Tom’s Garden

Growing by the Bay

Month: January 2007

Amy Tan’s San Francisco

amy tanThe Washington Post, as part of a “People We Like and the Places They Love” series, recently ran an interview with Amy Tan on the subject of San Francisco.

The image at left (cropped, somewhat desaturated, and adjusted for highlights and shadows) is from Tan’s official site.

Third Street Rail

3rd street rail mapSF MUNI (Municipal Railway) opened the “T-Third,” its new Third Street light rail line (on weekends only for now, with full service beginning in April) on January 13. (The new service is about a year behind schedule and $120 million over budget.)

In the early 20th century this was a busy streetcar route, so the new line restores a historic aspect of San Francisco. The route runs down the eastern side of the city, past the ballpark and along Third Street through the Bayshore Corridor. The northern end of this route is one of the up-and-coming areas of the city today, with a good mix of funky old buildings and new gentrification that has not yet killed the old flavor.

The 5.6-mile line also runs through some of the city’s poorest (and most isolated) neighborhoods, and it is hoped that improving public transit connections may bring a little help to these areas. As part of the project, Third Street was repaved, and new streetlights were added. Nineteen stations — high platforms similar to those along the Embarcadero along the N-Judah line — were also constructed.

Tamarindo Antojeria

tamarindo, oakland

I had a chance to eat at Tamarindo Antojeria the other day. It’s located 468 8th Street in downtown Oakland. (The nicely restored brick-walled restaurant is in the city’s Old Town district.) Their website is www.tamarindoantojeria.com, and the phone is 510.444.1944.

Although it was a Wednesday the restaurant was very crowded. We arrived early because we were heading for a 7:30 event, so we got a table right away (the one on the left in the picture above), but people who arrived just after us had to wait.

Tamarindo was voted “Best Mexican Restaurant 2006” by the East Bay Express. But it’s not much like most Mexican restaurants. You won’t find massive burritos here. Instead you get alta cocina, a sort of nouvelle cuisine take on creative Mexican cooking. Small, exquisite dishes, reasonably priced. We had the green salad, which was fresh and tasy, and the mole de tamarindo, which was excellent. Our other dish, a chile relleno was fine, if a tad odd with sour cream and cheese and bits of tortillas that were prepared just to the point of beginning to get crisp.

The food is accompanied by a good wine list, although they ding you a bit on the prices, which are a little out of scale with the food. We had beer, and it accompanied the food perfectly.

Record Cold

It’s freezing — literally. Over here in the East Bay we’re looking at a week of lows around or under the freezing mark. I’ve been watering my plants and covering them with plastic at night when I can. But I don’t have enough plastic (or time) for all of them. My fuschias and brugmansias are looking very distressed. I can replace the fuschias since they grow fairly fast (and I think they might come back), but I’d hate to lose the big beautiful brugmansias.

The Bay Area gets frosts occasionally, bt it’s unusually to have such a long duration of frost. We are going to lose a lot of our semi-tropical plants. This is a sad development.

link: Tom’s Garden

Top SF luxury hotels

This is not a class of hotel I generally stay in. If you want to know how the top San Francisco luxury hotels match up, California Travel Experiences is ranking them for value, service, location, reputation, and “frequent stays.” The seven hotels under consideration are Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, Saint Regis, Palace Hotel,Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, and W San Francisco. They’ll announce a winner later on.

Visitor Comments

It occurred to me that while there is a place for comments for each of these posts, I didn’t have a place for open-ended comments about this site, its html pages, or its general topics. I could set up a guestbook or a forum, but for now I would rather use the blog format. So this post will serve as an open forum. Please leave your general comments or questions here.

Outdoors in the Bay Area

So far the winter of 2006-207 has been a cool one in the Bay Area. But we got out for a short hike yesterday on Sobrante Ridge, and it was quite pleasant. The trail wasn’t muddy, and the manzanita was in bloom. I’m starting to post some pages on outdoor activities in the Bay Area.

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