February 2004

February is Black History Month



West County Times reporter, Martin Snapp, writes about Berkeley High's slang dictionary in "Slang Dictionary Gives Parents a Clue." In his story Snapp mentions that Richard Grossinger of North Atlantic Books is publishing the dictionary. (Richard was my neighbor in Potter Creek for some time, some years ago.

Meredith May, San Francisco Chronicle reporter, wrote about this dictionary last year, breaking the story that then was picked up by CNN where Richard heard about it.


A deep-Winter sunset in Potter Creek by Rick Auerbach




Bob and Paul were Potter Creek neighbor's for a decade and though they now now live in New Mexico they got married in San Francisco yesterday. You can see the San Francisco Chronicle after-the-ceremony color-photo of them here!  Click on their thumbnail and it gets REALLY BIG.




Susan Tjhi, a reader from Taiwan, who works in a domestic placement bureau should, judging from her photograph, also model.




Two of Potter Creek's leading citizens got married yesterday, to each other, in a touching ceremony in opulent surroundings. I think those Oriental rugs are real.




Tara Duggan writes of Potter Creek's Café Cocao in her San Francisco Chronicle "What's New" column "The restaurant is a co-venture of John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg and Raymond Klein of San Francisco's Tartine Bakery & Cafe. Elizabeth Prueitt of Tartine will train the eventual pastry chef;. . . " More can be read in her Openings section.


Also in the San Fransico Chronicle, Graceann Walden reports "New mini-mall planned for North Berkeley
Lots more food, but no more parking."
What's up with that?




John Canarina writes in his book, Pierre Monteux, Maître about one of many "suitable dates" in our history that were never found.

"Also of interest is a program that did not take place. During his Los Angeles visit, Monteux became acquainted with the work of the African American tap dancer Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson, well known through his many motion picture appearances. So impressed was Monteux with Robinson's artistry and agility that he proposed an appearance for him with the Los Angeles Philharmonic if a suitable date could be found-otherwise he would perform in San Francisco. As quoted in the Pasadena Post of 8 December 1935, Monteux said of Robinson, 'He expresses as much beauty with his feet as a singer does with his voice. I am happy to be the one to introduce him as a classical artist.'

The prospect of Robinson's tap dancing to the great works of the masters brought a great deal of apprehension to the traditionalists among Los Angeles music lovers, but Isabel Morse Jones praised the idea in the Los Angeles Times of 15 December 1935. Her article emphasized the importance of rhythm in music and went on to say that a few years earlier, Maud Allan had managed to dance aimlessly to Tchaikovsky's 'Pathetique' Symphony with no attention whatsoever to the work's rhythm, and that the public accepted it because it was thought to be highbrow art. She continued that Monteux believed rhythm was an important factor in American life and was impressed with the possibility of experimentation involving music and dance. Besides, Jones wrote, Robinson's sense of humor was something everyone could appreciate, and that combination of humor and rhythm was something the Philharmonic could use a little more of. She further felt that such a program could be beneficial in bringing about a better relationship between the Philharmonic and the general public. As might be expected, however, a suitable date could not be found for this program."

More stories about Pierre Monteux can be read at Pierre Monteux, Maître.




The fruit trees are blossoming in Potter Creek




Happy Valentine Day!

Café Cocao is opening today.




"The San Francisco Chronicle ran a lengthy article by Alfred Frankenstein on 14 March 1943 under the headline 'The Symphony Has Modernism Trouble.' A greater-than-usual number of complaints about 'too much modern music' had prompted Monteux to cancel a performance. . . . Frankenstein went on to discuss the points raised in an editorial in The Daily Californian, the student newspaper of the University of California, Berkeley, which was severely critical of Monteux's programming of contemporary music. One would have thought students would be more open minded on this issue than their more conservative elders, but this was apparently not the case. . . . Frankenstein summed up:

A blanket condemnation of modern music implies as gross a lack of judgment as would a blanket oath of allegiance to everything written since 1900. And those who do issue such blanket protests are so lacking in powers of discrimination that one wonders what the 'classics' can mean to them. It has been my observation that this kind of cry for the 'classics' does not mean what is says. A program of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms without soloist will not draw any better than a program of Bliss, Berg and Bartok; the 'classics' these people demand are Tchaikovsky, Godard and such eminent old masters as Edward German and Victor Herbert.... Most Americans are tolerant, and there are some, even among the students of the University of California, who are inquisitive and informed about their own !world. Unfortunately the intolerant are always more vociferous than the others, and if in this instance they have their way, the results may easily be disastrous."
From John Canarina's Pierre Monteux, Maître.


The City of Berkeley Planning Commission will meet Wednesday, February 11th at 7:00 P.M at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue. The meeting will be informational only, discussing two options for the West Berkeley Bowl Project. The options are changing the zone from MU-LI to C-W on the proposed site or use a variance to allow the project to move forward.

Kava's traffic report studied five intersections surrounding the projected Bowl site. Only one, Heinz and San Pablo, would be a problem. The back-up there would be reduced to an acceptable level with a stoplight--level of service B on a scale from A to F. (After reading the report conclusions, my sense is the traffic-flow study is an art not a science. ) The real problem the study sees is parking, even meeting the city requirement, on-site parking at peak hours would exceed capacity and overflow onto city streets--already at max during peak hours.


"Hoping to skirt a legislative morass that could sink workers' compensation reforms, Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi on Tuesday proposed a plan that he hopes will bridge the gap between labor and business leaders'"writes George Avalos of the West County Times in "Garamendi Proposes Comp Plan."
Chilling, however, is this quote "'The Garamendi bridge doesn't address the major issue, which is rising insurance premiums,' said David Rockwell, an officer of the California Applicant Attorneys Association, which represents injured employees. 'Garamendi doesn't want to regulate excessive rates. There is no promise of rate relief for California employers in this measure.'"




"Pierre Monteux was arguably one of the great conductors of the 20th Century. A Frenchman, born in Paris in 1875, he premiered the Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring as well as Ravel's Daphnis aet Chloé, and Debussy's Jeux. In the Nineteen-teens he rebuilt the Boston Symphony and later rebuilt and then conducted the San Francisco Symphony in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. In a recent book about him, Pierre Monteux, Maître, author John Canarina writes about our University of California, Berkeley "A signal event took place in 1939, one with so little fanfare that perhaps 'event' is too strong a word for it. Eight fraternity men from the University of California at Berkeley pooled their resources and bought a box for the Saturday evening concert series. Soon students from Stanford University, Mills College, and other institutions followed suit, purchasing boxes as well as season tickets in other sections of the opera house. Campus forums were organized to discuss the music that would be performed. Members of the orchestra and even Monteux himself came to the meetings to talk about the programs and answer questions. So was born the San Francisco Symphony Forum, the student affiliate of the Musical Association of San Francisco." From John Canarina's Pierre Monteux, Maître.


For longer stories about Pierre Monteux read "The Monteux Era" by Thomas Simone and my, "Monteux's San Francisco Years."



For Valentine Day from Kimar's kitchen

Malt Brownies

3/4 C. all purpose flour
1 C. Malted powder
1t. bkg powder
1t. salt
1/2 lb unsalted butter plus additional for the pan at room temp
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 C. sugar
3 large eggs
1t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
Butter and flour a 9x13 pan.
In medium bowl combine flour, malt, bkg powder and salt, mix till combined.
Place butter and both kinds of chocolate in double boiler and stir until half melted, remove from heat and stir until completely malted. Transfer ot large bowl and allow to cool for 5 min.
Beat sugar into choc mixture or with an electric mixer at med speed continue beating until smooth and uniform. About 3 min with a mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time, incorporate before adding the next egg. After beating in the 3rd egg for 1 minute add the vanilla.
With a wooden spoon stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Do Not Beat. Spoon into prepared pan
Bake 35 min or until tester comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Cool on wire rack cut into 24 squares.
Will stay fresh for 4 days if covered properly.

from the Ultimate Brownie book by Bruce Weinstein




For Valentine Day, from the kutchen of Richards baked by Kimar

Cream Cheese Brownies

Brownie Layer
4 oz semi sweet chocolate (Scharffen Berger 62%)
1/4 C. butter
3/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
1t. vanilla
1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. chopped pecans (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate and butter together either in a microwave or in a double boiler. Cool slightly.
Stir sugar into melted chocolate mixture. Stir in eggs and vanilla until completely mixed. Stir in flour until well blended and stir in the nuts. Spread in a greased 8x8 inch pan.

Cream Cheese layer
4 oz cream cheese softened
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg
1T. flour
In a small bowl mix with an electric mixer, cream cheese, sugar, egg, and flour until smooth.
Spoon over brownie mixture, swirl with a knife to marbelize.
Bake in the middle of preheated oven for 35 min. (DO NOT OVERBAKE)
Cool and cut into squares.
You can double this recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan.



The San Francisco Chronicle's Jesse Hamlin writes about Potter Creek Fantasy Records' Orrin Keepnews in the lengthy "Jazz Just Up and Grabbed Venerable Disc Producer." While Orin Keepnews was producing jazz records in the States, my friend Harold Lawrence was producing classical records for Mercury in the U.S. and Europe. Read Harold's stories about his experiences in Journal of Recorded Music Nos. 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10.



Today is New Zealand Waitangi Day


About a dozen people were present at yesterday's Home Cafe meeting to discuss the increased traffic that the Berkeley Bowl would generate--those in attendance included two members from the City of Berkeley Planning Commission. The sense of the meeting was that the impact of increased traffic on Potter Creek should be minimized. Four proposals thought to accomplish this will be forwarded to the City, all involving stop lights at San Pablo and Heinz. Beyond that, they vary from allowing no access from the Bowl to Heinz at all, to allowing access, but placing barriers at 8th, 9th, and 10th and Heinz. My proposal "Do nothing, Anarchy rules!" was rejected.

"City workers in Berkeley, from librarians to street sweepers, can now take one work week off a year in exchange for tutoring at- risk students" writes Meredith May in her "School Notes" in the San Francisco Chronicle.

"In an example of the law of unintended consequences, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project reluctantly decided to shut down its oldest program, Quarter Meal, which has served dinner to homeless people for more than 30 years" writes Martin Snapp in his "Charity Hit by Wage Hike in Berkeley" in today's West County Times.

We hadn't had a proper lunch together for years, maybe decades, but finding the Sante Fe Bistro was an accident. After roaming downtown Berkeley for over an hour, we found ourselves next to Campus on a block of Center Street lined with restaurants. We simply picked the one filled with adults. The Sante Fe is just what it says it is, a bistro--smallish setting, tiled floor, tiny bar along the wall, small tables, and French food, the sophisticated menu offering a good mix of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. But, you order at the counter--though once seated you are offered polite service with refined touches like a good basket of country bread, water in goblets, and white linen napkins. I had a salad of baby Roquette with blood oranges, toasted hazelnuts, shaved Asiago cheese, and house balsamic dressing--it was terrific. The salad was lightly dressed and I could fully taste all its ingredients. A nice European touch were the toasted hazelnuts. I also ordered the seared scallops appetizer served with a drizzled balsamic reduction. Seared to perfection, were these the sweetest, best scallops ever? Ron had the whole rainbow trout, perfectly grilled, served on a bed of saffron rice, and accompanied by a portion of tasty oven-roasted root vegetables. Atop the trout was a dollop of house-made, Meyer lemon Aioli--very nice! For the atmosphere, quality, and sophistication of menu, the cost was a reasonable $30.00 for two without wine. The Sante Fe Bistro is at 2147 Center Street, Berkeley California, 94704. Their phone number is 510-841-4047. Kimar




Today is San Marino Santa Agata Day 



Today is Sri Lanka Independence Day 


There will be a meeting on Thursday, February 5th at 8:00 AM in the Home Cafe, Grayson and 7th, to discuss the traffic that the Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl will generate--problems, issues, solutions, solutions, solutions, etc.


"Police said Tuesday that a violent robber and sexual predator has assaulted four women since late November in the city" writes Karl Fischer in his West County Times story "Berkeley Crimes Called Related."




Just out of Potter Creek at 2397 San Pablo Avenue is Famous Foam Factory. A family owned retail store, the Famous Foam Factory has been serving Berkeley customers for 29 years. They specialize in foam (cut to size) for seat cushions and mattresses, including latex rubber and memory foam. They also offer an extensive selection of platform bed frames, bedroom furniture, and futon mattresses and frames, along with custom sewing services. Check out their store. There is plenty of free parking and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Their phone number is 510-841-9001. (The other day, when I was there, a couple from Marin had come to Famous Foam after shopping at The Bowl. They'd originally come just to go the The Bowl but while here decided to stop at Famous Foam.)




Want to read an article showing how to build a 1/48 scale-model of one of the P-40s flown in WW II by a Tuskegee Airman? It's written by Tom Choy, who also built the model. The piece also has some background on the Airmen and their aircraft and a very extensive reference section. It's as much a history of the Airmen as it is a model construction story. Check it out!

Also, check out the Tuskegee Airmen Site.






January 2004



Although not quite in Potter Creek, the cafeteria at IKEA is still worth a visit. (It's a short bicycle ride or a long walk from here.) The cafeteria itself is remarkably large but pleasantly quiet and offers a panoramic view of the Bay and its bridges. And all-in-all, it provides a clean, orderly setting for a meal. I had the Swedish meatballs with potatoes and salad, and the dessert-pastry sampler. My meatballs were baked and nicely browned, their sauce creamy with a hint of spice. The small red potatoes took on a quiet zip in the sour-cream gravy and the green salad was made of tender, fresh baby greens. Of the three pastries in the sampler, my favorite was a tiny green log, coated with dark chocolate at the ends, and filled with rum-soaked chopped nuts. The cost for the meatballs, potatoes, and salad was about $6.00. (A smaller portion of meatballs and potatoes, without soup or salad is available for $4.00. ) The pastry sampler was $2.00. Altogether a classy cafeteria lunch.

The head of one of Potter Creek's businesses is quoted extensively in a West County Times story about the breakup of Pixar and Disney. Read what Tippet President, Jules Roman has to say in Jon Fortt's "After Divorce:What's Next fot Pixar?"

Best news so far in 2004? Juan's back working the tables at his restaurant!




East elevation of Regan's new project on 8th and Pardee. It's constructing apace. It has the same simple elegance as his across-the-street building.

For information about this and other Regan projects email info@reganbice.com


And, why not learn about some of Potter Creek's other buildings? Have you wondered about the Heinz building on San Pablo, between Heinz and Ashby, or the "sawtooth warehouse" on 8th, between Parker and Dwight? Well, find out about the Heinz building here and the "sawtooth warehouse" here.

And, the ever alert Meredith May reports "Record albums draw bomb squad."




A recent conversation with a Potter Creek business owner brought up an interesting dilemma. The health insurance that he carries for his employees in some cases gives the same coverage that he pays for with California workmen's comp. So sometimes he's paying twice for the same coverage. And, almost unbelievably, in the last two years his workmen's comp premiums have increased four-hundred percent (400%). What's up with all this?

And, if you think this is just a business person's problem. Remember, . . . you the consumer are going to pay for this.


Café Cacao will open on Valentine Day, Saturday, February 14th at 7:00 AM.




I missed Bay Area Sean Penn's revisit-to-Iraq stories that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.
If you did too, you can read still read them. Check out
Part 1 and Part 2 at SF Gate. It's good on-the-ground stuff with the PMC information particularly chilling.

Soon Scrambled Eggs and Lox pages will have a Berkeley's food stuff page. "Food Stuff of Berkeley?"




Today is Australia Day and India Republic Day 


The Café Cacao web site offers

"Café Cacao, an original dining destination located at the factory of Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker in Berkeley, California, is a joint production of Scharffen Berger co-founders John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg and California restaurant developer Raymond Klein.

Café Cacao offers pastries, ice cream and Peet's Coffee seven days a week as well as breakfast, lunch and limited dinner service. Seating is available both indoors and outside on our covered patio and in a private special events room.

Our casual atmosphere is welcoming and relaxing, but if you're in a hurry, we also offer an exciting selection of sandwiches and salads for take-out. Some of our savory menu selections feature Scharffen Berger chocolate or contain ingredients that pair well with the finest American-made dark chocolate."

For lots more, check out the Café Cacao web site.




Affordable Housing Associates proposed Ashby Loft Project, 1001 Ashby

Story to follow





A female-biker friend offers

One day my husband decided to wash his sweatshirt himself.
Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, "What
setting do I use on the washing machine?" It depends," I replied.
"What does it say on your shirt?" He yelled back, "University of




"Dr. King also loved to do what's right, and he always likes to eat, I think" is a quote from a Berkeley student in Meredith May's "School Notes" in the San Francisco Chronicle.

As much a Berkeley tradition as Moe's Books on Telegraph Avenue, is Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center on San Pablo Avenue. If you love live-music and dance, check them out!

At Fog City, Chocolate's in the News : Small Market Street Newsstand Touts More than Just Magazines by Janet Fletcher of the San Fransico Chronicle should be read, and not just because it mentions Potter Creek's own Scharffen Berger.

And what size, Potter Creek's Berkeley Bowl? The City of Berkeley Planning Commission memorandum offers "The applicant is interested in applying for a permit for a store of about 55,000 square feet, with an associated warehouse of about 30,000 square feet. . . . As a comparison, the existing Berkeley Bowl at 2020 Oregon Street is 42,486 square feet, and the Andronico's Store at 1414 University Avenue is 26196 square feet."

While talking about our environment with Rick Auerbach this afternoon in front of his house, an overflying-seagull whizzed on my forehead--puts things into perspective, it does.





It's the Year of the Monkey.





"Honoring King's Legacy" is a report by Elaine Rivera of the Washington Post



My gourmet friends say the café at Scharffen Berger's is going to serve Peet's coffees. Why not serve Uncommon Grounds'? They're a mere block away in Potter Creek, and the best espresso I've EVER had is served at the Saffron Café, brewed from an Uncommon Ground roast--followed by Sandro's from Caffé 817 at 817 Washington in Oakland's Old Town.


I just had a slice of Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake made with Scharffen Berger's Cocoa. I believe it to be THE classic American chocolate cake and maybe, just maybe, a controlled substance.

Iraqi Oil Gets Its Own Police Force: Recruits Defend Against Infrastructure Sabotage. "The guards go through a one-week training course before being sent out to the field in dark blue uniforms, hand sewn by factory workers here. The force is trained and managed by South African-based Erinys, a private firm founded by former members of the British special forces. The coalition government awarded Erinys a $39.2 million contract . . . writes Jackie Spinner in the Washington Post.



Lots a good stuff about Berkeley in Meredith May's "School Notes" in the San Francisco Chronicle today.

The EPA's "Where You Live Page" is of interest. Go there and enter our ZIP, 94710. Then, check out Potter Creek and our surrounding neighborhoods.



A neighbor who attended last night's Planning Commission meeting reports "An important item on last night's Berkeley Planning Commission meeting agenda was a discussion about options for the Berkeley Bowl market and warehouse being proposed for the Potter Creek neighborhood in Southwest Berkeley. Zoning for the Ninth and Heinz site currently prohibits the construction of a large supermarket and warehouse. The applicant has requested that the zoning be changed or amended to allow this project to proceed as planned. After comments from the public, there was a lengthy discussion among the commissioners about various options but no actions were taken or proposed. City staff were asked to provide a more detailed description of two of the options (variance and amend current language) with specifics for comparison. The other two options (rezoning and changing the map boundaries) were considered too extreme and difficult to accomplish."



Kava's office informed me that tonight at 7:00 the City of Berkeley Planning Commision is meeting at 1901 Hearst Ave. to discuss options for the West Berkeley Bowl Project.



"Ya can't get ahead for keepin' up" offered David Snipper Sunday morning in relation to computer upgrades-probably has wider application.



"President Bush showed little interest in policy discussions in his first two years in the White House, leading Cabinet meetings 'like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people,' former Treasury secretary Paul H. O'Neill says in an upcoming book on the Bush White House" reports Washington Post writer Jonathan Weisman in his story, "O'Neill Depicts a Disengaged President."



"'Scrambled Eggs' was the working title of Paul McCartney's 'Yesterday' when all he had was a tune with no words. (The next line was, 'Oh, my dear, you have such lovely legs.')" write Erin Barrett and Jack Mingo in their West County Times column.



I just had some truffles made with Scharffen Berger's bittersweet chocolate to a recipe in our Alice Medrich's Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life of Chocolate. It was the very best chocolate experience. (I gave some out around our neighborhhood.)



David's rain gauge also read 4 inches for this week's first storm and 2.5 inches for the second storm for a total of 6.5 inches of rain for the week.




Sharffen Berger is doing well and expects to open their cafe this month.




Peter and Geralyn's rain gauge showed four inches total for this week's first storm.




Today is Cuba Anniversary of the Revolution Day. 



Check out The Best of 2003