Alexia Underwood

OAKTOWN EATS: Injera and Berbere Sauce on Telegraph

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD (Shilanda Woolridge and Ayako Mie contributed to this review.) The proliferation of Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants along Telegraph Avenue is one of North Oakland’s less celebrated features.  Yet, once you’ve tried it, who can turn down a soft, spongy handful of slightly sour Ingera (flat, pancake-like bread) combined with a thick, spicy Berbere sauce (made with ground red chili peppers, cumin and other spices), often served on a communal ‘family style platter?  Better yet, what adult would…

North Oakland Now 07.05.09

Once you’ve recovered from the July 4 festivities, stumble downtown to check out Oakland’s fifth Grand Prix of Cycling.  The event begins at 8 and lasts until 5 a.m.  Or find some nourishment at the Temescal Farmer’s Market, which runs from 9 to 1 and is located at the DMV at 5300 Claremont.  North Oakland recently acquired a new Farmer’s Market, as well.  And if you want to see the Tribune’s slideshow of the East Bay celebrating the Fourth yesterday,…

North Oakland Now 7.04.09

Happy Fourth, North Oakland!  If you want to start your holiday off with some exercise and some history, the city of Oakland is leading a Jack London Waterfront walking tour beginning at 10:00 a.m.  There are events and activities going on throughout the day at the Alameda County Fair and Piedmont is hosting their own Fourth of July Parade. There will be music and fireworks at Jack London Square with festivities starting at 1:00 p.m.

North Oakland Now: 7.03.09

The weekend is almost here, North Oakland! Check out this list of fun activities planned around Oakland for the Fourth.  Don’t miss the fireworks at Jack London Square on Saturday; the event starts at 1 pm with live music and fireworks begin at 9:15. If you’re wondering what to do with yourself today, the Alameda county fair continues.  Read about how they’re serving up traditional Fair fare as well as some non-traditional items like deep fried peanut butter cups.  (yum?)

North Oakland Now: 7.2.09

Despite the disconcerting news that our Governor declared a fiscal emergency on Wednesday, the sky is blue and the sun is out today.  Take advantage of this to head over to the Alameda county fair, which started yesterday.  Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and there’s plenty to do and see.  Also, you can head over to the Bank of the West building in Temescal to see a locally produced film tonight starting at 8:00 p.m.  Bring warm blankets…

North Oakland Now 7.1.09

Welcome to July, Oakland!  The city council ushered in the new month by passing a new budget for the fiscal year; read about some of the changes here. Public transportation just got more expensive, as today also marks an increase in Bart and AC Transit fares. Oakland North  started a new food blog, Oaktown Eats; check out our review of La Calaca Loca in Temescal and their scrumptious tacos de carnitas.  Also, for an update on the Safeway redevelopment meeting…

North Oakland Now 6.30.09

The city council votes today on Oakland’s budget and may approve unprecedented cuts to city services.  The meeting starts at 5 pm at City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and is open to the public. If you have time, attend, speak and make your voice heard. Tomorrow, the Oakland Police Department is hosting a blood drive from 9-2 p.m.; set up an appointment and find out more details here. Also, if money is tight and you’re looking for free…

Decoding the buzz around Mama Buzz

The Morning Shift. The flat, wide stretch of Telegraph Avenue that runs through the Koreatown-Northgate district is mostly empty when I arrive at Mama Buzz café a few minutes after 7:00 a.m.  A man pushes a shopping cart and some bags of bottles and cans down the sidewalk. A lone woman loads up her car with groceries in the parking lot of Koreana Plaza Market.  One helmeted biker has already beat me to the door of Mama Buzz; he tries…

Budget Vote Approaching

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD The roller coaster ride of city budget-balancing will not come to an end on July 1, at least according to several Oakland City Council members at last week’s meeting.  However, looking at Mayor Dellums’ original proposal to balance an $83-85 million general fund deficit in comparison with the revised proposal that four city council members put forth on June 11 gives us a slightly clearer picture of what to expect . Here’s how some of the departments…

Local Artists in Residence speak at Kala Art Institute

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD Three vastly different young artists presented their latest work Wednesday night at the Kala Art Institute’s new studio space on San Pablo Avenue near the Berkeley-Oakland border. About 30 artists, instructors and community members gathered in a small, high-ceilinged room off of the main studio to drink wine and participate in a discussion that ranged from globalization, existentialism and Derrida to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and psychological issues about self-control. Favianna Rodriguez, 30, an Oakland native whose parents…

North Oakland Now 6.25.09

In honor of Pride this weekend, Oakland North reported on the high concentration of lesbian households in Oakland, as more families move to the East Bay for its affordability and diversity.  We’re also keeping you abreast of new developments with our meeting coverage, which includes a community meeting last night where BART officials, representatives from the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and community members banged heads.  KALA Art institute near the Berkeley/Oakland border on San Pablo is hosting…

Oakland – A City Many Women Call Home

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD Unbeknownst to many, Oakland has a secret: it’s bursting at the seams with women who love women. According to the Gay and Lesbian Atlas, which used information compiled from the 2000 U.S. census, Oakland contains the highest concentration of lesbian couples of any city in the nation and has the second highest number of same-sex couple households– right behind San Francisco. So even as the biggest Bay Area events of Gay Pride Day will take place in…

Zoot suit cabaret in Oakland

Oakland residents dusted off their zoot suits, feathered hats and shiny, sequined dresses Saturday night for the third annual cabaret benefit performance of the Oakland-East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus at the First Christian church in Oakland.

Rockridge Residents Contemplate Going Solar

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD Renewable energy was the topic of the Rockridge Community Planning Council Town Hall meeting on Thursday night; namely, how and why to go solar. After two short power point presentations, Eric Nyman of Berkeley-based Sun Light and Power and Evan Raymond of Renewable Artistry (both of whom install photovoltaic solar energy panels on roofs as well as solar thermal equipment) fielded questions from the 16 Rockridge residents in attendance. Some reasons to install solar equipment that Nyman…

Art Project Celebrates Local History, Seeks to Bring Communities Together

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD The parks in Oakland are alive.  At 7:30 a.m., more than a hundred people lift their hands in unison, moving with slow, controlled energy as they practice the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi. A few feet away, six older women and one man practice their line-dancing steps, hopping and skipping to the tinny sounds emanating from a hand-held boom box. Two women play badminton without a net.  Welcome to Madison Square Park on Jackson Street, in…

Budget Diaries 2: No End In Sight

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD In the beginning, a little after 3:00 p.m., the council chambers were crowded and the air was thick with anticipation. Two television stations jockeyed for camera room, residents lined up against the walls and some people found seats in the balcony to watch the Oakland City Council discuss a new alternative budget proposal to Mayor Dellum’s much maligned proposal for 2009-2011 on Tuesday. But by 11 p.m., after countless speakers and hours spent quibbling over parking meter…