The Mozart of Fly Casting (The New York Times) Maxine McCormick began fly casting when she was 9 years old. At 14, she has back-to-back world titles.
The Electric Forest Acid Testers” (Pacific Standard) Your ecstasy is actually bath salts, your coke is actually meth, your LSD is actually a dangerous new research chemical. The Bunk Police don’t care if you do drugs—they just want you to test them first.
Believe it or not, pigeons aren’t half-bad as pets Why one Bay Area pigeon rescue is trying to rebrand the “rats with wings” as the ideal pet. (For the Post’s Animalia blog)
The ‘extreme extrovert’ on a mission to make you love ping pong (The Guardian) My profile on Adam Bobrow, perhaps the world’s only full-time table tennis commentator.
The Dumpling That Comforts Poland (BBC) Pierogi, a mainstay of the Polish diet since the 17th Century, remains both a nostalgic dish and a way for chefs to flex their creative muscle.
“The Best Place to Buy Your Whiskey is Actually the Duty Free.” Pick up a bottle the next time you fly.
“A Band of Biking Farmers in Florida Reinvents Sharecropping” Fleet Farming transforms lawns into farms to create a new local food system.
“Milk Chocolate Is Finally Getting the Respect It Deserves” (Food & Wine) As the world of craft chocolate has grown, high-end chocolatiers are turning their attention to the complexities of milk chocolate.
“7 Steps You Should Take To Detox The Air In Your Home” The air quality in your home is just as important as the quality outside it—here’s how to avoid potential health problems.
“Jell-O Shots Grow Up” The rise of fancy Jell-O shots–featuring a Navy Christmas party and a famous musician–and how to make Aviation Jell-O shots at home.
“Why the Jelly Belly Factory Has a Shrine to Ronald Reagan” (Atlas Obscura) Candy with a side of Gipper adulation.
“The $30 Serum Reddit Is Obsessed With” How the cheerful Asian Beauty subreddit inspired a cult product.
“Pop-Tarts Are Flammable, So We Set Some on Fire” The science behind the most explosive breakfast pastry, featuring a patient food scientist, an arson investigator and Dave Barry.
“The Wild and Crazy History of Baking Powder” The ongoing war over everyone’s favorite leavening agent.
“Can Pee-Resistant Paint Stop the Scourge of Public Urination?” I learned about (and tried) walls painted with a hydrophobic coating in SF and Berkeley. I also learned the delightful German word for people who pee in public: wildpinklers.
“Why A South Korean Brewery Moved To California To Make Korean Beer” (NPR) The story behind a Seoul-based brewery’s move to California’s Humboldt County.
“Cooking For Cancer Patients, Teens Learn More Than Recipes” A look inside Ceres Community Project.
“How An 11-Year-Old Boy Invented The Popsicle” (6/22/15) The Salt (NPR’s food blog. This was originally published on Bay Area Bites)
“Going Against The Grain: FDA Threatens Brewers’ Feed For Farmers” (6/20/14) The Salt (NPR’s food blog. This was originally published on Bay Area Bites)
“The Line Remaking Men’s Clothes For Women’s Bodies” How do you reshape men’s suits for the bodies of women and transmen? I talked to Oakland-based designer Saint Harridan to find out.
“Why You Should Be Taking Style Advice From Chinatown’s Seniors” I talked to the girls behind a blog chronicling the fly fashions of seniors in SF’s Chinatown.
“How To Decolonize Your Diet” (11/27/15) The importance of indigenous foods.
“Will You Eat CRISPR Produce?” Gene editing will make plants hardier and healthier. Hopefully people won’t freak out.
“Machine Learning Illuminates the Body’s Dark Matter” A startup finds patterns that experts in personalized medicine say they couldn’t see before.
“Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith Explains His Colorful, Abstract Musical Notation” Smith explains his Ankhrasmation style of notation.
“Steve Reich’s Turning 80 — Here’s Where You’ve Heard Him Before” An exploration of Reich’s influence on everything from EDM to movie scores.
“Meet Bad Transfer, The Bus-Driving Rock Stars of Golden Gate Transit” In 2006, a Golden Gate Transit bus driver got bored of watching ‘Judge Judy’ on his breaks between shifts and picked up a guitar — and the rest is rock ‘n’ roll history.
“Trap Karaoke Turns Hip-Hop Dreams Into Reality in West Oakland” I set my ambivalence about Future aside to do Trap Karaoke in a West Oakland backyard, and it was as fun as it sounds.
“In Downtown Berkeley, A Grand Rebirth for the UC Theatre” After a 15-year hiatus, the doors are open again at the UC Theatre — with a concert-promotions veteran at the helm for a new program of live music instead of film.
“Atwood, Franzen and Witches: 10 Fall Books to Anticipate” (8/24/15) Here are ten fall books to look forward to — some are zeitgeisty, some have Bay Area connections, but all will keep you entertained through a season of gift-giving, family obligations, and (hopefully) rainy nights.
“Feelin’ Like Yeeee: Oakland Art Show Honors Mac Dre” (4/21/15) Talked to the organizer behind the world’s first Mac Dre art show: “I have two heroes, Mac Dre [and] Nikola Tesla.”
“The Five Smartest Things Tavi Gevinson Said Last Night” (3/26/15) The 18-year-old queen of all media talked everything from feminism to Donnie Darko at the Commonwealth Club last night.
“Ghosts, Royals And Singing Swedes: 108 Years of the Swedish American Hall” (2/15/15) After more than a hundred years as a Scandinavian meeting spot, a low key wedding venue, and “that weird building on Market Street that looks like a ski lodge,” the Swedish American Hall is trying on a new identity.
“Amidst Vinyl Boom, Pirates Press Sees Unprecedented Expansion” (1/21/15) While vinyl record sales enjoy a resurgence that shows no sign of slowing, the future of the industry depends on the manufacture of new vinyl pressing machines—and San Francisco’s Pirates Press is first in line.
Wondering where to get the best ___? Here are my guides to mac and cheese, Mediterranean food, cold brew, dumplings, dosas, pizza by the slice, kombucha, breakfast burritos, waffles, fried chicken sandwiches, meal-sized salads, fresh pasta, pancakes, breakfast hashes and green juice in the Bay Area.
North Bay Restaurants Are Still Here and Need Your Support” (KQED) As the Northern California fires burned, these restaurant owners helped others as they grappled with uncertainty and loss. Now, as they start to move forward, many share the same worry: will their industry be able to recover?
“Gastropig: A New Destination For Breakfast Sandwiches In Uptown Oakland” Why is it that some restaurateurs feel compelled to give common breakfast dishes names better suited to a Pornhub search?
“Here’s Why 2016 Was Rough For Bay Area Restaurants” The trials and tribulations of running a restaurant in the Bay Area.
“Where To Get the Best Fresh Noodles In Oakland” Since 1931, Oakland Chinatown’s Yuen Hop has been the place to go for fresh noodles.
“Icelandic Yogurt Comes To The Bay Area (And Your Fridge)” Can Petaluma’s Smári do for skyr what Fage and Chobani did for Greek yogurt?
“How To Throw The Country’s Most Extravagant Super Bowl Party” I talked to the people behind this year’s $700 Players Super Bowl Tailgate extravaganza.
“Your New Favorite Energy Drink: An Exclusive Club (Mate) Comes To SF” It’s more caffeinated than coffee, contains less sugar than Red Bull and is beloved by insomniacs all over the globe. Club Mate is virtually unknown in most of the US–except in rare, tech-centric pockets like San Francisco, where it’s become an increasingly common sight.
“Holiday Taste Test: 6 California Eggnogs” (12/14/15) Take a Lactaid and drink some eggnog with me!
“Project Homeless Connect Provides Diverse Resources for Homeless San Franciscans” (12/7/15) A charity helps homeless SF residents navigate the labyrinth of resources available in all day events offering help with everything from pet care to dental work.
“How Oakland’s Roots of Change is Transforming Food Policy in California” (11/13/15) How the Oakland “think and do tank” is changing California’s food systems.
“Race, Money and Food: Talking To The Oakland Food Policy Council” (10/12/15) The OFPC helps change the conversation about food to one that’s more intersectional and inclusive.
“Fighting World Hunger The Buddhist Way” (10/9/15) How a local Buddhist group enacts real world change in their community.
“Bay Area Bites Guide to 5 Favorite Fusion Dishes” (9/25/15) From Indian pizza to ramen burgers, this guide highlights five of the Bay Area’s most popular cross-cultural fusion foods.
“Eating Vegan and Gluten-Free Fast Food at Amy’s Drive Thru in Rohnert Park” (9/21/15) Amy’s Drive Thru promises to be the most inclusive fast food in the country–but how’s it taste?
“Drake’s Dealership: Drake’s Brewing Expands Its Empire With Sprawling, Sunny Oakland Beergarden” (8/27/15) With a gloriously large patio and well thought out menu, Drake’s attempt to expand their empire is mostly a success.
“Chicory Coffee, Mint Lemonade And Kefir Water: 5 New Local Bottled Drinks” (8/5/15) The drink aisles in the Bay Area have swelled, with several new locally made bottled drinks trying to make their way into your fridge and heart, armed with artful packaging, organic labels and promises both humble (good tasting coffee) and grand (improving your gastrointestinal tract). Here are a few options for some novel bottled drinks made locally.
“‘Better Than Ice Cream’: Frozen Custard Comes To the Bay Area” (7/31/15) I profiled (and taste tested!) the places bringing the Midwest treat to us West Coast rubes.
“Bay Area Bites Guide to 7 Favorite East Bay Soft Serve Spots” (7/1/15) Soft serve options in the East Bay, ranging from fancy (buffalo milk, vegan) to classic (Fosters Freeze).
“Who Is Behind Those Water Signs On I-5?” (5/19/15) Have you ever driven down California’s Interstate 5 and wondered just who is behind those angry, vaguely conservative signs about water issues along the freeway (“No Water = No Jobs” “Congress Created The Dust Bowl”)? Meet the group that’s behind them.
“Japanese Craft Beer Comes to Oakland — And Here’s What You Should Try” (5/9/15) Background on Umami Mart’s extensive collection of Japanese beer and a taste test of some notable beers, including a miso lager.
“Project Open Hand Turns 30: An Iconic San Francisco Nonprofit Looks Forward” (4/28/15) Profile of the SF org that got its start delivering spaghetti, mac and cheese and meatloaf to AIDS patients in the 80s and now serves 2,500 healthy meals a day to SF and Alameda Country residents with a wide range of health problems.
“Two New Berkeley Cafes Offer Butter In Your Coffee And Kava In Your Tea” (3/24/15) I drank some buttery coffee and dirty tasting kava. Both were ok!
“Why Is There PBR In My Food?” (3/19/15) How the iconic beer ended up in three Oakland dishes.
“‘Fair Wage Food Tastes Better’: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Talks Minimum Wage Hike” (3/5/14) Oakland’s new mayor discusses the $12.25 minimum wage, urban agriculture, and where to get the best cheese ice cream.
“Bittman Does Berkeley: Talking Food Politics With Mark Bittman” (2/13/15) “People are suffering. We need to fix that, but that’s not a cooking problem. If there’s a cooking problem, I can solve it. Cooking is easy. Social justice problems are not so easy.”
“Bay Area Bites Guide To 5 Movie Theaters Serving Food and Alcoholic Beverages” (2/7/15) Date night just got easier with this list of five local theaters that serve more than just popcorn and Junior Mints.
“The Roast With The Most: Talking Shop With Coffee Review” (1/21/15) I talked about trends, best buys, and slurping with the obsessives behind Coffee Review.
“No More Gift Cards: 10 Local Food Gifts For Your Holiday Season” (12/12/14) Surprise everyone on your list with picks from this collection of local, delicious gift ideas, from cheesemaking classes to custom tea blends.
“First Look: Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley” (12/10/14) Canadian chain that’s been “clogging arteries since 2008” opens first US store in Berkeley.
“Pumpkin Beer And Beyond: 9 Local Bay Area Seasonal Booze Options” (11/21/14) Drink in season with this diverse collection of beer and spirits from around the Bay Area, from pumpkin barleywine to applejack.
“Bay Area Bites Guide to 10 Favorite East Bay Bagels” (10/14/14) Don’t listen to what the New Yorkers say: you can find a good bagel in the Bay Area.
“Barista Secrets: 3 Tips For A Better At-Home Cup” (9/4/14) You’ve bought a French press, $50 burr grinder, and coffee from your favorite local roaster—so why doesn’t your coffee made at home taste as good as it does in their stores?
“Sweet Revenge: Dr. Robert Lustig Explains How to Cut Sugar, Lose Weight and Turn the Tables On Processed Foods” (8/6/14) The UCSF endocrinologist tells you how (and why) to start reducing sugar in your diet…and yes, you can still eat dessert.
“Drew Ackerman Will Bore You to Sleep, And His Fans Love Him for It“(Alameda Magazine) Ackerman couldn’t sleep as a kid, so now he tells rambling, sleep-inducing stories on his wildly successful podcast.
“Are Co-Ops a Solution to the Industry’s Instability?“Like many bar owners, Andrew Friedman found himself in a financial pinch when his bar wasn’t earning what it needed — but instead of selling, he is turning Liberty into a co-op, owned and run by its employees.
“Go Green: Why You Should Be Using Matcha in Cocktails” Matcha is more than just fancy powdered green tea — it boasts complex flavors, health perks and trend value that make it a killer cocktail ingredient. Find out why bars around the country are incorporating it into their drinks and how you can do the same.
“Spritz” is Your Guide to Bubbly, Bitter, Low-ABV Summer Drinking “Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes” by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau is a guide to the bubbly, bitter and low-ABV Italian cocktail you should be drinking this summer.
“In Defense of Vodka” We explore why vodka is treated with disdain by much of the bartending community, and how some bartenders are attempting to restore the spirit’s good name.
“How to Hear Your Customers: 5 Tips from High-Volume Pros” From ear plugs to lip reading, tips on how to communicate with customers when it’s noisy.
“Inside the Mind of A Cocktail Competition Judge” What stands out in a competition judge’s mind? Here are some expert tips on how to impress the judges at your next competition, straight from the source.
“How to Serve Gluten-Free Customers” How do you keep gluten-free patrons both safe and happy? It’s easier than you might think. We give you the keys to stellar gluten-free service.
“How a San Francisco Cafe Brought the Irish Coffee to America” Hanging out with the army of dapper 60-something bartenders at the Buena Vista.
“How to Use Red Wine in Your Cocktails” (12/18/15) For the enterprising bartender willing to experiment, red wine can be a delicious and versatile cocktail component. Here’s how you can use it.
“How Bartenders Can Become Brand Ambassadors” (10/20/15) We talked with three brand ambassadors (and former bartenders) for their intel on how they worked their way up the ranks.
“Meet the Cocktail Cherry Worthy of Your Manhattan” (9/15/15) Fabbri’s been perfecting their amarena cherry recipe for over a century—all the more reason not to defile a perfectly good drink with the sugary, artificially flavored jarred stuff.
“The Milky Way” Where to find the best milk stouts in the East Bay.
“The Fight Against the Penny” (East Bay Express) 4/3/13 Cheeseboard Pizzeria and Mike’s Bikes in Berkeley have stopped using pennies and are part of a growing group of activists who say the wasteful coin should be taken out of circulation. This story was aggregated by Salon and The Huffington Post.
“Finding the Funk In the Library” (East Bay Express) 1/8/14 Librarians at the Berkeley Public Library show off their music collection by throwing a monthly dance party.
“A Really Long, Mostly Positive Interview About GMO Technology” (The Toast) 11/25/13 “You hear people talking about Frankenfoods, or those cartoons with the eyes on the corn–that’s terrifying.”
“Parties On A Budget: The Six Pack Swap” (The Billfold) 8/5/13 How to throw a super cheap party that will leave your friends full and tipsy.
“This Is How I Made Cash Quickly” (The Bold Italic) 10/10/13 Adventures in the Craigslist “Etc” section
“Game of Allophones: Word Whiz Creates Languages for Shows Like Game of Thrones” (Summer 2014 issue of California Magazine) I profiled the UC Berkeley alum who creates languages for a living. They cut it from the article, but in case you want to say “Go Bears!” in the Game of Thrones world, it’s “Hajas, zhey hlizifi!” in Dothraki, and “Kostātās, gryvesses!” in High Valyrian.
“Aiming To Be a Small World After All: Cal’s Plan to Shrink a Big, ‘Impersonal’ Campus” (California magazine blog) 5/2/14 Can you replicate the atmosphere of a small liberal arts school at a huge research university?
“Stinging Indictment: Cal Alum’s Warning About the Spread of Jellyfish” (California magazine blog) 10/21/13 I talked to a jellyfish expert about environmental damage, the San Francisco Bay and a jellyfish the color of a “fine burgundy wine.”
“Cyber Stalking: Cal App Creates ‘Heat Map’ Of Your Movements” (California magazine blog) 9/9/13 When you post something on Twitter or Instagram through your phone, all you see is your tweet or picture, but there’s a wealth of information contained in the automatically generated metadata—including your location, the time you posted and more.
“Plugging In Homeless” (Northbay Bohemian cover story) 6/29/11 When even life on the streets requires constant connectivity, the North Bay’s homeless population embraces creative uses of modern technology
“A New Hue” (Northbay Bohemian) 4/27/11 ArtWorks portrait show features local celebrities, unfettered approaches
“Curator’s Currency” (Northbay Bohemian) 2/16/11 Robert Wuilfe steps in at di Rosa with Enrique Chagoya’s ‘Surviving Paradise’
“Touch Me Here” (Northbay Bohemian) 2/9/11 “‘Unless you are a gay man,’ Amber Madison says, ‘a vagina is a huge part of your sex life.'”