AND THEIR PLACES
music neighbor is Fantasy Records, who are now the repository
of the great jazz and blues catalogues of the '50s and '60s; among
them Prestige, Contemporary and Riverside. Many of these recordings
are available on their CDs and LPs. Their offices, recording and
mixing studios and their archives are in our neighborhood at Tenth
and Parker and one of their web pages is www.fantasyjazz.com.
is a hunk, then Anthy is a babe and John, a man of few words and
good-looking, is most like their dad, Nick. After Nick died some
years ago, he appeared to me in a dream. "Don't worry"
he said "Everything's all right." That was easy for
him to say, for judging from his peaceful calm he had gone to
a place of no worry. (This is the opening of a story about one
of our neighborhood's oldest family-owned businesses, V &
W Door and Window. The story will be one of the first in Features.)
Victor of V & W with an old time customer, Larry Weber
L.J. Kruse boys my favorite plumbers? Probably so, . .
. certainly they're my neighbors and a "class act" -
for just how "class" see their web site at www.ljkruse.com and for their "time and grade"
go to the history
check out their facility at 920 Pardee. (They planted those blossoming
fruit trees shortly after they moved in - the blossoms brighten
late, grey Winter.) And on the sides of their trucks they have
painted "a century of service," which, in their case,
is more than a slogan.
My former UPS driver, Gary
Suzuki GSXR 1000
is my favorite Mexican restaurant in the world -- mostly because
the food tastes good, the ingredients are fresh, the plates are
hot and Juan can be seen early every morning sweeping the
side-walk in front of his restaurant -- also, the portions are
generous and the prices are reasonable. (Dr. Adelman's friend
from Mexico, a professor at the University of Veracruz,
and very beautiful, offered on finishing her lunch "I like
it, it's what we have at home.") Juan's Place is at
941 Carleton and his telephone number is 510-845-6904. I have
been Juan's neighbor for several decades.
Mi Tierra Foods is
a refreshing bicycle ride away from much of Potter Creek. It is
just South of University at 2082 San Pablo Avenue. The owner,
Jesus Mendez, features Hispanic products from Mexico, Central
and South America and his business card advertises "FRESH
TAMALES, TORTILLA & BREAD DAILY." His food is good and
really reasonably priced. He has baked goods, produce, canned
goods, meat and fish, dairy, and at the back of the store there
is a delicatessen.
I was taken to Rick and Ann's for breakfast. It was pretty
much "round up the usual suspects" -- another variation
on the California Breakfast theme. A theme to which I can speak
with "authority" as I worked at the Buttercup Bakery
in the '70s when Richards and Mike Haley invented the California
Breakfast. (They invented it at much the same time Alice Waters
invented California Cuisine -- in its lowest form, undercooked
vegetables and a piece of fish.) But I was struck by how much
Rick and Ann's offering was much the same as the Buttercup breakfast
of thirty years ago.
a fresh approach to breakfast out, I recommend Bacheeso's --
an American breakfast with a Mediterranean and European flair.
This is a breakfast skillfully prepared from the freshest ingredients
by the Assli family. The fruit-side is always fresh and juicy,
the deep-fried potatoes are golden-brown outside and creamy inside,
the flat bread fresh, the home-made jams sweet and tasty, the
eggs cooked just right, the portions fair, and the prices very
reasonable. I have come away several times wondering how breakfast
can be such a treat with such subtlety and variety. And I'm amazed
at how the ingredients of a simple breakfast can combine into
these wonderful flavors and aromas.
Bacheeso's is at 2501 San Pablo
Avenue and their phone number is 510-644-2035. (Make sure you
have their homemade flat-bread with the homemade preserves.)
story about Buttercup
seem my 8/8/03 post.
Harvey my Mailman
loves to fish: Here he is catching a rainbow trout in Lake Chabot.
Netting the trout is Harv's fishing buddy, Myland Fong, and the
young girl with crossed fingers is Maya Wong. The photo was taken
by her Dad. (Harvey also loves mountain biking.)
Harvey my Mailman and his
Harvey coming in third-in-class
at the Napa mountain-bike race
not live in Potter Creek but she often writes of education in
Berkeley for the San Francisco Chronicle. She is
a Mills graduate, really smart, a fine writer, a tough reporter,
and has a good heart. Her stories can be read at
once take a welding class in the foundry at the end of Grayson.
one of my neighbors. Sarah and her Sister publish children's books
and can be reached at their Website
illustration from an upcoming story
the neighborhood, but not new to quality, is Sharffen Berger
Chocolates, the "Brough
of chocolates. Sir Lawrence of Arabia
rode a Brough, "The Rolls Royce" of motocycles. Find out something about our new neighbor
Berger Chocolate Maker.
perhaps go over to their shop on Heinz and buy some. It's the
European kind that Grandma Penndorf only put out on special Sunday
A story by Sally Sampson in the November
& December 2002 Cook's Illustrated asks "Sharffen
Berger [chocolate] costs three times more than Baker's. Is it
that much better?" The short answer is yes, and some excerpts
from the piece "Are Expensive Unsweetened Chocolates Worth
the Money?" tell why.
"We wanted to see if all the fuss
over premium chocolates is based on quality . . . . We selected
unsweetened chocolate because it is the building-block ingredient
in countless desserts . . . Not for nibbling, it is pure, unadulterated
chocolate . . . . We constructed a blind tasting . . . sampling
a classic American brownie . . . .
Our assumption going into this tasting
was that, in general, the more expensive brands would prevail
. . . . However, we found a surprising range of taste differences.
If unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate, how could one brand
be so different from another?
The first thing we learned is
that chocolate companies don't like to talk about their product
in detail. With the exception of Scharffen Berger. . . . So we
turned to outside experts to uncover the trade secrets of chocolate
manufactures [and we found that] there is more chocolate in unsweetened
than in any other type, so quality of the bean matters more. Every
expert told us that the flavor of unsweetened chocolate is largely
determined before it gets to the chocolate processor. Country
of origin and specific bean blend are the most critical factors.
Scharffen Berger cofounder Robert Steinberg [added ] , 'A processor
can ruin a good bean but cannot make a good chocolate from an
inferior one.' . . . When it comes to chocolate, you have to star
with good ingredients."
Scharffen Berger's Steinberg allows that
taste is his company's priority when it comes to buying beans,
and they are willing to pay more to secure the taste.
If the quality of a bean is one important
determinant of flavor, the blend of beans is another. Of most
interest . . . is whether a company roasts bean types individually
or together [and] roasting varieties of beans separately allows
the roaster to be more selective. . . . Of the companies whose
chocolate we tasted, Scharffen Berger is the only one that would
confirm that it roasts beans separately by type.
One final production issue is
conching, which aerates and homogenizes the chocolate, thereby
mellowing the flavor and making its texture smooth and creamy
[and] only Scharffen Berger and Valrhona conch their unsweetened
chocolate, and these chocolates finished first and third in our
chocolate sauce tasting.
What do we recommend? The more
expensive chocolates. . . . . [But] it's important to remember
though, that chocolate, much like coffee, is a matter of personal
preference, so consider each brand in order to find a chocolate
that suits your palate. The gamut of flavors runs from 'nutty'
and 'cherry' to 'smoky,' 'earthy,' and 'spicy.'"
The Scharffen Berger Chocolate
Maker biography offers: "John Scharffenberger's . . . palate,
entrepreneurial spirit, and background in food technology and
agriculture were key elements in the founding and running of Scharffenberger
Cellars, one of the premier sparking wine manufactures in the
U.S. At Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, he turns his expertise
to fine chocolate. [And then partner] Robert Steinberg wrote to
Bernachon, a small family owned chocolate maker in Lyon,France
to ask whether it would be possible to work with them for a short
time and [then spent] two weeks working there. . . . At Bernachon,
he was able to see how chocolate was made on a small scale, and
to taste chocolate that was distinctly different from any mainstream
American or European brand."
It's this kind of premier chocolate
that they make. This fine chocolate can be purchased at their
chocolate factory store or at many retail outlets, sometimes there
at a savings.
I believe that I hadn't really
tasted chocolate until I had some of their semi-sweet. I never
thought I'd say this about chocolate, but - aarrgh- it has a wonderful
'70s and '80s one of Potter Creek's irregular visitors was Kary
Mullis, the winner of the Noble Prize in Chemistry.
He came by to see me and I went to his place in Medocino to see
him. We had long talks during which he would talk about astronomy
and I would talk about astrology. In the years I knew him I can't
say we really communicated. But for his quirky look at the world
I suggest the only book of his that I understand , Dancing Naked in the Mind Field. I particularly
recommend "No Aliens Allowed" and not just because I'm
ever so briefly mentioned.
'70s part of this warehouse -- 2743 8th Street -- was used by
the Buttercup Bakery for storage and woodworking. Among
the people who worked at the Buttercup, and here, were the night
manager, Kary Mullis; the assistant day manager, Suze
Orman; and counter person, and now California School of
Arts and Crafts department head, Mary Snowden. (Marvin
Lipofsky didn't work at the Buttercup but his daughter did.)
Among other things, Kary Mullis used to invent drugs and then
test them on himself: I remember one particularly speedy run to
Mendocino. And though Dave Kruse certainly never worked
at the Buttercup, my memory is that he had a friend, Dotty
Gunderson, who did. Dorothy and I drove through Marin once
and I played Bruch's Scottish Fantasy for her on the Jaguar's
stereo. I still remember her "You don't have to do drugs
to get stoned, do you?" One time Mullis brought a Winchester
down from his place in Mendocino and we, . . . or was that Jerry
Victor who brought his Remington. I don't remember now.
my oldest neighbors is Advance Heli Welders Manufacturing Company
at 938 Pardee. (More accurately, I am one of their oldest neighbors
as they've been here much longer than I.The foreman just retired
after forty-five years on the job.) Known to me always as the
welders, I've taken them for granted. That is until a few weeks
ago when driving by in the morning I noticed their yard as if
for the first time. It's really tight -- a spit and polish facility.
The welders are fully responsible neighbors and a good example
of one of Potter Creeks oldest firms keeping up with changing
times. (In the Day, they were one of the few people who would
weld aluminum. I have to this day a 1956 AJS motorcycle with their
perfectly repaired side-case.) Their phone number is 510-849-2811.
Regan Bice's elegant design for Susanne Hering and John Philips'
is one of our neighborhood's long-time residents.
with a Masters degree in art from U.C. Berkeley, I needed
a studio so I rented a metal building at 2737 10th Street. I sublet
portions of the building and lived and had a studio in part of
it. I was a single mom trying to pursue a career in art (M.A.
U.C.Berkeley 1971) and to raise a child at the same time. The
building was metal with a concrete floor, no insulation, and our
only heat was a wood-burning stove. The bathroom was a little
outhouse with a toilet and shower that had been built by the occupant
of the brick building next door (Fantasy furniture which made
waterbeds very popular in the '70s). I was given the choice of
electricity or gas for that little bathroom building. Naturally
I chose gas so I could have a good, hot shower whenever I needed
one. I didn't care if I had to shower by candlelight. Living in
the studio was very uncomfortable and also very wonderful. Before
we occupied the building it had been occupied by someone who built
trimaran boats (I actually knew someone who had built one in that
building in the late '60s and had sailed to Panama in it). In
any case, they had left the plywood templates used in the trimaran
construction behind and I used them to build some enclosed loft-like
rooms for my son (5 ) and me. I replaced some of the corrugated
panels on the roof with corrugated plastic skylights. Plants hung
everywhere and we also hung a swing from the metal beams that
were the skeleton of the building. Plants hung everywhere and
we also hung a swing from the metal beams that were the skeleton
of the building.
one year of living there I moved into a proper house with some
friends in another part of Berkeley, although I maintained my
tenancy and my studio in that building until 1983. Even though
it was uncomfortable and a little scary (especially when hailstones
rained down on the uninsulated metal roof) and uncomfortable (when
the temperature dropped below 50 degrees and our tiny wood burning
stove which had formerly been used to heat a caboose on a train
couldn't make a dent in taking the chill off of the place) my
son, as he was growing up, always referred to that time when we
lived in the studio in a voice full of wonder, implying that we
had lived in Eden.
we were living in that space illegally. Live-work did not exist
as a legitimate concept then. My greatest fear was the building
inspector would discover we were there. In 1976 I went to work
for the City of Berkeley Housing Re-habilitation program and in
1984 I became a building inspector for the City. I had become
the thing I had most feared! In 1991 I became the Building Official
for the City of Emeryville (until 1999) and one of the first things
I did there was to write a Live-work Ordinance. Funny how things
turn out. I continued to maintain my studio and to rent out spaces
to other artists in the metal building until the owner, Joseph
Davi (a son of one of those original Italian immigrants) died,
about 1983. The brick building next door (on the same parcel)
had several artists studios behind the waterbed factory. The metal
building was torn down a some years ago. The brick building now
houses a company doing computer animation and special effects
first moved into the house I now live in, the building across
the street (now 22 live-work units) was a factory. The punch-press
began at 7:00 AM by my alarm clock and, sadly, there were no other
kids in this neighborhood for my son to play with. Across 9 th
street, on the same side of Grayson were a couple, Joe and Evelyn,
who had lived in the corner house for many years (now Regan Bice's
office.) Joe told me this neighborhood had been occupied by Finns
and Italians. He said that the Italians had been brought over
from the sulfur mines in Sicily to work in the sulfur refining
plant on the corner of 7th and Heinz. And when I first lived here
the building now housing Acme Bakery, on 9th and Pardee,
had an Italian restaurant and bar called Granadas. I only
went into the bar once, it closed soon after I moved here.
was a jazz-lover and it is rumored that the Kenton Band rehearsed
their when in town. Whatever, he had great jazz on his Jukebox.
beautiful art glass and he had a retrospective of his work at
the Oakland Museum of Fine Arts. We've been neighbors for
decades. Here he is seen playing in the fountain at Lednicke,
Rovne, Slovakia during the International Glass Symposium. That's
his crystal in the fountain. Marvin can be reached at email@example.com
my own peculiar view of dog ownership. I don't any longer believe
in dogs in the city. (Just watch a sporting dog come alive in
the country.) Though I must admit to owning three Bassets at once
in the early Sixties, and even to breeding them in the back of
my house on Hearst. But my neighbor's Claudia and Cameron not
only have three dogs in the city but publish The Bark, a magazine for dog lovers.
I thought their magazine's view a bit extreme until in my mind
I substituted the word "motorcycles" for the word "dogs."
Then I came to understand their passion. You can contact Claudia
and Cameron by email
a story about Claudia and The Bark in the Oakland Tribune.
easy driving distance of Potter Creek, I can go to both an In-N-Out
Burger and a Krispy Kreme Donuts. They are within a
block or so of each other in the Shopping Center off Highway 80
in Pinole. At the end of a ten minute drive, I can not only have
a cheeseburger with extra grilled-onions but now I can also have
a jelly-filled donut. My life has changed for ever.
the Border's Emeryville store is part of their
nationwide chain, it doesn't feel like it. With worn-in carpeting
and even a few easy chairs, it has its own identity and is real
comfortable. But more comfortable than the easy chairs are the
people who work there. I regularly take my mid-day break at Border's
and browse, read, buy, or order a book. (Their prices are very
competitive and their bargain books are a particular value. A
few of the best books in my aviation collection come from this
section.) But the store's real value are the friendly, helpful
staff. Through my visits I've come to know some by name. Altogether
these people are a mix as rich as the one I remember from Moe's
in the 1980s . . . and Moe would have liked the idea that at Border's
managers also shelve.
is at 5903 Shellmound Street and their phone number is (510) 654-1633
-- they have plenty of parking.
I believe Bayer in the
near feature will have use of all the land along the railroad
tracks from Dwight Way south to Grayson. It is probably the largest
land-holder and employer in the area. It is, of course a multi-national
corporation. And, it would seem, a good and responsible neighbor.
One view of Bayer's
past can be read in Chapter Two, "The
Empire of I. G. Farben" in
Antony C. Sutton's Wall
Street and the Rise of Hitler.
paragraph is unforgettable. "One of the more horrifying aspects
of I.G. Farben's cartel was the invention, production, and distribution
of the Zyklon B gas, used in Nazi concentration camps. Zyklon
B was pure Prussic acid, a lethal poison produced by I.G. Farben
Leverkusen and sold from the Bayer sales office through Degesch,
an independent license holder. Sales of Zyklon B amounted to almost
three-quarters of Degesch business; enough gas to kill 200 million
humans was produced and sold by I.G. Farben. The Kilgore Committee
report of 1942 makes it clear that the I.G. Farben directors had
precise knowledge of the Nazi concentration camps and their use
of I.G. chemicals. "
and cultural contribution to my neighborhood, Berkeley, and the
Bay Area has been considerable and is valued.
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