Friday, January 30, 2015

watch the Super Bowl at The New Parkway, with Marshawn bigger than life!

The Super Bowl may not be on your radar anymore since neither the Raiders nor the San Francisco Santa Clara 49ers are in it this year, but it promises to be a great game. If you're looking for a spot to watch it, consider The New Parkway. It's not just a great place to watch movies, they also show special events like the Super Bowl and soccer's World Cup, as well. I've watched the Raiders play there, and it's pretty amazing. There's great beer and food available, and they'll deliver it right to your seat.

Marshawn Lynch is an Oakland-grown celebrity who hasn't forgotten his Oakland roots. He regularly returns to Oakland, and his Fam 1st Foundation works in Oakland mentoring kids on the importance of education, literacy and self-esteem. He's an Oakland Tech grad who is larger than life, so not watch him larger than life? He may not speak to the media, but his actions speak plenty loud.

If the Super Bowl isn't your thing, The New Parkway is also doing a special movie showing Valentine's Day on February 14, and showing the Academy Awards on February 22. There are different charges for different events, but it's a great spot to watch all sorts of things.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

signs: Camber

The other night while checking out Camber, the latest restaurant in Montclair, I stopped to take a picture of its new neon sign. Camber is the second restaurant for them, and is named for the owners' kids, Camrin and Amber.

food: Camber Montclair

Montclair Village has a new restaurant on Moraga Avenue, and it's great. Camber replaces the venerable Silver Palace restaurant. I happened by the grand opening celebration they had, attended by current district four city council member Annie Campbell Washington and former member and current mayor Libby Schaaf.

It's a nice space with a high ceiling. Husband and wife owners Irfan Jaffery and Linda Saechao made the front space a bar (with lots of TV screens for watching sports), and the main dining area is up a couple steps. Camber is their second restaurant; the first Camber Oakland is in Uptown on Telegraph. Camber is named for their kids, Camrin and Amber, who were at the grand opening. The food is mixture of cultures; according to Mimi Rohr's article, Saechao's family is Thailand and Laos, while Jaffery's is from Pakistan and Burma.

This past Friday, K and I got a chance to check Camber out for dinner. We started with drinks (Gingerita for K, Lagunitas IPA for me) and an order of Crab Rangoon. Then it was on to spicy Bouncing Tofu for me, and a really tasty Pad Si Ew for K. Everything was great, but left us too full to even contemplate dessert. Camber makes a great addition to Oakland's burgeoning restaurant scene and for us it's great to have another dining option close to home. We'll definitely eat there again, and will likely take advantage of the bar for watching sports that aren't on broadcast TV.

Camber Montclair celebrates grand opening in Montclair Village by Mimi Rohr San Jose Mercury News January 21, 2015.

More pictures from the grand opening and from dinner:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

signs: Flavors of India

Spotted this last night in a rare evening walk around Montclair Village.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Oakland Urban Paths: Brooklyn

This post is a week late because I've been busy working on the Legendary Locals of Oakland book. Also note that I included some pictures in the slideshow at the end that are from when I did the test walk. It's all things we saw on Saturday (except the cat and the squirrel), but that I didn't have time to take during the walk.

“Oakland is nobody's Brooklyn, but part of Oakland was once Brooklyn.”

We had an amazing turnout for last Saturday's Oakland Urban Paths walk exploring the former town of Brooklyn. About 100 people and 8 dogs joined us as local historian Robert Perricone showed us around what was once a separate town east of Lake Merritt. Brooklyn was named for a ship that brought Mormon settlers to the area, not (directly) for the city in New York.

We started the walk in Clinton Square Park, which is another name from history. Moses Chase was the first American citizen to settle in what is now Oakland. He left his fiancee Mary Ellen Clinton to seek his fortune in California. After falling ill in the gold fields, Chase settled east of Lake Merritt and founded the town of Clinton, named for his fiancee. Sadly, she died before he returned to marry her. The town of Brooklyn was formed in 1856 by joining the settlements of Clinton and San Antonio.

We wound our way around various sites, some dating back to the town of Brooklyn or early Oakland, and some modern ones. Our final stop was one major building that's no longer there, the Tubbs Hotel. It was a large, luxurious hotel, which covered the entire city block. Gertrude Stein's family lived there for almost a year when they first moved to Oakland. As happens with many large, wooden structures, the Tubbs Hotel burned. There wasn't enough water to fight the fire, so the fire became a spectacle with people coming to watch.

Stein left Oakland in 1891 after her parents died, and didn't return until 1935. During that time, the Tubbs Hotel burned down, the family house torn down, Oakland's population increased from 35,000 to nearly 300,000, and the bucolic neighborhood where the family had lived was now full of apartment buildings and nearby Highland Hospital. That's what she meant by "there's no there there".

Thanks to everyone who came out for the walk, and many thanks to Robert for leading the walk. Below is a slideshow of photos, and below that are more links to the Oakland Wiki about some of the things we saw and talked about.

Pictures from our walk:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

And I will stare at the sky...

We're still in a drought in California, and the local weather conditions have led to some seriously stagnant air. The result is we're having our umpteenth spare the air day in the last two weeks in the Bay Area, which has only one good side-effect; it sometimes leads to amazing sunsets. Tonight's was no exception and even included a sun pillar.