Tag Archives: soothing

Hmph! The New York Times is Digging Oakland

It might be expected that the New York Times would pick up on such high profile stories as the murder of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009, or the murder of four Oakland police officers in March.  But Oakland the tourist destination for Times readers?  I have to admit it was a bit unexpected.  About a month ago the Times published “36 Hours in Oakland California,” which sells Oakland as a sort of multi-culti-city-of-the-future-hidden-gem-artists’ haven.  Since then there has been a relative spate of Oakland-based reporting in the times that might challenge the old Gertrude Stein adage that “there is no there there.”

“36 Hours in Oakland California,” gives New Yorkers some great tips such as the Grand Lake Theater–my hands-down favorite place to see a movie by myself (or with anyone else for that matter), the Washington Hotel (my mother’s personal favorite hideaway),  and the Morcom Rose Garden, which truly is a hidden gem.

grand lakeGrand Lake’s Auditorium 3 (picture from their website)

03venue_morcomrosegarden1_395Marcom Rose Garden, photo by Eros Hoagland for The New York Times

Then, just a few days ago, the Times gave us the popular “Neighbor, Can You Spare a Plum?” about fruit foraging, beginning with a profile of Asiya Wadud, a Chez Panisse alum who pioneered Forage Oakland, an organization/movement aimed at viewing urban fruit as collective wealth, with potential for community building.  While Wadud and Forage Oakland seem laudable, the Times article leaves a lot to be desired.  If anything it brought on the painful memory of someone harvesting my “collective wealth”–the roses in my front yard, by simply lopping off the top of all the bushes–and convinced me not to plant that plum tree in front of my house.  All fruit isn’t everyone’s fruit–the law and I believe Wadud agrees–but Kim Severson, the author of the article, glosses over this point a little too much for my taste.  What would Randy Cohen say???

10fruit500.2Asiya Wadud by Noah Berger for The New York Times

But no need to get too serious, Oakland knows how to party, the Times’ bastion of style T Magazine reminded us yesterday, June 10, 2009 on their blog “The Moment.”  What is a forlorn Williamsburg hipster refugee to do after the Sonic Youth show at the Fox TheaterThe Moment says hit Cafe Van Kleef!  The Moment’s description of the place hits the nail on the head.  Van Kleef is kind of Brooklyn meets Nawlins meets Oakland–in decor if nothing else–and they do pour excellent cocktails (they often have great fresh fruit involved) but overall the place is a little to Park Slope c. 2002 for me with their earnest burlesque and cabaret, but maybe they Williamsburg kids will come and shake it up (they do serve some purpose you know).

What the Times obviously needs is a little dose of good ole Rockridge style soothing…and I’m working on it.  In the mean time, you can consider co-housing opportunities in the Temescal neighborhood, or just keep track of Oakland news by setting up a Google news alert here.

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My Table, Friday May 29, 2009

A story in pictures, and a few words.

lunch

bread

Acme Bread Company Baguette

fleur verte

From left: Harley Farms (Pescadero, California) “Monet:” goat cheese with a layer of Herbs de Provence and decorated with edible flowers, the infamous Fleur Verte: goat cheese coated with dried thyme, tarragon, and crushed pink peppercorns, and Fresco Italia’s Quattro Stagioni soft cow’s milk round with edible flower

txacolian close

Some readers might remember my adoration for txacolina, a mineral-rich white wine from the Basque region of Spain.  Urki’s Getariako Txakolina is a new discovery from Paul Marcus.  It is a beautiful experience.  The cork smelled of vanilla and flowers, and the txacolina was crisp and dry as expected, and citrus-y too, yet gentle (perhaps gentler than the Xarmant Txakolina), effervescent, but without any sour bite.  

bubbles

The light bubbles as seen through William Yeoward’s Pearl goblet

empty

Et fin!

All photographs taken with the Canon Powershot G10, an amazing camera I borrowed from I.  Highly recommended.  It makes everything and everyone look beautiful. 

New linen placemats and napkins with hummingbird pattern from my mother.  Towle “Old Lace” silver.  Mottahedeh plats with raised swan design.  Laguiole cheese knife.  Roses from my garden.

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Summertime

Memorial Day is past and so is Easter, so we’re officially landed safely in white-shoe time of year.  And while summer won’t start officially until the solstice on June 21st, why not celebrate with some white Car Shoes?

carshoe

I haven’t mentioned soothing in a while because I was afraid the term got overexposed, but summer is close, and it seems appropriate to resurrect it.  Moccasins in general soothe.  White Car Shoe moccasins?  Super soothe.

So–there are less than 3 weeks till school’s out and while my students are probably daydreaming about keggers and no curfew my mind is set on warm afternoons spent with rosé and good friends (and possibly some fleur verte).  I’m excited about this bottle of Shramsberg generously bestowed on me by my favorite neighbors/friends/partners:

shramsberg1Rosé soothes.

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Things that Soothe: Apartment Therapy (I know)

Honestly, I’ve never really gotten into Apartment Therapy.  Like many sites that I want to LOVE, it’s just a little too Real Simple-y for me sometimes.  But I decided to check out the SF site today and it’s soothing the hell out of me.  Especially these posts:

  • Urban Indigo-a seriously soothing Oakland boutique in the Grand Lake neighborhood
  • Black Flowers-who doesn’t love them?  Apparently “gotard”
  • Garden Inspired Interiors-not great examples all of them, but that lead image is enough to make it one of my faves:

garden-interior1

Here is an arrangement featuring my favorite “black” flower: chocolate cosmos (and two of my other favorite flowers muscari and hellebore).

cosmos

Discovered at Southern Accents, arrangement by Greg Campbell of Memphis

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Definition of Soothe

sweetpeasFrom Soother1978’s visit to NYC’s Union Square Farmers Market

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Polls

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What’s on your mind?

Beyond the obvious personal nature of a blog, one of the reasons I started ARL was to create an outlet to talk about the type of things on my mind that don’t necessarily get enough coverage in mainstream media/the press.  A lot of times ARL serves as an escape from “real” life–a fantasy world of gourmet meals composed of organic ingredients and bountiful bouquets–where none of the daily trials and travails are revealed.  Other times I want to talk seriously about aspects of our world that are deeply troublesome and need to be addressed; racism, classism, cruelty and suffering of all kinds.  As I’ve embarked on this journey of thinking about what I’m thinking about, I’ve become more and more curious about what YOU all out there are thinking about.  

WHO are the readers of ARL? and what’s on YOUR mind?  and how can I soothe YOU?

phrenology

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