Why I moved to California…

Yes, it was the produce.  Here are a few recent farmers market finds from the Grand Lake and Temescal markets.  Keep in mind that we’re talking early February.  Imagine what March and April will bring. A big thanks to everyone who made my Kale soup last week.  Our rain dance worked.  There’s been a steady rain all day, and […]

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Wishful thinking: kale soup for a rainy day

It’s probably hard for those of you on the snowy East Coast to imagine how dry the last year has been in the Bay Area.  In Oakland, we’ve only had 14% of our normal rainfall since last July.  It’s so bad many California farmers are not planting spring crops because of the drought, which could […]

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Monday matters: Can a smile make a difference?

I started East Bay Envy to celebrate the revival of Oakland.  But there’s a dark side, too.  The number of robberies has increased dramatically in our neighborhoods, often targeting iPhones.  In most cases, no one is physically hurt, but the psychological damage remains. Before Christmas, I was walking down my street at 2:30 in the afternoon […]

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5 favorites: Piedmont Avenue shops

Fate drew me to the East Bay.  I was living in a cozy Carmel cottage when it sold for a mere million, forcing me to move — pronto.  My friend Julie reminded me that I was always talking about living in the East Bay — why not now?  Put up or shut up.  So I […]

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Monday matters: victory (of sorts)

On July 8th, when I launched my first East Bay Envy post, I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the courage to follow through on my commitment to show up every day to write about what’s dear to me.  And my fears were justified. I haven’t even come close to my promise to publish at least […]

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The Gibraltar: setting things straight (or strait?)

A few months ago, I overheard someone order a Gibraltar at the Bica Coffeehouse. I once co-owned an espresso bar in Chapel Hill, so I thought I knew a thing or two about coffee, but this was news to me. The barista produced my idea of the perfect afternoon espresso drink, a miniature latte in a 4-ounce glass. I imagined this was a Spanish, or maybe Moroccan, concoction. But no.

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Sneak preview: Penrose on Grand Ave

The windows of the space across the street from The Boot have been papered over for months, and the whole time we’ve pestered John — one of our favorite bartenders — to give us the date when Penrose, Charlie Hallowell’s third Oakland restaurant, would open.   Last week, he muttered, “Show up Tuesday or Wednesday.”  End […]

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Before and after: our first renovation project

You’ve seen typical before-and-after renovation photos. A dreary “before” room shot with a first-generation iPhone next to a staged Leica-quality “after” photo. It’s the home version of the diet-pill ad. My before-and-after photos are a little different. Can you tell that we spent $30,000 installing a new drainage system?  (My North Carolina friends are thinking, […]

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5 favorites from Old Oakland: the wait is over

I thought I was being clever with I decided to spread out my Old Oakland neighborhood tour over several posts, but Google Analytics reports that, except for a few loyal readers (thank you much), I put most of you guys to sleep.  So I’m going to give you a shot of MJB coffee, replace my […]

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Five favorites from Old Oakland: The Trappist

Last week I gave you one good reason to visit Old Oakland.  And of course, you’re already in on Oakland’s best-kept secret.  As if that’s not enough, this week I’ll share another favorite:  The Trappist.   If you love beer, this is place is heaven sent.  With 15 on tap in the front bar, another 10 in […]

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