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Grand Lake Merchant News

Not surprisingly, given the dearth of current vacancies on Lakeshore and Lake Park, there’s nothing comparable to report this month in the way of new business ventures. We are, however, happy to share some progress reports along with a number of photos.

Lin Jia Kitchen (nee L’Amyx) has generated a lot of excitement with an Asian fusion menu that will offer home-style cooking featuring quality ingredients including organic brown rice from Massa Organics. According to their Facebook page, they will be opening very, very soon with seating for forty-four diners. While on Facebook, you can check out the most recent photos of the revamped interior. As an alternative, walk by and admire the tasteful window displays and then take a peek inside now that the window coverings are down.

Back on their Facebook page, be sure to watch the eighteen-second video in which various individuals (including yours truly) demonstrate the correct pronunciation of “Lin Jia”. If I have to settle for this as my two seconds of fame (in lieu of the traditional fifteen minutes), I only wish I’d taken the time to get a haircut. A little bit of makeup would have been a plus, as well–particularly since a camera man from one of the local networks once deadpanned, “You don’t have a good side”.

Down the street at what was the Baby Gap building, interior work is proceeding nicely with facade improvements scheduled for a later date.

Silver Moon owner, Dima Hart expects to be open in early to mid-November well before the Christmas rush. The day I popped in to take this photo was very much a family affair. That’s Dima in the center with her mother, Linda Hubbard, on the scaffold painting the Silver Moon logo. Meanwhile, out of camera range, her father was busy framing in the front window.

Work on the remainder of the Baby Gap space that will be occupied by Namaste Yoga is proceeding at a slower pace as it’s twice the size and far more complicated but owner, Kimberly Leo, is still expecting to open before the end of the year.

She also noted that she’s been standing out front on Saturdays offering tours of the facilities and, as documented by the photo she shared, some of her instructors are occasionally doing impromptu demonstrations. She also reports that someone walked up to her and gave her a very big, welcoming hug. I’d like to believe it was one of our Splash Pad Newsletter subscribers.

The Grand Opening at Sleep and Beyond went very well, but Coco (their six-month-old Merino sheep mascot) pretty much stole the show as she had the previous Saturday at the Farmers Market. Here’s a photo of Coco from the Grand Opening plus another from the Farmers Market.

Around the corner on Lake Park, heavy construction at Kwik Way has at long last commenced and everyone involved in this project in one way or the other has breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Three doors east, Caña, the cabaret/Cuban restaurant, is expecting delivery of their new entry doors momentarily. The take-out restaurant in the smaller space to the right should open fairly shortly with the cabaret debuting at a later date.

As I mentioned previously, Daniel and Yusuf are applying for an Encroachment Permit that will allow them to install sidewalk seating in front of Caña. When the sidewalk is subsequently widened as part of the Lakeshore Streets Improvement Project, they’ll be able to increase the depth of the seating area from six to ten feet. The owners of Lane Splitter have indicated that they will follow suit.

The sidewalk extension combined with the restoration of the Kwik Way plus the addition of sidewalk seating and far more landscaping will create a far more pedestrian-friendly link between Lakeshore and Grand much as Walter Hood envisioned as part of Phase Two of the Splash Pad project.

Over on Grand, work on Ikaros, the Greek restaurant at 3268 Grand, is proceeding rapidly as is evident in this photo of the interior. Once again this was a family affair. As we visited with the owners, Zack and his wife Lavendar, they pointed out their son who was in the process of unloading restaurant equipment. From what they said about the menu, this should be a welcome addition to the restaurant mix.

Speaking of restaurants, we’ve been dining out a lot of late. We enjoyed the Egyptian Prix Fixe menu one evening at Mezze and on a subsequent evening, dinner at Camino where I noted with regret that we had missed their Monday nights Oktoberfest which featured a three-course menu and a free beer for anyone wearing Lederhosen. Russell’s wife, Allison noted that they do, in fact, schedule a series of Monday night promotions–most of which don’t include wearing exotic articles of clothing.

This past Saturday afternoon, we had a very full house including three kids (six and under) trying on costumes. Our son who was visiting from San Diego went looking for a quiet place to have lunch and came home raving about Jenny’s Cafe which he found via Yelp. He said it was just as described–great sandwiches served by very friendly owners. That would, of course, be Jenny and her husband Mot.

The following night, we went to Boot & Shoe Service. For those of you, who (like me) abhor long waits, please take note. It rained most of the day and when we went at about 6:30, the wait was only about five minutes for our party of five. The logical conclusion is that nobody wants to wait in the rain and cold and a lot of people who would have otherwise been prepared to wait, stayed home. I’m glad we didn’t. The pizza, as before, was excellent but what really grabbed my taste buds was an appetizer that consisted of ricotta cheese, farro, mint and black olives. The flavors were intense.

During this past week, I stopped by Juniper Tree which always features wonderful window displays and tons of fabulous clothing and other merchandise including this month’s array of Halloween decorations.

I also ventured out to Good Chemistry (Gluten-Free) Baking where I devoured an incredibly rich chocolate/pecan cookie and snapped this photograph of one of the original ink and watercolor drawings done by Jane’s friend, Jessie Oleson.

Effective this Saturday, October 31, Jane and her husband will be initiating new hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM until 7 PM.

After departing GCB, I decided to take a quick look at the current inventory of Urban Furniture which is right next door at 3241 Grand. My two-minute visit stretched out to closer to an hour as I discovered quantities of books all priced for 25 cents plus a basket containing approximately one dozen, never-used, hand-appliqued quilt tops priced from $25 to $30. This close-up photo of a small portion of two of the quilts may give you some idea of the quality of the workmanship. Incidentally, there were two of the Sunbonnet Baby quilts–one of which I purchased for our four-year-old grand-daughter.

If you’re not aware of this shop’s mission, it serves as a fund-raising source as well as a job-training facility for clients of Urban University which has been providing services to unemployed, single mothers since 1997. When you have unneeded furniture and other merchandise you’re looking to donate to a worthy non-profit, please consider giving them a call as they do have a pick-up service.

Farmers Market

Please note that since Christmas and New Years day both fall on Saturdays, all of us Grand Lake Farmers Market devotees will have to go cold turkey for three weeks and do our end-of-the-year, holiday shopping elsewhere. Speaking of holidays (as well as turkeys) the Agricultural Institute of Marin is offering a Local Thanksgiving Dinner Challenge. The six individuals who source the greatest percentage of their Thanksgiving repast from their neighborhood AIM farmers markets will receive a $100 farmers market gift basket. Details are posted on their Special Events Calendar along with mention of a special Halloween event. The information booth at the Saturday will be stocked with free pumpkins for the kiddies along with an assortment of cut fruit and veggies in an environmentally-friendly, plastic-free version of Mr. Potato Head. By the way, this tends to be a very labor-intensive activity and I’m sure the market management would welcome volunteers.

The remainder of this month’s Farmers Market news (courtesy of market manager, Brad Burger) begins with a link to the YouTube video of a Flash Mob that was shot at the Farmers Market on October 1. This event helped publicize the efforts of Beyond Aids.org.

Reflecting the abrupt change in the weather, Brad also provided a lengthy list of vendors who are on a winter break including Rootstock Specialty, Lagier Ranch, Blossom Bluff, G & S, Gotelli & Sons, Triple Delight and Sierra Cascade.

New vendors include Feather River in Yuba City which specializes in organic cabbage, broccoli, walnuts and pumpkins.

Also new is the Bicycle Coffee Company which is quite literally, pedal-powered. They will be pouring coffee brewed from organic fair trade, arabica beans grown in a Peruvian cooperative and then roasted right here in Oakland.

Last of the new vendors is Tru Gourmet which specializes in Chinese dim sum.

One other farmer has returned to the market–namely, David Little Organics which specializes in potatoes plus winter greens.

In an effort to help promote local businesses, Brad is putting together a program that will allow local restaurants and other food purveyors to pass out samples or do food demos at the market on a rotating basis. The required health permit is in the works. Look for this program to be instituted fairly soon.

Esperanza Pallana lives one long block up from the farmers market in a home that doubles as what she calls an “urban farm”. Her backyard boasts a variety of edibles plus chickens, rabbits, turkeys and bees. She’s at the market every other week where she will be answering questions and running demonstrations. For more information, please visit her Pluck and Feather blog.

Entertainment Calendar

The Grand Lake Entertainment Calendar has just been updated through December 18. There are still quite a few open dates but look for several musicians who are appearing for what I think is the first time including K.C. Liang who solos on the harmonica and the Irish flute.

Just received an informational email from neighborhood resident David Gans–the longtime host of KPFA’s Dead to the World. Congratulations, David on your election to the KPFA board. David’s appearance calendar includes one very special Bay Area show titled The Wheel – A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia. In addition to David, performers include the David Nelson Band, Peter Rowan’s Bluegrass Band, and Jesse McReynolds. Concert is a benefit for the Rex Foundation and is scheduled (appropriately) for the Fillmore on December 4.

Upcoming Events

Election day is Tuesday, November 2. Four years ago, I used this newsletter as a venue to endorse a specific candidate in what turned out to be a very contentious campaign and, in the process, ended up alienating some people who I very much liked and respected. I swore I wouldn’t do so again. If, however, you’re genuinely interested in hearing my take on the mayoral and District 2 council races, please feel free to email me at my personal account: ken@katzpjs.com.

The annual Lakeshore Halloween Parade and Fall Festival is this Saturday (October 30). The children’s parade will start at Lakeshore Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Avenue, about 11 AM and will wend its way down the Avenue with trick or treat bags and treats provided by the Business Improvement District. Afterwards, they’ll return to the church for a fun festival of games, refreshments, and face painting from noon to 2 PM. Patrons, parents, and ghosts alike are encouraged to enjoy fall decorated windows and to nominate their favorite window for a prize.

Weather permitting, look for Coco (the Sleep and Beyond mascot) to make a cameo appearance at the parade or at the festival afterwards. Little Bo Peep look-alikes would be especially welcome.

Brent’s Christmas Tree Lot will return to Splash Pad Park just after Thanksgiving and is open daily right up until Christmas.

Registrations are now open for the second annual Oakland Running Festival March 27 and 28.

Odd and Ends

A couple of years ago, I mentioned that my neighbors, Donald and Era Farnsworth, who own Magnolia Editions, had a piece of their artwork included in the “Missing Peace” show at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts which honored the Dalai Lama. Latest update is that the Missing Peace show is currently on display at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm and Donald and Era have just returned from the Grand Opening celebration bearing this photo of the museum space. Their large, colorful tapestry is just to the left of center.

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