Tulips and daffodils are April's eye candy. From the look of things, it's going to be a sweet spring in Oakland. Flowers are popping up all over town, including dozens of yellow daffodils near the Railroad Trail along Shepherd Canyon Road. Who planted them? Trail angels, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, the tulips are springing up in en masse at Mountain View Cemetery on upper Broadway. You may want to time your visit for next weekend, when the eighth Tower Chapel Tulip Exhibition is held.
TABLE TALK: Corks were popping and Viva Vocé was hopping last weekend in the Oakland hills. The popular Thornhill Drive cafe now has its own wine expert who splits time between Napa and Montclair. Santino Williams has put together an impressive list of wines, including an herbaceous sauv blanc from France's Loire Valley (pairs perfectly with calamari and bruschetta); a refreshing rosé with nice upfront notes of strawberry and white cherry (yummy with salmon or pancetta-wrapped prawns); and my favorite, with Trini's lemon/caper sole, a Santa Barbara chardonnay -- the best in its price range -- with "big, ripe notes of tropical fruits and lots of citrus." No wonder this restaurant is thriving in a location that's seen significant turnover. Happy third anniversary to Viva Vocé.
Around town: Friends and family gathered this week to remember Jim Prendergast. Jim was a favorite employee at the Montclair Library, where he worked until last November when his health started to fail. He passed away March 14 of lung disease, but will always be remembered as the man with the wry wit and impressive knowledge of books.
The Brad Shaw Pancake Breakfast grossed about $3,500 for the Boy Scouts on March 17 at Corpus Christi School. The scouts and adult volunteers fed a steady flow of customers, many who came to remember the popular Scout leader who passed away last year in a fishing accident.
Friends of the Oakland Public Library volunteer Kathleen Hirooka has asked me to plug the April 4-7 sale at the Bookmark Bookstore. "Most of the store's 17,000 books are $2 to $6," she says, and cover everything from cookbooks to mysteries and children's books. Proceeds benefit the libraries, and you can find out more at www.thebookmarkbookstore.org.