Thursday, February 24, 2011

signs: Upholstery

Most's Upholstery

This worn sign is just off 38th Ave. in Allendale. I think it says Most's Upholstery, but the paint is so worn at the top I'm not 100% sure.

Monday, February 21, 2011

winter wonderland

yep, made a sound

Not quite as wondrous as the great weather we had a couple weeks ago, the weather last week was at least interesting. Besides the much-needed rain, there were reports of hail in downtown and elsewhere. There was lots of wind several nights, which is probably when this tree fell in Huckleberry. We had lots of small branches down, and the power went out a few times, though fortunately not for long.

snow on Mt. Diablo

California's water comes from rain and snow, and we got some of the latter, too. Not just in the Sierra Nevada, but on nearby Mt. Diablo. On Saturday, we even got some in Montclair! It was mixed with rain and didn't last long or stick anywhere, but it was definitely snow. I've seen hail a number of times in my 17 years in the hills, but snow is a rare sight here around the 1300' elevation mark. Which is a good thing, because most of the streets are steep and windy enough that they'd be lethal with even a small amount of snow or ice.

This week we're getting another break. Sunday after lunch we walked up to Huckleberry EBRP to take advantage of the weather and get some exercise. We even saw Sutter, first dog of California, outside enjoying the drier weather and waiting for Jerry to get home. Enjoy the weather while you can -- the current forecast shows the possibility of rain towards the end of the week.

definitely made a sound

update: I saw this on my ride home today off Shepherd Canyon. This definitely made a sound when it fell. Interesting timing, too -- our neighbor called today saying her tree guy said one of the big Monterey pines in her yard needs to come down. It's about the size of this one, but hangs over our house.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

signs: Famous Chinese Food

Famous Chinese Food

Famous perhaps, but not famous enough to keep from closing. This sign is on MacArthur near 76th, and it appears to have been some time since the restaurant was a going concern.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

food: Boot and Shoe Service

Boot and Shoe Service

Last weekend we celebrated K's birthday. We started with breakfast on Friday at Brown Sugar Kitchen. We did a variety of activities over the next couple days, and finished things off by trying a new-to-us restaurant, Boot and Shoe Service. I know we're slow -- I first read about B&SS on City Homestead a year ago. In our defense, we generally don't eat out that often, and there are a lot of great restaurants still for us to try in Oakland.

On to Boot and Shoe Service. It's the sister restaurant of Pizzaiolo in Temescal, with a very similar menu. Presumably they have the same food ethos: buy local and organic as much as possible. It's a smaller space, so they don't accept reservations. The front is a high-roomed dining space, which can get quite loud. The back is a bar, with a selection of beers, wines and cocktails. We hung out there for 5 minutes or so while they prepped a table for us.

The food is great. We started with a salad, then moved onto a nettle and ricotta pizza, both accompanied by a tasty wine. Yes, nettles as food. On pizza. Strange as it sounds, it works. The nettle leaves are marinated in olive oil and lemon juice, and provide a unique, slightly salty flavor.

We finished with an amazingly yummy chocolate mousse type dessert. Except for being a bit loud for talking, we loved it all. The waitress even had a tattoo of one of my favorite Oakland buildings, the Tribune Tower. What's not to like?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

signs of the times

video store, anyone?

The economy is still struggling, both here and around the world. But at least we're not digging out from a blizzard, facing sub-zero temperatures, trying to oust a dictator, or facing a major typhoon. We've been having some unseasonably beautiful weather, and things are slowly getting better.

Even though I didn't vote for her, I'm already happier with Jean Quan as mayor than Ron Dellums. She may still screw up the budget and the situation with the police, pensions, and Chief Batts, but damn it, at least she's interested and involved in Oakland.

But things are a long ways from fixed, which has led to some creative approaches. Tonight, there's a fundraiser for Mama Buzz Cafe.

Similarly, people have been trying to resurrect the Parkway Theater. Part of their fundraising has been more conventional, but part was crowd-sourced, asking folks in Oakland to invest a few dollars to make the re-opening happen. A lot of work needs to be done to the Park Blvd. location, and despite the economy, the landlords seem reluctant to do the work and get a tenant. So the New Parkway may happen somewhere else, or maybe not at all. But hats off to those trying to make it work.

Speaking of questionable landlord tactics, even areas like Montclair have had a serious downturn from the economy. Montclair Village has a number of empty storefronts, so you'd think landlords would be willing to talk -- a lower rent is better than no rent, right? Well, Montclair Village Hardware is now going to move to nearby Piedmont Pines -- something that's been feared since last fall. As that's my nearest hardware store, I'll definitely miss having them so close.

But despite those things, I'm hopeful about Oakland. The Oakland Museum, after a super successful run of the Pixar exhibit, is launching The Oakland Standard. It's all about some interesting art projects. Oakland is full of interesting art, from the OMCA to graffiti to . And the OMCA is launching the Oakland Standard with style -- a big party. Read more about it at Living in the O.