Food. That's what's fueling Oakland these days, along with its sexy sidekick, art.
I witnessed it myself during Restaurant Week -- and then again last Friday -- as I stood in line for a killer Peruvian sandwich at one of a dozen tricked-out food trucks in downtown Oakland. It was the Oakland Museum of California's second Friday night foray into a partnership with Off the Grid -- a convoy of food trucks that travels -- en masse -- to events.
With music, a wine bar and strings of outdoor lights, the courtyard and cul-de-sac outside the museum took on a festival feel. It was a street party as joyful and safe as any I've ever attended, and in it I saw the future of Oakland.
Young people are bringing new energy to our town -- even as elected officials muddle through another year of government gridlock. Our restaurants, our art scene -- these are driving the economy now -- and they're attracting a new generation of citizens.
No longer does downtown depress me. I see the future -- and it's in the hands of the people half my age. I'm ready to pass the baton and do what I do best -- join the fun.
Eclectic collectors: Speaking of art, the Snuff Bottle Collectors of Northern California meet every other month at the Oakland Museum of California. Members say there's a lot of interest (and money) in these elegant receptacles, and the museum itself has quite a collection. In June, the Helen Pritchard Snuff
Email bag: I've heard of trail angels, but Pippa Smyth and her husband are tennis court angels. Montclair merchant Teresa Bozikis (TOUCH salon) says the Oakland couple has adopted the Montclair Park tennis courts by sweeping and picking up litter and planting flowers nearby. "They didn't seek permission or go to any group meeting; they simply care about the aesthetics of the Village," Bozikis says.
Bean counters: And finally, Oaklanders R.J. Leimpeter and Violett Slocum find out at 9:09 Friday morning if they've raised the $25,000 they need for a new coffee roaster. The young entrepreneurs are using Kickstarter to raise the cash for Timeless Coffee Roasters -- their new Piedmont Avenue bakery and coffee shop. The website lets "investors" pledge as little as $5 to upstarts. Businesses have one month to reach their goal.