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Sleek finishes for home | Fat makes a move | Revamp your closet Leslie sbrocco: Gal chefs and their fave spring sips

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table of contents

DEPARTMENTS 17 The Insider A local Mary Poppins; re-do your closet for spring. By Stephanie Simons

20 Shop Talk Make a statement at Charming Charlie. By Stephanie Simons. Photos by Edwin Suarez

23 Beauty Report Transfer fat from where you don’t want it to where you do. By Crystal Chow

49 Thirsty Girl Leslie Sbrocco taps a few local women chefs for their fave spring sips.

56 At the Table The Chefs Collaborative helped start the food revolution.

69 Getaways Got a day, or a bit more? Napa beckons. Plus: Half Moon Bay. By Katharine Fong


73 Seen Big fun around town.

FEATURES fashion 28 Modern Edge


Spring style goes retro, with a big wink. By Donna Kato. Photos by Chad Riley Plus: Fall 2013 trends. By Donna Kato

ICONS 40 High Energy For Diana Helfrich, living and working “green” is the best — and only — option. By Angela Hill. Photos by Jose Carlos Fajardo


design 62 Interior Desires Modern prefab is not just bold exteriors, but sleek, sustainable touches inside, too. By Raquel Loren


Scene • Spring 2013


editor’s note

Josie Lepe

Thanks for the great ride This is the last issue of Scene, though hardly the end of media geared toward women from the Bay Area News Group. We’ll be working on other ways to delight and connect with you in the coming months. We hope you’ve enjoyed Scene, and its larger messages. What’s that, you say? When I was an editor at Mother Jones magazine some years ago, one of our board members was the late Anita Roddick, firebrand founder of The Body Shop. She had made a huge success out of all-natural cosmetics produced without animal testing and sold in reusable containers, long before “green” was commonplace. But more important were critical social issues — from preserving the environment to fair trade to human rights to the fight against HIV — that she pushed while pushing product. Roddick’s lotions and lip glosses brought customers into her stores, where they would learn about these issues and hopefully be spurred to help. She made shopping and beauty fun, but there was

always a message and call for action. On a much smaller scale, I’ve tried to add a dash of “do-good” to Scene. Often, it has been in the stories of local women working to better their community. Or, it’s been features on sustainable living or green fashion, and coverage of worthy fundraisers or events. My goal has been to make local style fun and informative, but also convey a larger message about taking steps — even small ones — to make our corner of the globe a better, happier place. And about finding your joy. As Roddick did. “Success to me is not about money or status or fame,” she said. “It’s about finding a livelihood that brings me joy and self-sufficiency and a sense of contributing to the world.” Thanks to our wonderful readers, contributors and advisers for your support!

Katharine Fong Editor & Publisher

scene Katharine Fong Editor & Publisher

Rebecca Hall Lucero Art Director

The Children’s Discovery Museum

Donna Kato Contributing Fashion & Beauty Editor

This issue’s fashion shoot took place at the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose. Open since 1990, the museum’s mission is to inspire creativity, curiosity and lifelong learning. With more than 150 interactive exhibits and programs, it is one of the largest museums of its kind in the nation. Upcoming exhibits include: “Native Voices: New England Tribal Families,” May 11 through Sept. 15, and “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious,” June 1 through Sept. 8. 180 Woz Way, San Jose;, 408.298.5437.

Crystal Chow Melinda Sacks Stephanie Simons Julia Prodis Sulek Bonnie Wach Contributing Writers Jose Carlos Fajardo Nikki Ritcher Contributing Photographers Rebecca Parr Copy Editor

Hair and makeup artist Tamara Brown touches up model Hanna Paat. Rebecca Hall Lucero

Scene Magazine Vol. 5, No. 1, copyright 2013 by the Bay Area News Group. All rights reserved. Material herein may not be reprinted without expressed written consent of the publisher. Spring 2013 • Scene


Celebrate the U.S. premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s magical new production of Cinderella! The evening begins CINDERELLA OPENING NIGHT BALL COMMITTEE

with a cocktail reception in the lobby of the War Memorial

Suzy Kellems Dominik and Stephanie Barlage Ejabat Event Co-Chairs

Opera House. Then join Christopher Wheeldon, the design

Amy Burnett Kelli Burrill Elizabeth Pang Fullerton Shelby Gans

Sandy Katzman Karen Sonneborn Jan Zakin

team, and leaders of the dance world for an elegant dinner in a lavish tented pavilion adjoining the Opera House. After the performance, dance the night away with the cast of Cinderella at the After Party, featuring music, refreshments, and desserts. Tickets and information at



Scene • Spring 2013


32nd SF Ballet Auxiliary Fashion Show Featuring Designer

Zac Posen Fri, Apr 26, 11am The Fairmont San Francisco Tickets/information: San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary’s annual Fashion Show—coproduced by Saks Fifth Avenue—draws over 500 attendees who gather to support the programs and performances of SF Ballet. This year the event features a cocktail reception, followed by a luncheon with a live auction, raffle, and fashion

Photo courtesy of Zac Posen

show featuring the work of American fashion icon Zac Posen.

2013 SF Ballet School Student Showcase Performances: May 29, 30, & 31 Dinner: May 30 San Francisco Ballet School Students in Thatcher’s Spinae (© Erik Tomasson)

Performance Location: Lam Research Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Reception/Dinner Location: The St. Regis San Francisco Tickets/info: This unique performance and elegant dinner event raises funds to support the world renown San Francisco Ballet School. The performance showcases not only the breadth and depth of the School’s extraordinary students, but also the outstanding caliber of its faculty.

Spring 2013 • Scene



Angela Hill (“High Energy,” Page 40) writes her “Give ’Em Hill” column for the Bay Area News Group, where she is also a feature writer. Previously, she covered news for the Oakland Tribune for 15 years. She lives in Alameda, and has a penchant for large Halloween displays.

Chad Riley (“Modern Edge,” Page 28) studied photography at the Brooks Institute, then moved to New York City and worked with Annie Leibovitz before striking out on his own. He has shot for Vanity Fair, Wired, Vogue and — after relocating to San Francisco in 2009 — Apple and San Francisco magazine. When not chasing after 18-monthold son Noah (with wife Christy), he competes in Ironman Triathlons.

Wine expert, author and TV host Leslie Sbrocco (“Women Who Dish,” Page 49) is founder of ThirstyGirl. com, a community for women with a passion for wine, food and travel. In addition to hosting the KQED series “Check Please!,” she is a regular guest on the “Today” show and is a sought-after speaker and wine judge.


Fashion and beauty writing by Stephanie Simons (“Closet Confessions,” Page 17) has appeared in C magazine, DailyCandy, PaperCity, La Garçonne and other national publications. She has interviewed style celebs from Manolo Blahnik to Carré Otis, and appears on television as a style authority.

scene Mac Tully President & Publisher Bay Area News Group Erika Brown Marketing Director Jenny Kohler Director, Retail Advertising Stephanie McLoughlin Director, Major Advertising Timothy Tsun and Ad Services Advertising Design


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Copyright 2013 Bay Area News Group

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the insider On living in New York “Nothing fazes anyone. Let’s just say I had a little bit of that growing up in Berkeley. My dad was a deaf actor on Broadway in such shows as ‘Children of a Lesser God.’ Mom went to Cal to get her PhD in child psychology. We were very much a theater family, and growing up in Berkeley was the perfect place for us to do that.” What she misses “You know, I haven’t found better Indian food than I have in Berkeley.” How to become a magical nanny really fast “I do a lot of vocal warm-ups and yoga. I have to put my corset on — it helps with my posture, which definitely gets me into character.” Her favorite scene “‘Step in Time,’ the big tap dance number — that’s a lost art form you don’t see in shows anymore. There’s another moment I love, where it’s just me in an empty space, no scenery — singing, simply. I like that a lot.”

a spoonful of sugar Berkeley native Madeline Trumble, 23, shines in the lead role in the national Broadway touring production of “Mary Poppins,” the beloved children’s story most famously portrayed in the 1964 movie musical starring Julie Andrews. Trumble, who appeared in numerous Bay Area productions while growing up, gave us a glimpse of her theater life.

On being diabetic “It’s taken a lot of time to figure out my blood sugar needs. Before a performance, I make sure it’s a little higher than usual. It’s a balancing act. I’ll drink juice quickly in the wings behind the curtains because I’m never really off-stage. I wear my insulin pump under my costume where no one can see it. It’s definitely been a challenge. I think about it constantly.” Adventure of choice in the Bay Area “I go to Glide [Memorial Church] in San Francisco on Sundays. I wish I could go every morning. We don’t have places like that in New York. I’m going to take my whole cast [when we’re here].”

Jeremy Daniel

Where would Mary Poppins go? “High tea at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. I went there when I was little for my birthday party. She’d like all the shopping in Walnut Creek and that one store in particular with all the glass figurines — David M. Brian, yes that’s it! My grandma and Mary Poppins love that place.” ­­— Stephanie Simons

“Mary Poppins” plays May 8-12 at the SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco. For information and tickets, see Madeline Trumble as Mary Poppins and Con O’SheaCreal as Bert in “Mary Poppins.”

Spring 2013 • Scene


Baldomero Fernande

OK, not all of us have enormous closet space (with a view, to boot). But a few simple touches can revive and refresh your space.

Closet Confessions Make your dream storage space a reality By Stephanie Simons Having an epic closet is one of life’s most underestimated luxuries, as any stylish woman will attest. Proper organization makes getting dressed reliably effortless and endlessly fun. “When you go to your closet, you should love everything that’s in there and think ‘Ooh, what do I get to wear today?’’’ says Carolyn Rovner, a Danville-based style consultant who specializes in personal shopping, wardrobe evaluation and total closet cleanout. That feeling comes from carefully editing your wardrobe, and spring is the perfect time to curate, revive and refresh. The first step: Be realistic about what you really wear and find a way to make all of it visible and accessible. Out-of-season clothing should be kept out of sight in a box on a shelf, under the bed or at the back of the closet.


Scene • Spring 2013

Rovner typically organizes a space according to types of clothing — tops, pants, dresses, outerwear — but there are endless ways to categorize. Boutiques such as Charming Charlie organize by color, while department stores categorize according to occasion. A truly inspired closet should mimic a shopping experience with easy browsing in mind. The “new” closet, in fact, is an extension of the living space. “Many people are opting for spa-like spaces, or they install materials that reflect other cabinetry in their home,” says Ginny Snook Scott, California Closets’ vice president of sales and marketing and chief design officer. “Some choose to remove the doors and have it open to the bedroom, which makes it important to choose splashes of color and texture that reflect your personal style.”

the insider Think of your closet as a living, breathing Pinterest that showcases things you love. Paper the walls with a luscious print or adorn them with framed shopping bags from your favorite stores. A blackboard with inspirational sayings like “Dare to be fabulous” adds a playful wink.

Replace ordinary light fixtures with a faux chandelier and throw down a patterned rug — something like leopard ought to channel your inner diva.

A little slice of mirror goes a long way to create the illusion of more space. For a Parisian boudoir effect, put mirroring on the top of a night table. On top of that, arrange your favorite fragrances or accessories into a chic grouping. Comstock/Thinkstock

A dress form or velveteencovered jewelry display stand will help you hang jewelry as if it’s actually around your neck, rather than letting it droop straight and shapeless toward the floor.

Darren Falkenberg/Hemera/Thinkstock

wardrobe-changing moves

svetlana foote/Thinkstock


If you have a two-tier hanging area, always hang folded pants, tank tops, skirts and less bulky items on the top rack. Snook Scott prefers to use the bottom rack for jackets, long-sleeve shirts and bigger clothes. It makes the closet feel bigger.

Rovner says sentimental décor can be uplifting. She adores showcasing hats or handbags on the wall, and suggests mounting and framing a special piece, such as your mother’s vintage evening bag, in a shadow box. Erik Reis/Hemera/Thinkstock

Got a spare room? Hello, dressing room. Perhaps it’s more indulgent than practical, but think of the fun you could have: airy and skylit, with a chaise sofa and a library of essential books by Simon Doonan, Nina Garcia and the editors at Lucky magazine. Every handbag and stiletto proudly displayed the way a hunter shows off her game. And don’t forget the wine bar, drop-down television and iPad charging station.

Courtesy California Closets

Snook Scott places shoes on shelves instead of on the floor. This makes them easier to find, and lets you walk into the closet without stepping on items.

Spring 2013 • Scene


shop talk

Make a statement with colorful, on-trend accessories

Charming Charlie The shopping experience at accessories mecca Charming Charlie goes something like this: your brain is thrust into a dopamine-secreting spasm because the vast selection is arranged by color… glorious, unabashed, mood-altering color. Your eye is pulled one way and your hands the other. Which way to turn? How best to navigate the veritable maze without missing a single statement ring, boyfriend watch, belt, handbag, wallet or — oooh gotta have — iPhone case? Brentwood has bragging rights to the Bay Area’s first Charming Charlie, one of 200 stores nationwide devoted to accessories in excess. The chain was launched in Houston in 2004, and until Brentwood, the closest location had been Modesto. (The Vacaville store is slated to open in April, and the company plans to open more local editions.) This 7,710-square-foot store echoes the vastness and price points of Forever 21 but offers a more sophisticated range of styles that suit every

look, from rock ’n’ roll to full-throttle bombshell. Think faceted stone statement earrings, snakeskin clutches and bangles galore — all with the Charming Charlie label. Charming Charlie’s in-house fashion team subscribes to the maximalist philosophy “More is more,” which also makes it the perfect place to cultivate a knack for putting together the perfect pairing. “It’s all about layering,” says Suchit Majmudar, VP of brand development and strategy. “You can layer necklaces and bracelets of different metals [gold, rose gold, gunmetal, silver] to add dimension to an outfit.” And you can also ask the staff for handy tips for finding the right necklace for whatever neckline. They’ve got extensive charts dedicated to the art and science of necklaces. Keep an eye out for the trend tables at the front of the stores for a bird’s-eye view of the season’s hottest trends. – Stephanie Simons

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Beauty report

pump up the volume Move fat from where you don’t want it to where you do By Crystal Chow

So, those jiggly parts encircling your waist or hugging your thighs that stubbornly resist improvement through diet or exercise? Turns out they may be good for one thing at least. They make great donor sites for fat that can be injected into other features where longterm plumpness is desired. Think hollow cheeks, thin lips or bony hands. Large undertakings such as body contouring or breast and buttock augmentation are also possible, although more challenging in that significant fat amounts need to be harvested. Dr. Lauren Greenberg, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Palo Alto, began doing fat transfers (aka grafting, transplant or injection) about five years ago, ramping up to a “ton” of the procedures over the past two years. Grafting makes a lot of sense because “you’re using your own body tissue,” she says. “You’re replacing like with like, so issues of rejection or allergy are not as common.” Moreover, Greenberg notes, “Stem cells Michel Touraine (RF)/Pixland/Thinkstock

Spring 2013 • Scene


Courtesy Dr. Lauren Greenberg

Top photo: the patient before fat was transferred to her undereye area; middle: after 2 months; bottom: after 5 months.

occur naturally in the body, and fat is one of the richest sources of them. When you transfer fat, not only are you giving volume, there’s an X factor of stem cells that improves the overall quality of the skin.” She has seen some of her grafting patients with more pliant skin texture years after treatment. A basic fat transplant from a donor site to, say, the tear troughs — hollows under the eyes — takes about an hour under local anesthesia. Tiny amounts of fat are drawn out by needle, then processed, often by centrifuge, to concentrate the fat. Next, a cannula (small tube) attached to a syringe is used to inject the fat into the desired areas. Afterward, expect swelling and potential bruising for a few days. “I tell people for the first week, you won’t want to be seen by others,” Greenberg warns. “The second week you may look puffier than normal, and by the third week you should be back to normal.” In other words, don’t consider a fat transfer for your smile lines or skinny lips if a major event — like your wedding — is taking place in just a few days. In that case, the better solution is quickand-easy injection fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm, although some swelling may occur with the latter. Typically, improvements from fillers last


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beauty report

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six months to a year. Fat implants are low-tech but last although no one is perfectly symmetrical to begin with. longer. “You just need cannulas and, commonly, a cen- During the procedure your doctor will try to make as exact trifuge for the fat,” Greenberg says. “There’s very little a match as possible or even correct any imbalance. Greenberg removes the same amount of fat from each donor site instrumentation — no knife, just needles.” Unfortunately, even stubborn fat can’t last forever, at — a bit from each inner thigh just to plump thin lips, for least not in a transplanted state. Blame its “capricious- example — to ensure a good outcome. One bonus side effect may occur when significant fat ness,” as Greenberg sees it. “When you inject fat, it’s is removed from, say, kind of tricky,” she the waist for transsays. “Even when fer to the breasts or you do everything buttocks. That’s beright in the way cause the fat cells we know now, you themselves are taken likely lose about 50 out. This means as percent of the fat long as your weight you transfer. Right remains stable afafter the procedure terward, you can is when you see the A patient before and after the fat-transfer procedure, which consider this a nearbulk of the loss.” softened wrinkles and improved skin texture in the eye area. permanent loss. (Of Over time, life course, the very real factors such as behealth risks of such ing diabetic, smoka major procedure ing cigarettes or must be considered having high choas well.) lesterol affect the No matter how graft’s longevity even little or much you more. Exactly why is want done, it’s unknown, although critical to look for a copious studies are Dr. Lauren Greenberg Dr. Stanley Poulos board-certified surbeing done to find 750 Welch Road, Suite 117 350 Bon Air Road, Ste. 300 geon who is wellout. Palo Alto Greenbrae versed in this techStill, getting a 650.617.9907 866.398.4480 nique, Greenberg portion of your face says. “There are so “volumized,” or havmany people who ing lines or wrinkles filled the fat graft way, is a fairly long-term solution in the call themselves plastic surgeons now who are not,” she fight against aging. Dr. Stanley Poulos of Greenbrae em- warns. The best candidates looking to refresh their visage are ploys transfers in conjunction with most of the facelifts he performs. According to this board-certified plastic those whose face can be rejuvenated just by adding the surgeon, under normal circumstances someone receiv- volume back. For those with fairly loose skin, a facelift ing major improvements via fat injections will need a may be the only answer. Obviously, too, “one has to have touch-up procedure six months to a year after the initial enough extra fat onboard to be able to have the volume surgery. That job should then last about six more years, to transfer somewhere else,” Poulos says. The ballpark figure for a fat transfer is $2,500 to plump maybe longer. The primary risk here, as Poulos sees it, “is that we up both of one’s hollow cheeks. “Compare that to somemay not maintain as much of the fat as we’d like. The thing like [the injectable filler] Sculptra, which lasts about ability to predict what is the final retention is the most two years,’’ Greenberg says. “[Sculptra is] about $2,000 difficult thing. Even with improvement in the tech- to $2,500 and does not have stem cells. It’s a wonderful product, but if you can opt for a long-term treatment and niques, we still don’t get 100 percent of the fat to take. “Say you take 10 cubic centimeters of fat from the can afford the down time, the transfer becomes a more thigh and reinject it into the face after treating it a cer- viable thing.” There is no cookbook recipe as to how to perform the tain way [most commonly via centrifuge],” he explains. “You’re not going to get 100 percent of that to remain perfect fat transfer procedure, Greenberg admits, “just long-term, but some portion of it does develop a blood because the science behind it is still evolving. It’s still in its infancy, but we know it works. We can’t explain supply and stay.” Another downside is the possibility of slight asymmetry, exactly why, but we can objectively see the results.”

Spring 2013 • Scene


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w w w. C e n t e r R E P. or g Spring 2013 • Scene




edge Spring style goes retro, with a big wink

Hot colors and warm weather. We’re counting on both. • One of the prominent style trends to emerge this season is the revival of the Modernist, giving clothes an edge and irreverence not seen since the ’60s. It’s cheeky with a big wink. Not quite costume or vintage, but with an “I’ve seen this before” familiarity that reminds us it defined an era for good reason. • What worked then can work again: Marc Jacobs modernized Mod on the Louis Vuitton runway for spring, as did Moschino and Chanel. The silhouette is structural, yet revealing, the colors bold and bright. It’s a season that encourages the art of mixing and mingling, so that Mod most definitely means modular, too. • It also works with other trends: stripes, wide as a highway divider or spaghetti thin, vertical and horizontal, paired with a contrasting color, perhaps. Blazers and jackets, properly prim, worn suit-style or switched out with jeans or shorts. A dress that can anchor your night-out look or be the goto vacation staple. • Swing into spring. By summer, you’ll be in the groove. By D o n n a K a t o Photogra p hy by C h a d R i l e y

credits Hair and makeup: Tamara Brown, Artists Untied Styling assistance: Erienne Guentner, Dionna Mash Photo assistance: Bess Friday, Christophe Tomatis Models: Hanna Paat, LOOK Model Agency; Bianca, Exalt Model Agency


Scene • Spring 2013

Rachel Roy jumpsuit, $129, Style & Co. quilted leather elastic belt, $21.98, both Macy's; Via Spiga "Aubrey" platforms, $250, Bloomingdale's; Oscar de la Renta cabochon multi-stone drop earrings, $450, Neiman Marcus; Lucite "candy" bracelets, $48 each, Furla.

Spring 2013 • Scene


Ted Baker “Kaylaa” double-breasted short coat, $425; “Parri” empire waist dress, $248; hot pink patent bow belt, $85; and patent pumps, $165, all Ted Baker. Kate Spade New York earrings, $98, Bloomingdale’s.


Scene • Spring 2013

Stella McCartney floral blazer, $1,885, and ombre cropped skinny jeans, $535; Diane von Furstenberg silk top, $135; Oscar de la Renta goldtone sculpted floral necklace, $795, all Neiman Marcus. Calvin Klein squaretoed flats with coral toe box, $99, Macy’s.

Whit double-breasted coat, $448, and Rachel Comey sweeper pant in Avens print, $430, Rachel Comey “Berkeley” slingback loafer, $380, all Crimson Mim. Madewell silk dotted peplum blouse, $108, Madewell. Leighelena Gold Buckle Jigsaw bracelet, $110, Carolina Boutique. Jones New York connecting circles earrings, $34, Macy’s.

Spring 2013 • Scene


Bar III striped maxi dress, $69, Macy’s.


Scene • Spring 2013

Diane von Furstenberg studded cropped leather jacket, $1,200, Z Spoke by Zac Posen front zipper dress, $450, both Neiman Marcus.

Spring 2013 • Scene


BCBG Max Azria “Candice” three-quarter sleeve jacket, $208, Ash high-top wedge sneakers, $195, both Bloomingdale’s. Splendid Cannes rayon striped shorts, $88, and drapey luxe jersey tee, $64, Splendid stores. Kate Spade New York statement necklace, $148, Bloomingdale’s and Kate Spade New York store.


Scene • Spring 2013

Vahzee cropped jacket and overskirt, $598, Alina B. Diane von Furstenberg “Koto” pencil skirt, $225, The Store. Links of London “Driver” rose gold watch, $495, and friendship bracelets, $225 each, Bloomingdale’s.

Azadeh leather “Iris” top with scalloped neckline, $1,350, and matching tiered “Ivy” skirt, $1,249, Azadeh; Elisabetta Franchi studded belt, $198, Alina B.; Lucite bracelets, $68 for pair, Furla.

Spring 2013 • Scene


Laundry by Shelli Segal geometric print mod dress, $245, and Kate Spade New York chunky stone bracelet, $124, both Bloomingdale’s; Guess earrings, $22, Macy’s.

Continued on Page 73.


Scene • Spring 2013


get a


In leather, mohair and fur, sometimes with masculine details in lapels, pockets and fabrication.

Key trends for fall

fur touches

Not a statement coat, but thoughtfully used as a textural element on bodices, hemlines and yokes. Or go all the way whimsy with a Yeti jacket.

black. white. black and white Crisp and eternally sophisticated, the non-colors feel right for the times.


glam jams


Pajamas for special occasions. We’ll consider it.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

furry scarves Casually wrapped around the neck and tossed over the shoulder like a showgirl boa, an oddly regal finish. chloe



Benoit Tessier/Reuters

The fashion cycle continues, with fall trends already on the radar of the style savvy. • A few key pieces made multiple appearances on fashion week runways in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Influential designers, too, had their say. Credit Marc Jacobs if we insist on pajamas as eveningwear. Are these clues to the must-haves later on this year?

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

By Donna Kato

Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

shoe evolution T-straps replace platform pumps and wedges, and oxfords and slip-ons are the new ballet flats.

marc jacobs

Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

Not quite navy and not quite true blue.

transparency See-through touches in unexpected places.

marc jacobs

Spring 2013 • Scene

Jacques Brinon/Associated Press


Peter Michael Dills/Getty Images

ralph lauren

vests and sleeveless jackets



Scene • Spring 2013


high energy For Diana Helfrich, living and working ‘green’ is the best — and only — option

By Angela Hill Photos by Jose Carlos Fajardo

Her friends call her the Girl Scout. Anything anyone needs in an emergency — be it water, sunblock, bandages or the perfect shade of lip color — a poised and well-equipped Diana Helfrich is pulling it out of her purse faster than you can say, “You’re making the rest of us look bad.” “Diana is a very driven and very focused person with whatever she’s doing — children, job, play,” says Helfrich’s sorority sister from Cal, San Francisco architect Elizabeth Chaney. “We have this running joke that if we’re out somewhere, maybe up in Tahoe, and anybody needs anything, Diana will be prepared. Those of us who live a little more on the fly really appreciate that.” Such admirable qualities — being ready for anything and meeting challenges with a level head, combined with what friends and colleagues call a “laser-like” focus — have propelled Helfrich far beyond the helpful Girl Scout (she really was one, by the way, plus a lifeguard and member of the ski patrol) to the top of her game in the fierce field of green tech and high-tech startups. She’s vice president of marketing for Blu Homes, managing a 12-person team for the startup manufacturer of eco-friendly, highend, prefab houses (see related story on Page 62). With 25 years of

Spring 2013 • Scene


experience in her field, Helfrich is highly regarded as a brand builder, thriving on the energy in this competitive business. “It’s a crazy, intense world, and I’m addicted to it,” Helfrich, 52, says from her Tuscan-style, energy-efficient, “rammedearth” home in Lafayette, atop a small hill dotted with deer, horses and cattle from her neighbor’s ranch — the bucolic setting a counterbalance to her high-powered work life. “What I really enjoy is starting with very little and creating a department. And I really love doing green tech,” she says, leading her Brittany spaniel, Bruno, outside because he’s chewing loudly on a bone. “It sounds cliché, but I want to leave the world in a better place. Climate change is happening. So if you have the opportunity to pour your energies into work that helps reduce our carbon footprints, why wouldn’t you?” Helfrich has no shortage of energies. With the same passion and dedication she’s thrown into her work, Helfrich — who is newly single — has raised three children, with a little help from au pairs and nannies through the years. Caroline, 22, and David, 20, are both “out and self-sufficient” now, but they’re always around, she says. Mark, 17, is still at home and heavily involved in soccer. “Oh, I’ve spent many hours on the soccer field,” she adds with a smile. “I’m definitely still a soccer mom.” Her daily routine involves getting up at 5 every morning to head to the gym and work out with her “crew” of women friends, ranging in age from their 20s to 80s. Her gym visits have done their job — she’s trim and fit, looking younger than her years with long sandy hair and a steady gaze. She has a simple, elegant style, on this day wearing a basic black wrap top and jeans with boots, little makeup and tiny diamond studs — a mischievous side betrayed by racy red nail polish. After the gym, she drives her Prius over to the BART station and uses the 40-minute commute to the city to get some work done. When she returns home, she loves to cook Italian-inspired meals, and hike the hills around her home with Bruno, who takes great pride at rooting wild turkeys out of bushes. Helfrich grew up in the Central Valley with her parents


Scene • Spring 2013

Photos courtesy Diana Helfrich

Helfrich at a Blu Homes/Sunset magazine event last year, with chef Alice Waters, right, and Sunset food editor Margo True.

and two siblings. She was born in Fresno, but the family moved frequently from town to town as her father, a banker with Bank of America, stepped up to larger office locations. “My mother was an artist, so with the both of them, it was the perfect background for my career — part analytical and business, and part art and creativity,” she says. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. After earning her MBA at St. Mary’s College in Moraga in 1988, she decided to stay in the Bay Area. She worked her way through various hightech firms, notably leading the marketing team at Copper Mountain Networks, a provider of DSL and broadband solutions, from startup through initial public offering in 1999. With such success in her pocket, she and her husband felt comfortable in quitting their jobs in 2001 and taking the family on a great adventure — a year in Italy. “My husband and I were able to take this time to focus on family and really widen our horizons,” she says. “Living there — just the learning experiences of having to order Internet connections in Italian, what soaps go in the dishwasher. We get so used to our routines here at home, we go to the same stores, do the same things on the weekend. In a different world, you use all your senses and figure out what’s happening around you. It’s stimulating.” Following this break, Helfrich picked up without missing a beat, joining BigBand Networks, a digital video and data platform developer, and again working with the company from startup through IPO in 2007. From there, she purposefully sought out green tech firms, and made the move to SolarCity in 2008 as vice president of marketing. Again, the same scenario followed, as she helped build the company from a startup into what many consider America’s leading name in clean energy. After four and a half years at SolarCity, she felt she’d completed the work she needed to do, and accepted an invitation to join Blu Homes in July 2012, a company the San Francisco Business Times says is “quickly becoming a household name in the Bay Area.”

Diana Helfrich with her children Mark, Caroline and David Helfrich in November 2012.


Helfrich lives in a Tuscan-style, energy-efficient, "rammed earth" home in Lafayette. Its bucolic setting atop a hill is a counterbalance to her high-powered work life.

“She’s a perfect fit,” says Maura McCarthy, co-founder and vice president of strategy for Blu Homes, with offices in San Francisco and Boston and a state-of-the art factory in Vallejo. “She’s humble, smart, doesn’t try to be in the limelight, but is results-oriented and very professional. And the best thing is, she gets it,” McCarthy says. “She understands the brand, the idea of sustainability, the Blu ethos.” Most of Blu Homes’ projects are single-family homes, serving a range of clients from young professionals starting families to retired people wanting to downsize and live more simply in energy-efficient homes, Helfrich says. But there’s one project she finds particularly rewarding: The Oma Village in Novato. Blu Homes has partnered with nonprofit Homeward Bound of Marin on an affordable subsidized housing community for homeless women and children in Marin County, transforming a rundown former alcohol and drug rehab center into a specially designed grouping of 14 of Blu’s compact one- and two-bedroom homes. “We’re still in the permit process, but the design is to have common areas, a computer center, a joint laundry. Each incorporates a small piece of land for a little garden or a place for kids to play,” Helfrich says. “It’ll be a place for these families to regain that sense of dignity and make the transition out of homelessness. “I don’t have a huge amount of time to do outside volunteer work myself, so working on projects like this, helping them fundraise and holding events — it really feels good to help people get what they need.”

quick takes Nightstand reading “I hate to admit it, but books and trade journals on branding.” Favorite foods “Italy rubbed off on me, so I love to cook. Some of my favorite days there were taking cooking classes from two sisters, so I learned how to use very simple ingredients for Italianinspired meals.” Lipstick? “MAC - Politely Pink.” Shop for work clothes “Armani” Shop for fun stuff “Anthropologie” Professional role models “The many talented founders I have had the good fortune to work with throughout my career, for their passion and perseverance.” Personal role model “Michelle Obama, for her brains, beauty, balance.” On her bucket list 1. Get close up with elephants and other big game in Africa. 2. Go white-water rafting with her kids, siblings and cousins in the Grand Canyon. 3. Trek in Machu Picchu, Peru. 4. Visit every national park in the United States.

Spring 2013 • Scene


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Scene • Spring 2013

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Scene • Spring 2013

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Spring 2013 • Scene


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Scene • Spring 2013

Winter has What you Want!

thirsty girl

women who dish ...and the drinks that pair By Leslie Sbrocco In any other region, the classic James Brown song “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” could describe restaurant culture. Not here, though. From Menlo Park to Sonoma, San Francisco to Oakland, female chefs and restaurateurs rank among the top culinary pioneers and are among the most successful in the business. These women cook. And not only that, many of them know what pairs best with their menus, making them formidable all-around talents. I asked four of my favorite femmes of food and drink to talk about this, and let us in on their favorite sips for spring.

Joanne Weir Many know Joanne Weir for her cooking shows, which air on PBS. With an engaging, easy-going style, “Weir Cooking in the City” and “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence,” along with more than a dozen cookbooks, confirm her as a culinary trailblazer. Weir’s latest venture is the restaurant Copita Tequileria

Wine expert Leslie Sbrocco is the founder of Thirsty Girl (ThirstyGirl. com), a community of women with a passion for wine, food and fun.

Stuart Lirette

Erin Kunkel

Fresh Cherry Margarita

Spring 2013 • Scene


y Comida in Sausalito. Showcasing her passion for Mexico, Copita’s concept is inspired by her cookbook, “Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails, and Bites” (Ten Speed Press, 2009). Focused on seasonal Mexican dishes (many inspired by the eatery’s own garden) and an amazing list of 80 premium tequilas and tequila cocktails, Copita is a shrine to south-of-the-border delicacies. How did tequila become one of your passions? Many years ago, I rented a house on the beach in a little fishing village in the Yucatan called Puerto Morelos. One beautiful warm night, a friend and I bought a bottle of Corralejo Reposado and sat on the beach with our feet in the sand, glass in hand, and sipped tequila. That night, I fell in love with tequila. Years later back in San Francisco, I went to the launch of a new tequila brand in a sexy square bottle called Corzo. My love for tequila was confirmed. I was surprised to see that there were mostly men at the launch and just a few women. I canvassed the women in

the crowd, learning that women love tequila just as much as men. Immediately, I formed a group called Agave Girls, for women who appreciate tequila. [The group meets for tastings, social events, etc.]

Fresh Cherry Margarita (served at Copita) 12 fresh cherries, pitted 1 ounce blanco 100 percent agave tequila ½ ounce maraschino liqueur ¾ ounce agave nectar ¾ ounce water ¾ ounce fresh lime juice Fresh cherry with stem as a garnish Put cherries in a shaker and mash them until pulverized, about one minute. Add other ingredients, then fill the shaker with ice. Cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with the cherry.

Tanya Holland

What inspired the cuisine at your restaurants? It's my heritage and the heritage of many residents in Oakland. There's a history here that I found wasn't being honored. We got it started, and then several operators followed with similar concepts. African-Americans came here to work the railroads, and West Oakland was where they lived. And then San Pablo later became a barbecue belt, but soon the family businesses closed, so we're just taking over where history left off.


Scene • Spring 2013

Phil Surkis

Courtesy Tanya Holland

When I first met author, television personality and French-trained chef Tanya Holland, it was while eating crisp-yet-moist buttermilk fried chicken partnered with light-as-air cornmeal waffles. We were at her Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland, an awardwinning modern soul food restaurant that has been going strong for five years. Holland has been honored with her own “day” by the city of Oakland, recognizing her role in developing the area as a culinary mecca. She and partner Phil Surkis have just opened a new eatery, B-Side BBQ, a mile away from Brown Sugar. The menu includes pulled pork, spicy ribs, savory sides and signature cocktails made with the chef ’s own fresh syrups. B-Side is the flipside to Holland’s restaurant record.

The Best Weather (served at B-Side BBQ) 2 ounces Hangar One Mandarin Blossom Vodka ½ ounce Solerno Blood Orange liqueur ½ ounce Ginger Syrup ½ lime, juiced 4 to 5 torn, fresh basil leaves Combine all ingredients and shake. Serve up in a coupe-style glass.

thirsty girl Duskie Estes

Courtesy Duskie Estes

As a fan of pink bubbles, I knew the first time I visited Zazu Restaurant & Farm in Santa Rosa that I would get along famously with chef and owner Duskie Estes. Alongside the homegrown food, Zazu has its own garnet sparkling wine dubbed “Pig Pink,” made by nearby Thomas George Estates winery. The wine list at Zazu is all about world-class whites and reds from local producers. Estes made her mark nationally on Food Network’s “Iron Chef” program (even though she doesn’t own a television), but she is more than a celebrity chef. A mother, farmer and inventive cook, Estes’ dishes such as “When Pigs Fly” and “Piggy Pops” earned her first place at the Cochon555, considered the nation’s most prestigious pork cook-off, in 2011. She was then crowned the “Queen of Porc.” It’s an apropos title considering she and husband (and chef) John Stewart own premier bacon purveyor Black Pig Meat Co.

thing is that we respect the life given by using every part of the animal in our cooking, from snout to tail. When I discovered my passion for pork, I was the chef at Palace Kitchen in Seattle, a rather meaty place with a different whole animal coming off the spit every night. I would chew the meat and spit it out. One night we were invited to a friend’s house, and he made us six-hour roasted pork shoulder in caramelized onions drizzled with 100-yearold balsamic. He didn’t know I was a vegetarian, and there were no dogs to discreetly give the meat to, so I had to take a real bite. It was magical. That night, it was all over for me, and I’ve been a pork lover ever since. Favorite spring wine: Arista Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley — a world-class red hailing from vineyards neighboring Zazu, this silky, supple red pairs beautifully with all things pig. But! Don’t keep the pinot just for meat. Try Zazu’s Raspberry and Russian River pinot noir sorbet.


How did you discover your love of pork? I was a vegetarian for over half my life, and now I raise pigs! I adore them. We even have a pig that lives in the house. John makes amazing bacon and salumi, so when we decided to do the Black Pig project, I said all the pigs have to have a great life and only one bad day. The important

Raspberry and Russian River pinot noir sorbet

Kip Davis

1 pint raspberries 1 cup sugar 1 cup Russian River pinot noir 2 cups water

John Stewart and Duskie Estes with a pet potbelly pig named Lucky Precious Piggypop Nugget.

Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan on medium high heat. Simmer 15 minutes and strain. Cool. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to directions.

Spring 2013 • Scene


thirsty girl

2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid

Jesse Cool

Hybrid Efficiency. Real-World Performance.

Dan Honda

When I arrived in San Francisco after college, I remember a pivotal culinary experience at Jesse Cool’s Flea St. Café in Menlo Park. The food at this Peninsula landmark was simple yet amazingly complex with fresh-from-the-garden flavors. Little did I know at the time that Cool was, and is, an icon in the organic/sustainable food movement. She and contemporary Alice Waters pioneered the practice of using local ingredients and creating dishes from what you could grow and buy from artisan farmers. A self-proclaimed hippie, Cool grew up in the Midwest with a family that owned a grocery store and raised its own vegetables. When she opened Flea Street in 1982, she wanted to share her passion by showcasing local, organically grown food and wine, something that was years ahead of its time. Cool also runs Cooleatz Catering and two Cool Cafés on the Peninsula, and has written several cookbooks, including “Simply Organic.” How have you seen the food scene change in the past decade? The most exciting development is that young diners are pushing the envelope. They want to know where their food comes from, who is growing and producing it, and how food affects their well-being as well as the local and global community. They don’t want to support food that’s grown and then destroys the environment. The “big, cheap” model of the past few decades doesn’t work. There is a wonderful return to the old ways: cooking for others, growing gardens, shopping at farmers markets, canning, pickling and curing foods like our grandmothers. There’s a sense now that this must be available to all and not just the privileged. Favorite spring wine: Frog’s Leap Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley — a classic California producer who has always focused on growing grapes organically and making character-driven wine such as this crisp sauvignon blanc.

Hibiscus Mojito (served at Flea St. Cafe) 2285 Diamond Blvd. Concord

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Scene • Spring 2013

2 ounces hibiscus-infused simple syrup 2 ounces white or silver rum 1 ounce fresh lime juice 1 ounce fresh lemon juice About 6 mint leaves ½ lime, cut Splash soda Put the syrup, rum, lime juice, lemon juice, a few leaves of mint and the half-cut lime into a glass; stir or swirl to release the flavors. Then shake in a shaker, repour into the glass, top with a splash of soda and garnish with extra mint leaves.

Michael Biesemeyer

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Scene • Spring 2013

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a vision for

Gentl and Hyers

good eating The Chefs Collaborative helped start the food revolution In the summer of 1993, John Ash and Bradley Ogden were among a group of chefs who gathered in Hawaii to talk about environmental issues around food production. One of the goals of their daylong conversation: to use their collective voice and increasing influence to educate colleagues and the larger community about food, and to create a sustainable food landscape. The group eventually became the Chefs Collaborative, now 6,000 members strong. Over the years, it has played a key role in the national and global food revolution taking place with school lunches, sustainable seafood and much more. The group promoted the importance of seasonal foods and local producers and purveyors, and helped make “organic” and “sustainable” part of the everyday lexicon. Just in time for its 20th anniversary comes the “Chefs Collaborative Cookbook: Local, Sustainable, Delicious Recipes from America’s Great Chefs.” Included, of course, are recipes from now-legendary Ash and Ogden.

“The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook,” by Chefs Collaborative and Ellen Jackson, published by Taunton Press. March 2013; $40.


Scene • Spring 2013

Miso-Marinated Sablefish

From John Ash, Santa Rosa-based chef, author and teacher Sablefish, also known as black cod or butterfish, is sustainably caught and comes mostly from Alaska, though it is also abundant in parts of the Pacific Northwest. Marinating it in miso, the umami-rich paste made with soybeans, rice and/or barley, is a traditional preparation, but the marinade is also wonderful slathered on other kinds of fish, chicken and pork. Serve the sablefish with sweet pickled sushi ginger, toasted sesame seeds and daikon sprouts. Serves 6 ¼ cup mirin ¼ cup sake wine ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons white shiro miso ¹/³ cup granulated sugar 6 sablefish fillets, skin on, 6 to 7 ounces each

3 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil Pickled sushi ginger, for garnish Sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish Daikon sprouts, for garnish

Combine the mirin and sake in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk in the miso until smooth, then add the sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the marinade to a bowl and cool. Pat the cod fillets thoroughly with paper towels and generously coat with marinade on both sides. Place in a nonreactive bowl or dish with any remaining marinade, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Warm the oil over medium-high heat in an ovenproof sauté pan large enough to hold the fish in one layer. When the oil is hot, scrape the excess marinade off the fish and cook the fish until lightly browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn the fish and place the pan in the oven until the fish is cooked through and flaky, about 8 minutes. Serve on warm plates topped with the garnishes.

Corn Spoonbread Soufflé with Green Garlic and Asparagus

From Bradley Ogden, Lark Creek Restaurant Group (restaurants throughout the Bay Area)

This soufflé recipe produces all of the show-stopping results that any self-respecting soufflé should, but with a minimum of fussiness. Little by little, it will deflate once it comes out of the oven, but there’s no reason to tiptoe around while it’s baking. The flavors of spring in this dish are nicely complemented with a simple green salad, alongside some crispy bacon for breakfast or brunch, or with something more substantial to turn it into dinner.

3 large eggs 1 cup whole milk ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter; more for the dish 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 teaspoons finely minced red or green jalapeños

¾ cup yellow cornmeal 1 cup buttermilk ¼ cup finely sliced green garlic 2 cups ½-inch-long blanched asparagus pieces (from 10 to 12 stalks)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 2-quart soufflé or baking dish that is 3 inches deep and place it in a pan deep enough to hold it and several inches of water. Separate the eggs, dividing them into 3 yolks and 2 whites; save the remaining egg white for another use.

Gentl and Hyers

Serves 6 to 8

it’s like traveling to

Greece but its here by the Bay

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine 1 cup water with the milk, butter, salt, pepper and jalapeños and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly add the cornmeal, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps from forming. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick. Slowly add the buttermilk, stir until blended, and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then add the egg yolks, one at a time. Fold in the green garlic and asparagus. In a clean dry mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the cornmeal mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, put the dish in the deep pan, and fill the pan with water to come about a quarter of the way up the sides; bake for 20 minutes. When it is ready, the spoonbread will still be soft, not completely set, and light golden brown in color.

Come for a Greek vacation in the Oakland Hills May 17, 19, and 19, 2013, Friday and Saturday 10am - 11pm, Sunday 11am -9pm, Admission $6. Free Friday 10am -4pm and Sunday 5pm -9pm. Children under 12, free. Park in our multi-level Pavilion or nearby lots. Free shuttle service. Greek Orthodox Cathedral 4700 Lincoln Ave. Oakland, CA 510-531-3400 Spring 2013 • Scene


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Spring 2013 • Scene


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Scene • Spring 2013

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Spring 2013 • Scene



Clever Homes “I offer my clients a variety of prefab paths,” says Toby Long of Clever Homes, “and work with them to assess the best scenario given the goals.” This 3,000-square-foot, three-plus bedroom home in Burlingame was completed in 2012. The building was constructed using a prefabricated frame. Wall, floor and


Scene • Spring 2013

roof systems were constructed using materials that were digitally designed and pre-cut in the factory; systems and finishes were installed on-site (though the house also could have been completely constructed in the factory). Custom finishes and appliances were used throughout.

Dennis Mayer

Interior desires Modern prefab is not just bold exteriors, but sleek, sustainable touches inside, too

Dennis Mayer

By Raquel Loren Long gone are the days when the word prefab — as in prefabrication — meant drab architecture and unimaginative interior design. Even in the Bay Area, a prefab home can be an extraordinary dwelling, and offers attractive options to build and live green. Prefab generally refers to structures that are manufactured off-site, usually in sections, and then shipped and assembled on site. Because of this, prefab homes can be built more quickly and with less waste than custom homes. Increasingly, the interiors of prefab homes are showcases for modular and sustainable living, whether they’re appliances, walls, flooring or cabinetry. In fact, architectural and design writer/critic Stanley Abercrombie argues that prefab has had more influence on interior elements than exteriors and structural elements. “Prefabrication, while often focused on structural elements, has had its most profound effect on our interiors,” Abercrombie writes in the foreword of “Inside Prefab: The ReadyMade Interior,” by Deborah Schneiderman (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). “Indeed, some prefabricated exteriors go to great lengths to appear as if they had never been near a factory, while inside we have come to welcome the order, modularity, efficiency and precision that prefabrication can bring.” The prefab home can also boast a custom high-end interior, of course. On these pages are examples of both, from Oakland-based architect Toby Long of Clever Homes, and Blu Homes, with a factory in Vallejo. Clever Homes and Blu Homes build sustainable prefab homes and other buildings, many in the Bay Area.

Spring 2013 • Scene


Indoor kitchen counters, above, are Eco Stone from Cosentino, made from recycled mirrors, porcelain, fly ash and other recycled materials. Cabinets are by Wenge. Bosch electric cooktop (which won’t heat up unless a pot is on it), hood and refrigerator. The Thermador dual-unit ovens feature a steam oven on top and convection oven below. Floors are farmed eucalyptus prefinished by Lyptus. The outdoor kitchen, second from top left, features a Cal Flame G5, five-burner built-in natural gas grill. Countertops are Baltic brown, granite prefab material slabs. The outdoor deck is ipe wood. Bathroom tile is from Dal Tile, left. Cabinets in the downstairs and smaller upstairs bath are bamboo; the master bath features Wenge cabinets. Countertops by Silestone. Custom mirror frames by Matthew Art Framing in San Francisco. Shower doors by ELS Shower Door & Mirror in San Carlos. Other sustainable touches: The wall-to-wall Mohawk carpet upstairs is made from recycled plastic bottles. Azek roof pavers are manufactured from recycled automobile tires. Fourteen solar panels on the roof, combined with LED lighting throughout the interior and exterior and high-efficiency kitchen appliances, water heater and furnace, reduce energy cost. Living roofs can be found atop three areas of the home (near left). For more on Clever Homes, see

Dennis Mayer


Scene • Spring 2013

Photographer Dennis Mayer specializes in architectural design and interiors. You can see more of his work at


Blu Homes Blu Homes, founded in 2008, makes prefabricated houses that are sustainably designed and built, and energy efficient. Based in San Francisco and Waltham, Mass., the company’s homes and other structures are made in its Vallejo factory, and its contemporary designs and green aesthetic are appealing to Bay Area buyers. “Blu Homes are growing in popularity in many markets nationwide, but particularly in California and New York/New England,” says Diana Helfrich, vice president of marketing. “Some of the things our customers are most attracted to, besides Blu’s designs and use of green building materials, is our steel framing technology, which allows for homes that have tall ceilings and expansive windows and Blu’s streamlined building process.” Blu Homes offers eight, architect-designed models. This includes the iconic Breezehouse, designed in 2005 by local architect Michelle Kaufmann; one of the Breezehouses shown here was the Sunset magazine “Idea” house in 2012. Blu touts its proprietary steel framing and building technology, saying it results in homes that are visually striking, precision-built and strong. Prices range from $130,000 to $625,000. Through the use of computer modeling, Blu Home buyers — and prospective buyers — can see what their homes will look like from the outside and inside. They also can choose from suites of high-end finishes, cabinetry and appliances that are standard or upgrades, or choose to customize as they want. A Breezehouse in Healdsburg, below, built in 2012. In the kitchen, right, the Walker Zanger backsplash tile and Executive cabinetry are upgrades. The Kitchenaid range and Caesarstone counters are standard. The bath, above right, features standard finishes, including “Florida” tile, a Kohler tub and sink and Caesarstone counter.

Courtesy Blu Homes

For more on Blu Homes, see

Spring 2013 • Scene




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Scene • Spring 2013

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This home, built in 2012, also is located in Healdsburg. The builder placed the Breezehouse design atop a site-built first floor, making the structure two stories. At 3,600 square feet, it has three bedrooms and four bathrooms. Custom tile was used in this bathroom (one of several in the home). The Kohler shower and Toto toilet are standard. The buyer made several custom choices in the kitchen finishes — for example, the backsplash is custom, as is the color of the Caesarstone countertops. The Executive cabinetry, Kitchenaid range and Kohler sink are standard.

Spring 2013 • Scene


Because the road never seems to go far enough.

Introducing the All New 2014 Subaru Forester

Diablo Subaru

2646 N. Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94597 Sales: (925) 937-6900 68

Scene • Spring 2013


close escapes Got a day, or a bit more? Napa beckons

By Katharine Fong

Heather Murphy/iStockphoto/Thinkstock

A quick check online reveals that the food truck Crossroad Chicken is stationed at Cuttings Wharf today. We turn south off bucolic Highway 12 onto Cuttings Wharf Road, heading toward the Napa River, passing vineyards, a few houses, then a mobile home park. The upscale crowd is represented by Etude Wines (, with just a few tasters. Kevin Simonson, Crossroad Chicken proprietor (, likes to set up shop in the quiet parking lot at Cuttings Wharf because he can fish for sturgeon, sharing the river with duck hunters and the occasional boater. Adjacent restaurant Moore’s Landing recently closed, furthering the deserted, back-country feel. But we’re mere minutes from tony wineries, bustling restaurants and high-end lodging. With all this at hand — including a food truck with wood-fired oven that produces a savory sourdough pizza — who needs St. Helena, Rutherford or points beyond?

Spring 2013 • Scene


Courtesy Meritage Resort and Spa

Courtesy Oxbow Public Market


Clockwise from top left: Kevin Simonson's food truck Crossroad Chicken features a wood-fired oven; Korean-style short ribs from Kitchen Door at Oxbow Public Market; bowling fun at Crush Ultra Lounge at the Meritage Resort and Spa; Cuttings Wharf.

Indeed, southern Napa Valley and downtown Napa have come into their own in recent years, and a day or two spent browsing, exploring and rejuvenating is the best way to celebrate spring. Do • Wine tasting, of course. The southern valley boasts such well-regarded wineries as Domaine Carneros, Etude, Cuvaison Estate and Truchard. Conveniently downtown are more than 20 tasting rooms and wine bars. If you do head a bit north, unique stops include Del Dotto off the Silverado Trail (a cave tour) and the Vegas vibe at Darioush. • Spa. Forget Calistoga mud. Try Spa Terra, spaterra. com, an underground cave directly behind the Meritage Resort. The ambience is hushed and serene, and the classic Terra Massage ($120 for 50 minutes) on a heated massage table was one of the best we’ve ever had. Other massages offer heated cave stones and herbal compresses; treatments include facials, body scrubs, packages for couples. Eat Yes. Eat everything. Start at Oxbow Public Market, where you get “obsessively authentic Italian” organic pizza at Ca’ Momi Enoteca and Chef Todd Humphries’ handmade, multi-ethnic comfort food at Kitchen Door. Around the corner is the artisanal charcuterie Fatted


Scene • Spring 2013

Calf and delectable Model Bakery. Waddle across the river to partake of highly rated Angele (French country), Morimoto (Iron Chef!) and Oenotri (southern Italian) — maybe not all at once. Don’t forget the short drive to Bistro Don Giovanni, on Highway 29. Stay • The Meritage Resort and Spa is at the southern tip of Napa Valley, at the crossroads of Highways 29 and 221. Don’t be put off by the adjacent business park, and almost Disney-esque Tuscan facade and interiors (the similarly styled Vino Bello time-share resort is next door, making the property appear even bigger than it is). Diversions: bocce ball, two pools, bowling and big-screen TVs at Crush Ultra Lounge, hiking the vine-covered hills and dining at Siena Restaurant, where the food and service are quite good. A Spanish-style chapel off the lobby makes weddings a snap. • The Westin Verasa is downtown, west of the Napa Valley Wine Train tracks and steps from Oxbow Public Market. Most rooms have a kitchenette with dishware and cutlery; all have that trademarked Heavenly Bed. La Toque restaurant off the lobby garnered a 2012 Michelin star. Forgot your workout gear? For $5, you can borrow New Balance athletic shoes and apparel. • Hip, modern Andaz took over the old Avia last fall; its location in downtown’s West End means it’s steps from shops, galleries and restaurants.

Anda Chu

Courtesy Oxbow Public Market

half moon bay

Public art includes "Spiral Insect" by Patricia Vader; the Black Keys will perform at BottleRock Napa Valley in May.

Shop • West End Napa, unique home furnishings and gifts, most made locally; 1460 First St., • Napa Premium Outlets, with Barneys New York, Coach and more;

Sometimes forgotten in the mad rush to schedule time off — especially when mega-pumpkins and mega-surf don’t dominate the news — Half Moon Bay is perfectly positioned for a day or weekend getaway. Just a few miles from the tumult of big-city living and densely populated suburbs, HMB, with a population of only 11,342 (as of the 2010 census), is an utterly charming, almost deceptively sleepy seaside village. Deceptive because the area has become increasingly attractive to affluent workers who make HMB home, and commute or telecommute to their jobs. Tech and brand evangelist — and HMB resident — Robert Scoble pointed out last summer that Half Moon Bay boasts a growing core of highprofile geeks from Google, Apple and other tech companies. And the local Chamber of Commerce notes that residential development “caters to the executive lifestyle.” HMB serves this cohort and the steady stream of tourists with its share of high-end restaurants, boutiques and a five-star hotel. But it also retains a sweetly small-town look and feel, with shops and services that have been around for years, and friendly denizens. Now that the fall and winter crowds are gone, and even the elephant seals who frolic south of town for a few months each year have moved on, Half Moon Bay and the coastal area north and south can be enjoyed for what they are: relaxing and scenic respites from the daily grind.

Jim Gensheimer

Spring calendar April: Napa Valley Arts. A celebration of wine and the arts, this monthlong program features winery art installations, pop-up exhibitions and tastings. May 9-12: BottleRock Napa Valley. The debut of what organizers expect will be an annual rock music fest features more than 50 artists on multiple stages downtown, including the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, the Zac Brown Band, the Grateful Dead spin-off Furthur, the Shins, the Black Crowes, Ben Harper, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Alabama Shakes and Primus. Mid-May through July: Chefs’ Market. Streets in downtown Napa are closed to cars on Thursday evenings for chefs’ demonstrations and tastings; musical entertainment and wine flow, too.

Peninsula Open Space District

Culture Napa Art Walk. A rotating, outdoor sculpture exhibition in downtown Napa showcasing a variety of threedimensional artwork. Each piece has a plaque with a QR code so you can tap into the audio tour.

The view from the California Coastal Trail; a perfect meal at Pasta Moon.

Spring 2013 • Scene


getaways Do • The obligatory stroll on Main Street to browse Coastside Books (432), The Music Hut (329), Half Moon Bay Feed & Fuel (331), kitchen gadget and cookware store Toque Blanche (604), New Age haven Tokenz (524) and more. Don’t miss the artisan jewelry and clothing at Personal FX (643). • Hike or bike segments of the California Coastal Trail near HMB. The trail north and south of Half Moon Bay offers high bluffs and pounding surf; those seeking calmer seascapes can stick to the areas around Roosevelt, Dunes and Venice beaches. • History buffs should check out the historic jailhouse and church a block west of Main Street (505 Johnston and 777 Miramontes streets, respectively). • Golf at two championship courses (the Old Course and Ocean Course).

Blake Marvin

Ron Starr D. Ross Cameron

Calendar Pacific Coast Dream Machines, an annual showcase of motorized mechanical marvels from throughout the 20th and 21st centuries — more than 2,000 ultra-cool antique, classic, custom and exotic displays. Includes autos, aircraft, tricked-out trucks and motorcycles, rides in a helicopter, extreme toys, advanced “green” fuel vehicles, Demolition Derby and Unicycle Dirt Drag Racing. April 27-28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Half Moon Bay Airport on Highway 1, five miles north of Highway 92. $20 adults, $10 ages 1117 and 65 and over, free admission for age 10 and under.

Dan Honda

Eat • Something for every taste and budget, from Navio (in the Ritz-Carlton), Cetrella or Pasta Moon to the more moderate Mezza Luna, casual Garden Deli and Moonside Bakery, tourist draws Sam’s Chowder House and Barbara’s Fish Trap. Newish alternatives include the year-old ARK North Indian Grill and Tortellini Originali (try the meatball sandwich).

Stay Splurge on the Ritz-Carlton, for its elegant ambience, spectacular oceanfront setting, communal (and some private) fire pits where you can roast s’mores (with Recchiuti chocolate and artisan marshmallows), wine-tasting room, spa, two golf courses and bagpipes at sunset. The Sunday brunch at Navio is regularly anointed “the best in the Bay Area,” and Navio itself has been freshly renovated. Thursdays 6:30-10 p.m. you can hear local jazz artists in the lounge while noshing on burgers and brews for $24, including valet parking. “Yappy Hour” on the gazebo lawn lets dog lovers socialize while their pets enjoy complimentary treats, toys and flavored waters; the next one is April 25, 5-8 p.m.

Clockwise from top left: The 18th hole at the Ritz-Carlton; a room at the Ritz, complete with private outdoor fire pit; a scene from 2012’s Pacific Coast Dream Machines event; Cetrella features a Mediterranean-influenced menu.


Scene • Spring 2013

Fashion Continued from Page 36


Left to right, Balenciaga Classic Mini, $1,295, Neiman Marcus. Kate Spade Beverly Terrace Shyla bag, $298, Bloomingdale’s. (black and white) Hobo Lauren Wallet in sunflower, $110, Carolina Boutique. Marc Jacobs Ginger cross-body handbag, $495, Bloomingdale’s. (blue) Furla “Kiki” color block bag in ocean and marble, $298, Furla, Santana Row. Furla “Sonia” structured bag in papaya, $698, Furla, Santana Row. Salvatore Ferragamo grained leather top handle handbag, $1,390, Bloomingdale’s. Gucci stirrup buckle clutch, $1,090, Neiman Marcus.

Where to buy Alina B., Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek; Azadeh, 25 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos, and 110 Geary St., San Francisco; Bloomingdale’s, Stanford Shopping Center and Westfield San Francisco Centre;


On pointe Find a prince at “Cinderella”’s ball

Carolina Boutique, 76 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, and 444 Ignacio Blvd., Novato; carolinaboutique. com Crimson Mim, 855 El Camino Blvd. No. 35, Palo Alto, and 322 Main St., Los Altos; Furla, Santana Row, Stevens Creek and Winchester boulevards, San Jose; Kate Spade New York, Santana Row, San Jose; Madewell, The Village at Corte Madera and Santana Row (opening in April); Neiman Marcus, Splendid, The Village at Corte Madera and Santana Row (opening in April); Ted Baker, Santana Row, San Jose; The Store, 68 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley;

© Erik Tomasson


Maria Kochetkova, top, and Joan Boada rehearse Wheeldon’s “Cinderella.”

Get your glass slippers ready. San Francisco Ballet’s “Cinderella” Opening Night Ball May 3 includes a cocktail reception, dinner in a tented pavilion, and then the U.S. premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s imaginative new production, inspired by the Brothers Grimm and Perrault fairy tales. Music is by Sergei Prokofiev, sets and costumes by Julian Crouch (known for work at the Metropolitan Opera and in Broadway’s “The Addams Family.”). In this version, Cinderella plants a hazel branch on her mother’s grave, which grows into a magical tree that grants all of her wishes. SF Ballet notes that Wheeldon portrays Cinderella “as more than a victim” — huzzah! Stay on for the After Party, with dancing and dessert. “Cinderella” runs May 3-12. Info and tickets at Spring 2013 • Scene




Gayle Vassar and Adriane Lee Bird, City of Walnut Creek

Colleen Benatar, Scott Valley Bank; Marcie Hochhauser, Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau; Marlo Thomas; Cindy Silva, mayor of Walnut Creek

Puppy love

Dave Duffield and a pal.


Scene • Spring 2013

Lorrie Sullenberger, inspirational speaker

Lisa Kristine, humanitarian, photographer

Christy Kaplan, director, Community Health Improvement, John Muir

Linda Padon, Chevron general manager of corporate public policy

Teresa Curran, senior VP & director, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

out&about in the east bay

Author and actress Marlo Thomas urged the audience at the eighth annual East Bay Women’s Conference to “never stop dreaming.” Thomas was the keynote speaker at the event, sponsored by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, which drew about 560 women. Participants also heard from documentary photographer Lisa Kristine and inspirational speaker Lorrie Sullenberger.

Cal Straw Hat Band Victoria Trabosh, speaker and coach; Vivienne Harr, Make Photos courtesy Walnut Creek Chamber Sarah Chance-Rudney, Rudney Associates; A Stand Lemonade of Commerce Francene Anderson, Mary Kay

Diablo Ballet showcased two world premieres in March, including “The Web Ballet” by Robert Dekkers. The company solicited social media suggestions for the work; winning suggestions became “the world’s first ballet created on the Internet.” The program featured a Q&A with dancers and the audience, moderated by Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva.

Edwin Suarez

Courtesy Maddie’s Fund

How much is that doggie in the — shelter? If you take home an animal during Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days on June 1-2, the answer is: free! This year, more than 100 locations throughout the Bay Area are participating in the event. Organizers are hoping to place approximately 5,000 shelter dogs and cats during the two-day event, which started in the East Bay in 2010. In addition to expanding to Santa Clara and San Francisco counties, other areas involved include New York City and counties in Florida, Nevada and Wisconsin. Workday software founder and CEO Dave Duffield, who with his wife Cheryl established the family foundation Maddie’s Fund, has pledged $4 million to provide each shelter or rescue group with $500 to $2,000 per adoption. So get your dog on! For details, see

Q&A, left to right, seated: David Fonnegra, Rosselyn Ramirez, Robert Dekkers, Mayo Sugano, Hiromi Yamazaki, Diablo Ballet Artistic Director Lauren Jonas (sitting in chair), Cindy Silva (standing in back).

Jewelry Stores Charge Three Times Wholesale Price. At the Home Consignment Center, You Pay Re-Sell Prices! DANVILLE





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East Bay Scene magazine Spring 2013  

On the edge: Spring fashtion retro, with a wink. Sleek finishes for home, Fat makes a move, Revamp your closet, Leslie Sbrocco: Gal chefs an...

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