One scoop or two: Lottie's Creamery is serving up scoops of blood orange, cinnamon caramel swirl and other enticing ice cream flavors in downtown Walnut Creek. Since it's still soft-opening mode, you'll want to check its Twitter feed for hours and flavors -- on Twitter, from its website (www.lottiescreamery.com), or heck, go press your nose against the glass at 1414 N. Main St.

Passover, olé: Jalapeño matzo ball soup and beef brisket in adobo? Berkeley's Comal is celebrating Passover with special dinners ($60) on March 25 and 26. You'll need to buy tickets, though: www.ticketfly.com/event/233205 for March 25 and www.ticketfly.com/event/233209 for March 26. Details: 2020 Shattuck Ave.; www.comalberkeley.com.

More Mexican: There's a new chef at Orinda's Barbacoa -- Russell Rummer from San Francisco's Absinthe and Acme Chop House -- and the menu has gotten a family-friendlier spin with menus for "littles" (the preschool through third grade crowd) and "middles" (ages 9 and up), an approach similar to what owners Victor Ivry and Michael Karp did at Table 24 just around the corner. You'll still find margaritas, barbacoa, carne asada, camarones and carnitas on the bolder, grown-up menu, but now "littles" can choose tacos, quesadillas, chicken nuggets and similar fare. "Lamorinda is a family community, and let's face it, kids have a big say in where families end up eating," Ivry says. Details: Orinda Theatre Square, www.barbacoaorinda.com.

Phan fandom: Slanted Door chef Charles Phan has been particularly busy the past few months. His cookbook, "Vietnamese Home Cooking" (Ten Speed Press, $35, 256 pages), is a finalist for two International Association of Culinary Professionals awards, and he just opened the New Orleans-inspired South at SF Jazz cafe at the new SF Jazz headquarters (mmm, muffuletta, gumbo and ... crispy alligator?). Now he's opened Hard Water, a NOLA-influenced bar and bistro on San Francisco's Pier 3, with a whiskey bar and cocktails designed by Slanted Door bar manager Erik Adkins.

Send your Bay Area restaurant tips to food editor Jackie Burrell, jburrell@bayareanewsgroup.com.