Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

Oakland’s Bay Wolf restaurant closing after 40 years

Bay Wolf deck
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Bay Wolf, a destination restaurant in the East Bay for four decades, will close its doors for good on Sunday Aug. 30.

“It’s time,” said co-owner Michael Wild on Wednesday. “This was my life. It was everything, but when you’ve run a restaurant for 40 years, it’s time,” he said.

Wild, 75, opened the warm, wood-paneled restaurant in a Craftsman house on Piedmont Avenue with partners Michael Phelps, and Larry Goldman, also 75, on Sept. 21, 1975, three years after Chez Panisse opened in Berkeley. Like Alice Waters’ celebrated, and similarly styled, restaurant, Bay Wolf was known from the start for its locally sourced, seasonal menu.

“We did that together,” said Wild. “Focusing on local food was a given, given where we live.” The restaurateurs always aimed to source their food from within 100 miles, apart from the few times, “in the dead of winter,” when they’ve had to venture a little further. … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Manchester United – San Jose Earthquakes game moved from Berkeley to San Jose

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and Stephen Quinn of Hull City
Barclays Premier League 2014/15 Hull City v Manchester United KC Stadium, West Park, Hull, United Kingdom - 24 May 2015

 (Rex Features via AP Images)
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UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.:  The July 21 Manchester United vs. San Jose Earthquakes game will be played at Avaya Stadium in San Jose rather than Cal Memorial Stadium, according to Wesley Mallette, Associate AD, Strategic Communications for Cal Athletics. Mallette confirmed UC Berkeley was informed today about the decision, made by Relevent Sports, organizers of the tournament. “We were informed that the change in venue was made in order to better meet Manchester United’s travel and logistical requirements,” he said in a statement Monday night. People who bought tickets to the original game will be issued a full refund and should expect their refund within 5-7 days, Mallette said, adding that specific details about refunds will be issued Tuesday. “We have been informed by the promoter that those who purchased tickets for the match in Berkeley will be eligible for a special pre-sale opportunity to purchase seats before they go on sale to the general public.”

ORIGINAL STORY: The Guinness International Champions Cup soccer game between English Premiership club Manchester United and local MLS team San Jose Earthquakes that was due to be played at Cal Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on Tuesday, July 21 will not be played in Berkeley, according to a staffer in the Berkeley City Manager’s office. The source said the decision was taken Monday. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Calling Le Corbusier as a witness in Berkeley

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The Court of Public Discussion on current Berkeley development matters now evokes Time magazine’s ‘Architect of the Century’ for his take on things.

When the leaders of post-Great War Paris decided on massive ‘slum’ clearance—the second in 60 years—the rising, Swiss-born Le Corbusier presented a comprehensive solution, gratefully not taken. Influenced by the emerging International Style, stiffly formal French and English gardens, and the motorcar, he envisioned in 1922 a gridded flatness of towers isolated by gardens and expressways as … Continue reading »

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Op-eds: Berkeley Technology Academy, rentals, UC and fossil fuels, Adeline Street, $15 wage, Harold Way

Berkeley Technology Academy. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeleyside’s Opinionator section continues to draw passionate, well-articulated argument on a number of topical issues.

In case you missed them, here’s a recap of six recent op-eds:

BERKELEY TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY After Berkeleyside published a lengthy investigative story on the troubled Berkeley Technology Academy, the city’s second high school, John Fike, a teacher on special assignment there, advocated for a positive response. “Rather than cast blame, point fingers and re-count unfortunate anecdotes of past and current students in crisis situations, I’d like to take this opportunity to provide additional context about the challenge of our school, and how some of us think and hope we might become better and more effective at serving our students, who are indeed — as our Principal Quintana accurately states — simultaneously “brilliant kids” and “traumatized,” he writes.Continue reading »

Mark Bittman: Berkeley has got a hold on him

Mark Bittman with Saru Jayaraman at Manifesto Café in Los Angeles. Photo: University of California
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Mark Bittman is driving around rural Massachusetts and he’s lost. Then he figures out a shortcut and our phone conversation is back on track. I assume he’s on assignment — after all he has just launched a video series shot around California precisely, he tells me, because he wanted an excuse to get out and about across the state and “talk about food” — but I am told that’s not strictly the case. “My eldest daughter is getting married,” he explains. “Why else would I be in rural Massachusetts?”

The New York Times writer and bestselling cookbook author has been on an assignment of a different nature recently — for the past semester he has been a distinguished visiting fellow at the Berkeley Food Institute at UC Berkeley.

And he has enjoyed his time teaching at Cal and living in North Berkeley so much he has decided to stick around. He says he has committed to staying another year, working at Cal, probably in a couple of different roles “that have university affiliations.” He hasn’t signed on the dotted line yet, so is reluctant to say more. … Continue reading »

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Elmwood restaurant The Advocate to open in July

John Griffiths, executive chef at The Advocate. Photo: Postcard PR
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John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman’s second Berkeley restaurant after Comal will be called The Advocate and is slated to open next month in its Elmwood location, at 2635 Ashby Ave.

The name was chosen because it was also the name of Elmwood’s original newspaper, said Paluska. It also seemed fitting for a restaurant in a city known for its activism. “It’s a tip of the hat to Berkeley,” he said. Hoffman added: “Like Comal, The Advocate is a Berkeley restaurant, very much of its place and its neighborhood.”

The name could also be seen as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the legal battle the owners had to fight to open the new eating spot.

The Advocate will offer a menu of dishes inspired by southern Mediterranean and Moroccan/North African cooking, “all viewed through a Northern Californian lens,” according to the owners. (At Comal, chef Matt Gandin serves refined Oaxaca-inspired Mexican-Californian cuisine.)

Paluska and Hoffman have recruited John Griffiths to be the new restaurant’s executive chef. Griffiths was most recently at The Kitchen in Sacramento, a well-known spot where food is treated as theater and chefs are expected to emcee as well as to cook. Griffiths left The Kitchen in October after 16 months in the job to join The Advocate. The Michigan native was the opening chef at Larry Forgione’s An American Place in St. Louis, and was later executive chef at Truffles in the same city. He has been working with The Advocate team in December 2014. … Continue reading »

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First Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley a soaring success

Books appear to fly at the Lacuna installation in front of Old City Hall at the first Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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How do you decide if an event is a success? One clear indicator is how many people turn up, but the day after the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival came to a close, its creator and executive director Cherilyn Parsons was still trying to put a number on that.

“I would say 50,000 to 60,000 as a ballpark figure,” she mused Monday, after throwing out some venue capacity numbers and drawing on estimates suggested by festival colleague Lisa Bullwinkel who produced the whole show.

The truth, as anyone who attended the two-day festival that took over downtown Berkeley on June 6-7 can testify, is that there were lines down the block to get in to most author events. Of which there were 100 at indoor venues across town, with many more happening outdoors on the teen and children’s stages. More than 300 authors flocked to the city to participate, and stayed on to sign books and attend panels. And the festival’s centerpiece, the dramatic Lacuna “temple of books” installation in Civic Center Park, which Parsons said quickly became “the emotional and spiritual heart of the festival,” was thrumming with people all weekend. To the extent that the 50,000 free books on offer were almost all gone by the end of the festival’s first day.

So, it seems fair to say the first Bay Area Book Festival, conceived by Parsons three years ago, and inspired by her experience working at the Los Angeles Book Festival, was an outstanding success. … Continue reading »

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Squirrel causes power outage for 45,000 in East Bay

People in Cafe Tibet on University Avenue, near Milvia Street, sit by candlelight during a power outage, in Berkeley, on Monday, June 8, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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Update, 10:35 p.m. A squirrel that scampered into a substation in El Cerrito caused the outage that deprived much of the East Bay of power for two and a half hours, according to PG&E.

J.D. Guidi, a PG&E spokesman, said the animal — which died — had impacted the equipment that triggered a massive power failure at 8:03 p.m., causing 45,000 people to be without electricity. Power was restored around 10:30 p.m. The affected cities included Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, Richmond and San Pablo.

Update: 10:25 p.m. Still no official word from PG&E on the cause of the power outage but people began reporting via Twitter around 10 p.m. that power was returning to various parts of Berkeley.

Original story: An estimated 45,000 people in Berkeley and the surrounding East Bay area experienced power outages Monday night, according to PG&E spokesman J.D. Guidi at around 9:45 p.m.

Affected areas included parts of downtown and North Berkeley, South Berkeley, West Berkeley and the Elmwood, as well as areas of Oakland, Richmond, Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo.

Starting at around 10 p.m., reports began coming in via Twitter that power had been restored to much of the area.  … Continue reading »

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Goats take over Berkeley hills, but what is their intent?

Goats on Centennial Drive 6-2-15 Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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Reader Eric Cotts recently shared the photo above with us. It was taken on June 1, and shows a large number of goats on a hill near the Berkeley Lab. It inspired us to send our photo intern Melati Citrawireja to capture more images of the animals everyone seems to adore (see them below the fold).

While goats are commonly used to clear brush and grass in the East Bay (Berkeleyside has written about this use of goats for fire prevention), Cotts was not convinced the cloven-hoofed herd was there for such a benign reason. “I would not be so sanguine about the intent of these agile Bovidae,” he wrote us. … Continue reading »

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Jittery John’s cold-brew coffee lands in Berkeley

Judy Schlussel (left), who runs sales for Jittery John's, and co-founder Kristina Barnes at the Berkeley production plant the cold-brew coffee company moved into recently. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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When a man accidentally dropped a Viagra pill into his glass of cold-brew coffee recently, then wrote about it on Reddit, a certain Berkeley startup got a lucky break. The man wrote that he had to drink the coffee — pill and all — because the cold brew was just too good to throw away. For Kristina Barnes, co-founder of Jittery John’s, the first sign that her brand had had a moment of viral internet fame was when she noticed a sudden spike in online sales.

“People on Reddit asked the guy which brand of cold brew was so good, and after he told them it was Jittery John’s, it led to lots of new customers,” she said a couple of weeks ago at the cold-brew coffee company’s new West Berkeley production facility. “We couldn’t have asked for better free marketing!”

Marketing is not something the young company has done much of so far. Word of mouth has been the main way people have discovered the rich-tasting coffee concentrate that is sold in sturdy glass bottles evocative of those that held tinctures and tonics in days of old. … Continue reading »

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Fathers the focus of Nancy Rubin’s photography show

Photo: Nancy Rubin
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When Nancy Rubin taught the pioneering Social Living class at Berkeley High School from the late ’70s to the ’90s, she became something of a public figure and was often asked to comment on the challenges faced by teenagers. People would say: if there was one thing that could be changed to help the kids who are getting in trouble, what would it be? Rubin was quick to point out that there was no “magic wand.” However she did have a suggestion: “Put a loving father in every home.”

That’s not to say that children can’t be raised exceptionally well by a single mom or two women, Rubin said recently at her home, where she was preparing for her first solo photography exhibition that centers on fathers. All sorts of kids do really well in all sorts of family situations, Rubin stressed. But as someone who grew up with a “wonderful, warm” father, Rubin could only wish the same for the students she was mentoring, some of whom had no relationships with their own fathers.

Rubin’s show, “Faces of Fatherhood: Celebrating Bay Area Dads” opens on Saturday June 6, with an opening reception from 6:30-8 p.m., at Berkeley’s North Branch Library, and runs until July 1. … Continue reading »

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Shakespeare & Co. closes after 51 years in Berkeley

Shakespeare & Co. on Telegraph Avenue and xxx closed on June 2, 2015. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Shakespeare & Co., a used bookstore that has been operating on Telegraph Avenue since 1964, closed its doors for good this week.

The owner, Jon Wobber, said the store was not earning enough income for the time he was putting in. He made the decision to shutter yesterday, on June 2, and served his last customer before locking the door for the last time around 8 p.m.

The building that houses Shakespeare & Co., at 2499 Telegraph Ave., on the corner of Dwight Way, was bought last year by Telegraph Partners, LLC, which plans to extensively remodel the building. Telegraph Partners managing member Ito Ripsteen said the company was open to the bookstore remaining, said Wobber. But the store would have had to close for three months, so Wobber thought the time was right to close the business. … Continue reading »

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Sunset is moving to Oakland’s Jack London Square

A rendering of Sunset's new headquarters in Jack London Square. Image: Sunset
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Sunset, the venerable Californian publishing company best known for the monthly Sunset Magazine, is moving its headquarters to Jack London Square in Oakland.

The move, which is set for December, will see the company leave the beautiful Cliff May-designed Menlo Park campus that it has occupied since 1951. That property was sold last year by Sunset’s owners, Time Inc., to Embarcadero Capital Partners, a San Francisco real-estate investment and management company.

Along with the company’s Oakland editorial and business offices, to be designed by San Francisco architects RMW, Sunset will establish an additional presence at Cornerstone in Sonoma. That will include a test garden, outdoor kitchen and live programming.

The new headquarters will be located at 55 Harrison Street, Sunset announced today. The company will be in the same building that will house the Water Street Market, an artisan food marketplace being developed by Carlin Company, the team behind San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace and Napa’s Oxbow Public Market. … Continue reading »

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