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LivingWell APRIL 2013

A monthly special section of

news & information for seniors

Fitness-minded walker sparks ‘flash drive’ trend Wearable on keychains, tiny story devices carry emergency health data by Chris Kenrick n offhand question from a Palo Alto octogenarian has sparked a new product that is being offered free — or nearly free — to local seniors. The “ER INFO Flash Drive” is a tiny datastorage device — marked with a red cross and the words “ER INFO” — that can be carried on a keychain or around the neck. In the event of medical emergency, first responders can retrieve a person’s basic medical data, as well as contact information for next of kin should the patient be unable to speak for him or herself. The flash drives were developed after an 88year-old Palo Alto resident, who makes a habit of walking 2 miles every day, asked for something she could carry that would guide emergency responders should she fall and hit her head. “When I walk I wear my sunglasses and take my house keys, but that’s all I have,” said Joan Griffiths. “Nobody even knows my name or anything about me.” As a service to the community, Avenidas, a nonprofit agency serving Midpeninsula seniors, is offering to load personalized emergency medical data onto the flash drives and supply them to local seniors. A $5 donation is requested. About 500 had been distributed to local seniors as of mid-March. Annie Hagstrom, an Avenidas staff member, is making the rounds of local police, fire and health institutions to familiarize first responders with the devices and to encourage people to watch for them — and use them. “This is wonderful, but only if the emergency departments and first responders support it,” said Hagstrom, who helped to launch the flash-drive initiative. “You have to teach them continually. It’s a false sense of security that just by osmosis (first responders) will know what this is.” Hagstrom has been to police departments, Stanford University Hospital, El Camino Hospital and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation to speak about the flash drives. “We need to do this on a continual basis — once a quarter or every six months,” she said. The flash drives contain emergency data but other information is kept to a minimum, in case of loss. “It doesn’t have your address — nobody’s going to come to your house,” Hagstrom said.


Katie Brigham

(continued on page 35)

Joan Griffiths, 88, walks 2 miles every day, carrying a flash drive with emergency medical data — just in case. ÜÜÜ°*>œÌœ"˜ˆ˜i°Vœ“ÊUÊ*>œÊÌœÊ7iiŽÞÊUÊÊ«ÀˆÊx]ÊÓä£ÎÊU Page 33

Thursday April 25, 2013 7:00 - 8:30 pm

A free “How To” workshop for Family Caregivers

at Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center 270 Escuela Avenue Mountain View

Understanding Incontinence with Dr. Craig Vance Comiter Associate Professor Stanford University Medical School

Please RSVP to 650-289-5499 Light refreshments will be served. Free professional care for your loved one is available so you can attend the workshop—just call us 48 hours in advance to make arrangements.

Urinary incontinence is not inevitable, and we should never blame it on aging. Dr. Comiter will teach easy strategies to treat urinary incontinence and talk about the most innovative procedures in urology.

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Living Well

Senior Focus Katie Brigham

The ER INFO flash drive, which can be carried on a keychain or around the neck, stores basic medical as well as emergency contact information.

Flash drive

(continued from page 33)

“All it has is your pertinent information that could save you if you’re incapacitated and can’t speak for yourself: name, phone number of emergency contact, allergies, medical information.” Seniors also can include forms, such as the Advanced Health-Care Directive or Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, on the flash drive should they wish to do so. Hagstrom got interested in the flash-drive project after Griffiths approached her with her concern about what would happen if she fell on one of her daily strolls around the neighborhood. Hagstrom mentioned it to her physician husband, who suggested flash drives because they’re inexpensive and easy to carry. After vetting the idea through the Avenidas chain of commands with her contacts at local hospitals, Hagstrom ordered a large quantity of labeled drives last summer and began loading them for regular users of Avenidas before offering it to the larger community. Seniors fill out a simple paper “ER INFO” form with their name, birth date, primary medical conditions, medications and dosages, allergies, preferred physician and hospital, insurance and emergency contact. Avenidas loads the information onto the flash drives. “We wanted to see the response — the good, the bad, the ugly — and work out the little kinks,” Hagstrom said of the ramp-up period. “The caps fall off, but it’s no big deal — it still works. If you wash it in your pocket it still works, but let’s not wash it on a regular basis. If you happen to run over it with a car it still works. “So for a very cheap price it’s really worth it,” Hagstrom said. Griffiths has added a flash drive to her keychain, which she carries on her daily walks. “My daughter lives in Washington, D.C., and she thinks this is a wonderful thing for me to have,” Griffiths said. Hagstrom has created posters to hang in local emergency rooms, with photos and explanations of the ER INFO flash drives.

“It’s my dream that every emergency department and every first responder knows what this is,” she said. Stories about the flash drives have begun to filter back. One first responder was unfamiliar with the device and hesitant to use it. The senior couldn’t explain what it was, but said it was from Avenidas. The first responder had never heard of Avenidas. “That goes back to my rationale that we need to educate everyone,” Hagstrom said. In another case, the wearer was conscious and able to speak for herself, but showed the flash drive to a Stanford nurse, who tried it and was impressed. “When we’re successful we’d like to see if we could extend this beyond seniors to other adults and children, but my goal now is just to see how many seniors we can get this to,” Hagstrom said. N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@paweekly. com.

‘FIT OR FRAIL’ ... Engagement — physical and emotional — is the “most important word” when it comes to reasons for longevity, says Portola Valley physician Walter Bortz, author of the 1996 book “Dare to be 100.” Bortz was the keynote speaker March 23 at the sixth annual housing conference sponsored by Avenidas and held at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center. Bortz and his wife Ruth Anne, both in their 80s, are heading east next week to participate in the April 15 Boston Marathon — Bortz’s 43rd consecutive annual marathon. Bortz said he’s planning to give a talk at Harvard before the marathon on “the plasticity of human aging.” “My mantra is ‘use it or lose it,’” he said. “When you get old you’re

for the 2 to 4 p.m. performance at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. The afternoon is sponsored by the Allied Arts Guild Auxiliary. To order online go to www.

either alive or dead. If you’re alive you’re either fit or frail and that’s a big difference. You’re either a liability or an asset, and that’s a big difference. That’s not fated beforehand. It’s all your choice. It’s what you make of it.” REALLY RAGTIME ... A “rollicking romp through Ragtime music gems and favorites” is promised Sunday, April 7, at Really Ragtime, an afternoon event benefiting Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. The $25 admission fee includes light refreshments and performances by Frederick Hodges, Jack and Chris Bradshaw, Robyn and Steve Drivon, Candace Fazzio, Professor Gordon, Larisa Migachyov and The Ragnolia Ragtette. Doors open at 1:15

AGING IN PLACE ... The Stanford Center on Longevity and the MetLife Mature Market Institute has developed a manual to help communities measure their capacity to help seniors remain in their own homes and communities as they age. The scholars developed a list of indicators — such as presence of public transportation, well-maintained sidewalks and presence of support services — and ways local governments can assess and improve them. N

Items for Senior Focus may be emailed to Palo Alto Weekly Staff Writer Chris Kenrick, ckenrick@

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Living Well

April is National Volunteer Month!

Living Well Monday, April 1

Tuesday, April 9

Thursday April 18

United Nations Association Film Festival

Walking Club

Practical Gratitude: Countering the Complaint-Based Life

“Restoring the Light� 2pm @ Avenidas. Free Tuesday, April 2

Circle of Friends Discussion Group 1-2:30pm @ Avenidas Call to register: (650) 289-5400 Wednesday, April 3

Podiatry by appointment

Drumming Circle Workshop

9am-4:30pm @ Avenidas

1-2:30pm @ Avenidas

Thursday, April 11

Monday, April 22

Reexology sessions

Understanding Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia

Garden Club: Citrus Care

Massages 9:30-3pm @ Avenidas by appointment

Free lecture on “Adapting Your Dog for Service Work�

Monday, April 15

By Jean Cary, Service Dog Trainer 2-3pm @ Avenidas. Free

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Friday, April 5th

Wine Appreciation Club

Thursday, April 25

“Understanding Incontinence�

Tuesday, April 16

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Foothill Community Choir Concert

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10am @ Avenidas. Free Cal (650) 224-9000 for details

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Volunteers are needed to:

APRIL 2013 Calendar of Events

Meet the Author: Francine Toder, PhD

Wednesday, April 17

The Vintage Years: Finding Your Inner Artist (Writer, Musician, Visual Artist) After Sixty 2-3:30pm @ Avenidas. Free for members

9am-1pm @ Avenidas. Registration required

Stay Vital Driver Safety

At Rose Kleiner Center, Mountain View 7-8:30pm. Free Friday, April 26

Bridge 1-4pm @ Avenidas. Free Monday, April 29

Chinese Classical Mahjong 1-4pm @ Avenidas

Calendar event listings are reserved for advertisers. For more information contact Adam Carter at 223-6573

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Arts & Entertainment

A weekly guide to music, theater, art, movies and more, edited by Rebecca Wallace

MISRACH PHOTOS DEPICT THE PETROCHEMICAL WORLD ALONG LOUISIANA’S RIVER ROAD by Rebecca Wallace n Norco, La., the loveliest, fluffiest clouds float in the sky, just waiting for children to see bunnies in them. They come out only during the day. That’s because they come out of the Shell Oil refinery. The town is named after the old New Orleans Refining Company. Shell bought the refinery, but the name stayed, and the locals still call the clouds “Norco cumulus.” Kids who think they’re looking up at simple water vapor are really seeing volatile hydrocarbons. Photographer Richard Misrach tells this story in the caption of his 1998 image of a Norco cumulus cloud. In the photo, the refinery glints in the distance like an evil Emerald City, with one flame flaring from a tower. Norco is one stop along a winding 150-mile stretch of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The segment is part of the state’s touted River Road, but nowadays folks just call it Cancer Alley. There are more than 100 industrial plants here, reportedly producing a quarter of the country’s petrochemicals. In a new exhibit at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center, Misrach’s photos depict the river corridor’s bayous, cypress trees and old plantations, together with its burping smokestacks, cracked concrete, heaps of trash and ragged chain-link fences. He couldn’t capture the smells or the industrial noise, but they can be imagined under the misty-polluted skies. As can the myriad health concerns reported by residents, from rashes to cancer. The photos were originally commissioned in 1998 by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, as part of a “Picturing the South” series. Some but not all were exhibited and published, and more than a decade later the museum offered to display the show again. Misrach decided that this was the time for new eyes and edits. The Berkeley photographer made plans to return to the South to shoot some updated pictures. He also enlisted a collaborator, New York landscape architect and Columbia University assistant professor Kate Orff, who studies ways to interpret and regenerate contaminated land. They

went to Cancer Alley in 2010 to travel, photograph, study and interview residents. The two have published a weighty book that goes with the exhibit. “Petrochemical America” contains large color plates of Misrach’s photos, as well as Orff’s maps, illustrations and graphs. In several instances she has overlaid Misrach’s photos with her words and drawings. “Requiem for a Bayou,” one of the overlays on display, shows how human mismanagement has turned “lush cypress trees into ghostly poles,” as Orff wrote. In her book, Orff also acknowledges that all of us are dependent on the petrochemicals that come from these industrial areas. “In multiple trips to New Orleans, driving up and down the River Road corridor to interview people, slathering up with sunscreen and bug spray, using chemical inks, printing multiple review drafts, and staring long hours at computer screens, it was impossible not to touch and, yes, be thankful for petrochemicals. One can project a future where many measured actions at the individual and community level that reduce exposure to everyday toxins and reduce waste, combined with aggressive federal public health regulations, would begin to change the trajectory curve of petrochemical use.” Most of the photos in the exhibit and book are from 1998; others come from Misrach’s 2010 return visit. The newer photos don’t appear to depict any improvement on Cancer Alley. In “Pipeline and River Road, Donaldsonville, Louisiana, 2010,” for example, the sky is heavy with haze and a culvert runs with sickly green water. Overall, the Cantor exhibit features 21 large-scale photos and 14 contact sheets by Misrach, as well as two Orff overlays. Entering the exhibit, a visitor is first faced with the big “Shopping Cart, Tanger Factory Outlet Center, I-10, Gonzales, Louisiana, 2010.” One lonely cart stands in a vacant parking lot under dark skies. Another photo depicts a small family home in the very center of the picture. Then the viewer’s eye is drawn up, along the height of the massive grain elevator right behind the house. “Throughout Cancer Alley, homes, schools and playgrounds are situated yards from behemoth in-

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Capturing the supercomputer Friedlander’s 1980s photos recall Cray Research and its small Wisconsin town by Rebecca Wallace t’s a moment in time, a moment in technology and a moment in really, really big eyeglasses. The year is 1986. Supercomputer producer Cray Research Inc. marks its 15th anniversary by asking renowned American photographer Lee Friedlander to shoot photos of the company and its people for a book. A wealth of 79 gelatin silver prints emerges. The book is now a relic to be chased down online, but the photos are newly on exhibit at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center. Marching around the room in a small upstairs gallery are several portraits of people working with machinery and wires or gazing into unwieldy computer monitors. Some are decked out in clean-room garb. Friedlander’s lens seems curious, respectful, intent on documenting. But his deadpan humor is also in evidence. Sometimes a nest of wires is mirrored in a nearby female worker’s big teased hairstyle. Many times Friedlander got so close that the employees’ eyes are huge, giving them a childlike appearance. Friedlander’s history of street photography is also at play here. A major part of the project focuses on the town where Cray was based, and in fact Friedlander ended up calling the series “Chippewa Falls, Wis.” He has documented street scenes with black-and-white road signs, empty hardware stores, a barber shop. Many photos follow the Chippewa River in its perpetual sweep past the town. One photo places a town landmark adjacent to its technology. Friedlander has photographed a cemetery in front of a set of industrial towers (not part of the Cray center). One grave cross is lined up perfectly with a tower behind it. “He’s so precise. He knows exactly what he wants to frame,” said Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell, who curated the show. Friedlander likes his work installed end to end, so she lined up the photos close together. Seeking a clean industrial feel, she used simple silver frames. There’s not much else in the gallery except two copies of the Cray book in a clear case. A woman works on a Cray supercomputer. True to form, the photos have no captions. They’re all called “Chippewa Falls, Wis.” “There’s no editorial message,” Mitchell said. Back in the day, Cray was a record-setter. The Cray-1 supercomputer was the swiftest of its time when it was launched in 1976, and later incarnations continued the trend. But in 1996, founder Seymour Cray’s company merged with Mountain View-based Silicon Graphics Inc. — which ended up filing for bankruptcy and being bought in 2009. Another company later bought Cray Research and took its name. Meanwhile, the old Silicon Graphics building now houses the Computer History Museum on Shoreline Boulevard. Several Cray supercomputers are on display there, today part of history. Perhaps Friedlander was thinking about the impermance of technology, how it always becomes obsolete, when he shot his series. Fashions come and go, and today’s computer monitor quickly becomes your grandfather’s, but the town keeps growing around the industrial center, and the river keeps flowing on by. “The landscape, the town, the people: They’re all part of Cray,” Mitchell said. N


dustrial complexes,” Misrach wrote. “Residents within a one-mile radius of factories are subjected to significant air and water pollution as well as noxious odors and industrial noise. ... The quality of life in Louisiana has been rated one of the lowest in the nation. In contrast, extremely favorable taxation policies have helped draw industry to the region.” Many of the photos draw the eye in the way “Home and Grain Elevator” does: with a familiar image in the center such as a family home, cloud or cow. Then we pull back and see the larger picture. “He tends to seduce your senses before your analytical brain realizes that something’s wrong here,” exhibit curator Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell said last week at the show’s opening. Mitchell stood in front of a perfect example, a Misrach photo that places the viewer on a stone balcony at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge. A telescope invites visitors to take in the panoramic views from the capitol — which turn out to be the smokestacks and clouds of an Exxon refinery. Several images make reference to the South’s haunting past. Along the River Road are many restored antebellum plantations, creating what Misrach calls another “surreal juxtaposition” with the industrial complexes. Amongst hazy landscapes are photos of the plantations’ elegant columns, porches and furnishings. The mansions have become major tourist attractions. (In another contrast, one photo shows slave cabClockwise from top left are Misrach images from the High Museum of Art: “Cypress Swamp, Alligator Bayou, Prairieville, Louisiana”; “Norco Cumulus Cloud, Shell Oil Refinery, Norco, Louisiana”; “Swamp and Pipeline, Geismar, Louisiana”; and “Night Fishing, Near Bonnet Carré Spillway, Norco, Louisiana.”

ins in the woods.) One plantation, Ashland Belle-Helene, stands behind chain-link fences marked “Shell Chemical.” The white Classical Revival building, which is on property now owned by Shell, was built in the early 1800s and has stood mostly silent since the 1920s. Parts of the 1989 Chevy Chase movie “Fletch Lives” were filmed here, but during filming “the crew had to be evacuated when a fire broke out at a nearby toxic-waste dump,” the exhibit book reads. “This Shell property is now closed to the public.” Even more quiet are the graveyards that still stand next to industrial complexes, even if their churches have been relocated. In the photo “Holy Rosary Cemetery and Dow Chemical Corporation (Union Carbide Complex), Taft, Louisiana, 1998,” the graveyard has a background of rust and steel and a foreground of broken sidewalks. A few flowers have been left, but mostly the grave urns are empty. The sky is heavy and dark. “That’s almost too much,” a man in the museum said, gazing up at the photo. N What: “Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley” and “Lee Friedlander: The Cray Photographs” Where: Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University When: The shows are up through June 16; gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays until 8 p.m. Cost: Free Info: Richard Misrach and Kate Orff will give a free talk at Stanford on May 13 at 6 p.m. in Annenberg Auditorium. For more about events and exhibits, go to or call 650-723-4177.

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Wide-open spaces New art-center curator envisions a world of exhibits in the revamped galleries by Rebecca Wallace


n her new job as curator at the Palo Alto Art Center, Lisa Ellsworth has a future of wide-open spaces. The freshly renovated galleries must be an inviting blank canvas for all the exhibitions she’s imagining. Ellsworth doesn’t yet have specifics on shows far into the future, which is understandable since she just started last week. But she does say that she’s interested in artists who connect with the community, like San Francisco illustrator Wendy MacNaughton, who draws the people, places and things around her. And Berkeley ceramicist and veteran Ehren Toole, who aims to raise awareness about war with his clay cups adorned with press molds of military insignia. She’s also a fan of artists who combine art and science, like the

geometry-minded Stanford design lecturer John Edmark. “I’m most interested in art that begs questions — art that implores us to consider the physical, virtual, intellectual and psychic spaces we inhabit and traverse as individuals and groups, the spaces wherein we come together and meet as a community,” Ellsworth said. A Palo Alto native who grew up in Los Altos, Ellsworth comes to the art center from the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, where she was project manager for the building of the Art Loft space. She then focused on developing a visual-arts program where kids got to take part in interactive exhibits. Sometimes artists would test out works in progress by doing demos with children. Ellsworth has also worked at

New Langton Arts, a now-closed San Francisco organization with gallery and performance space; and the Museum of Craft and Design, also in the city. She studied visual arts and media at the University of California at San Diego. Palo Alto Art Center director Karen Kienzle said it was a “daunting process” to replace Signe Mayfield, who retired in 2011 after 21 years as the center’s curator. Since the center has a major focus on children’s programs, she said she’s delighted to have found someone with a background in both education and visual art. “We’re excited to have a fresh perspective,” Kienzle said. “It’s clear that she can work with artists, and on big huge ambitious projects.” The center was closed for more than a year for renovation, with programs spread to temporary locations, but now it’s back showing quarterly exhibits at its home base. The multi-artist “Community Creates” show closes April 14, to be replaced by the annual “Youth Art” and “Cultural Kaleidoscope” exhibitions of art by local kids. Starting in June, an assemblage by Shenny Cruces called the “Community Heirloom Project” will be on exhibit. Residents have donated meaningful objects to be incorporated into Cruces’ porcelain sculptures. Also on display will be the ornate art of painter Julie Heffernan. “It tends toward the Baroque,” Ells-

Veronica Weber

Arts & Entertainment

Lisa Ellsworth, the new Palo Alto Art Center curator. worth said, flipping through a book of images. Many are of women in enormous skirts fashioned from colorful riches: fruit, bubbles, animals and flowers. N


Info: The Palo Alto Art Center is at 1313 Newell Road. For more about events and exhibits, go to or call 650-3292366.


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Fast food, Indian-style Tava Indian Kitchen is a small space with big flavors by Dale F. Bentson

Michelle Le


Tava Indian Kitchen’s vegetarian rice bowl features paneer, daal, spicy garbanzo beans, onions, tomatoes, cucumber and cilantro.


Cucina Venti

ons ervati s e r g in accept

able l i a v a ng cateri Now

ndian food is becoming trendy — and quick. Not that all food from the subcontinent is fast food. Far from it. But locally there are Curry Up, Tandoori Oven and Tava Indian Kitchen, all with contemporary menus that provide tasty, nourishing food at very reasonable prices. Tava opened one year ago behind Trader Joe’s in Town & Country Village in Palo Alto. It was the brainchild of Hasnain Zaidi and two college friends, who started their careers in corporate finance but soon heeded the call for something more exciting, rewarding and fulfilling. The partners have a second location near the financial district in San Francisco. “The perception of Indian food is that it is mysterious, heavy, un-

healthy, expensive and complicated,� Zaidi said. “At Tava, we use grass-fed lamb, roast and grind all our spices in-house, and make our own dough. It’s all about achieving complex layers of healthy flavors.� Tava Indian Kitchen is a diminutive space: a place to chow down, not get overly comfortable in. There are two tables that seat four each inside and five tables and a picnic bench outside, weather permitting. Be aware: During the school year, the backpack brigade from Palo Alto High School inhabits the area from about 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Not that they are unruly, but it just congests a very small space. It’s cafeteria-style and the food is assembled behind a Plexiglas shield but right before your eyes. A “tava� is a flat griddle, in this case

Acqua Pazza

Acqua Pazza, (meaning crazy water) is an old recipe of the ďŹ shermen of the Neapolitan area. The term itself most likely originated from Tuscany where the peasants would make wine, but had to give most to the landlord, leaving little LEFTFORTHEMTODRINK4HEPEASANTSWERERESOURCEFULANDMIXEDTHESTEMS SEEDS and pomace leftover from the wine production with large quantities of water, bringing it to a boil, then sealing in a terracotta vase allowing it for several days. Called l’acquarello or l’acqua pazza, the result was water barely colored with wine, which the ďŹ sherman may have been reminded of when seeing the BROTHOFTHEDISH COLOREDSLIGHTLYREDBYTHETOMATOESANDOIL)TBECAMEVERY POPULARINTHEUPSCALETOURISTY#APRI)SLANDINTHES

From our kitchen to yours. Buon appetito! Chef Marco Salvi, Executive Chef

Pesce all’Acqua Pazza Fish in Crazy Water



To cook: Place the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet and sautÊ on medium heat. As soon as the garlic begins to brown remove the garlic, add the pepper akes and let the oil cool.

1390 Pear Ave., Mountain View (650) 254-1120

Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday


Pour water into the pan with the cooled oil, about ½â€? deep. Add half of the parsley, the tomatoes and the lemon slices. Add the ďŹ sh slices, skin side down, and season the ďŹ sh lightly with salt; top with the rest of the parsley. Place the skillet back on the stove on medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil cook for about 10-15 minutes, turning the ďŹ sh to cook on the both sides. Make sure the ďŹ sh is only half covered by the water. Adjust salt, and add pepper if necessary. Transfer the ďŹ sh to warm plates, pour a little of the crazy water over and around the ďŹ sh, making sure to include some tomatoes. Toss in some black olives and serve immediately.

Eating Out

ShopTalk by Daryl Savage

ELEGANT YOGA STUDIO OPENS DOORS ... Palo Alto’s Midtown neighborhood is about to become home to one of the city’s more unusual projects. Spanning two floors at almost 7,000 square feet, Samyama is a notably large yoga center with unusual flair. The building at 2995 Middlefield Road gives an outsider few clues as to what goes on inside. Situated on a formerly weedy vacant site that once housed a gas station, the contemporary, artsy glass-and-metal structure took nearly three years to construct, said Samyama’s founder, 54-year-old Menlo Park resident John Berg. Add one more year to transform the interior into two yoga studios, a lounge with tea service, a retail store that sells yoga-related items, a massage room and spa-style bathrooms, and the vision that Berg had comes to life. The entrance is graced with lighted wall sculptures that lead into a dramatically curved, bambooadorned hallway. “We are more than a yoga center. We are a healing center. We want to build community. We want to encourage people to hang out here,” Berg said, adding that the lounge is one area where people may choose to linger. The lounge is sumptuously decorated with what Berg refers to as “Alice-in-Wonderland-type furniture,” with chandeliers that are also wind chimes, a purple leather throne-like chair, a long sofa whose back reaches up to form a triangle up the wall, and sheer curtains that divide the room into small nooks. “I call it tented-Moroccan style,” Berg said. Even the elevator is elaborate. It has mood lighting and plush deeppurple curtains adorning the walls for the short trip to the second floor. Berg is most proud of his large yoga studio, named “Ascension.” The floors, walls and ceiling are pure white. “People are moved when they enter this room. The space feels sacred. Some people cry. It feels like you’re up in the clouds,” he said. A former animator for Pixar Studios, Berg was diagnosed with lymphoma several years ago. During the healing process, he said: “Yoga found me. It changed me from ‘what can I get’ to ‘what can I give.’” That was 15 years ago and Berg has been involved in yoga ever since. As a teacher he has found prominence in the local yoga community. “But I don’t look at other yoga studios as competition, and I don’t want them to view me as competition. ... There’s room for all,” he said. Samyama’s grand opening is scheduled for April 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Yoga classes begin April 8. CORNER BAKERY COMING ... The Corner Bakery Cafe, a restaurant chain that specializes in pastries, breads, sandwiches and salads, is poised to move into the former Boston Market site at 3375 El Camino

Real in Palo Alto. Boston Market closed in January. “We’re looking at a late August/early September opening,” Corner Bakery spokesman John Sweeney said. The Palo Alto location will be the third of 32 Corner cafes destined for the Bay Area. Popular in the East, the Dallas-based franchise is heading west in a big way. “It will take about seven years to put all 32 restaurants in the Bay Area and then it will be difficult to travel anywhere in this area without running into a Corner Bakery,” Sweeney said. The Palo Alto location will seat about 170 people, including an outdoor patio. “Right now, we’re waiting for word from the city to see if our patio will be approved,” Sweeney said. T&C GETS A SECOND ICE CREAM SHOP ... Ice cream aficionados, listen up. In addition to Cold Stone Creamery, a second ice cream shop is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village. Taking over a prime corner location in the middle of the mall, Tin Pot Creamery will replace Honeys and Heroes, a children’sclothing boutique that moved to a smaller space next door. Tin Pot has developed a following after debuting its handcrafted ice-cream-of-themonth delivery service last year in San Francisco, and is known for its unusual pairings and flavors. Pastry chef and co-owner Becky Sunseri, a former Facebooker, calls Town & Country Village her “dream location.” The biggest crowd-pleasing flavor, she says, is her salted butterscotch with gooey brownie. FRESH MARKET NEARING FINISH LINE ... A new player is entering the fray in what some Palo Altans are now referring to as “the grocery wars.” Fresh Market is scheduled to open this summer in Edgewood Plaza. The approximately 20,000square-foot store, which prides itself on its European-style market, has more than 100 stores nationwide. The Palo Alto location will be Fresh Market’s second store in California. Other recent grocer activity includes the April 1 closing of Miki’s Farm Fresh Produce in Palo Alto’s Alma Village, after a mere six months in business; the April 19 grand opening of the 65,000-square-foot Safeway in Mountain View’s San Antonio Center; last month’s completion of a year-long expansion of Piazza Fine Foods in south Palo Alto; and an unexpected temporary hold for a planned renovation of JJ&F Market in Palo Alto’s College Terrace neighborhood.

Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out, or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out. Email shoptalk@

a custom-made griddle, used to flatten and heat the dough ball into flatbread. The stretchy, chewy wholewheat flatbread is used as a wrap for the burroti, a clever Indian-style burrito. The creations are stuffed and stretched to the limits. The burroti ($6.99) can be filled with marinated, slow-roasted shredded lamb; marinated chunks of grilled chicken; or vegetarian garbanzo beans that are steeped in ginger and garlic then cooked in coconut milk. Those are the bases, and then there’s a choice of sauces, tikka (tomato base) or daal (lentil). Finally, a selection of mild to hot curry sauces all topped off with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and chilies. That’s one fat burroti, but it can be difficult to eat, especially the last bites when the ingredients want to spill out. It can also be doughy where the folds come together. Despite those minor impediments, the burroti was delicious. I particularly liked the chicken-filled wrap with the tikka sauce. The protein-rich daal (lentil) sauce was chunkier and blander and needed the curry to

unify the flavors. There were other ways of eating the same ingredients, sans flatbread, made as a rice bowl or a salad bowl. The rice-lamb bowl ($7.99) was enticing with generous helpings of both rice and the mouthwatering lamb that was blanketed with the tikka sauce: a tomato-cream, yogurt and 14-spice concoction. The bowl was topped off with fresh chopped vegetables. I chose the medium-spicy cilantro-curry sauce to accompany. Very filling. There were other curry sauces to consider, tame to fiery, including the Tava Lava made with ghost peppers (bhut jolokia), one of the hottest peppers in the world — 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. Don’t worry: They blend it with other, less lethal ingredients. It’s a curry you will remember for a few hours. If the burroti, salad or rice bowls aren’t quite enough to sate the appetite, $3 will get you a bag of garlic naan chips with choice of chutneys for dipping — enough to share. Beverages are limited to soft drinks and a mango lassi ($2.79). Tava Indian Kitchen is probably

not the best place for a business meeting or a romantic repast. With a price tag of around $10 with beverage, though, it is a great place for quick, delicious, nourishing Indian food. It’s a small space with big flavors. I was impressed with the overall quality and that just about everything was made on premises. And parking wasn’t an issue, even at noontime. N Tava Indian Kitchen Town and Country Village 855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto 650-321-8282 Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Reservations

Credit cards

Lot parking




Takeout Highchairs

Wheelchair access

Catering Outdoor seating Noise level: Low Bathroom N/A


Discover the best places to eat this week! AMERICAN


Armadillo Willy’s

Chef Chu’s

941-2922 1031 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos

948-2696 1067 N. San Antonio Road

The Old Pro


326-1446 541 Ramona Street, Palo Alto

856-7700 1700 Embarcadero East, Palo Alto


New Tung Kee Noodle House

Sundance the Steakhouse

947-8888 520 Showers Drive, Mountain View

321-6798 1921 El Camino Real, Palo Alto


Janta Indian Restaurant Read and post reviews, explore restaurant menus, get hours and directions and more at ShopPaloAlto, ShopMenloPark and ShopMountainView

462-5903 369 Lytton Ave.

Thaiphoon 323-7700 543 Emerson Ave, Palo Alto

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Palo Alto Weekly 04.05.2013 - Section 2  

Section 2 of the April 5, 2013 edition of the Palo Alto Weekly

Palo Alto Weekly 04.05.2013 - Section 2  

Section 2 of the April 5, 2013 edition of the Palo Alto Weekly