Exciting things coming up in August both in and around Rockridge and further afield:
Subculture the East Bay Express’sBest of the East Bay Party: With something for everyone (and I mean everyone), the East Bay Express will be celebrating everything wonderful about the East Bay at the Oakland Museum this Friday, August 7 from 5pm to midnight. The party itself is so massive and diverse that it makes summary a futile endeavor. Download a large copy of the invitation by clicking here (invite) or check the blog the EBE has set up for more information. (Best of the East Bay 2009 Party Blog)
Oliveto Tomato Dinners: Oliveto’s annual Tomato dinners are the perfect capstone to tomato season, but this year in particular. Oliveto’s new Community Journal has been tracking the cultivation of this years crop from the time the Early Girls were planted as seeds back in February via Tomato Watch (check out their brilliant Tomato Watch timeline by clicking here). For those of us who have been watching all along, the Journal has taken the experience of anticipation of eating this prized fruit to new levels. Whether you’re a regular or an Oliveto virgin, the Tomato Dinners are sure to delight. Wednesday through Saturday, August 26 through 29, 2009. (Oliveto Restaurant,Oliveto Community Journal)
Chalk Hill Clematis’s Mary Toomey Garden Open House: The eminent clematis cultivators Chalk Hill will open their doors to the public later this month for a tour of the Mary Toomey Garden. From the Chalk Hill website: The Mary Toomey Garden is adjacent to the nursery and consists of a large pergola planted with roses and clematis and five individual gardens each with a different theme including an eighty foot long perennial bed featuring many herbaceous varieties. Chalk Hill also produces their own Olive Oil and Vinegar, available for sale at the farm. In addition, cultivator Kaye Heafey’s book A Celebration of Clematis will be available for purchase Open House Friday August 28th from 9am-4pm. Chalk Hill Clematis PO Box 1847, Healdsburg, CA 95448 (707) 433-8416 firstname.lastname@example.org
Artwork by Martha Kemp
Os Mutantes LIVE: One of my favorite musical acts of all time will be performing live at the Independent in San Francisco as part of the second annual Outside Lands festival. Their blend of Tropicalia, Psychedelia, and progressive rock have made them a unique (and we all shudder to use that word, but in this case it’s appropriate) force in 20th century popular music consciousness since their debut in the mid-1960s. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see them in action. Sunday, August 30, 9PM (Os Mutantes Myspace) (Tickets via the Independent) (About Os Mutantes via Wikipedia)
I never really followed up on MSF, since I, as a devoted resident of Rockridge, rarely venture across the Bay (and dine almost exclusively at Oliveto, but you all know that), but when I got word of a new collaboration, my curiosity was piqued.
The word: Sylvan Mishima Brackett of Peko Peko will be a special guest chef at MSF this coming Saturday and I’m just too excited not to shout it from the rooftops (and by doing so making it harder for myself to get a table, but, well, all in the name community service).
And the best part is, I even got my hands on the menu! Dishes are no more than $12 each and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Mercy Corps and St. Vincent de Paul. Apparently, Brackett got his hands on the last of the season’s freshly dug bamboo shoots harvested localled in Livermore. And in addition to the notable shoots, the menu consists of:
Buta no kakuni
Braised pork belly and daikon with sake and ginger; with hot mustard and mustard greens
Whole fried local petrale sole with mori tsuyu
Tomales Bay clams steamed with fresh dashi, sake and mitsuba
Hirame kombu-jime Local halibut cured with kombu; with little lettuces and radishes
Panko-fried potato and cream-corn croquettes
A bowl of rice with green tea and dashi, salt-cured steelhead salmon, scallions and nori
Cucumber with shiso, napa cabbage with kombu and red chili and green pepper and katsuobushi pickles
Apricot and boysenberry ice cream with apricot sauce and noyeaux whipped cream
My mouth is watering just thinking about the amazing flavor combinations. One of my favorite things about Brackett’s cooking is his ability to balance fresh delicate moments with crunchy deep-fried indulgence. Consider the Oshinko and the Kare Karage, or the Korokke (I must try that–there are few people I trust when the work “croquette” is involved, they are too often too mediocre, but I have a feeling these will be the dark horse hit of the evening). I’ll be lining up early.
But if for some reason you don’t make it, the line is too long, the fog is too thick, you live too far away, or heaven forbid the inevitable happens–MSF runs out of food–you can experience something close with Peko Peko’s most recent bento featuring a Tonkatsu Sanwhich for just $12.50. A truly authentic Japanese experience, the Katsu-Sando bento is a recreation of the humble but extremely popular lunch of students, salary men, and OL’s alike. I am loving the new boxes…
The people of Oliveto keep food close to their hearts–and therefore their producers even closer. Right now, and for the next few months, Oliveto’s Community Journal is conducting a “Tomato Watch.” OCJ will document as these tomato seedlings become sprouts and sprouts become vines, until the sweet fruit hits our plates at Oliveto’s famous annual Tomato Dinner series in late summer (August 26-29 2009). The whole process is being documented on video at OCJ in a documentary style akin to a mini-series, with new video being shot and released in real time on the site as the tomatoes grow. Of huge consequence this year is water, or lack thereof due to drought.
Visit OCJ here to watch as farmers from Watsonville to Capay Valley brave the elements in hopes of the sweetest, tartest red globes around.
This is very exciting news. After approximately a year of eating at Oliveto I caved and signed up for email updates about special dinners, visiting producers and the like. Now another year later, I just got notice of the Oliveto Community Journal–and it’s so much fun. It could have gone either way; what do restaurateurs and chefs know about the interweb? Fortunately for Oliveto-devotees and food lovers everywhere, the Oliveto Community Journal is an exciting array of reports from local farms, bright pictures, and even video of our fantasy-life-husband Chef Paul Canales on the job! A personal favorite is the timeline feature. Check out this pic of Chef Canales and some lucky guy c. 2000 when Canales was named chef.
This is another one of those sites that is going straight to my list of favorites.
The Teacher Salary Project, a group of educators and citizens committed to raising teacher salaries in order to improve the quality of education, is having an event in San Francisco on March 23, 2009 from 6:30-8:30. The evening will include clips from the new film of the same name, based on the New York Times best-seller Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachersby Daniel Moulthrop, Ninive Clements Calegari, and Dave Eggers. In addition to a preview of the film, the evening will include discussion with the directors and producers and sushi from Ichi Catering. Mmmm. Minimum suggested donation is $150. A small price to pay for raising money and consciousness for real social change.
Another incredible opportunity to show your support for students and the people who work hard to prepare them for . . . everything, is quickly approaching at ARL all-time favorite Oliveto. I knew I was in love with Paul Canales, and here’s just one more reason why.
MetWest High School invites you to
A Morning of Real-World Learning:
Our first annual exhibition-viewing breakfast fundraiser
Wednesday, March 18th, 8:30 – 9:45 AM
*Join us for a breakfast prepared by Oliveto Restaurant head chef, and MetWest internship mentor, Paul Canales
*Sit amongst our students to view one of our students quarterly exhibitions of their internship-based learning
*Hear more about MetWest’s unique approach to high school education:
– Exploring passions through internships
– Professional networking skills
– Project management experience
– Anti-oppression curriculum
– Close peer relationships within a diverse student body
About six months ago two of my nearest and dearest (and biggest food and sushi appreciating) friends, Boris and KRB, took me to 15 East in New York. We sat at the bar while Master Chef Masato Shimizu served us piece after piece of delicately cut fish atop warm, fleshy grains of rice. I’d never had anything like it in my life. Not even on my trip to Tokyo did I eat sushi like this (for some reason on my short stint in Tokyo I didn’t have good luck with sushi, maybe it was the jet lag? But became ADDICTED to Okinawan cuisine at this one little spot–if memory serves it’s Ryutan?). In any case, 15 East blew my mind. Just the experience of two temperatures in my mouth; the subtle warmth of the rice with the coolness of the fish, was a total revelation.
The months since have been practically torture; not just due to a desire for the flavor and feel of 15 East, but by the odious experience of eating any other sushi, which now tastes bland at best. The offenses that are committed all around us against fish and rice, a noble creature and sustaining staple, are just despicable.
Two months ago, I discovered the existence of Yume Sushi on Alameda through intense combing of yelp.com. Something in my gut told me there had to be better sushi in the Bay Area than anything I’d tried in my searching over the past 3+ years–and Yume could be it. Continue reading →
Written December 5, 20008. Published December 9, 2008.
This post is in regards to November 28-December 5
Note to my readers:
I have been reticent up to this point on the blog to 1) say I am married 2) say I have a husband 3) explicitly identify with a gender. It is time to come out of the closet on points 1) and 2). I am happily married to a man. 3) will be left to your imagination, unless you know me personally, as many (most?) of my readers do.
Also, as the foregoing information suggests, this post is uncharacteristically(?) intimate in nature. But I think justifiably so.
THIS PAST WEEK:
Monday marked my first wedding anniversary to my husband. It is a sacred day. I have been overwhelmed with my emotion of love for my husband, remembrances of these days and weeks as we lived them one year before when we were marrying each other, committing for life in front of all our loved ones, and I take that so seriously. And it isn’t easy. Marriage is damn hard and I love that man so much. And I take that commitment incredibly seriously. And it is overwhelming to think about the fact that this is my life, this is OUR life, and we WILL be together for the rest of our lives because we promised each other and everyone else in that church and GOD. It is NOT easy AND I LOVE that man. These thoughts, feelings, and emotions infused my everyday experience this week.
-We currently have no heat in our house and somehow it is most of the time colder inside than it is outside. We have two space heaters that are somewhat effective but by nature of being space heaters don’t heat evenly and often leave you too hot in the smaller rooms because no matter where you put them they are blowing on you in some way. Alternately they leave you too cold in the large open living and dining areas because the space is far to big to heat with space heaters.
-I am THRILLED to be flying to NYC on Friday 12/5 to celebrate two of my best friends’ thirtieth birthdays at a 500 person bash in lower Manhattan AND visit all my other loved ones there. Thoughts of my weekend in NYC, the impending party, and my two best friends for whom it is thrown hung over me all week.
-I have been sick since Friday, 11/28
-I teach three periods of 6th grade Monday-Friday and attend Mills College in the afternoons/evenings Tuesday-Thursday.
Friday-Sunday: sick to the point of constant need for horizontalness
Saturday: So sick I flaked on working at the flower shop and felt like such a douche bag about it.
Sunday: My laptop became non-operational. Reasons unknown.
I had a wedding anniversary.
Had a family emergency in the afternoon.
Had a draft of a paper due Tuesday that I had only vaguely outlined on Sunday (very not my style, I always do my work in advance, it’s the only way I stay sane. I’m not one of those people who regularly waits till the night before something is due to write it–that would make me crazy and compromise the quality of my work. Just speaking personally…).
I had to create and prepare to teach a lesson for Tuesday of my own curriculum (I most often teach a scripted curriculum that I am required by my district to teach due to an agreement between Alameda USD and the University of Kansas. Alameda USD has adopted this curriculum and is providing data for research being conducted on the effectiveness of a curriculum KU designed called “Fusion” to remediate reading for struggling, under-performing urban students. While creating my own curriculum is in fact ideal, doing so the night before is not, but I simply could not move I was so sick over the weekend).
I had a hard time planning/writing my lesson and my paper because my laptop was broken. I had to use my husband’s computer, which has some kind of fucked up version of Word that corrupts the files and is not connected to a printer so when I would email the files to myself to print elsewhere they would not open. His computer is new, snazzy, and has a 30″ monitor. He does big important arty shit on it and has a million external hard drives. But you know what, the copy of Word is fucked. Word is my life. My husband (and many other people) constantly make fun of my 2005 12″ PowerBook G4, but the machine has never died on me before and is perfectly suited to my Internet-obsessed life and word processing habits.
Went out to dinner for my anniversary (to Oliveto obviously) and was spoiled by my husband. It was so lovely, SO many flowers. Honestly.
Taught in the morning, went to class in the afternoon, having managed to get everything word-processed and printed. Submitted draft of aforementioned paper.
Ran to the Apple store after class, couldn’t get help because I didn’t have a Genius Bar appointment because when I checked they didn’t have any and usually when that happens I just go there and wait and someone doesn’t show up for their appointment and I get helped. Not so this time. Some asshole was trying to blow me off. So I just bought a new power cord thinking that the fact that my machine wouldn’t power on had to be either the power cord of the need for a new battery.
Went home, the power cord made it all better!!! I had a working computer again!!!
I cooked a big dinner (something I don’t do every weeknight especially when I’m stressed with schoolwork, but it was part of…
Anniversary week month celebration. (Monday night was a lot about my husband celebrating me, and Tuesday night it was my turn to celebrate him). He loved it, I even got his favorite scotch-mallows and molasses crisps at See’s across the street from the Apple store at Bay Street. It was great.
Woke up amazed that I was still sick, so I committed to flushing my system. Within the course of the day I drank approximately 5 liters of water, a carton of tangerine juice, and a bottle of 100% Pomegranate juice. And multiple cups of Yogi brand Ginger tea and Honey Lemon Throat coat tea. My stomach managed the whole thing incredibly well.
Taught in the morning…
Was in class at Mills from 1-5:45PM straight. Wednesdays are a bitch for me. Had a paper due Thursday (again that I hadn’t started due to my sickness) and a second draft of the paper I wrote for Tuesday. I also had to write a lesson plan and prepare to teach it on Thursday (again, similarly to above). And I had to prepare for an important meeting with a professor on Thursday.
When I got home I had a family emergency that had to be dealt with before starting my papers. It was a long night.
I woke up in the morning to the electricity we paid 12K to get entirely redone in August on the fritz. I went outside in the cold to the box on the side of the house (it’s 6AM) and I switched the fuses on and off, but only half the power went back on.
On my way to work I called the electrician and left a voice mail, a kind, urgent voice mail.
Along with my early morning realization about the electricity I was still ridden with mucous and remained intent on my flushing mission. Again I drank 4 or so liters of water over the course of the day, a lot of Yogi tea, and a “magnum” size bottle of Cran-Apple juice from Trader Joe’s. My urinary tract should be extraordinarily healthy this week.
Got to school.
I taught a great lesson–a great fucking lesson. I wish I had videotaped it. I was on fire, the kids were on fire, they were teaching each other. It was so fucking beautiful. YES! That’s my art baby.
I left school, picked up my prescription that I had to have for Friday. While I was waiting for my prescription to fill I made a to do list for the rest of the day and made a packing list for NYC that was very thoughtful so as not to look like a Bay Area schlumpy bumpkin in NYC.
During all this, there was a man that I had hired cleaning my gutters at the house. He’s a great guy and I had told him about the electricity issue. He figured out the problem–the switch of one essential fuse was stuck and wasn’t really switching on and off–it was stuck in the middle (I didn’t notice this in the dawn’s barely light after my sleepless night), we just had to push it harder, then the electricity went back on. Problem was fixed by noon. And I got to call my husband and tell him and he was proud of me, even though I didn’t solve the problem at least I found someone to solve it for us. He calls me his frontier wife. My skills are akin to using EVERY part of the bison–wasting nothing.
My meeting with my professor was at 1PM.
At 12:15PM I arrived at Bloomies and made a flower arrangement for my professor because she has admired my designs before and I thought it would be good to soften the blow of what I was about to tell her: that the faculty’s and her program to prepare “teachers for tomorrow’s schools” with a clearly articulated heavy social justice mission is in my view falling incredibly short of accomplishing that mission and I’m not going to sit around and be quiet about it. Do you know how much this shit costs??? And do you know how much teachers get paid??? I ain’t going get a buck twenty five like fucking associates out of law school you know? So if I’m paying this money you better bring it. And even if I wasn’t, this is my education at stake and I’m supposed to be a fucking educator! MAN, sorry guys, I get heated about this shit. Someone made the mistake of giving me a T-shirt in high school with an Adrienne Rich quote that said “we will not live to settle for less” and I never looked back. Then my fucking husband goes and gives me a necklace that says “I’m Worth It” in diamonds so yeah, this is it, and it’s never going to be any other way. Some wise people told me “do you” and I’m doin it.
The night before I had managed to revise the paper from Tuesday to turn into my professor (not the one I was meeting with) in his box prior to my 1PM meeting.
By 1PM I arrived at Mills. There was ABSOLUTELY no effing parking because everyone gets there around that time. Risked it and parked in the 10 minute zone in front of the School of Ed. building.
I had an hour and a half long meeting in which I described to my professor the various and major issues that I see as compromising my graduate program. The constructive criticism was very well received. It was a major triumph. I’ll be partnering with my colleagues and the faculty to continue a dialog about improving the teacher preparation program at Mills.
I didn’t eat a damn thing the entire day. I forgot.
I went to the library after my meeting and finished my paper for my 4:15PM class. I went to class thinking that I hadn’t done the reading and found out when I got there that I had done it–two weeks ago when I was working ahead. Blessed. What a day. I was a bit high on me and the way everything was going so well.
Class ended at 6:45PM and I raced home–but stopped to pick up a bottle of wine at Paul Marcus. I had to celebrate surviving the week. I got one bottle for me for the night, a more expensive bottle of Nero D’Avola than I usually buy, to treat myself, and a bottle of Txakoli to bring as a gift for my dear Basque friend who I am staying with in NYC.
I got home and having memorized the list I made earlier in the day, I laid my clothes out on my bed and carefully folded them (I love being a good packer) ready to put in the suitcase. I readied hors d’oeuvres for my friends and family who were coming over to see me off. I lit candles.
I had my weekly Thursday night meeting with The Triumvirate: EPK, MDM, and RCR. We are a group of Mills students who enjoy each other’s company, respect each other as intellectuals, are committed to supporting each other as we embark on exceedingly challenging careers in public education, and have a damn good time.
I rehashed my meeting with my professor for RCR and MDM, who are equally invested in improving the condition of our graduate program, and heard their stories of the day. As usual we yelled, screamed, laughed, and gestured. Hands flying, interrupting, taking turns.
He injured himself fairly badly on the film set–it involved a finger and either a drill or screwdriver and a loose flap of skin and that’s all I’ll say. I got him hot salt water baths in finger bowls so he could soak his finger. I fed him food. He went to lie down and read.
Rimpletide and Alic borrowed my car for the weekend and took off, subdued by hangovers from the night before and pleasantly tired by the spectacle of The Triumvirate in action. Thursday night is our night and we never hold back. Once RCR and MDM come to Rockridge all hell breaks loose in the most glorious way. Usually my husband likes to watch and throw something in here and there but the injury and set construction exhaustion had him down for the night.
I fucking baked my husband, RCR, and MDM chocolate chip cookies. Yes I ripped that shit up whipped that shit out! I was on fire yesterday. I could do anything. I could write papers, argue my points, say things I was scared to say to people who are above me, laugh with my friends. I could do it all. AND I knew exactly what I was taking to NYC and remembered to get the wine as a hostess gift dammit.
I loaded the dishwasher, I cleaned up the kitchen, I left minimal mess. I hate to leave for a trip with a messy house. It’s just not right.
My guests trickled out but the last didn’t leave till midnight.
Off to bed.
I woke up at 5AM with a splitting headache from the Hendricks (the Triumvirate drinks Hendricks exclusively) and wine and so much excitement the night before—unbelievable excitement anticipating my time in NYC.NYC is like home to me.It’s going home dammit.
So I got in my Weleda Rosemary Milk Bath (so fucking great it deserves its own post and will get one) and took some headache medicine and downed some water and read Perez Hilton in the bath on my iPhone and emailed my people telling them how I couldn’t wait (to be even more intimate and detailed I will tell you that a bath like that with the concurrent Internet browsing is quite habitual in A Rockridge Life) I finished all my packing, I set my hair.I made coffee for my husband and me and I let him sleep as long as I could.I was all ready.I forgot nothing.I got it all.I just had to get on the Bart and get on the plane.
My husband told me he would drive me to West Oakland to make my trip shorter.It was great.I love him so much and I was excited to spend more time with him before I left.I am not sad he’s not coming.It will be the good kind of separation.I will have a chance to experience my NYC loved ones as I should from time to time, just them and me, and husband has art to do.Some serious art and “making things” as he calls it and that’s what it is and he loves it.And I love it that he loves it.And I love IT too—the “making things” that he makes.It’s all really fucking great.So we’ll miss each other but it’s cool.
So, I’m the type of bitch who never carries cash because I never have two seconds to take it out of a machine because my life is crazy hectic and it just isn’t what’s going on, trips to the ATM, I can barely get around to filling my car with gas and that is something I HAVE to do because my ass is driving all the fuck around to schools teaching and to a college learning and home again repeat.
SO I get to Bart, I’m on time, it’s COOL.And I’m on the escalator up to the platform and I realize I left my fucking purse in my husband’s car with my cell phone.
This nice lady on the platform let me use her phone to call my husband but he didn’t pick up because my man is always on the phone with important people in LA and Paris and shit and he’s not so down with unknown numbers so basically I’m fucked
I run down to the station level and get on the pay phone.Still no pick up
Repeat that 4 or 5 times.Finally as I’m about to call again he calls the pay phone, says he was trying to pick up but there were some issues who knows?
He comes back.
I get my purse.
I get on Bart.
I make it to South San Francisco but I’m on a fucking Millbrae train so I have to get off and wait for an SFO train.It works, it comes, but I’m dizzy, nauseous, gassy, and think I might throw up.I had pain pills and coffee and water and no food and I feel fucked.I’ve got nothing on me to imbibe or consume in any way.I was looking at this kid like 20’s listening to an iPod and snacking and I thought about Literally ASKING that motherfucker for some food that’s how much I was dying.Like hello crazy!Like my privileged-ass Rockridge-living self begging for food in my nice clothes jewelry and ticket to NYC on Virgin America.Goddam.
So I get to the airport and I think I’m fucking made.Because I’d been scared I wouldn’t make it–but I did make it.I’m like fucking Joe Pesci in Goodfellas going to get made–all puffed up with my good suit on just so ignorant that right now shit’s really hitting the fan and my ass is going to get knocked off!!!
I make it through security and I’m just like OK all I need is some fucking yogurt you know? All I need is some yogurt.Those live cultures are going to settle my stomach.SoI grab some Yoplait, it’s cool, I indulge in some BS fashion mags, and get on that PLANE!!!
And I’m putting my shit in the overhead and I realize I fucking left my computer in the bin at security.
I tell the flight attendant.
He said to tell the women at the desk at the gate.
I run up there.
They tell me to run to security and get it.
I tell the TSA guys, it’s cool, early morning at the International Terminal and not too busy.
I know it’s going to be cool,
But the running made my stomach crazy and I’m worried I’m going to throw up on the TSA guy’s shoes.They get my comp, make me sign something and I’m off.
I get on the plane.
I eat a yogurt.
I feel better.
I start reading the December issue of Bazaar (Lindsay Lohan really randomly soothes me).It’s the best issue of a fashion magazine I feel like I’ve read in about 5 years.Amazing shit.
I’m starting to chill and I see a jacket that makes me think about my best friend Mrs. Jubbison.And ooooooooooh shit Jebbison’s birthday was yesterday and I fucking forgot.
Jubbison is a seriously tough lady and the most loving person I know.She’s a third year law student at one of the highest ranking law schools in the country.She’s a star there.She already has her high paying job all lined up and this girl is a SUPERSTAR.She is just so hardworking and smart it’s out of this world.AND she is the most loving Christian I know.This girl is dil-I-gent.I mean for REAL. You just don’t know.And I LOVE the fuck out of her.And she is the most thoughtful person, you know she emailed and called ME on MY wedding anniversary.Because she is in love with me and my husband and our love that she wanted to celebrate us and make sure we knew it.And she doesn’t give a fuck about her birthday or presents.She thinks it’s silly at the age we are to have to have some big deal about your birthday every year.All she cares about is the people she loves, taking care of them, working really unbelievably fucking hard, and praising the Lord.And if someone she really cared about cared about his or her birthday she’d care about it.But she doesn’t care about her own birthday.But I forgot her birthday.I couldn’t believe myself.I knew it was coming too, I planned it out, I knew I would write, would call, would do it all.And I didn’t even stop long enough yesterday to realize it was December 4th.We’ve been close since we were 12 YEARS OLD.Man, I felt dumb.