All the News That Fits
I hadn’t visited Aisle 5 in a while and, when I did so this past Thursday, I was delighted to find that they had moved their brewery out of a backroom and into a corner of the dining area. I was even more delighted to meet their brewmaster, Karl Bauermeister, who learned his trade initially as a long-time home-brewer followed by a three-year stint working at San Francisco-based Laughing Monk Brewery. Relatively new to Aisle 5, he explained that, as of that morning, they had three Aisle 5 beers on tap but he was just about to add a fourth, a Bavarian style hefeweizen. Karl graciously posed for a photo in front of the bicycle that he rides to work from Richmond. Behind the bike are the bags of grain and hops. At my request, Karl is clutching an empty Aisle 5 growler that customers are welcome to fill with Aisle 5 beers and take home for consumption. FYI: they’re planning a special Prix Fixe meal for Sunday’s Super Bowl but the details had not yet been finalized.
Last week, the Eater website posted a list they compiled of the “Best Places to Travel and Eat in 2020.” Of the nineteen destinations listed, only three were in the U.S.: Milwaukee, the East Village, NYC and (drum roll, please) OAKLAND, CA. About our fair city they noted that “Today, few would deny that Oakland is the region’s cultural and artistic center; the capital of small entrepreneurs, of food that gives voice to identity.” Of the seventeen Oakland restaurants mentioned, two were right here in the Grand Lake neighborhood. Congratulations to Ordinaire and The Alley. Speaking of Ordinaire, they’ll be continuing their Saturday tastings but stay tuned for a major event at the Starline Social Club in March.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and everything will be coming up roses at the three floral emporiums on Grand: Grand Flowers, Lee’s Discount Florist and Brother & Sisters Flower Shop. Sandwiched, more or less, halfway between the latter two, Wild Rabbit Bakery will be burning the 4 o’clock in the morning oil. That’s figuratively speaking, since I’m quite confident that Janet Bennett, the procurer-in-chief, lets nothing other than the finest organic butters onto the premises. In any case, I’m told that their display cases will be filled with Almond Rosettes, Pralines, a Praline Brioche and hand-painted cookies. New hours, by the way, are Wednesday through Friday, 7 am – 3 pm and Saturday and Sunday, 8 am – 4 pm.
Collected at Four 32‘s owner, Anthony Bennett, has just alerted us to new store hours: Thursday 12-5pm (starting February 13), Friday 1-6pm and Saturday 9am-2pm. If you haven’t already done so, stop in to say “hello” and check our their diverse collection of antiques and collectibles purchased from local estates and also taken on consignment. Also of special note is Anthony’s collection of memorabilia from the late Lewis R. Mahlmann, the master puppeteer and former long time Director of Children’s Storybook Theater at Children’s Fairyland. The permanent display includes one-of-a-kind puppets, photos, and achievements.
As we’re putting the finishing touches on this month’s Splash Pad News, the last of the furnishings inside Izek Day Spa Salon were being moved into trucks waiting at the curb.This marks the end of a long tenure during which the salon developed a large, faithful clientele and always celebrated Christmas and Halloween in style. Why are they closing? I didn’t ask but a fair assumption is that their rent is slated for a big increase. As we mentioned last month, small locally-owned businesses are being priced out of the market and Exhibit #1 is the now vacant CVS storefront which, according to a comment on NextDoor, is priced at $20,000/month. The closure of Dressed Best for Less (which is moving back to Piedmont Avenue) will bring the total of vacant spaces on Lakeshore to four. That includes the large Fast Print space at the corner of Lakeshore and Longridge. Word is that the owner is in no hurry to find a tenant. Getting back to Izek Day Spa Salon, they’re staying in the neighborhood but in a much smaller space they’ve leased at Classic Cuts at 3233 Grand. I’ve been advised that they will continue to offer Aveda and Bumble Bumble salon products.
LATE BREAKING NEWS: Shortly after publishing this month’s News, we realized that MeloMelo Kava Bar opened today at 3264 Grand in the space that used to be the Grand Bakery. Judging by all the customers on their first day, I suspect this was a niche begging to be filled. Based on the comment posted by Linda Holland, we can also report that Comal is going to open a second location in the Barlago space.
LAKESHORE and LAKE PARK AVENUE
by Kira PascoeFull of fun, February has lots to enjoy on Lakeshore! From Super Bowl Parties to Valentine’s Day events to Anti-Valentine’s Day Events, Heart and Dagger’s 1oth anniversary party to Flamingo Bingo at Oakland LGBTQ Center and more! At 3340 Lakeshore, A Newer You opened, stop by to learn about their LED light treatment and benefits. Hats off to Hipline for creating and hosting a Little Feminists Festival and to Shakewell co-owner and chef Jen Biesty for demonstrating at Session VI’s Chef’s Holiday at Yosemite. Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas is holding office hours at the Grand Lake Farmer’s market on February 1st. Read all about it and so much more!
GRAND LAKE FARMERS MARKET
In the December edition we congratulated Lucky Dog Hot Sauces and Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company on being named as finalists in the 10th Annual Good Food Awards competition. This past weekend, Pt. Reyes captured the “Best Of” as their Toma Cheese came out on top in their class in the Western Regional Division. According to their website:
Toma means “wheel of cheese made by the farmer herself.” What better way to describe this, our most versatile, any time, any table cheese. All natural, pasteurized, semi-hard table cheese with a waxed rind.
There was a very full agenda at the Grand Lake Farmers Market Advisory Committee meeting this past Wednesday, beginning with a report from Katherine McCain, Oakland’s newly appointed Fire Marshal, whose presence was requested by Miya Chen, Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas’s Chief of Staff. That request was prompted by a policy implemented last year that called for frequent (sometimes weekly) safety inspections at all the farmers markets within city limits. Violations that the inspectors were looking for included expired fire extinguishers, non fire-rated canopies, open flames, and lack of safe egress in the event of an emergency.
While this was laudable, the problem was that the city was billing $1,531 per visit. According to Agricultural Institute of Marin CEO Andy Naja Riese, another market management team (with several Oakland markets) was initially on the hook for $90,000. Thanks to Ms. McCain’s concerted efforts, the cost of the site visits has been retroactively reduced to $245 and the frequency of the inspections to quarterly. They’ve also established a self-governing policy that will require the market managers to perform weekly inspections and submit weekly compliance reports. The only issue yet to be resolved revolves around the placement of cooking stations. The fire inspectors insist they be out in the open air while the health inspectors’ requirements are just the opposite. According to Ms. McCain, the CITY has authority over the county, not vice-versa. One way or the other, we’re confident that the twain will meet.
Committee Chair, Jerry Barclay’s Meeting Minutes are quite comprehensive and well worth reading in their entirety, but let me summarize a few key details.
- AIM has a draft of the 5-year lease agreement that they are negotiating with the City. There are a few requirements that they are disputing but, on the whole, it’s on track to go to a City Council subcommittee in March.
- Management is working on a revised layout to minimize congestion and negative impacts on the park’s infrastructure.
- Waste Stream Management is now a priority and, to that end, look for 3-stream disposal stations to be installed shortly – allowing management to maximize recycling and composting.
- To ensure that trash cans are left empty and the grounds cleaned, AIM is working with Waste Management on placement of a small dumpster inside the parking lot.
- AIM is partnering with Mercy Housing to provide “Bonus Bucks” for low-income seniors.
- The USDA grant mentioned in last month’s News will fund a new employee to work half-time in Oakland schools, arranging farm tours while also encouraging a healthy diet.
- Four chef demos are planned for this year beginning in early Spring.
- If the necessary insurance coverage is obtained, AIM will be offering a booth that will be available to neighborhood businesses on a rotating basis.
A list of Grand Lake Farmers Market vendors is available at THIS LINK.
SPLASH PAD PARK
The Splash Grand Crew’s volunteer work day last Sunday was extra special thanks to the presence of the Agricultural Institute of Marin’s CEO Andy Naja-Riese. Andy pitched right in and worked a full three hours, pulling weeds – but also getting to know the volunteer team and vice-versa. To his right is Diane Hicks, a regular at all the 4th Sunday work days who also shows up on her own to weed and prune another three or four days a month – or maybe more. To his left, is Claire Wing, a Crocker Highlands resident, who, after retiring, became a Master Gardener. Mary Jo Sutton (to her left) is the plant guru who is chiefly responsible for building a small, highly-dedicated group of volunteers. About Claire, Mary Jo said, “She’s a keeper” – so we have our fingers crossed hoping that the Grand Crew team is one member stronger. We’d be happier still if you joined us for next work day on Sunday, February 23 from 9 – noon. Gloves and tools are provided.
GRAND LAKE GALLERY SCENE
With the closure of Alchemy, the change in ownership at Panorama Framing, and a more recent change in management at 510 Brand, the Grand Lake art scene is a bit up in the air. That said, both Bay-Made on Lakeshore and Urban Furniture and Boutique on Grand have new shows opening this week. Please check with the participating galleries for their hours and/or special events.
Bay-Made’s current exhibit of landscapes by Dean Holland closes February 5. On February 7, a new exhibit of photographs by Brandon Ruffin is scheduled to go up in its place. That show, entitled”Images by Brandon,” will be up through April 1 and will include a special pop-up show on March 28. Open for viewing during regular shop hours.
Urban Furniture and Boutique, in collaboration with the HumanKindClub, is hosting an opening night reception for a group exhibit of up-cycled found artwork. Above is the original on the left alongside the altered piece created by the founder of the HumanKindClub, Sabrina Walasek. Hours are 6 – 9 pm. Light refreshments will be served.
510 Brand continues to feature the artwork of Justin Metoyer Mullon, also known as “Jamm the Artist.” Also look for “Fluid Dreams” by Jodi Parker and new artwork by Michael Johnson. Open for viewing during regular shop hours. Please note: they may or may not have a special First Thursdays event this month. Watch for announcements on their Facebook page.
Jau Jou Studio is continuing its exhibit of vibrant abstracts by Berkeley artist Gabe Weis. Available for viewing whenever the salon is open, but hours vary.
Urban Furniture and Boutique is hosting an opening night reception for a 10-person show of up-cycled art. That is, art pieces that have been substantially altered from the originals. Hours are 6 – 9 pm. Light refreshments will be served.
The show of original artwork by several dozen Bay Area tattoo artists at The Libertine has just concluded and is being replaced by an exhibit of international graffiti art.
ODDS & ENDS
We were really pleased to see three new maple trees planted in empty tree wells on Lake Park Avenue adjacent to Trader Joe’s, thanks to outreach by Carol Knight and the Lakeshore Avenue Business District. A call to the phone number listed resulted in a return call from Derek Schubert, who has, for the past two years, been volunteering as the coordinator for a non-profit originally dubbed the “Sierra Club Tree Team” but subsequently renamed “Trees for Oakland.” Over a four-year period, they used grant funds (and lots of hard-working volunteers) to install a total of 1,500 trees citywide – mostly in lower-income neighborhoods where the need is far greater. For the time being, planting is on hold while they’re looking for new funding for more trees and for part-time paid staff. BTW: a tip of the hat to the Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation, which is the fiscal sponsor for Trees for Oakland – just as they’ve been for SplashPad.org since 2002.
Speaking of trees, Derek noted that the City of Oakland recently scored a million-dollar grant that should significantly help the understaffed Tree Service Division. The first step in the process will be a city-wide tree audit followed by the hiring of a consultant to draft an RFP.
The next Grand Lake Neighbors meeting (scheduled for Wednesday, February 19) will include a guest speaker from Revel, the company that has begun strategically placing blue mopeds around the neighborhood – to the delight of some and dismay of others. That’s in addition to the usual presentation from the OPD officers who help patrol the neighborhood.
Sheila McCormick, who helps edit this publication and is on the Board of the Friends of the Oakland Public Library, selected a few of the many special events scheduled for February in Oakland’s libraries:
In observance of African History Month, Oakland’s libraries are hosting a series of special events, kicking off on February 4 (from 10:15 to 7:30) with a “Black History Read-in and Culture Fest“at the Main Branch. The following evening, Oakland History Center librarian Dorothy Lazard will present a talk and slideshow entitled, “African-American Oakland, 1915-1965” – detailing the growth of Oakland’s African-American community during a period of enormous change that ultimately helped establish Oakland as one of California’s most progressive cities. On February 19th at the Main Library, Stagebridge member Ben Tucker will be sharing stories about the Oakland Larks and the Berkeley-based California Eagles during the heyday of Negro League Baseball. More info is at THIS LINK.
Our own Lakeview Branch Library will be screening a 2019 film about Harriet Tubman at 2:30 on February 22.
On Thursday, February 20, the Oakland Heritage Alliance is hosting a presentation by Stu Swiedler regarding the extent to which transportation corridors and eminent domain impacted Lake Merritt and the Grand Lake-Lakeshore -Trestle Glen areas. More information and tickets are available at THIS LINK.
In addition, if you miss Dorothy Lazard’s February 5th event at the Main Library, she’s doing an encore sponsored by OHA on March 9. More information and tickets are available at THIS LINK.
- Black History Walk Starts at Calvin Simmons Theater – Saturday, February 8, 10 – 12:30 pm
- Grand Lake Neighbors Meeting at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church – Wednesday, February 19, 7-8:30 pm
- Splash Pad’s Grand Crew Volunteer Work Day – Sunday, February 23, 9 – noon
- Super Tuesday California Primary Election – March 3
- Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale – Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9, 10 am – 4 pm
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