Yelp East Bay Community Manager Dominique Farrar weighs in on why Oakland Restaurant Week is a perfect fit for Yelpers in the East Bay. The countdown to Oaklands most delicious week of the year has begun, and theres one group of locals who are particularly anxious to book their reservations and check some restaurants off their hit-list. For Yelpers in the East Bay, Oakland Restaurant Week is required eating, and they dont take the assignment lightly. To whet their appetites for the 10-day prix fixe extravaganza, Yelp and Visit Oakland co-hosted an Oakland Restaurant Week kick-off party at Lungomare on Monday, January 13th. Yelp Elite members and local media were invited for a first bite of restaurant week menus, featuring tasting tables from five ORW participants. Nido, Brotzeit Lokal, Tribune Tavern, Chop Bar and Lungomare all hosted tasting tables with small bites like pork belly deviled eggs, house-made sausage sliders, trout croquettes, veal meatballs and more. Not surprisingly, Yelpers waxed poetic about the evenings menu. May D, an Oakland Yelper, was won over by Tribune Taverns crab and shrimp deviled egg, adding you could taste the seafood in every bite, with a slight hint of wasabi. Alameda Yelper Irene L recalls Nido offered their Alambre al Pastor, a marinated grilled pork skewer accompanied by chile de arbol salsa and housemade corn tortillas...delicious! Nido is definitely our next restaurant to try. The Lungomare staff whipped up made-to-order cocktails from Campari, Wild Turkey and Appleton Rum. Berkeley Yelper Wendy N praised the potent and tasty Queen Annes Revenge quaff, garnished with star anise and a frothy top. Just outside of Lungomares bustling dining room, the Visit Oakland offices hosted live painting by local artist James Gayles and a jazz trio. Between the gourmet bites, dainty drinks and local art & music, the mood was thoroughly Oakland. In the words of Yelp Elite member Lorrayne L Oakland Restaurant Week is one of the coolest things to have ever happened to our infamous town. Mindy D, also Yelp Elite, added that the kick-off party was a great way to see the servings for Restaurant Week, and got her super excited to try these restaurants! In addition to getting hungry for more Oakland Restaurant Week action, guests were encouraged to make a donation toOakland Art Murmur, another key organization helping to keep Oakland fresh and inspiring. All donors were entered into a raffle, and a handful of lucky Yelpers walked away with $50 gift cards to Lungomare, which will come in handy for those infinite wine Sunday dinners they offer, Oakland Yelper Augusto T aptly noted. Hashtag-happy guests tagged their event photos with #ORW2014 and watched them appear on Lungomares big screen TV, thanks to a live Instagram feed. You can bet that the tags will keep coming as Yelpers hit the streets January 17-26 for the full ORW experience. For more information and a complete list of restaurants participating in Oakland Restaurant Week see the official website.