Adieu to an institution: It's always sad when a restaurant closes, but Lafayette's Petar's, which shut down this past weekend, was an institution. It was known more for its old Europe decor and the piano stylings of Diamond Dave Hosley than its food, but it was iconic nonetheless. Petar Jakovina had been the maitre d' at San Francisco's Bimbo's 365 during the 1950s before opening his eponymous bistro on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The restaurant eventually moved to its current corner spot on Lafayette Circle, continuing to draw crowds with its piano bar and old-school continental cuisine, even after Jakovina's death in 2003. No word as yet on what will take its place.
Redistricting District: We were blown away by the small plates and savory dinner fare at District in Old Oakland, but it was a 4 p.m.-and-later proposition. Now owners Jon D'Angelica and Chris and Ryan Vance are taking pity on the daytime set by adding a grab-and-go lunch option via the new District Carriage House, which is set to open in early 2013. The opening menu will include such tempting options as Hubbard squash soup ($4/$7) with maple crème fraîche and toasted pepitas; a Cukes & Quinoa Salad ($7) with citrus-marinated cucumbers and onions, feta and mint; bocaditos ($4.50); fruit and veggie juices; and other things we're too hungry to enumerate. Once it's up and running, lunch will be available for pickup and delivery to downtown Oakland locations from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. weekdays via the Ninth Street carriage entrance. (District is at 827 Washington St.; it's open for dinner and weekend brunch; go to www.districtoak.com.)
Signs of winter: It truly must be January, because cassoulet has returned to the menu at Oakland's venerable Bay Wolf restaurant, where pork sausage, duck confit and smoked pork mingle with white beans, and French food fans swoon at the very idea. Owner Michael Wild tells us the dish is available in two sizes, "big and bigger," for $14 and $24. Details: 3853 Piedmont Ave.; www.baywolf.com.
Send your Bay Area restaurant tips to food editor Jackie Burrell, firstname.lastname@example.org.