Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pygmalion Opening May 31st – June 23rd at Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette

Pygmalion, a 1912 play written by George Bernard Shaw is opening tonight at the Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette and runs through June 23rd.

From the Town Halle Theatre website:

Renowned linguist Henry Higgins makes a wager that he can transform young Eliza into a sophisticated lady.  But will changing her speech change her mind?

Show-at-a-glance:

Rated:  PG
Running Time:  approx. 2 1/2 hrs. including one 15-minute intermission

Featuring:
Jennie Brick – Mrs. Eynsford-Hill
Tiffany Hoover – Mrs. Pearce/Bystander/Parlor Maid/Constable
Ann Kendrick – Mrs. Higgins
Jenna Stitch – Clara
Chris Parnell-Hayes – Mr. Doolittle
Ginny Wehrmeister – Eliza Doolittle
Michael Scott Wells – Freddy
Don Wood – Col. Pickering
Clive Worsley – Prof. Henry Higgins

Tickets may purchased by visiting their website.

Asian Street Food Restaurant May be Coming to Lafayette in “The Art Room” Location

According to a project recently submitted to the Lafayette Design Review Commission, a new restaurant called Boo Koo, serving Asian street food, may be headed to Lafayette where The Art Room and The Lafayette Art Gallery are currently located, across from Chow. From the plan:

The concept focuses on a transparent façade that provides for a substantial indoor outdoor relationship and that utilizes the existing ambiance provided by the mature trees and the active uses across Lafayette Circle.

Boo Koo’s current location is in Mill Valley. From their website:

Boo Koo serves Southeast Asian street food with a California twist: fresh, healthy, and flavorful dishes that are both fast and affordable. Everything’s made here (no preservatives or MSG) and we source meats and produce locally. Our basic menu is vegan, customizable with high-quality proteins, from wild salmon and free-range chicken to natural pork and grassfed beef. Constantly changing specials keep things seasonal and creative.

The Mill Valley menu is here. Apparently a search for a new location for the Lafayette Art Gallery is being conducted so it can be relocated nearby.

What do you think of the The Art Room building going away to make room for this restaurant? Does this hold promise? Has anyone been to the Mill Valley location?

When Science Fiction Meets Reality

Over the weekend I had a chance to check out the Bay Area KidFest in Concord with my kid which was fun, and afterwards we headed over to Baskin-Robbins at Todos Santos Plaza for some much needed ice cream. Before entering I noticed a big poster promoting a Men in Black III ice cream tie-in. Although I haven’t seen the third movie yet, I have seen the first Men in Black, and remember the striking image of the Tony Shaloub character Jack Jeebs regrowing his head.

So with that frame of reference, we entered the store and sitting right at front is a woman with a very small head. I hesitated for a moment, wondering if I was hallucinating slightly, or maybe it was an extended promotion for the movie due to the nearby KidFest. Not wanting to be rude by staring, I quickly noted that she was dressed normally, having a conversation with someone else, and so I decided which ice cream flavor to get.

It was only later, when I got home, that I found out that there is a neurodevelopmental disorder called Microcephaly, “in which the circumference of the head is more than two standard deviations smaller than average for the person’s age and sex.”

Lafayette Parking Meters are Too Damn High

The new Lafayette parking meters that accept credit cards on Mt. Diablo Blvd. near the Mercantile Building are really high. So high that as I was walking there one recent afternoon a woman asked me how much time she had on her meter. At first I didn’t understand, surely she could just look at the screen and see for herself. Then I realized that for people under about 5′ 3″, it’s very hard, if not impossible to view the parking meter screen. That because the meters there are 60 inches tall (5 feet), and angled up. In comparison, the same parking meters in Walnut Creek are a full 4 inches shorter at 56 inches. I hope these are part of a test, because they need to be significantly lowered to be usable by shorter people. Has anyone had problems with these meters?

Note: I couldn’t resist taking the headline from the Rent is Too Damn High Party.

Barbacoa Opening June 5th in Orinda


Last month I noted that the hotly anticipated wood-fired Mexican Grill Barbacoa would be opening sometime in June and I have now learned that it will open next Tuesday, June 5th for dinner. Lunch service will follow sometime in the future. How cool is that sign?

Check out the awesome outdoor patio in front:

With Table 24 (same owners) and Shelby’s nearby, Orinda Theater Square is becoming a great dining destination. I can’t wait to try this place out.

Moraga School District Sexual Abuse Response Investigation Continues

The superintendent of the Moraga School District Bruce Burns must be really feeling the heat from the recent Contra Costa Times article detailing the failure to report sexual abuse from the 90s by Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School principal and current Los Perales Elementary principal Bill Walters because he has responded yet again with the following:

As most of you are probably aware, there have been several recent newspaper articles regarding events that occurred in the District in the 1990’s. These events included alleged sexual abuse of children. This is a very serious issue, as the safety of our children is paramount to the District. I have received several recent inquiries from parents about what the District knew about the allegations being discussed in the newspaper articles. The purpose of this communication is to provide some information about the District’s actions related to these allegations, and to assure the community that the District is responding appropriately and taking these issues very seriously. At the same time, as I’m sure many of you are also aware, I am legally limited in what I can disclose about any ongoing investigations or certain personnel matters.

The District recently received a request for records from the Bay Area News Group regarding the incidents that were alleged to have occurred in the District in the 1990’s. In responding to the request, I directed District staff to conduct an extensive search through the District’s records. That is when I became aware of the specific issues now being addressed by the press. The District worked cooperatively with the Bay Area News Group to provide the requested information in a timely fashion while ensuring that we complied with all applicable laws. The Bay Area News Group is to be commended for their inquiry, which served to alert me to the past incidents. Upon becoming aware of the specific issues that were subject of the document requests, I began an immediate investigation, including reviewing the documents in question and interviewing current and former employees, and consulting with the District’s legal counsel. Unfortunately, the District cannot comment on personnel matters, but I assure you that the District has taken appropriate and timely action following the completion of our investigation. Contrary to any suggestions otherwise, the District has not delayed its actions or investigations in this matter.

As stated in my earlier communication to parents, the safety of all District students is of paramount importance. The District has investigated all allegations of misconduct by District employees that have been brought to our attention, and we will continue to investigate and appropriately act in all such instances in the future. I thank the parent community for their concern, their caring, and their thoughtful inquiries, and continue to welcome dialogue on these important issues.

Reading between the lines what does one make of this? That Principal Walters, who was expected to retire by the end of the current school year, has been put on indefinite leave until he retires? That’s my guess.

Neiman Marcus Cafe in Walnut Creek Now Offering Prix Fixe Dinner Menu Option


Back in April I raved about the Neiman Marcus Cafe popovers in downtown Walnut Creek thanks to the first ever Walnut Creek restaurant week in which I was able to eat lunch there for a reasonable $20 which included an appetizer, entree, dessert and those delicious popovers, with strawberry butter of course. It looks like I wasn’t the only one to take advantage of the special prix fixe menu because the Walnut Creek NM Cafe has decided to offer a prix fixe dinner option year round, for $30. The menu will change weekly and the full menu will still be offered as well.

I had a chance to dine there last week (Kristi Yamaguchi was sitting a few tables away), and as you can see, both the dessert and entree look (and tasted) amazing. The photo above is the “Apple Brown Betty”, consisting of warm sweetened brioche & caramelized apples topped with vanilla and caramel sauce, and below feast your eyes on the chili-lime glazed scallop:

I also had a chance to try some other dishes and my favorites were the short rib pasta with house-made pappardelle pasta, cabernet marinara, parsnip puree, pistachio-parmesan persillade, and blackened Mahi consisting of rouille shrimp risotto, cajun Beurre Blanc, roasted corn & poblano relish. This week’s menu offers the short rib pasta and pan-seared Mahi Mahi.

These dishes come from executive chef Santana Diaz who I briefly met:

Santana has worked in the culinary world for many years, includes stints as the sous chef for the Sacramento Kings, including coaches, player’s families and celebrity VIPs, as well at Taste and The Firehouse in Sacramento.

We will be offering a last seating at 8PM Monday-Friday, Saturday last seating at 7PM, and last seating Sundays at 6PM. Along side the full menu offered daily we will also have a 3 course prix fixe menu offered for $30 per person! Customers may choose the entree-only option from the prix fixe menu if they do not want all three courses as well. The entrees for the prix fixe menu will always offer one seafood entree and one “land” entree for variety and I will be changing the entree options for the prix fixe every week to keep it original. We will also offer a special soup, salad, sandwich, entree, and dessert which will change daily and offered concurrent with the regular menu and prix fixe menu.

The Neiman Marcus Cafe is located on the 2nd floor of Neiman Marcus at the corner of Main St. and Mt. Diablo Blvd. across the street from Tiffany & Co.

New “Almond Station” Homes Coming to Downtown Walnut Creek


At the intersection of Almond Ave. and Oakland Blvd. in downtown Walnut Creek, 9 new homes are being built by Ryder Homes, to be called “Almond Station“. 7 of the homes will be single family, with one duplex unit for a total of 9.

The location is amazing, within 10 minutes walking distance to both the Walnut Creek Bart station, and downtown Walnut Creek as well:


View Larger Map

Elena Yakoubovksy to Perform at Lafayette Library – June 1st

From the Amici Lyric Opera website:

What: Elena Yakoubovksy in Concert
When: Friday, June 1st
Where: Lafayette Library Community Hall
How much: $15 – $20

ElenaYakoubovsky,  lyrico-dramatic soprano, made her opera debut in 2005 as Tatiana inTchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. She has recently appeared as Liza in Tchaikovky’s Queen ofSpades at West Bay Opera,  Annina in La Traviatta with Capitol Opera, as Mimi in La Boheme and as Micaela in Carmen with Danville Lyric Opera. Elena has electrified audiences around of the Bay area with her magnetic and expressive performances.