Author Archives: Tracey Taylor
JAZZ ON FOURTH STREET The 18th annual Jazz on Fourth Street Festival takes place on Sunday, May 19, from noon to 5 p.m. on Fourth Street in West Berkeley. The event is a benefit for Berkeley High School’s phenomenal jazz programs. The free day will feature the Dixieland sounds of famed radio host and trombonist Mal Sharpe’s Big Money in Jazz Band; the classic blues sounds from harmonica master Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors; and the Latin jazz sounds of drummer and Berkeley High School alum Josh Jones and his Latin Jazz Group. The Berkeley High School Combo A, awarded DownBeat Magazine’s 2011 Best High School Combo Award, and the grand finale from the full 22-piece Berkeley High School Ensemble, directed by Sarah Cline. There’s always great food and drink too, and Berkeleyside, a proud sponsor, will be there with our booth. Come by and say hello! … Continue reading »
SISTA SANDWICH New in town: start-up Sista Sandwich, which provides grab-and-go gourmet gluten free sandwiches in Berkeley. Laura Tucker, who founded the company with her sister Sharon Pearlstein, says Sista is one of the few companies to be filling this niche and, so far, business is good. ”Our 100% gluten free sandwiches are made in Oakland and sold in Berkeley,” she says. The idea for Sista Sandwich came in the fall of 2011 while the pair were sitting in a cafe discussing how they would love to start a food related business of their own. While at the cafe Laura, who had been on a gluten free diet for two years already, realized that there was nothing for her to eat, other than yogurt, chips and packs of nuts. The Sista Sandwiches can be found at Berkeley Bowl, in two cafés on the UC Berkeley campus, at the new Café La Renaissance (see below) as well as a couple of small Berkeley markets. … Continue reading »
For his new book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Michael Pollan, who has ventured far and wide exploring the inner workings of the food chain, opted to spend more time in the kitchen — including his own in north Berkeley — to focus on what he calls ‘the middle link,’ namely cooking.
Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism as well as a highly regarded author, learned how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer.
In the course of his journey he discovered that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture. His education led Pollan to conclude that taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable.
Berkeleyside caught up with Pollan to quiz him a little more about his cooking instruction, and next steps. … Continue reading »
In its 30 years of operation, the Berkeley Public Education Foundation has raised more than $12 million and channeled more than 750,000 volunteer hours straight into Berkeley’s public schools, directly supporting the district’s 550 teachers. On Friday last week, in a single luncheon, it raised another $210,000, honored a select group of educators and administrators, along with a former Berkeley High student, and also marked two significant changes to its organization.
New leadership is in place with the recent appointment of Erin Rhoades as the fund’s executive director. Rhoades, formerly a principal planner for Urban Planning Partners and the executive director of Livable Berkeley, replaced Molly Fraker on April 8.
[View a gallery of photographs of the Schools Fund Spring Luncheon by Emilie Raguso.] … Continue reading »
The Edible Schoolyard at King Middle School held its annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 11. The event, a big fundraiser for the Edible Schoolyard, featured food, live music, student-led tours, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of plants to snap up. Contributing photographer Nancy Rubin was there. … Continue reading »
Saturday May 11 saw the official opening of the new South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on MLK Jr. Way and Russell St.
The library, designed by architects Field Paoli at a cost of $6.5 million, includes the city’s Tool Lending Library. It is significantly larger than the old library building and energy efficient. Supporters, library-goers and Berkeley government officials turned out in force to mark the occasion. … Continue reading »
On Bike to Work Day, Berkeley’s mayor Tom Bates (who famously ditched his car several years ago) got on his bike to show support for the two-wheeler set and laid out his commitment to make Berkeley “the most bike-friendly city in the country.”
At a series of press events this morning, Bates spoke of updating Berkeley’s Bicycle Plan so that it was the best bicycle plan in the country. He also hopped on his own bike first thing to take a (helmet-less) spin down the brand new West Street Pathway.
“Lowering our transportation GHG emissions is a key component of our award-winning climate action plan,” Bates said. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Unified School Board on Wednesday night made it plain it will do what it can to ensure Berkeley schools’ nationally recognized cooking and gardening program survives. The program faces federal funding cuts worth $1.9 million annually.
While a final decision and a vote on a budgeting model will likely come at the BUSD Board’s next meeting on May 22, the board members gave their tacit approval to a rescue package proposed by a superintendent’s advisory committee set up six months ago. The committee was tasked with identifying funding options, both short- and long-term, through donor and corporate giving campaigns, as well as public-private partnerships. … Continue reading »
A Berkeley man is in critical condition after being struck by a car while walking on University Avenue just west of San Pablo Avenue on Tuesday night, authorities said.
“We received multiple 911 calls at approximately 8:23 p.m.,” said Berkeley Police spokeswoman officer Jennifer Coats, via email at about 11:20 p.m. The man was taken by the Berkeley Fire Department to a local hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. … Continue reading »
Caitlin Freeman’s new book, Modern Art Desserts, is the culmination of her work making whimsical, clever, delicious treats at the Blue Bottle Café at SFMOMA. In the book, Caitlin, a self-taught baker and former owner of Miette pastry shop, details not just the creative process behind each artistic treat; she also provides engaging insights into her life and her approach to her craft.
When Berkeleyside NOSH caught up with Caitlin recently, we found her to be in a reflective mood.
Your career path and life almost feel like a series of serendipitous encounters — with people you end up becoming partners with in business, meeting your husband James Freeman at the Farmers Market, your “epiphany” about creating art desserts while at SFMOMA. Do you think you’ve been blessed in that way, or is there more of a gameplan than is apparent?
I was just thinking about this today; feeling like so much of my life has been these amazing encounters and chance events. On one hand makes me feel like kind of a loser, like maybe I haven’t worked hard to make things happen for myself. But then I realized that what I’ve done is to throw myself into projects with absolute and complete intensity and with no abandon, and then to work my tail off to execute things well. So, I guess I’ve been lucky and my world has certainly been about serendipitous encounters, but I’ve also willed my life into being what I want it to be. I guess it’s a pretty lucky combination of being in the right places at the right time and following up with my extreme Type A behavior! … Continue reading »
On Thursday, May 2, officials say two sixth grade girls, who were waiting to be picked up from King Middle School, were approached by a man who asked them to help him retrieve an item from his car. The case is being treated as a possible attempted abduction.
On Friday, King Principal Janet Levenson sent an email and a recorded message via phone-tree to the King community in which she outlined what happened: “Yesterday at 3:00pm two 6th grade girls were waiting to be picked up at Berryman and Josephine,” she wrote in the email. “A man approached them saying that his keys had fallen into his car and his hand was too big to retrieve them. He pointed to the car which had the door open and was a couple of cars up the street. One girl started to go help him but her friend realized the potential danger and convinced her that they should run into the garden for help. The mom arrived almost immediately but the man was no longer there.He was described as a white male, 5’10″, thin build, brown hair and eyes, and driving a silver 4-door vehicle with no trunk (possibly a small SUV). Please be aware of who is driving around campus and remind your students to wait in front of the school.”
… Continue reading »
Banks White remembers vividly the summer just over four years ago when he took up his post as executive chef at FIVE, the Hotel Shattuck Plaza’s restaurant on Allston Way in downtown Berkeley. American Idiot was playing at the Berkeley Rep, Barack Obama was not long installed as president — “there was a real buzz in the city,” he said last week, after it was revealed White would be leaving the restaurant and Berkeley.
The Texan — whose resumé includes stints at the Auberge du Soleil and étoile at Domaine Chandon in Napa, and Leftbank Brasserie in Larkspur — is heading to Harlem where he will helm the kitchen of an as-yet-to-be named restaurant. Berkeleyside chatted with White on Friday about his time in the city and his plans going forward.
Tell us about opening FIVE in Berkeley
It’s been a great journey. I’ve called Berkeley my home for six years now. But when FIVE opened in the summer of ’09 downtown Berkeley was very different. We were pretty much the only kids on the block [for casual style fine dining]. Venus was there, but Downtown had just closed, and it was pre-Gather and Comal. (Hotel Shattuck’s Scott Howard, whom White at met at Leftbank, invited White to help launch the restaurant and oversee menu design, as well as kitchen installation and recipe testing.) … Continue reading »
On Saturday, around 200 people descended on People’s Park in Berkeley for the 17th annual Hip Hop in the Park festival.
Organizers, Students for Hip Hop, a UC Berkeley group, said this year’s list of performers was one of the most diverse to date.
“Detroit’s best kept secret,” rapper Elzhi, a former member of Slum Village, was the headliner. Other performers on the line-up included MC Aisha Fukushima, Mik Nawooj, Hoodini, Rico Pabon, Nu Dekades, and producer G-Jones. The festival featured graffiti art, dancing, and DJ-ing.
… Continue reading »