Category Archives: Food

running for life, recallquan status, bloggers, future

2H March 2012 Update

Tabling for New, Better Mayor

I witnessed two gents tabling for the Recall Oakland Mayor Quan campaign by the Downtown Marriott last weekend.  A good spot to camp out – many Oakland Marathon registrants passed by. Other highlights:

  • Rain
  • plenty of takers though at the booth
  • donuts and cookies provided by moi
  • every weekend at farmers market near you!


If you’re into sustainability thoughts and trends, you might read up on how Ancient China kept up its transport mobility mojo in an era of post-asphalt roads during a time when Ancient Europe failed to do similarly. With a Chinese wheelbarrowWell – it’s true the ‘peons used Roman paved roads for a millenia, but it was all dirt roads from there. What’s this got to do with the East Bay? Continue reading

Behind Government Budget Problems

Sutro Baths Steps by sirgious
Sutro Baths Steps, a photo by sirgious on Flickr.

This month’s post by Gail the Actuary explains our country’s (and the world’s) economic situation better than I ever could, so here it is.

This obviously speaks for Oakland as well, since we’re one of hundreds of US cities built upon a once lustrous but increasingly potholed and cracked foundation of cheap (and now all burnt up) oil and gasoline.

We’ll need to find other means of social lubrication, and in the meantime, don’t be poor!

The ramifications touch every part of our society, and thus I’ve tagged this with all categories. Put on your systems thinking cap and get reading!

Upcoming, Up’n’Came Eats and Drinks

Central Oakland is far from saturation point for good eats and drinks.  I wonder from time to time when we’ll arrive at super-saturation. We probably don’t have to worry about that ever happening. So what’s the new hotness, or, “what’s good?”

Disco Volante – 347 14th Street – beautiful stained glass curtains inside, band triangle, mochi-filled dates (figs?), bacon-y pecan nibblers, more. This baby is open for lunch now, should be open for dinner in two weeks. (Thanks @Vsmoothe for the up to date timeline.) Keep an eye out! FB page

Bar Dogwood – 1644 Telegraph Ave – should be open this spring.

Xolo Taqueria – 1900 Telegraph Ave – should be open by this summer, if not April.

Public Art Plaza – 1901 Telegraph Ave – supposed to launch September 2011. Not an eat n drink “venue” but definitely a place to hang out in the future! Looking forward to it. I might be moving by then.


I’m sure you already know about these new spots:

  • The Punchdown — new wine bar with paninis & soup & wifi, next door to Plum. Great place to hang out! Run by two smart cookies.
  • Plum — haven’t been yet
  • 355 — it was good, but can’t really proffer a ‘fair and balanced’ review based upon  Santa Crawl night ;o)
  • NEX — lovely grub & grog (make sure to ask for egg whites, bitters & ice in your Pisco Sour!)
  • ERA Art Bar & Lounge — awesome old woody ambience upstairs, Gucci Sweatshirt downstairs, lovely live painting and mixology of all kinds
  • No Worries — Veggie Filipino Cuisine — and healthy at that, not the SF SOMA greased out and been layed out all day in a chafing pan fish. First off, they don’t have fish, I’d think.  Second, I haven’t been yet! Need to go…

This is a cross-post from my apartment blog…

The anti-post. Not antiposto.

I write this after eating dinner. It has nothing to do with Oakland’s infrastructure redevelopments but everything to do with “food justice,” “saving money/being cheap” and “eating locally.” It’s not my typical post.

What was it? Fresh pasta made from scratch by yours truly. Sure, eggs aren’t super cheap, flour prices are rising like joint smoke. It’s just satisfying to hand roll and cut your own pasta though. No intimately involved industrial machinery.

This is a fluff post. I wish I could say the pasta was too; it wasn’t. The pasta was hard. Note to self: knead dough for less time using less flour.

Otherwise, quite good. See stupid easy recipe here.

Stay tuned for next week’s piece: Oakland 2010 Review. It will be as superficial and fluffy as possible, like our new mayor and I.

And you’ve heard, right? We’re down at least, oh, ten officers. There are mutterings about Batts. I don’t quite buy them yet. On the other hand, if crime is down it’s because he (a)  has improved morale and (b) rich(er) would-be Oakland theft/mugging victims have less stuff for thieves to steal. It’s a recession for crimanimals too. Or (c) MJ joints are taking biz from the corner dope dealer, (d) the dealers are killing each other off, (e) there are fewer dealers per capita, (f) and latter-day dealers are becoming present-day pimps.

McGarden [Uptown Fox Farmette] checkup #2 w/ photos

What I’m calling “Fox Farmette” is an empty City of Oakland-owned piece of land bounded by four streets: Telegraph to the East, Rashida Muhammed(sp?) to the West, William to the North and 19th to the South.   It’s the bare brown square next to the red letter A on this map.
View Larger Map

It was supposed to be a lot filled with Forest City-developed condos (and yes FC got a free 99-year lease from the city, and FC also gave generously to Jerry Brown’s State AG run) but now FC has no money so no condos.  The city then thought of repaving the dirt again to build a 1-story parking lot downtown. The public said no so now the lot sits fallow. I’ve been working my magic there though. Behold, baby steps to community gardenhood.

Photos from Saturday at Fox Farmette.

Kentucky Pole Beans.


Sweet Clover

Young trees…


Apple seedling

Another tree, with clover ground cover

You will notice there are no raised bed vegetable gardens.  No corn, sunflowers or squash. So far this has been a one-man project.  I can use your help.  Your time, knowledge, seeds, soil, wood, nails, money, whatever you fancy.  It’s fun to garden and the soil is rocky. It’s also a dog run.

Saturday I planted some white clover. Clover fixes atmospheric nitrogen into the soil through symbiosis with bacteria who do the real N fixing. P and K are harder to add but not impossible, especially if there were composting toilets around.

Future plans: would like to add 1-2 raised beds, sunflower patch, corns-beans-squash rows.  All gardening would need to be drought tolerant since there is no irrigation.  There are plenty of weeds in the “empty” Uptown lot… dandelions (or look-alikes?) and other things I don’t recognize.  Will post those up later.

What I’m doing is not unique. Two people have said it’s like the Octavia/Fell/Hyde Street gardens in SF that got publicity recently.  To me it is similar to the Garden Boyz project on the east coast or the shrinking and bulldozing of Detroit into a smaller, manageable city, or similar greening of cities in former East Germany.

Tour of downtown Oakland

Everyone loves photos.

Here are some snaps from the past few weeks.

1. Raw sewage notice at Lake Merritt, 3/23:

Continue reading

Hummingbirds in Downtown Oakland

Nature is great to experience, and even better if it’s in the city.  Even if it’s a sanitized version of nature like the reeds by Temescal Creek in Emeryville as it runs under the Bay Street mixed used development area.

In my case, I’ve been watching hummingbirds sipping nectar from the flowers covering my Yuzu tree.

Here’s the tree-

Almost had no humdinger photo — they’re so fast!

If you live or work on a street in Oakland which desperately needs more trees, get in touch with Urban ReLeaf.  They’re a superb non-profit which has planted as many or more trees as Oakland Public Works’ Tree Section has over the last decade plus.  Not to belittle the city but UR does the same work for much less $.  They just don’t market themselves very well unlike say city council politicians or Ella Baker Center.  Check them out here or call 510-601-9062 to request a tree. There’s no free lunch, so expect to pay some amount of money.  It’s an investment better than any that Wall Street or City Hall might offer — and then take — from you.

Tags: RETWEET, hummingbird, yuzu lime tree