Tag Archives: Temescal

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.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Farmer’s Market Ranunculus

Soother1978 and I went to the Temescal Farmer’s Market at the Oakland DMV this morning with a mission for beautiful, full, even FAT ranunculus.

We got three bunches for $10.  I got to use my new basket/vase for the first time!  Here are the results:

ranunc1

ranunc2

ranunc3

It’s still early in the season so the ranuncs aren’t AS fat as I like them, but they’ll get there.

Soother1978 soothed himself with a fried chicken sandwich from Bakesale Betty’s while we were in the area.  We love the sandwiches, but we discussed the inherent unsoothingness of places with a single, great thing that everyone has to cue up for–the Magnolia Bakery vibe–great products but so much hype!  Hype doesn’t soothe.  And Oakland, as much as I love it, has that small-town vibe where there’s always a line for anything good because there isn’t enough competition (think Ici and Blue Bottle Coffee).  Bring your business to Oakland!  If you build it we will spend!  We need a Blue Barn to soothe in the East Bay!

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

I was so relieved that my family finally decided to do Secret Santa this year.  I’m not a fan of Christmas shopping, and although I was blessed with a lot of toys and fabulous gifts as a child, I come from a religious Christian family where the focus actually was more on the Advent Wreath than counting down the shopping days.  

For the third year in a row I’ve considered banning myself from buying ANY Christmas presents, sort of in an anti-materialist protest.  But there’s a catch: I have a large family of in-laws who get me tons of gifts.  I haven’t figured out how to navigate this yet, all I know is that not getting them anything makes me feel like a giant schmuck. 

Ergo, last minute Christmas shopping.  Oy ve.  

Determined not to be oppressed by big box stores and the like, I’m grabbing some reusable bags and heading up to College Avenue (I know, I sound so effing Oaklandish right now).  I’ll be finding little trinkets from my local businesses and business owners.  We Rockridgers just can’t get enough of mom and pop and small business.  Call us crazy.  

If you’re interested in following suit, I recommend checking this website if you are unfamiliar with the area.

I’ll be checking out: Market Hall and Pasta Shop, Maison D’etre, Bloomies Flowers, Bella Vita, Pendragon Books, Rockridge Home, The Alta Bates Showcase Thrift Shop, Diesel Books, Atomic Garden, Pretty Penny, Body Time, Crossroads Vintage, and Recapture.  Find more info on these shops here.

I might also cruise Telegraph (the “Temescal” district) for Scout Home Hardware and Sagrada Sacred Arts.

Ho ho ho.

diesel_books_largejpg

Diesel Books really soothes me. 

3 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle