Splash Pad Newsletter – March 2015

Grand Lake Kitchen - Al Fresco
Grand Lake Kitchen – Al Fresco

LZ’s March Blog – Grand Lake Kitchen

This week, LZ  reports on Grand Lake Kitchen and its upcoming expansion.  Here’s a couple of highlights:

“Originally, the Wasems thought the Grand Lake Kitchen might just offer take-out food, especially for picnickers going to Lake Merritt. “But we are restaurant people, not grocers,” grins May. “We knew we would miss the company of diners.”

“The expanded Grand Lake Kitchen will offer reservations for the first time, larger tables, more amenities for nighttime diners, an expanded menu, and a full bar.”


West of 580 Archives.


Silver Moon Window
Silver Moon Window
Namaste Yoga
Namaste Yoga

Nook and Cranny recently published a list of their  Five Top Shops on Lakeshore Avenue.  A drum roll please for  Posh, Collage, Maribel, Urban Indigo and the Beauty Center.

It’s probably not Nook and Cranny’s demographic but Silver Moon should have been included as one of Lakeshore’s top spots based on their wonderful selection of children’s clothing, toys and accessories – not to mention, the best window displays in the Grand Lake District.

Also worthy of a big shout-out is Namaste Yoga for their highly colorful reception area.

Chao Thai Patio
Khamleck Vilayhan

Parking throughout the Grand Lake District will be a bit challenging this coming week.  As detailed below, street parking on Grand won’t be available on Monday and Tuesday (March 2 and 3) and maybe, a bit longer.  In addition,  the Lakeshore Avenue parking garage will be closed for repaving this Tuesday from 6:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and on Wednesday from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. the following morning.   The garage will also be closed all day on Tuesday, March 10 from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. the following morning.Chao Thai Sign

Please note that the surface lot adjacent to Trader Joe’s and Walgreens will be open throughout – but access and egress will only be through the driveways on Lakeshore and Lake Park.  More about the Lakeshore Garage:  According to Michael Ford, the gloomy interior is about to get a much-needed coat of white paint to brighten it up and enhanced lighting is also  in the offering.

Around the corner, Khamleck Vilayhan, owner of Chao Thai at 482 Lake Park,  is busily upgrading the restaurant’s patio.  When I took this photo on Thursday afternoon, carpenters were putting the finishing touches on a gazebo and just beginning construction of a new entry sign topped with a peaked roof that will echo the one over the restaurant doorway.



Studio Grand’s monthly calendar for March is again filled with an amazing array of talent representing everything from world music to classical jazz to the spoken word and even pop songs from the 1930’s to the 1950’s.

There’s one welcome change in this month’s calendar.  Several performances start at 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. – for people, like me, a much more reasonable hour.   On the other hand, if you haven’t already heard Sung Kim performing, take an afternoon nap if need be and then make a point of attending one of Sung Kim’s last two performances.    The first on March 7, when Kim,  The Divine Horseman, Hora-Flora and The Braying Mule will all be  plugging into his wall-mounted Sympathetic Resonators.  Kim will also be performing on March 29 at an artist’s reception marking the end of his seven month Artist in Residency.NoParkingSignGrand Ave. Street Repaving

This coming week, there’s good news and bad news regarding the Grand Avenue commercial district.  The good news is that the pothole-pockmarked avenue is being repaved from 580 up to the Piedmont city line.  The bad news is that there will be no on-street parking this Monday and Tuesday during the daylight hours but off-street  parking will still available in the Walker lot and on Lake Park under the freeway.

Speaking of the Walker lot, Michael Ford, Oakland’s off-street parking coordinator, has  indicated that there’s a good chance that the Walker Avenue will also receive a much-needed resurfacing in the near future.


TheLibertineKingman’s Lucky Lounge has been sold to the owner of a “dive bar” in Hayward called the “Dirty Bird Lounge” which boasts excellent reviews on Yelp and in other media.   According to a post on their DBL Facebook page, their new location on Grand is to be called “The Libertine”.  Although, they may try to profile it as a sister  “dive bar”, the bill of fare which includes “craft beers, esoteric spirits and superb cocktails” would seem to indicate otherwise.

For the record, I’ve learned to take such labels with a grain of salt.  Several years ago,  there was a fair amount of consternation when we heard that the new Heart and Dagger Saloon was going to be a “biker bar”. As it turned out, Eric and Allison Sadauskas have been a great addition to the neighborhood and although, there is an occasional Harley parked out front, they are vastly outnumbered by the Treks and Cannondales.

Alyce on Grand
Alyce on Grand

Alyce on Grand is in the midst of a big sale with select garments reduced 50-75%.  There’s also a smaller quantity of  shoes (in large sizes only) that are marked down 70%.  If you haven’t been inside lately, check out the new interior with bright color accents and new accessories.

Baraka Gallery at 432 Santa Clara is also worthy of a special visit as the owner/curator has a fantastic eye for quality craftsmanship.  For Shiffen, this is very much a labor of love as she also has a full-time day job which explains the limited hours.  This month:  Saturdays,  March 7th and 28th from 9:00 a.m. to  5:00 p.m. and Sundays and Mondays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.NewBikeRackonGrand

Alchemy Bottle Shop was prominently mentioned in a recent article in SF Magazine entitled, “High Times for Hard Liquor“.  Not coincidentally, several of the distillers mentioned in the article are also featured at Alchemy and have participated in their tasting sessions.  By the way, if like me, you rely on a bike for transport, three cheers for Jennifer Stanley for getting a bike rack installed in front of Alchemy plus at least several more on Lakeshore. TunaMeltatModigliani

Modigliani Cafe (“where everything is made with love”) is currently featuring a tuna melt with pickles and cheddar and are also offering Greek Salads.  Owner Gerry Mogg says they very much appreciate their customers and, considering how busy they are, that seems to be mutual.


Red Wagon Collectibles
Red Wagon Collectibles

Arvi Dorsey at Red Wagon Antiques (3654 Grand – next to Galleria Scola) is open Thursdays through Sundays from Noon to 6:00 p.m. If you’re a newcomer to the neighborhood, you’re probably not aware that this space has housed a succession of antique shops going back some 35 years to the “Time Was Antiques”.  Not only that, but Arvi previously operated an antique shop in this location but, after a brief foray into Alameda, he’s returned to Grand Avenue.

The Psychic Reader  at 3215 Grand has moved across the street into the space that was vacated by the Wells Fargo ATM machines.  I’m assuming she foretold that transition only after reading her own palm.

Grand Tavern (which just hosted a meet and greet for new District 2 Council Member Abel Guillen) has a new much-improved website.

For an always up-to-date business directory, click and save the:GABA Logo


Panorama Framing will be hosting an Opening Night Reception for “Air/Port – New Paintings by Eric Rewitzer.   Refreshments will be served and live music provided by Joshua McClain on cello. Later in the evening, Joshua will switch to a guitar and be accompanied by Matt Lundquist from “Otto and the Moaners“.

Studio Grand will be continuing its exhibit of instruments hand-crafted by their Artist in Residence, Sung Kim.  The original collection of instruments has just been supplemented  with an additional wall-mounted installation.

Urban Furniture  will be open until 9:00 p.m. and  all store merchandise will be reduced 15%.

Alchemy Bottle Shop’s  exhibit of Hall Felker’s “Personae – Paintings on Paper”  continues until mid-March.  Hours are 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. only.

Jau Jou Studio‘s current exhibit of fanciful paintings by Sita Rupe continues until Mid-March.  Jau Jou is open to 8:00 p.m. only and every First Thursday, they offer a 15% discount on all salon merchandise.

Baraka Gallery at 432 Santa Clara will be showcasing “A Grain of Truth” – works in wood by Giovanni Nixon from March 5 through April 15. Shiffen has anointed Giovanni, “the Vermeer of Veneer”.  The gallery will be open on First Thursday from 6:30  – 9:00 p.m. and the artist will be in attendance.

Alyce on Grand will be featuring recent works by Gale Madyun who is currently exhibiting at the “Art of Living Black” show.  Alyce will be serving refreshments and is  offering a 15% discount on all regularly priced merchandise.

San Francisco Fiber’s  owner, Lou Grantham, will be operating looms and spinning wool  from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.


Lots of market news to report this month including the first of the season asparagus.

Chris Sitzmann at Grand Lake Market
Chris Sitzmann

I used a portion of the asparagus I bought from Zuckerman Farm in a linguini topped with  some leftover snapper to which I added sauteed onions,  garlic, fresh dill and cilantro plus the asparagus.  Here’s the twist that worked surprisingly well, I also added some chopped Dayri Dates from Flying Disc Ranch.Granola

The most welcome news at the market was that Massa Organics is now offering organic lamb, pork and lard.  According to Chris Sitzmann, who staffs their booth, the lambs graze between the almond trees keeping down the weeds and grasses while the pigs forage in the rice paddies when they lie fallow.

Last month, I wrote about Emeryville-based Way to Life Foods and their signature granola.  They’ve since renamed their company and their packaging as “Love Healthy Foods” – but the product remains exactly the same.

Eddie and Maria Chavez
Eddie and Maria Chavez

We’re pleased to announce some changes to the Splash Pad website.  We’ve just updated the About the Farmers Market page and also added vendor listings on two tabs.  The First Tab covers produce and grains, plus meats, flowers and plants.  The Second  Tab includes baked goods and packaged goods.

I was surprised to see that quite a few farms and other vendors lack websites and/or Facebook pages.  That includes Javier at Ledesma Farms and Eddie at EGB Farms – both of whom have been selling at the Grand Lake Market since Day One. I’m pretty confident that Ledesma will have a website up and running within the next couple of months thanks to Hack The Hood – whose trainees build free websites and provide free hosting through Weebly.  With the expectation that EGB Farms will do the same, last week, last week, I took this photo of Eddie and his wife, Maria for possible use on their Home page.

While accumulating all the URLs for the vendor lists, I came across some very interesting posts I hadn’t seen previously.  The first is this tribute to the Grand Lake Farmers Market on Happy Boy’s website.  The second is this SoundCloud recording in which “Foodie Out of the Closet” interviews Javier Ledesma’s son, Noel.


The California Native Plant Garden got a lot of attention this past month with Grand Crew work days on February 22 (the traditional 4th Sunday) and again, during yesterday’s farmers market.  In addition, Mary Jo Sutton went out when no one was looking to dig some weeds and scatter some California wildflower seeds.  I have a prediction for you:  come late Spring, the California Native beds are going to be full of color and looking even more impressive than they did last year..

Within the next several weeks, the raised steel bed around the Queen Palm adjacent to the Plaza wall should be completed.  If all goes well, the new decomposed granite pathways bordering on the California Native plant beds should also be installed.

Thanks, as always, to the loyal band of volunteers that has been working under Mary Jo’s supervision.  Our next Grand Crew work day will be Sunday, March 22 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending with lunch at Noon.  We’d be delighted to have you join us.

P.S. Please mark your calendars for Splash Pad’s Earth Day celebration on SUNDAY, April 19th – our biggest volunteer day of the year.  We typically get 20 + volunteers and, after a very productive morning, serve lunch provided through the generosity of local restaurants and farmers market vendors.


48th and Bancroft
48th and Bancroft

Thanks to all the newsletter subscribers who responded last month to my personal appeal for signatures on the  DonateOakland.org petition that asked the City Council to ban the collection bins that have proliferated throughout the city.  We ended with 251 signatures and, based on the action taken at the February 3 council meeting, the council members are adamant about the need to address the issue.  City staff was directed to return, as early as possible, with drafts of two ordinances – one to ban and the other to stringently regulate their operations.UCRSCard

Meanwhile, the DonateOakland.org website has begun posting blogs about a related issue:  non-profits that are soliciting donations of clothing and household goods through postcards that specify a date when their driver will be picking up donations.  As is the case with the donation bins, none of the goods collected stay here where they will be available for purchase by low-income families.  None of the profits from their resale are plowed into the local community. None of those goods benefit local non-profits that do provide local services.

Most importantly, virtually none on the proceeds benefit the charities the cards are allegedly representing.  To cite one example, the most recent blog was about  the United Cancer Research Society based in Redlands, CA.  In 2012, KKA Enterprises (a commercial fundraiser) raised $3.78 million dollars in the name of the United Cancer Research Society.  Of that amount, $115,000 went to UCRS and only $17,500 (less than half of one percent from the original $3.78 million) was passed on to legitimate charities.  This just scratches the surface.  For more information, the DonateOakland blogs are HERE  and their list of approved local non-profits, HERE.EarthExpoFlyer

Mother Earth will be hosting several events in April including Oakland’s 21st Annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 18th.  There will be volunteer opportunities all across the city.  The two largest ones in the Grand Lake Neighborhood will be at Lake Merritt Gardens and the Morcom Rose Garden.  As mentioned above, at Splash Pad, we will be celebrating on Sunday, April 19th. A complete list of volunteer locations will be available for the April Newsletter.

Oakland’s annual Earth Expo is on April 8 in Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall and

It’s not too late to sign up for CORE II “Neighborhood Preparedness and Response Training” right here in the neighborhood.  CORE I “Home and Family Preparedness” is usually  a prerequisite but they’ve waived the requirement for the sessions being held in Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church’s Barnett Hall.  Class will be this Wednesday, March 4 from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.  For more information or to register, phone 238-6351 or visit www.oaklandcore.org.

Next meeting of the Grand Lake Neighbors group will be Wednesday, March 18 in the Lakeshore Baptist Church Library beginning at 7 p.m.  OPD will be there to discuss recent crime statistics and answer questions.  Michael Ford will also attend to answer questions about the off-street parking facilities that he is managing.

The Grocery Cafe at 2248 10th Avenue was the subject of a very flattering review in the East Bay Express by Luke Tsai. Here’s a portion of what Tsai had to say about this “Hole-in-the-wall” cafe:

Open since December, Grocery Cafe follows a well-established tradition of tiny Southeast Asian eateries opening shop in hidden-away residential neighborhoods, doomed never to be discovered by the general dining public — were it not for the fact that the food is so damn good.

While you’re there, check out the landscaping in the back patio.  Designer and former Garden Hortica owner,  Jeffrey Lim, is the building’s property manager and he’s once again, working magic.


  • Thursday, March 5, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m: Grand Avenue First Thursdays
  • Friday, March 6, 6 – 9 p.m: Oakland Art Murmur
  • Wednesday, March 11, 5:30 – 7:30:  Eastlake Connection Night at Bella Vista School
  • Wednesday, March 18,  7 – 8:30 p.m: Grand Lake Neighbors meeting at Lakeshore Baptist Church.
  • Sunday, March 22, 9 a.m. – Noon: Splash Pad Grand Crew work day.
  • Saturday, March 28, Noon – 4:00 p.m:  The Plant Exchange, 2619 Broadway
  • Saturday, April 8, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m: Oakland’s Annual Earth Expo in Frank Ogawa Plaza
  • Saturday, April 18 – Oakland’s 21st Annual Earth Day
  • Sunday, April 19 – Splash Pad Park Earth Day Celebration

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