Central Station

The Bay Area's Newest Destination

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Web portal promotes East Bay arts, culture

The tag line for 510Arts.com is "World Culture in the East Bay." That's the first smart-marketing message being pushed by this online portal for artists and art organizations from the so-called East Bay Cultural Corridor, which comprises Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond.

While San Francisco still draws larger crowds to its theaters, music halls and museums, the East Bay is where most artists live these days. There are now more than 6,000 professional artists working in the East Bay - increasingly in the more affordable cities of Emeryville and Richmond - as well as hundreds of nonprofit visual arts, music, dance and theater organizations, according to the four cities' cultural departments. Plus, the East Bay is the melting pot of the region; more than 150 languages are spoken there, with residents hailing from every corner of the globe.

The online portal launched Oct. 2 as a public-private-community partnership, with sign-on from the cities' four mayors and funding from the East Bay Community Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and Leveraging Investments in Creativity. The organization's goals are to help market local artists and arts institutions, forge relationships among them and use the arts as a catalyst for economic development. [more]

A worthy repost from the Chronicle: Tamara Straus, Special to The Chronicle, Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Edition

Enjoy! Marcus


Monday, February 22, 2010

16th Street Train Station Community Meeting

Wednesday, February 24 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline Street

Renovation and Restoration of the 16th Street Station

Once the terminus of the transcontinental railroad, Oakland’s 16th Street Station was abandoned in 1989 after the Loma Prieta earthquake. [More]

On Sept. 16th 2008, the Oakland Redevelopment Agency / City Council approved the Train Station Entity consisting of a nonprofit corporation governed by board members appointed by the Train Station Partnership and BUILD, to oversee the rehabilitation and reuse of the 16th street train station and authorized a predevelopment (non-forgivable) loan with deferred repayment to the train station entity for rehabilitation of the 16th street train station in West Oakland in an amount not to exceed $400,000

Watch Video

On Nov. 3rd, 2009, the Oakland Redevelopment Agency authorize a loan to the Restoration Association for Improving the Landmark 16'" Street Station (RAILS) in an amount not to exceed $39,677 (secured by a deed of trust on the property - currently owned by BUILD West Oakland) to secure the historic 16th Street Train Station in West Oakland.

Watch Video

Annalee Allen, 02/21/2010 Article

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oakland Police Chief unveils Strategic Plan Framework

This Strategic Plan Framework establishes a vision for Oakland and the Oakland Police Department. It is based on what I have heard from members of the Oakland Community and employees of the Oakland Police Department.

Strategic Plan Framework document

Access the Strategic Plan Framework Presentation

After viewing the document and presentation, feel free to provide community input, here

A community meeting Chief Batts has scheduled to solicit feedback from the West Oakland community will be held: Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 6:30 - 8:00 pm at the West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline St., Oakland

For more information, please contact the Media Relations Office at 510.238.7230 or opdmedia@oaklandnet.com.

Update: Oakland Police Media Relations Office Changes here


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Brown Sugar Kitchen a dining destination

By Dave Newhouse, Oakland Tribune columnist

Dan Levi enjoys Brown Sugar Kitchen so much that he drives 250 miles from San Luis Obispo to West Oakland to have breakfast there every other weekend.

Well, he doesn't drive straight through. He stops first in San Jose to pick up his lady friend, Amber Thames, so they can dine together at Brown Sugar Kitchen.

It's always breakfast, and Dan and Amber show up at 2534 Mandela Parkway by 10 a.m. on Sundays to beat the crowd. But one day, they must try lunch, because there is no finer breakfast-lunch diner in Oakland or the East Bay.

Amber discovered Brown Sugar Kitchen last May after seeing the diner profiled on television. She checked out Tanya Holland's creative cuisine immediately.

"It's extremely good food, and I'm a picky eater," Amber said Wednesday. "I love soul food, but she does it in a healthy way. I love the veggie egg scramble, with the best potatoes in the Bay Area — a real potato that's not full of grease.

"The biscuits are also amazing, and she has homemade jam, which is to die for."

West Oakland became a dining destination two years ago when Holland opened Brown Sugar Kitchen. Like Dan Levi, folks who appreciate quality food come from all over, and Los Angeles is farther away than San Luis Obispo.

"A prestigious food writer from Gourmet magazine wrote that it was worth coming 400 miles from Los Angeles for our waffles," said Phil Surkis, Holland's husband.

I've been sampling Holland's breakfasts and lunches for months. The cornmeal waffle with brown sugar butter and apple cider syrup is, indeed, amazing. My wife loves the poached eggs, and I prefer the egg and bacon sandwich on a wheat roll. The pulled pork sandwich and the smoked chicken & shrimp gumbo are lunchtime winners.

Holland, 44, is receiving rave reviews for a onetime engineering student at the University of Virginia. That's where the food light clicked on after she cooked for schoolmates who were existing on macaroni and cheese. Her parents had taught her as a child in Rochester, N.Y., how to cook in diversified ways.

"I always wanted to do something creative," she said Tuesday.

So she switched from engineering to advertising, and after graduation went to New York but continued looking for a future sign. After becoming office manager for a catering company, she realized her life's path.

Eventually, she ended up in France at a cooking school in Burgundy. She stayed 15 months, living off her Visa card and becoming versed on the "mother sauces," as evidenced by the thickener in her gumbo.

Back in the U.S., she trained at various restaurants, including Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in New York City. And she landed one of the early cooking shows on the Food Network, which lasted 2½ years. Then, needing a new direction, she relocated to Oakland, where her parents, Annette and Hollis Holland, had met, and where Tanya wrote a cooking book.

When the Island Cafe became available, she bought the diner — after marrying Surkis the year before. They live in West Oakland. Surkis, 42, handles workers' compensation claims for UC Berkeley and assists his wife at the diner, even choosing its background music.

The biggest compliment from diners?

“‘These are the best waffles I've ever tasted,' " Holland said. "People also are amazed by the diversity of the crowd. They're like, 'The staff is great, the vibe is great.' "

Surkis said West Oaklanders have told him, “‘Thank you for being here.' It's community love."

Holland will expand her diner by 20 seats this spring with an outdoor eating area. And she's hoping to open a dinner-only bistro in Jack London Square by summer. Can't wait to taste her sweet-potato frites.

Dan and Amber will be by Brown Sugar Kitchen again today. Can't stay away.

Become a fan of Brown Sugar Kitchen (Facebook) http://www.facebook.com/brownsugarkitchen