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W E E K :

When someone asks, ’How did you get in film,’ I tell ’em I became a lesbian. Upfront:

Canal plan’s ebb and flow 8

[ S E E P. 9 ]

Behind the Sun: Bring me the head of Sam Peckinpah 9 Single in the Suburbs: I remember Mama 23 Music: Attack of the Keller jam-atoes! 24

› ›


to Communit y Par ticipation We want to honor the more than 13,500 Marin women enrolled in the Marin Women’s Study. You are making a difference! Thank you for taking the time to fill out the Marin Women’s Study questionnaire at the time of your mammogram and for donating a saliva sample. Participants, volunteers, researchers, community organizations and hospital personnel have all contributed to the success of this breast cancer study. Thank you for your support!


i s Yo u r C h a n c e We are nearing the end of the third year of the Marin Women’s Study. If you have a questionnaire or saliva kit at home, please send it in. A small amount of your time will benefit future generations! With each participant our research database grows, helping us to better understand breast cancer risk in our community.


Tu n e d We are now embarking on data analysis. The goal of the Marin Women’s Study is to link individual risk factors with biospecimen and breast cancer outcomes. Results are coming! Join our mailing list to stay informed. Email us at

For more information about breast cancer research, risk reduction, resources and referrals, visit:


Recog nition to O ur Par tne rs: 20 North San Pedro Road, Suite 2002 San Rafael, CA 94903 415.507.4077 voice 415.507.2981 fax email This research is made possible through the efforts of Senator Barbara Boxer and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey and by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, grant award#1 RO1 Dp000217-01 and by Avon Foundation grant award # 02-2009-053.


Mammography Study Sites

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Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Terra Linda, Downtown & Novato Breast Diagnostic Center at Marin General Hospital Novato Community Hospital University of California, San Francisco California Pacific Medical Center

Marin County Department of Health & Human Services Research Team Buck Institute for Age Research Marin Cancer Institute at Marin General Hospital Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Northern California Cancer Center University of California, San Francisco Zero Breast Cancer

American Cancer Society, Breast Diagnostic Center of Marin, Kaiser Permanente, Latino Council of Marin, Marguerita C. Johnson Senior Center, Marin Asian Advocacy Project, Marin Center of Independent Living, Marin Family Action, Marin Women’s Commission, Tina Action Program, To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation, Women’s Health Services, Zero Breast Cancer

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›› LETTERS When trap’s away, mice will play Thanks to Don Speich and Jason Walsh for well-written and neutral articles on red light cameras and speed traps [“Lights... Camera... Slow Down!” and “The Thin Blue Bottom Line,” Nov. 6]. About a year ago, I came off the freeway, saw the light go to yellow at Irwin and Mission and, because I was still going too fast, I went through on the red. Clearly stupid. Unluckily for me, a police officer was at the light waiting to cross and my idiocy cost me hundreds of dollars and a lousy trip to traffic school. I have no complaint—I, and everyone who breaks the law, should be held accountable. I despise the attitude that says speed (or red light) traps are not fair. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Period. We all know we’re breaking the law even if a cop is hiding. Requiring officers to be visible creates an artificial and temporary situation where scofflaws will slow down and as soon as the apparent threat of being caught is gone they will return to the same actions. These same people might actually be more consistently compliant if there was the constant threat of a hidden officer ready to dole out expensive tickets. Jules Brenner,Novato

I am furious yellow Thanks for the article on San Rafael’s red-light-camera program. Not only do the cameras qualify as speed traps, they are all about money. As the California representative for the National Motorists Association (www., and a resident of Marin, I would be happy to provide you with information on these camera scams. Many areas

across the country, including three states so far, have banned the cameras. There is something inherently wrong here, especially when the yellow-light timing has been shown to be key to the “problem.” Generally, by increasing the duration of the yellow by a second or so, most red-light running simply disappears. By far, the most tickets will go to those who make a right-turn on red. If the driver does not come to a complete stop, before the line, the camera will be triggered, even though the right turn is typically completed without incident. An officer who witnesses such a turn usually realizes that there is no safety issue involved, and therefore no ticket. Not so with the unblinking eye of the camera. JimThomas,National Motorists Association

The Daddy Warbuck stops here Letter writer Don S. of Novato is right about the cost to American citizens of people coming here illegally [“Quality of Mercy Strained,” Oct. 30]—costs we can’t afford if we The Mejia family’s last hope. also mean to take care of our own needy citizens and our own young black and Hispanic citizens also seeking and deserving a good education. In my view, our own vulnerable and needy citizens and our own young simply have to come first. Nowadays, however, they don’t! Instead, what started out years and years ago as a healthy, doable compassion in our American culture has turned into “politically correct group think” that is threatening California’s survival, if not that of the country. Too many Californians have simply lost their



Is economy indicative of traffic? I’ve noticed the early morning commute traffic going south on 101 backs up into Novato to Alameda del Prado most days, sometimes back to the Hamilton exit. Last year it hardly... Upfront: Ah, Novato...ah, Humanity! Opponents packed a Strawberry Design Review Board meeting in 2007 to say the project “just isn’t right” for their neighborhood—a refrain Habitat has heard here for 15 years... Cal Poly Pressured to Cancel Pollan Speech Anyone notice that Michael Pollan’s speech at Cal Poly was canceled and he was put on a panel after a big donor from Harris Ranch complained. The LA Times wrote an editorial...

Your soapbox is waiting at ›› sense of reality. The family mentioned today is a good example of what Don and I are talking about—a family that came to our country illegally years ago, bringing their young son. That son, said to be exemplary, is now ready for college. The parents, however, are facing deportation and want to stay in the country so their son can finish his education—paid for, I guess, by California taxpayers, who, as I mentioned, can no longer afford that generosity. But, I have a solution to this knotty problem. Return this family to their own country, then find a wealthy benefactor, somewhere in this big, wide, world, who would be willing to pay for this “exemplary” child’s college education, leaving California’s resources to take care of Californians. Who knows, maybe this wealthy benefactor would foot the bill for Yale—Harvard—Oxford, and wouldn’t that be one heck of an education! Jenny Houston,Fairfax

Forgot cost of construction on smoke-filled, deal-cutting backroom I want to thank the Pacific Sun for helping to keep the public informed about the situation at Marin General Hospital [“Sutter Punched,” July 17; “A Tale of Two Hospital Boards,” Sept. 11]. Not withstanding what I regard as being ongoing platitudes by Healthcare District Board consultants—that their recommendations will assure meaningful community control of MGH—I have grave concerns that their plans to have Marin General managed under a self-perpetuating private-corporateboard structure will harm healthcare. And that it will also lead the public to reject the hospital’s rebuilding plan, which will require a $200 million property tax bond, plus more than $100 million in additional donations. Having carefully reviewed the proposed corporate-structure bylaws, it is clear that they will prevent the publicly elected Marin Healthcare District board from assuring such vital community health interests as continuation of the hospital’s trauma center, MGH seeking affiliation with the University of California Medical Center, or any plan to cooperate with Kaiser in order to decrease medical costs.That last defect alone will almost certainly lead the 40 percent of county

residents who are members of Kaiser to oppose MGH’s rebuilding property tax, since they don’t even use Marin General. If the district board wants public support for the hospital, it must take responsibility for assuring that MGH will respond to the public’s need for the best quality care and that the healthcare district will cooperate with Kaiser. Perpetuating a corporate-control management structure will, I believe, neither assure good care, nor will it engender the public’s financial support that will be required to rebuild the hospital. William Rothman,M.D.,Belvedere

Psst, Craig! ‘Fanmail’ means you have to write the letter... I read in the Nov. 6 Pacific Sun [“Mark Pitta & Friend”] that Mort Sahl lives in Mill Valley. One thing I have learned as a musician and writer is that nothing is more important than appreciating folks who have made their own significant mark Sahl keeps abreast of county happenings via the Pacific Sun. in the world. But, more importantly, while they are alive. Mort, if you are reading this or any of my past submissions to the Sun, you are still the best. Nobody can touch you, your lateonset conservatism notwithstanding. Write me any time, CraigWhatley, PO Box 150561 San Rafael,CA 94915


OOPS! In Sam Chapman’s postNov. 3 election analysis [“Results May Vary”], we misstated the fate of San Anselmo’s Measure E—the referendum on floor-area-ratio standards. The FAR ordinance was approved by voters. (Sam actually caught the mistake prior to press time, but amid the weekly deadline chaos, the incorrect version still went to print. Ah, journalism.) Put your stamp on the letters to the editor at ›› NOVEMBER 13 – NOVEMBER 19, 2009 PACIFIC SUN 7


Bridge to the future Currents are flowing for the Canalfront Conceptual Plan by Pe te r Se i d m an


he plan San Rafael City Council members will see in a few days contains a vision that could help transform an area of the city that has suffered extreme aesthetic neglect. At their Nov. 16 meeting, councilmembers will see the San Rafael Canalfront Conceptual Plan, the result of 18 months of labor. As the name implies, it paints a picture of what could be, maybe, sometime in the future. But it also contains some practical improvements to the Canal that many residents there say are essential to improving their lives. The document blends down-and-dirty jobs, like widening sidewalks, with a wish-list of projects that could enliven a waterfront in the way Petaluma has enhanced its water landscape and integrated it into a community vision. San Rafael’s Canal area sits on a waterfront site that many city planners would envy and that the Canalfront Plan aims to fully utilize. The creation of the plan actually started with a simple vision: building a pedestrianand bicycle-friendly bridge over the canal to connect the Montecito side with the area where most Canal residents live. That concept, which first surfaced in 1999, advanced to the stage where the city prepared engineering studies. Then the subject of cost—estimated to be millions of dollars—raised a roadblock. But the idea was resurrected, thanks in large part to a transportation study conducted a few years ago. In 2002, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission created the Community-Based Transportation Planning Program, aimed

at identifying areas where traffic patterns, as well as buildings and other structures, presented barriers to the mobility of local residents. The idea was to tap resources from residents in minority and low-income communities to work in a collaborative approach that would include input from residents, city governments, congestion management agencies, transit operators and community organizations. The Transportation Planning Program gave birth to the Canal Neighborhood Community-Based Transportation Plan. The cooperative approach continued with the formation of the Canalfront Advisory Committee, which enlisted local residents as well as government officials. The cooperative effort has been a success, according to most participants. “I think from the very beginning, the [San Rafael] community development agency was really conscientious in terms of including the Canal community and the voices of the residents,” says Maite Duran, a member of the Canal Alliance and co-chair of the advisory committee. It’s been a long process. Over the last 18 months, notes Duran, Canal residents have had significant opportunities to provide suggestions and requests. But the unique nature of the Canal community also has presented challenges that Duran says the city could consider, with an eye toward improving the concept of inclusive community planning. Among the principal challenges of creating a community-based design concept in the Canal is the irre- 10 >

›› NEWSGRAMS Pesticide enforcement amended County supervisors agreed Nov. 10 to a plan to improve the enforcement of a 1998 Marin law banning the use of carcinogenic pesticides.The plan calls for $100,000 to help fund the enforcement program, a new Web site ( to inform the public about pesticide and herbicide use in Marin, and the appointment of parks superintendent Ed Hulme as the Integrated Pest Management Commission’s coordinator. The changes come nearly five months after Corte Madera resident Paul Apffel discovered 269 violations of the ordinance between 1999 and 2008 (see“Newsgrams,”July 17, 2009). Casino a likely bet for Richmond waterfront Contra Costa supervisors unanimously voted to support a plan that would yield $12 million a year for the county and a major casino-hotel resort at the base of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The project—constructed by the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians, who’d struck a previous deal with the city of Richmond to purchase the land—must still go before the Richmond City Baby’s new pair of shoes may be Council and, if approved, could garner the city up to $20 million available soon in Richmond. a year once the resort opens. Plans for the casino feature thousands of slot machines, two hotels, a conference center and 300,000 square feet of retail space, with an agreement to offer 70 percent of its permanent jobs to county residents. MCF blunts climate change with $10M initiative Recently, the Marin Community Foundation announced a five-year, $10-million initiative to enlist Marin residents in reducing the impact of climate change. Among the efforts the foundation is supporting: innovative research to explore the ability of West Marin’s rangelands to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, a process called carbon sequestration. According to a press release, the Marin Carbon Project—a collaboration of scientists, local ranchers, county agencies, nonprofit organizations and others—has thus far received $240,000 in funding to explore“the use of compost, different grazing patters, and even different kinds of plows”in the quest to“permanently remove hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”The foundation will also support other local programs to encourage walking and bicycling, promote energy and water efficiency, reduce vehicular traffic and increase the public’s awareness of and response to climate change—with the initiative’s end goal being a reduction in carbon emissions of over 2 million metric tons,“the equivalent of taking over 326,000 cars off the road.” Shorts... The Marin Energy Authority borrowed another $85,000 from the county in order to continue with its plan to compete with PG&E. Last month the county gave MEA a $210,000 loan as part of the more than $500,000 it had agreed to allot the authority...Sausalito-based AltaRock Geothermal received almost $25 million in federal stimulus money for an engineered geothermal system demo project in Oregon.—Samantha Campos EXTRA! EXTRA! Post your Marin news at ››


From the Sun vaults, November 14 - 20, 1974

Pound it again, Sam Marin leaves its indelible print on renowned film director by Jason Wals h


Peckinpah, right, on the set of ‘The Getaway’ with Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw in 1972.

many years, I’ve been a violent person by nature. Yeah, I hit my wives, but I quit after I got older and they started hitting me back...Christ, I dunno. In Hollywood you’re a good whore if you go where you’re kicked. That means I’ve got to be a liar, a cheat and a thief. When someone asks, ‘how did you get in film,’ I tell ’em I became a lesbian.” Peckinpah wobbled to his feet, obviously feeling the effect of his current alcoholic barrage, wrote Karman, put his fist to his chest, downed another drink and offered this parting shot: “In my films I try to tell the truth as I see it. If you don’t like it, it’s your problem.” Peckinpah died in 1984. Today he is remembered as one of cinema’s true auteurs, with an oeuvre littered with classics and cult favorites. His influence has been cited by Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Schrader and John Woo. These days Karman holds the title as the Sun’s longest-running semi-regular contributor—don’t miss his piece next week on multi-Oscar-winning filmmaker Walter Murch. We recently asked him about his long ago encounter with the crusty Bloody Sam. “I remember talking to other media types who were going to meet with him and were nervous about it,” recalls Karman. “I wasn’t, probably because I was still a kid in film school and it didn’t seem to me like it took much talent or savvy to make movies with a lot of violence.” Karman says he asked Peckinpah why he seemed “so enamored with blood.” To which the director replied, “Violence is poetry” (or something very much like that, scoffs Karman). “And he glared at me when I said I thought most people drank hard and used drugs because they have hopes their drinking or drugs will numb their pain,” says Karman. “He probably wanted to slap me silly right then and there.” < Share your Sam Peckinpah memories with Jason at

Blast into Marin’s past with more Behind the Sun at ››

by Howard Rachelson

1. Pictured, to right: What is the most abundant tree in California’s Mojave Desert? What music group used this tree name as an album title? 2. Former President Jimmy Carter had these installed at the White House, but President Ronald Reagan had them removed. What were they? #1 3. The two leading child stars of the film Slumdog Millionaire have been receiving a monthly stipend of $120, but are in danger of losing their allowance as well as their trust fund unless they stop doing what? 4. This written alphabet of 22 characters, a forerunner of later Hebrew, Greek, Latin and European alphabets, appeared in present-day Lebanon around 1000 BC. What alphabet was it? 5. In 1967, this athlete’s heavyweight boxing title was revoked, and he was sentenced to five years in prison. Who is he, and why did this happen? 6. This 34-year-old Mexican-American woman is a nationally recognized model, stars in one of the most popular TV series and is married to a player in the NBA. Who is she? 7a. What city with a four-letter name, second most populous in its country, is the hometown of Arnold Schwarzenegger? 7b. Arnold’s hometown originally idolized him for his successes as a bodybuilder, movie star and politician; but in 2005 the romance faded, and the city even stripped his name from the soccer stadium after Governor Arnold refused to do what? 8. In 1975, the world’s greatest soccer (football) player, Pele, came out of retirement and played in the North American Soccer League for what team? 9. On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announced a social program called the “War on ...” what? 10. Motorola’s new smart phone, using a Google operating system, is known by what name? BONUS QUESTION: a. San Rafael lies about 4 miles from San Francisco in what Central American country that lies on the Caribbean Sea? b. San Rafael lies about 100 miles from San Francisco in what South American country that lies on the Caribbean Sea? Howard Rachelson, Marin’s Master of Trivia, invites you to a live team trivia contest at 7:30pm every Wednesday at the Broken Drum on Fourth Street in San Rafael. Join the quiz—send your Marin factoids to

▲ Waiting at the intersection of

Las Gallinas Avenue and Lucas Valley Road a few weeks ago, Dilyara noticed a two-car traffic jam in the left-turn lane—something was wrong with the first car. The second car drove around the first and parked on the side of the road. A driver came out and ran toward the first driver—a girl who blushed and wanted to get out and apologize. But the young man from the second car gestured that it was OK. After a short exchange the woman got inside and the man pushed her car into a left turn. Then two more guys parked and jumped out of their cars to push the blushing girl’s car. And Dilyara was glad that she had her two boys in the backseat “to witness the kindness of strangers.”

Answers on page 31

▼ Nina, her friend Heather and


Marin had blood on its hands 35 years ago this week. “Bloody Sam” Peckinpah, that is. years ago It was the fall movie season and, though film audiences were busy recoiling from Leatherface’s power-tool salutations in the hit Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it was legendary tough-guy director Sam Peckinpah who had county residents shaking in their go-go boots in November of ‘74. Peckinpah, whose acclaimed/reviled canon gave cinema its longest rape scene (a la Straw Dogs) and a film about a severed head in a duffle bag (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), was in town to promote the release of the controversial Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, a film whose production was rumored to feature the irascible filmmaker regularly urinating on still-flickering dailies. But surely with the labors of a difficult location shoot in Durango, Mexico, now behind him, the Pacific Sun would find the 50-year-old Peckinpah in a mellower mood. “Call me Sam, for crissakes,” the director commanded Sun entertainment reporter Mal Karman and a bevy of other junket reporters. “Ask your question and bring me a drink.” “[Peckinpah] downed a scotch double in what must have been record time,” described Karman about the visionary behind Ride the High Country and The Wild Bunch. Karman asked him about the violence in his films. “There is no violence in films. Only in life,” scowled the director dubbed “Bloody Sam” about his films, oft referred to by critics as “ballets of violence.” “Look I’m a product of my society. My so-called violent nature had to come from somewhere.” That “somewhere,” it turns out, was San Rafael. Though raised in Fresno, Peckinpah’s unruly youth landed him in the San Rafael Military Academy in the early 1940s. Whatever influence Marin had on Peckinpah—“I learned to drink in San Rafael,” he boasted— was kept mostly a secret by the mercurial artist. But from 1600 Mission Ave. (now the site of Marin Academy) Peckinpah was shipped off to China to repatriate Japanese soldiers following the war and returned as a drug-abusing alcoholic with a disturbing talent for depicting extreme acts of violence on celluloid. “People accuse me of excessive blood and guts and I detest the word ‘excessive,’” Peckinpah wheezed before gulping another double. “When I got into pictures, I didn’t like Hollywood’s glorified depiction of death as something great and honorable. To me, that was excessive.” Before Karman could follow up, the violence-despising filmmaker added: “For




her dog Lily were crossing D Street in San Rafael recently on the way home from Gerstle Park when a car swerved around the two cars that had politely stopped at the intersection; it “nearly killed all three of us” she said. Heather gestured to the driver—a kind of upturned palms “what were you thinking?” gesture—at which point the driver lurched to a stop on the side of the road, bolted out her door and started hurling racial insults at Heather, who Nina says is “gorgeous and half Filipina.” As the driver yelled, “Go home!” to Nina’s friend, they noticed a small child in a car seat in the back, “who seemed a bit alarmed.” —Samantha Campos

Got a Hero or a Zero? Please send submissions to Toss roses, hurl stones with more Heroes and Zeros at ›› NOVEMBER 13 - NOVEMBER 19, 2009 PACIFIC SUN 9

â&#x20AC;şâ&#x20AC;ş UPFRONT < 8 Bridge to the future ducible fact that many residents do not speak ďŹ&#x201A;uent English, nor do they have a good understanding of planning and design language. (Even ďŹ&#x201A;uent English-speakers can stumble on the often-arcane concepts of zoning, transportation and community planning.) Spanish translation was available at some community meetings, says Duran. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Three or four big meetings took place in the Canal,â&#x20AC;? she says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and at those meetings, translation was available.â&#x20AC;? Those were big-idea brainstorming sessions, she notes. And while the effort to provide translation was welcome, Duran wonders what will happen when city ofďŹ cials get to policy-making decisions during focused sessions. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think, just from my perspective, in order to really make an effort to include a wider number of community people in the meetings where decision-making is taking place, maybe more translation should be included.â&#x20AC;? Duran and others involved in the Canal plan stress that the city has been doing a conscientious job of including the community in the process, but are concerned about bilingual communications. The Canalfront Plan seeks to make over the waterfront area as other cities have, attracting businesses and residential improvements and recreational opportunities. But the plan also acknowledges that many of the envisioned improvements require substantial fundingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;

in a time of tightened federal, state and local In 2007, San Rafael activist Jonathan budgets. Some funds are easier to ďŹ nd than Frieman joined activist Ted Posthuma in the others. The plan takes the broad concept and effort to push for a new bridge across the breaks it into bite-size chunks. And the ďŹ rst canal. That has become part of the overall chunks it envisions would be the easiest to Canalfront Plan. fund and construct. The larger-concept ideas Currently, in order to reach the north side are saved for later. of the water, Canal residents have to walk Among the items on the letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s-get-started along the narrow sidewalks and then cross agenda include changes to the Bay Trail align- a narrow sidewalk on the Grand Avenue ment from PickleBridge. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a psyweed Park to Third The very idea of a conceptual plan chological as well as Street. The Bay Trail, for the Canal recognizes a waterphysical barrier bewhich someday will tween the Canal and offer an unbroken front community that has been San Rafael High (and route that circles the ill-served aesthetically. other schools), the water of San FranMontecito shopping cisco and San Pablo bays, runs along San Ra- center and other important destinations fael; providing an improved route could be an The Canalfront Plan recognizes the issues, advantage for trail walkers as well as for Canal and calls for improving the crossing at the residents and businesses. Grand Avenue Bridge with a new structure. One of the most requested changes from â&#x20AC;&#x153;The new bridge could be cantilevered off Canal residents concerns the narrow sidethe existing bridge, or be a separate parallel walks in the area. Residents rely on walking bridge. This pedestrian/bicycle-only crossing and public transportation more than those in should have places for people to enjoy the most other Marin communities. Walking on exceptional view of the waterway.â&#x20AC;? narrow sidewalks to the San Rafael transAlso in the mix has been talk of other spots portation hub or over to the schools on the along the canal at which bridges could be north side of the water has been an ongoing built. The issue has created concern among concern. Community liaison Duran says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;A business owners and boaters, says Linda Jackcouple of ideas really resonated with the com- son, the San Rafael planner who has guided munity. Building a bridge to join the two sides the Canalfront process. Some business- and [across the water] was the most appealing for boat-owners â&#x20AC;&#x153;remain concerned that this the whole community. It would be helpful for plan is going to result in a taking of land for about 500 kids who [walk] to school, maybe a public walkway along their property. And 300 families.â&#x20AC;? thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concern that a bridge would block boat

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trafďŹ c.â&#x20AC;? That last concern should have been put to rest when the Coast Guard said federal law ensures that the city cannot build any structure that blocks water access. Jackson says those owners concerned about the possible taking of property for a paseo along the canal out to Pickleweed Park can be assured that the city will not act aggressively to seize a paseo route through eminent domain. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do that.â&#x20AC;? Jackson says the city would, however, work with property owners to ďŹ nd cooperative solutions that could result in a paseo. The Canalfront Plan calls for working â&#x20AC;&#x153;with the community to identify and understand potential issues with redevelopment.â&#x20AC;? In other words: As redevelopment projects present themselves, the city and the community and property owners can consider options that include a paseo along the canal. The concept of a paseo, with restaurants and benches and scenic rest stops, could be one of the most transformative ideas in the plan. Although the challenges to its creation are substantial, a paseo presents the opportunity to deal with a waterfront where businesses and buildings â&#x20AC;&#x153;turn their back on the water.â&#x20AC;? Those are the words of Manuela King, a principal at Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abbey, the Mill Valley-based landscape design ďŹ rm that created designs for the Canalfront Plan. King says a ďŹ eld trip to Petaluma showed people whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s possible when a city opens its waterfront to a community. It invites recreation and business opportunity as well as an improved visual experience.

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The Canalfront Plan sees a paseo as an opportunity to explore the creative design for new public spaces, including a Beach Park Plan to maximize public access to a revitalized recreational center. Launch points for kayaks and other watercraft also could provide an additional attraction. The plan calls for exploring “opportunities to serve the larger communities, for vendors to provide boat rentals and/or lessons, for ways to enliven the area, and reasons for people to visit the park.” But Duran cautions that Canal residents are concerned that creating the improvements called for in the plan might increase property values to the point that rents would increase and force them out of their homes. She also says that the idea to create a paseo and improved bicycle paths in the Canal area sounds good, as long the walkway and bike paths don’t impinge on the already narrow sidewalks. An example of conflicting goals in the plan process was evident when the topic of bike lanes arose. Because little opportunity exists to widen streets to accommodate new bike access, an option surfaced to remove parking on one side of the street. The Canal, an already congested urban area, has inadequate parking, and residents met the idea of removing some of it with a resounding negative reaction. The Canal Advisory Committee rejected the idea. Residents do, however, heartily support the idea of widening sidewalks. Despite encountering sometimes-conflicting goals, the process of community planning

has yielded a consensus. At one of the last community meetings during the summer, 80 percent of respondents to a poll said they found the plan acceptable or viewed it as exceptional, according to King. The very idea of a conceptual plan for the Canal recognizes a waterfront community that has been ill-served aesthetically. The plan calls for developing zoning recommendations “for height bonuses for crossing improvements and exceptional public amenities, changes to property development standards, and to the allowed uses to encourage desired development.” In addition, the plan recognizes specific actions that could make an immediate improvement, including new lighting and other improvements under Highway 101 and establishing a public art program “that celebrates San Rafael’s cultural heritage and/or natural environment to provide visual interest.” That could be accomplished with relatively modest funding and be among the projects that can get off the ground most easily. “It’s incremental,” says Jackson. After one of the last meetings of the advisory committee, consensus arose on the suggestion that improving the Grand Avenue Bridge and the Beach Park, an area west of Grand Avenue that the city owns, should be among the first tasks the city tackles. < Contact the writer at

It’s your county, speak up at ››



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Not by bread alone Zen-bread master Edward Espe Brown has had his share of life to knead through





dward Espe Brown published two books this fall. But he has no plans for a typical book tour. “I don’t quite fit the bill for Columbus, Ohio, and Barnes & Noble,” says the Zen master, chef, author and subject of the documentary How To Cook Your Life. “I’m not perky and white-toothed.” The Julia Child of bread-baking, Brown defies pigeonholing. During a recent interview in his Fairfax home, he wears neither the robes nor the consistent serenity of a Buddhist priest. He offers recipes and soft-spoken wisdom, switches to high-pitched annoyance, giddiness and then grief. The tears that easily fill his eyes look misplaced on a man who spent 20 years living at the San Francisco Zen Center. The main practice for people who study Zen is to sit and meditate. But the 64-year-old monk seems reluctant to take a seat. Bills, books and magazines clutter his dining room table. When he does sit at the table to talk about his life and the recent publication of both The Complete Tassajara Cookbook and a new edition of his Tassajara Bread Book, he pops up and down. He prepares black tea flavored with vanilla ice cream on a classic Wedgewood stove, cuts up aged cheese and a pear from his tree and serves them on a ceramic plate a friend crafted. He fiddles with a tape recorder, a checkered cloth napkin and a watch he cannot stop from beeping. At first blush, it might seem a mystery how such a fidgety man could play a major role in establishing Zen Buddhism in the United States. Within a few minutes of meeting Brown, though, he makes it clear that contradictions mark his life. He writes vegetarian cookbooks, yet eats meat. Known for his bread book, which the Washington Post hailed as “the bible for bread baking,” the compact expectant grandfather restricts his carbohydrate intake and bakes only occasionally nowadays. After a short time in Brown’s presence, his love of chopping vegetables and kneading dough—and finding any useful work for his hands—appears evident as does the suffering that has marked his life and drove him to Zen and bread in the first place.



The Fairfax resident and his books helped launch the artisanal baking movement.



Brown demands only one thing: ‘that you taste.’

In the 2001 book Shoes Outside the Door, Michael Downing writes: “I’ve met a lot of people who have practiced at the San Francisco Zen Center. I asked each of them the same question: What led you there? No one said, I was so happy and fulfilled that I wanted to find a new way to express my joy and gratitude. Discontent, depression, sickness, bad luck, and loneliness had paved the way. Suffering shapes the place more than the sixties, or any particular cultural moment, or any one woman or man. Suffering is the recurring moment, reborn every time someone new turns up.” Suffering drew Brown to Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, who brought Soto Zen Buddhism to the United States from Japan. After living at the San Francisco Zen Center for 20 years, suffering led Brown to realize he needed to leave. “I got to be 40 years old, and it was time for a midlife crisis, and it was going to be embarrassing to sit in front of a room of people and cry,” he says. “Zen teachers are not supposed to cry. You’re not supposed to raise your voice or express your emotion. I had gotten to the point where I wasn’t going to be able to keep things buried anymore. I decided I’m going to have the get-real school of Zen as opposed to the look-good school of Zen.” In the same vein, Brown writes get-real, as opposed to look-good, cookbooks. The former Tassajara head cook and one-time manager of San Francisco’s Greens Restaurant offers recipe guidelines rather than strict prescriptions and insists there is no right way to season a sauce and no set time to steam beans. It depends upon your taste. He demands only one thing: that you taste. Brown applies Zen to the art of cooking and spices his books with morsels of Buddhist wisdom. “The real magic is that you could grow kind, generous and largerhearted in the process of preparing food—because you give your heart to the activity,” he writes in the introduction to his new ne cookbook. In the beginning of a chapter on sauces, Brown writes rites a poem titled t “No Measuring Up.”

“Now I take time to peel potatoes, wash lettuce, and boil beets, to scrub floors, clean sinks, and empty trash, Absorbed in the everyday, I find time to unbind, unwind, to invite whole body, mind, breath, thought, and wild impulse to join, to bask in the task. No time lost thinking that somewhere else is better. No time lost imagining getting more elsewhere. No way to tell this moment ‘We need m does not measure up. cookbooks’ ore cooks, not more Esalen tea —these words from Hand me the spatula: ch lo in Brown’s fa er Charles Brooks are ngtime now is the time to taste what is.” mous cook the first book. O O  O  O

FOR BROWN, FOOD serves as a metaphor for relationships. He has been married, divorced, coupled, uncoupled and coupled again. “I 14 >


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< 13 Not by bread alone feel fairly cautious about relationships after all of my relationship failures,” he says. He makes his voice higher and adds: “Oh, I should try this again; let’s do another failure. “If you want to have connection and relationship and intimacy, it’s really challenging, and it often doesn’t work. Here in America, happiness is never having to relate to anything. That’s why cooking is so challenging. You would actually have to relate to something. Who would you like to be? Would you like to be in a salad or a soup? Follow a recipe. If it doesn’t work, you can blame the recipe. Food and cooking is the same thing. It’s relationship. It’s intimacy.” Brown sighs heavily and explains why he struggles with intimacy. “I started out as a very damaged person, and to actually relate to anything is scary,” he says. “Food is a little more predictable that way. But people...You don’t know what’s going to happen.” Brown was born prematurely. Sick with cancer when she conceived him, Brown’s mother returned home more than two weeks before he could leave the hospital. “You could say my childhood trauma started with being in my mother’s womb when my mother was dying of cancer. According to my dad, she was advised that she would live longer if she would have an abortion. That’s a huge amount of emotion, and when you’re in the womb, you feel what’s going on with your mom,” he says, rubbing his eyes. “My mom went home after a week, and I was alone there for another 16 days. There’s not much more similar to that than practicing Zen. If you want to do posttraumatic reenactment of being a premature baby in your own little cubicle with nobody talking to you and nobody touching you, practice Zen.” A few weeks following his third birthday, Brown’s mother died. His grief-stricken father left him and his older brother at Sunny Hills, then an orphanage, in San Anselmo. His father continued to live in San Francisco and to visit Brown and his brother, who only rarely was allowed to see Brown, on Sundays. Brown says his father told him he sat alone in the orphanage all day rocking back and forth. “I did a two-week meditation intensive when I was born, and then I did another when I was 3,” he says. “I see 3-year-olds, and I can’t imagine, except that it happened to me, how painful it would be for them to lose their mother and father and their whole life.” Brown remained in the orphanage until he was 7, when his father remarried and brought his children back to San Francisco to live with him and his new wife. In the summer of 1955, when fluffy white Wonder Bread filled supermarket shelves, 10-year-old Brown visited his aunt who baked bread. “‘Discovered’ is probably not an adequate word to convey my heavenly joy in the welcome-home aromas, my intense pleasure in the tasting (with butter

and jam!), and my incredible fulfillment in the eating,” Brown writes in the new bread book’s introduction. “Unlike so many things in life which leave something to be desired, homemade bread fed me.” Then and there, he vowed to learn to bake bread himself. In 1966, while working at Tassajara Hot Springs, Brown did learn to make bread. It was the summer before the Zen Center of San Francisco bought the remote Carmel Valley resort and turned it into a meditation center. At the same time, Brown began sitting with his spiritual teacher. “I met Suzuki Roshi, and I felt a genuine connection with him that went beyond appearances and pretense and getting it right,” Brown says. He sips his tea and closes his eyes. “In some ways, I feel that he gave me my life, which in some ways had been taken away.” In a Berkeley basement in 1969, Brown made a deal to sell a tattered manuscript of his bread book to Shambhala Publications for a $100 advance and 10 percent royalty. Brown donated the book’s royalties to the Zen Center. For about 15 years, the bread book fed the center’s coffers and helped fuel its success. Brown estimates the royalties netted the center around $500,000. Though he lived at Zen Center—which included Tassajara, a San Francisco temple and Green Gulch Farm near Muir Beach— Brown’s decision to donate the royalties was purely voluntary. “It’s not a cult like that, where you have to buy your teacher a Rolls Royce,” he says. In retrospect, Brown says he would do things differently. Suzuki Roshi died in 1971, a few months after ordaining Brown. While the Zen Center was funding an expensive remodel for its new leader’s home, Brown says he could not get the center to release funds so he could have his modest apartment painted. “I don’t think I would again give all the royalties from the bread book to the Zen Center,” he says. “But there’s nothing I’m going to do about that now. It’s the same with getting married; you give all your resources and then wonder, what were you thinking?” These days, when he’s not writing, Brown teaches cooking and meditation throughout the United States and in Europe. He would like to teach more at Zen Center, where he has sometimes found a chilly reception. In a zendo, or meditation hall, attached to his house in Fairfax, he leads regular sitting groups. He practices chi gung, yoga and anything that helps quiet his mind. “I’m in the school of do what works,” he says. “You work with something to see if you can bring out the best in it, whether it’s food or yourself. The only way to get intimate is to do it awkwardly at first and get better at it.” < Share your Tassajara bread stories with Ronnie at ronniecohen@

Comment on this story in TownSquare, at ››

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ROBERT VENTE


An angel at my

‘Mediterranean Table’

Heidi Krahling book dishes out the salad days of Insalata’s by Pat F usco


ince I first walked into Insalata’s Restaurant in San Anselmo more than a dozen years ago it has been one of my favorite dining destinations. I have eaten there on special occasions (more than one birthday), for weekday lunches and even once on a Christmas Eve when my brother and I found ourselves between family gatherings. I’ve treated grandchildren to the boisterous springtime St. Joseph’s Table celebration of families and food. I have taken guests there: visitors from other countries, a chef who ended up in long friendly conversation with the owner. For all these reasons it’s obvious that my review of the just-published cookbook from owner/chef Heidi Insalata Krahling will be far from impartial. Even if I hadn’t known Krahling from her earliest Marin days I would be impressed with her book. Insalata’s Mediterranean Table brings together those elements that make the restaurant a success: respect for family heritage, highly dramatic flavors and attention to visual pleasures. Generosity is also an attribute of both Krahling’s cooking and her way of life; this is apparent in the stories she shares along with exclusive recipes. Born into an Italian-American family in central California, Krahling grew up with homegrown food, daily meals that came from a kitchen where both her parents— especially her wonderfully named father Italo Insalata—loved to cook. She writes of this in “La Famiglia,” the first section of her book, describing her dad’s enthusiastic explorations into all sorts of cuisine, how he encouraged his children to taste and learn about food and what a lasting effect this had on her. Food was more than sustenance to the family: It was a way of helping others. Krahling writes, “I have a vision of my parents in aprons, standing behind the barbecues and stoves because they were always the first to volunteer to cook whenever there was an event for the church, school or other neighborhood organization. They gave of themselves freely because that’s what they believed was the best way to live and the best way to contribute to the community.” Anyone

familiar with Insalata’s support of charities, service organizations and other causes in Marin will recognize how the owner absorbed her parents’ philosophy. The restaurant that settled into a stucco building on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in 1996, almost hidden behind lush vines and plantings, houses an interior that is welcoming with its proper white tablecloths and good glassware but also with a feeling of ease: comfortable seating, rich colors, no obtrusive music. The art on the walls is a sensory cue, huge drawings of individual fruits and vegetables in vivid natural colors, all by artist Laura Parker. Her glowing persimmons, squashes and citrus echo the visual appeal of ingredients used at every meal. Laura Parker’s work appears throughout the cookbook, too, single-and double-page portraits of Krahling’s ingredients, illustrating the recipes. Color photographs are also used throughout, strong images by David Matheson. (I would buy the book for the artwork alone.) Produced in big format with blessedly large print on a white background, this volume is comfortable to use, a real advantage over the small, busy types that seem to abound these days. And I so want to use it! Many chefs who produce cookbooks based on their famous restaurant recipes seem to have no sense of what it means to try to follow them at home. It’s one thing to have an array of international spices and precious ingredients available in a commercial establishment and quite another to deal with an ordinary kitchen pantry. It’s frustrating for amateurs to attempt dishes that demand 40 steps from beginning to end. Krahling is aware of such stumbling blocks. While there may be some exotics used in her recipes, they are not impossible to track down at our sophisticated local retail sources. She keeps instruction in perspective, encouraging us to taste, compare, to experiment until food is the way we like it. Describing her feelings for her restaurant, she sums up her ambition: “I wanted to share the sheer joy that comes from cooking with Mediterranean flavors.” Fans of the menu at Insalata’s know there are certain items that will always be around at the table and in the takeout department at the rear of the house. They will be

pleased to find them in the book, items like fattoush salad, a Middle Eastern treat with greens and torn bread and feta cheese and olives in a lemony dressing, or cataplana— spicy clams and chorizo tossed with tomatoes, a saute from Portugal. Children (and their parents) who adore “pigs in mud”— chocolate pudding with a pig-shaped sugar cookie—can now enjoy that sweet at home, as well as the signature chocolate pecan toffee that often appears as a gift on the table at the end of a holiday meal. Krahling teaches home cooks her ways with layered, dramatic flavors in longcooked tagines and stews, pleasures such as Sardinian lamb shanks, and estafado Catalan made from short ribs and served with polenta. She shows how highly fragrant sauces and complex (but easy to make) condiments that accompany foods from all the corners of the Mediterranean are surprisingly accessible. Special attention is paid to the grains so important in that part of the world, with cooking tips and ways to use them (a Middle Eastern couscous platter that varies with the seasons, quinoacorn cakes, farro salad). Pasta is a must on each of her menus and she includes recipes for some of the best, for instance bucatini with sun-dried tomato-almond pesto or penne with pancetta, tomato, hot pepper and mozzarella. This collection makes it possible for everyone to reproduce memorable, seasonable meals we have appreciated at Insalata’s. It would be a fine gift for cooks who already know the restaurant as well as for folks who live in other parts of the country. As an introduction, here are two recipes that would be fitting to serve during the coming holidays. Krahling adds the first one to an appetizer platter with hummus and other dips and uses it as a flavorful addition to green beans or lentil salad or grilled fish. Tirosalata, a tangy appetizer, is a creamy cheese spread from northern Greece. -------------------------

Walnut-Kumquat Relish Makes 1-1/2 cups Krahling says, “It is best served immediately so that the walnuts retain their crunch. If you want to make the rest of the relish

Krahling’s book features recipes for more than 100 of Insalata’s most popular dishes.

ahead, reserve the walnuts and add them just before serving.” 1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped 1/2 cup pitted and roughly chopped Picholine olives, about 30 olives 5 kumquats, pitted and thinly sliced 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley 3 to 4 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds (optional) 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine the walnuts, olives, kumquats, parsley, oil, pomegranate seeds, salt and pepper, stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately at room temperature. -------------------------

Tirosalata Makes about 4 cups Krahling suggests crumbling the cheese first to cut down on processing time, as “the longer you blend it the thinner it gets. If it thins too much it will firm up once refrigerated.” 1 large poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled 1/2 cup goat’s milk yogurt Warm or toasted pita, for serving

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chile, 1/3 cup of the oil, lemon juice and salt; process until smooth and creamy. Add feta and yogurt, process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more oil if needed, process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl; serve at room temperature with warm or toasted pita. < Contact Pat at NOVEMBER 13 - NOVEMBER 19, 2009 PACIFIC SUN 15


•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Wattle they think of next?

Turkeys—from evolution to the dinner table “TURKEY, n. A large bird whose flesh when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude. Incidentally, it is pretty good eating.” —Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary “You first parents of the human race...who ruined yourself for an apple, what might you have done for a truffled turkey?” —Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


. Brillat-Savarin, perhaps La Belle France’s greatest epicure, was a self-described dindonphile, or turkey-lover. In this he differed from many of his countrymen. Sixteenth-century scientist/culinary critic Charles Estienne said of the turkey, “This bird is a bin of oats, a gulf for victuals, from which no other pleasure can be derived than noise and fury from the adults and a continual chirping from the chicks. The flesh is delicate, but tasteless and hard to digest. That is why it has to be sprinkled with spices, heavily larded and seasoned.” Estienne, however, had only tasted the bland domesticated variety, the only species available in Europe, while BrillatSavarin, visiting the aborning United States of America, had hunted and feasted on the real thing. “The turkey,” he concluded, “is certainly one of the handsomest gifts the New World made to the Old.” And a native it is. Meleagris gallopavo ating back to the (wild turkey) fossils dating Early Miocene epoch have been found throughout the forestss of North America. A native of Mexico (probably), the bird was allowed wed to roam free by the semi-nomadic tribes rd, who of the Eastern Seaboard, didn’t bother to domestiesticate game that was so easy to hunt. (The Natchezz Indians called the eighth h month of their calendar “the Moon of the Turkey.”) But when the Anasazis of the Southwest evolved from nomadic to sedentary status around 100 rkeys A.D., the local wild turkeys gobbled up so much of the tribe’s planted grain, they were forced to pen up the birds and then feed and shelter them. Thee Aztecs of Mexico did the same. en exploring North America Although Norsemen around 1000 A.D. encountered countered and brought o (you can see them in the Bayhome a turkey or two 16 PACIFIC SUN NOVEMBER 13 - NOVEMBER 19, 2009

eux Tapestry of 1087), it wasn’t until the conquistadores entered Mexico that the Old World truly beheld the turkey and made it a citizen of the globe. Every newcomer who came upon one was flabbergasted at its appearance, a gigantic bird unlike anything known to exist in Africa, Asia or Europe, with a snood hanging above the beak, a wattle hanging below and a wingspan as wide as 6 feet. An important Aztec staple, turkey was sold at market both live and precooked in mole sauce (Mexico’s national dish to this day). The Spaniards mistakenly called the bird pavo (“pea fowl”); the French christened it poule d’inde (“hen of the [West] Indies”) despite the fact that there were no turkeys on the Caribbean islands at the time (wild turkeys can only fly 100 miles, tops). There are several theories as to how the bird got its enduring name: a local tribe called them “furkee”; the bird was as exotic in appearance as the country of the same name; or (most probably) 16th-century Europeans thought the turkey was some variant on the guinea fowl, which had arrived in Europe from the Orient via the Ottoman Empire. In any case, turkey was an immediate hit when it was brought across the Atlantic (unlike other New World exotica like potatoes and tomatoes, which were widely regarded as poisonous, aphrodisiacal or worse). Spanish priests just back from the conquests raised them at their monasteries. French monks followed suit. Three turkey cocks were presented to a pleased Emperor Jahangir of India, although he had trouble finding hens willing to mate with them. Turkey was served at the royal wedding of Charles IX of France and Elizabeth of Austria in 1570, and by the end of the century Meleagris gallopavo, brought to table in full


by M at t he w S ta fford

This breed of Meleagris gallopavo is strictly native to fourth-grade classrooms.

plumage, had replaced peacock in Italy and goose in France and England as the ceremonial repast of choice. (The aristocratic French liked to stuff it with a dozen truffles, let it absorb the earthy fragrance overnight, then throw the truffles away!) A German cookbook of the era listed 20 different ways of preparing this once-exotic bird. Meanwhile, back in the New World, Plymouth Plantation colonist Edward Winslow wrote in his journal, “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.” That first Thanksgiving of 1621 was attended by 53 Pilgrims as well as Massasoit, leader of the Pokanokets, and 90 of his fellow tribesmen. A good time was had by all, especially since the fowl included not just geese and duck but wild turkey. “Wild turkey has much more taste than its barnyard counterpart,” Paris restaurant critic James de Coquet wrote three-and-a-half centuries later. “Fed on berries and small invertebrates, it has ivory flesh which guards all the perfumes of the forest...Its flesh is pearly and melting.” But as culinary historian Karen Hess pointed out in the 1960s, “Our forefathers would never recognize the taste of most of what is sold as turkey nowadays. You cannot expect old-fashioned flavor from birds that have been frozen, injected with nameless oils, boned and treated with sodium tripolyphosphate or other allowable chemicals.” The “new and improved” modern turkey was first developed in the 1920s by a Canadian breeder who concocted a 40-pound bird with enormous thigh muscles. U.S. breeders employed his stock to create the Broad-Breasted Bronze, birds with underused (and therefore mild and tender) breast muscles and well-used (dark, flavorful) leg muscles. Today’s industrial processing plants produce 14- to 20-pound birds in 12 to 18 weeks, year-round. Sedentary, fed a uniform diet and slaughtered when young, they’re tender, economical and more or less flavorless. In further experiments, turkeys have been bred up to the jumbo 75-pound size (the legs wouldn’t support the weight) and small enough to fit in a studio apartment kitchenette oven for a few people to enjoy without any leftovers to worry about. The wild turkey is still around, of course, especially on mounts Tamalpais and Burdell, where the rafters (not “flocks”) of turkeys are so plentiful, there’s talk of thinning the population. Or at least converting ‘em into feather dusters. (We jest, but until a century ago turkeys were raised not so much for their flesh as for their feathers.) Some wouldn’t miss them. “To know them is not to admire them,” wrote John Steinbeck of the turkey, “for they are vain and hysterical. They gather in vulnerable groups and then panic at rumors. They are subject to all the sicknesses of other fowl, together with some they have invented.” G.K. Chesterton agreed: “A turkey is more occult and awful than all the angels and archangels.” But Benjamin Franklin, famously championing the turkey as avian national symbol over the mendacious bald eagle, called it “a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America.” And pretty good eating, too. < Talk turkey with Matthew at

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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Thank youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; notes

A few tips to make your day of thanks a tasty one... by Pat F usco COUNTDOWN TO T-DAY IS HERE Whether youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re cooking at home or dining out, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to make a plan for the last Thursday in November. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prices for restaurant meals have dropped, a reďŹ&#x201A;ection of the economy. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tempting to indulge in a Thanksgiving dinner at many local spots, often for less than the cost of producing a meal at home. If you have a favorite dining destination in mind, act quickly: Reservation lists ďŹ ll up fast...Raw-foods-eating vegans who feel left out on this binge of a national observance are invited to ďŹ nd sanctuary and a free meal at the appropriately named Cafe Gratitude in San Rafael on Thanksgiving, starting at 11am. Check the Web site for details: youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re producing a huge spread in your kitchen and feel the need for a bit of help, consider bringing in some of the sides or desserts from a catering department in one of Marinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sophisticated markets. Woodlands Market in KentďŹ eld has familiar dishes gussied up a bit for the occasion (cranberries and winter squash in a farro pilaf), and for vegetarians who might be on your guest list, vegetarian corn bread stufďŹ ng and vegetarian mushroom gravyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;nice substitutes with a properly traditional feel. Check out the catering menu: www.woodlandsmarket. com...Orders for beautiful seasonal desserts must be placed ahead of time to ensure availability. For upscale organic treats, try Rustic Bakery in Larkspur and ďŹ&#x201A;ourChylde Bakery in Novato; their creations are worth seeking out and ďŹ&#x201A;ourChylde has a selection of wheat-free sweets, some of them vegan (www. and www.ďŹ&#x201A;ourchylde. com)...For those who consider the holiday challenge completely daunting, Sausalitoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s In The Kitchen cooking school is staging Thanksgiving Dinner DemystiďŹ ed, a class with chef/owner Doug Eng, who will demonstrate two ways of cooking turkey with all the trimmings. This takes place Saturday, Nov. 14 (6:30-9:30pm), and the cost is $75 per person ( or 415/331-8766)... Each year the famous Butterball Turkey Talk Line prevents more disasters than we can begin to imagine. If you need some encouraging cooking advice, phone the hotline anytime between now and Dec. 28, 6am to 8pm CST, and 8am to 6pm on Thanksgiving...Finally, a bit of help of the literary kind is available at Book Passage in Corte Madera, Nov. 19 (7pm), when Michele Clarke will discuss her work, The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays, a collection of writings from the likes of Hunter Thompson, Dave Barry and other wits.

With its guilt-free raw foods, every day is thanks-giving day at Cafe Gratitude.

MORE TO BE THANKFUL FOR News of Marinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s restaurant world continues to be positive. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heartening when small places open for business, ďŹ lling a need for quick, reasonably priced meals in casual spots or for takeout. The storefront vacated by the popular Royal Frankfurter at 811 Fourth St. in San Rafael is now occupied by Golden Orb, provider of Russian snacks and pastries along with fair trade coffee and natural sodas. Assorted piroshkiâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;ďŹ&#x201A;aky stuffed meat and vegetarian piesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;are the specialty. Open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm; no credit cards (415/454-8692). In Novato, Chez Pierre has been replaced by Millâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, with an American coffee shop feel and an emphasis on big breakfasts. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s open daily, 11am to 10pm at 7330 Redwood Blvd. (415/897-6666). POST-HARVEST RITUAL Wine drinkers everywhere await Thursday, Nov. 19, when Beaujolais Nouveau makes its 2009 debut. Dan and Holly Baker are celebrating the event at their two Marin restaurants with prix-ďŹ xe French meals and lots and lots of new red wine. Marche aux Fleurs in Ross always begins its holiday season with the annual dinner; this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will include salad with housemade lardons, apples and celery root, chicken conďŹ t and Hollyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bittersweet mousse au chocolat ($43 per person, 415/925-9200)...AVA in San Anselmo will throw its ďŹ rst Beaujolais Nouveau night with Californian Andrew Smithâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gamay 2009 in the French Nouveau style. Dinner will consist of little gems lettuce salad, coq au vin and creme brulee, $39 per person (415/453-3407). < Share your Thanksgiving memories with Pat at

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Thank You, Pacific Sun Readers, For This Great Honor! When your name is Flora Grubb, you’re pretty much destined to wind up in the garden business. 7

The not-so-secret garden Get some palm in your hands at Flora Grubb by Annie Spiege lman


hen I finally run away from home for Green Tortoise because I can’t take another mo- buses. Our friends ment of motherhood and repri- at Boor Bridges manding 12-year-old boys who are discussing Architecture cre“how to create flame throwers out of deodor- ated a building that ant and matches,” you’ll find me lounging on realized our highest a curvy lawn chair under a colossal palm tree hopes for the site. The neighbors welcomed at Flora Grubb Gardens. This blissful local us,” she says, adding that the aromas of the nursery, located in San Francisco’s Bayview, is Ritual Coffee Roasters they sell on-site didn’t the modern-day version of the secret garden; hurt either. only it’s full of style, sass, sustainability and... An array of hip, brightly colored aluminum succulents, literally hanggarden furniture (some ing off the walls. hanging beautifully as THANKSGIVING OPEN HOUSE Flora Grubb Gardens art on an exterior wall) AT FLORA GRUBB GARDENS became a San Francisco immediately welcomes Friday, Saturday and Sunday, institution from the day you as you wind your November 27, 28 and 29. Treats it opened its doors just a way through a canopy of and drinks will be served from few years ago. Owner Floskinny and chunky palm noon to 4pm each day. ra Grubb is a self-taught trees sheltering rows of Flora Grubb Gardens, 1634 gardener who grew up in grevilleas, leucadendron, Jerrold Ave. (at Third St.), San a family of English-style aloes and other lowFrancisco; 415/626-7256. Visit gardeners on the East maintenance plants. “The for more Coast. In her mid-20s, more people learn about information. Grubb moved to San palms, the more they Francisco where she met love them. When people Saul Nadler, a classically visit the nursery, they’re trained chef and gardener who became her enchanted by the variety and gracefulness of business partner. Grubb and Nadler started the palms, which act as beautiful foliage and out selling large quantities of palm trees at the vertical elements for the nursery,” says Grubb. Palm Broker on Guerrero Street in San Fran- Dazzling, bright orange and deep turquoise cisco. Their business transactions took place pottery in all shapes and sizes accentuate the in an old drafty trailer in a run-down fenced various textures of foliage that lead you down yard. What they really wanted was a place a mysterious path to find the area where a “where people could come to fall in love with 1959 Ford Edsel sits. The car has a tree growplants and where there would be a connection ing out of its roof and a variety of colored with the outdoors.” succulents thriving in its open hood, demandAfter an unimaginable amount of planing attention, nonchalantly uttering, “I know ning, designing, schlepping and building, I’m cool. Get over it. Move on.” According to this glorious nursery now sits in a sky-lit Grubb, the Edsel with the tree sticking out of warehouse at 1634 Jerrold Avenue (at Third it was there when they moved in, so they just Street), on a property roughly 8,000-squaremade it work. feet long. “The property was a storage yard Succulents are the new “it” plant in Cali-


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Contact Ralph Ardito for a Free Estimate 256-1530 or 256-1525 NOVEMBER 13 – NOVEMBER 19, 2009 PACIFIC SUN 19

Pacific Sun 11.13.2009 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the November 13, 2009 edition of the Pacific Sun

Pacific Sun 11.13.2009 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the November 13, 2009 edition of the Pacific Sun