule with:
tawwa-sii Tuesday — our weekly tea hour with three seasonal tea tastings and Ohlone small bites, paired with traditional games, stories, and an accessible way to learn about Ohlone culture. $20, 6pm
Thursday Tasting — our weekly lunch tasting, with full plates of intentional, seasonal Ohlone foods and teas contextualized and described with detail about the intersection between food, culture and justice for Ohlone people. $30, 1pm
mur, Evenings at Café Ohlone — our intimate, bi-weekly dinners under the stars, with hearty multiple courses of some of our most traditional foods paired with speakers from our community, games, stories, and music. $125, 6pm
sunwii Sunday — our bi-weekly Sunday brunch full of contemporary Ohlone brunch menu items, we bring out multiple courses, one dish after another, and our resident DJ Ras K’Dee (Pomo) keeps diners dancing in their seats as our staff keeps diners’ bellies full of rooted Sunday morning foods. $75, 1pm
Decolonize Meetup — our monthly action-based meeting for allies wanting to learn ways to support the Ohlone community, led by our staff member Allison Shiozaki. Free, date and time TBD
You can visit makamham.com/cafeohlone to learn more about our schedule and about the work we are doing. We still have seats still available for our next mur, Saturday June 29th, for those who might want to experience these flavors soon! As always, we are thankful and proud to see this work continue to spread into the world around us.
We measure our success through every meal we prepare; seeing our Ohlone community have a place to celebrate our culture in our homeland and offering the supportive public a chance to experience our beautiful cuisine while learning from us directly reminds us that this work is highly effective. Last Saturday, we had a community meal and gathering trip with elders and youth from the Ohlone community in an old village site in the East Bay hills — to see these traditions back on the tables again, and our people empowered with traditional culture, language, and foods, makes us feel full. We believe this work is guided by something far larger than us, and we are confident these efforts will only become stronger in the future.
‘alšip-mak — we are grateful. Let’s continue to make more positive changes over summertime as we work toward a decolonized future. We will continue to celebrate these meaningful victories over meals at Café Ohlone in an energized, robust, and succulent fashion.
The team at Café Ohlone