Ms Barstool: Taking a trip at the East Bay Spice Co.

The East Bay Spice Company on Oxford Street is open until 2:00am seven nights a week. Photo: Risa Nye

The East Bay Spice Company on Oxford Street is one of the few places open late in Berkeley — until 2:00am seven nights a week. Photo: Risa Nye

When you enter the world of the East Bay Spice Company, allow yourself to be transported to a place far beyond the edge of the Berkeley campus.

While the tree-lined west side of campus is clearly visible from the window that looks out on Oxford St., the interior will remind you of anything you might have learned about the spice trade. Scattered along the shelves lined with spirits behind the bar, you’ll find blue and white porcelain spice jars, wooden mills, glass jars full of nutmeg and other spices, and a large old-fashioned brass scale — along with a variety of nautical-themed items we couldn’t readily identify.

On a Friday night at the beginning of a holiday weekend, every available table and barstool — inside, outside, and upstairs — seemed to be occupied. We came into the intimate space in a celebratory mood, owing to the spring weather, the holiday ahead, and finding a place to park right across the street.  After a brief wait, we settled at the bar and studied the menu. We are fond of clever titles and literary references on drink menus, and found several here that intrigued us.

While we certainly care the most about the composition of our cocktails, we are initially attracted to a play on words, which is why we hesitated briefly when we saw the Last in Translation (Wild Turkey rye, Green Chartreuse, Star Anise Porter reduction, and lemon) — before settling on the more literary Portrait of a Lady (Anchor Hophead vodka, Tru Organic gin, Weiss Cream ale, honey, lemon, and fennel bitters), a book which we are determined to finish reading some day. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Alan Partridge,’ ‘Teenage,’ ‘Trap City’

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It was my fourth favorite film of 2013. Now, thanks to the miracle of modern technology – okay, more likely thanks to the erratic release pattern afforded British comedies in the U.S. these days — Alan Partridge (originally titled, somewhat cryptically, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa) finally appears stateside, opening on Friday, April 18 at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas.

For those unfamiliar with the character, Alan Partridge is a massively egotistical radio and television personality plowing a rather small furrow in the backwaters of BBC Norfolk. The subject of several wildly popular UK mockumentary series (including ’Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge’ and ‘I’m Alan Partridge’) that somehow never made it to the States, Partridge went into semi-retirement in 2002, but his rabid fan base clamored for a comeback. This is it. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

WIB 4.23.14

Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the comments.

Photo: Neil Mishalov.

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.22.14

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News

Mayor proposes East Bay regional minimum wage

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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates today proposed that a number of East Bay cities, including Berkeley, join together to enact a regional minimum wage.

Bates’ proposal comes little more than a week before the Berkeley City Council holds a special meeting on a citywide minimum wage on May 1. Richmond has already had the first reading of a minimum wage ordinance, and a minimum wage initiative for the November ballot is being circulated in Oakland.  … Continue reading »

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Herb Wong: Visionary founder of Berkeley jazz program

Dr. Herb Wong, Washington Elementary School Principal invited world class big bands to perform for BUSD students.
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Herb Wong, the founding father of  the pioneering jazz program at Berkeley’s schools, died on Sunday April 20, 2014. He was 88.

In an obituary published today on Berkeleyside, Sarah Cline, Jazz Program Director at Berkeley High School, remembers the visionary principal of Washington Elementary School who believed in jazz education for young children — as music education, as a part of the civil rights movement, and as a way of propagating a democratic and artistic spirit — and who brought famous jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson, to give concerts at the school. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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SHARETEA Taiwanese bubble milk tea chain ShareTea opened at 2440 Bancroft Way (between Telegraph and Dana) over the weekend and the “buy one get one free” offer had people lining up out the door. ShareTea was founded in 1992 with its first store in Taipei City, and has expanded globally since then. It offers a variety of iced and blended teas, fruit and milk teas, as well as a few hot brews. … Continue reading »

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Got leftover matzah? Try these sweet sesame bars

Matzah bars (1)
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The seders might be over, but maybe you still have a box of matzah around? Its blank-canvas quality and its distinctive browned edges make it a perfect candidate for a flavorful sweet — and this one is easy to make, with most of the process taking place quickly on your stovetop. Together with a heap of toasted sesame seeds, matzah melds deliciously with sweet almond paste, bits of citrus zest and a splash of vanilla. The result is a delicious and decadent treat, reminiscent of baklava with its lightweight crunch, sweet honey, and citrus: a tasty new spring tradition. … Continue reading »

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Michael Ray Wisely: Grand dramas on everyday stages

Michael Ray Wisely. Photo: courtesy Alter Theater
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Known in local theater circles as a deep-thinking actor’s actor—and by fans of the DIY Network as host of the ever-practical Home Transformations—Michael Ray Wisely has built himself a DIY career.

Wisely is inaugurating the Aurora Theatre Company’s new second stage performance space, Harry’s UpStage, as the predatory “Director” in a fully staged production of John W. Lowell’s The Letters, which opened on April 17 and runs through June 1.

The 51-year-old veteran of stage, film and television has always gravitated to grand dramas on everyday life stages.

Wisely’s first theatrical platform was the town he grew up in: Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, a deep South tobacco and bible-belt town of barely 4,000 people. His hometown’s fancy French name labeled a rural location named after a white man who co-opted native American Indian land and bewitchingly adopted a local woman’s nickname to complete the hyphenated moniker. “We weren’t very poor, but we were close,” Wisely said in an interview. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.21.14

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Crime

Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 10-16

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. See recent Berkeley crime coverage here.

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate. From April 10-16, there were 13 burglary reports26 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and 15 stolen vehicle reports to the Berkeley Police Department, according to CrimeMapping.comThree robberies and 15 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries were reported. These numbers are subject to change. Click the previous links for the most current information.

[Editor's Note: We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or via Facebook or Twitter; please let us know when you write if you prefer to be anonymous.] 

Wednesday, April 9

Police tracked down and arrested a hit-and-run suspect after he reportedly rear-ended the vehicle of a 67-year-old Albany woman at a stop sign on University Avenue just before 5:15 p.m., authorities said. (The woman complained of pain but was not taken to the hospital.) The driver who struck the woman’s car left the scene, but a witness gave police the man’s license plate number, which officers linked to Obie Lee Rigmaiden, 59, of Berkeley. Police went to Rigmaiden’s home on Ninth Street and, according to court papers, he resisted when officers tried to take him into custody. He was taken to the Berkeley Jail and, during booking, told officers he had cocaine hidden in his sock. He was charged with cocaine possession, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest by the Alameda County district attorney’s office. … Continue reading »

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Comment

Op-Ed: Think, ask questions, before signing a petition

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It’s spring which means there’s an election season on the horizon. That also means, in the weeks ahead, we can all expect to be approached by petition signature gatherers on our street corners, in front of Peet’s, the Bowl, the Cheese Board and the Farmers Market.

In an Opinionator column published today on Berkeleyside, Berkeley councilman Laurie Capitelli urges us to pause, and think carefully about our signatures and their importance before committing them to paper. He advocates asking a few pertinent questions to … Continue reading »

Are you ready to help kids, pets when disaster strikes?

The Berkeley Emergency Prep Fair is aimed to help residents know what to do with pets and little ones in case of a disaster. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A brand new interactive fair is coming to Berkeley this weekend, aimed to help residents get prepared for disaster with a focus on children and pets.

The free event, at the North Berkeley BART station, takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26. There will be food and music, kids’ activities, prizes and games, as well as first aid and CPR training, pet evacuation workshops, a blood drive and much more.

“It’s really geared toward the empowerment of individuals in our community,” said Gradiva Couzin, a Berkeley resident and CERT volunteer who has been helping organize the event. “Our goal is to help everyone recognize their own strengths, and what they can contribute and bring to disaster response.” … Continue reading »

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Photos: All catered for on spring weekend in Berkeley

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If it’s a spring weekend in Berkeley you can guarantee there’s something  going on for everyone. Among the many activities of this past weekend, contributing photographer Ted Friedman caught 4/20 day on the Cal campus, when marijuana fans celebrate their passion; the Solano Art Walk; and Record Store Day at Rasputin Music on Telegraph Avenue. … Continue reading »

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