It's Friday night, and it looks like a street fair on Piedmont Avenue. The line at Fentons Creamery snakes out the door. Ditto for Bar César and a half-dozen other eateries.
Add to the mix a new restaurant called Homestead (4029 Piedmont Ave.) -- which can only intensify the buzz. Even to the casual diner, the recipe for success here is clear: one part architecture, (a red brick Julia Morgan gem) an open kitchen with large wood burning oven and a focus on fresh, farm-to-fork dishes.
Oakland's newest restaurant by husband-and-wife chefs Fred and Elizabeth Sassen feeds right into the neighborhood's food frenzy. There are so many house-made offerings at Homestead, it's hard to decide what to order. Thankfully, everything is delicious and the service exceeds expectations. Homestead opened Aug. 8 and serves dinner only Tuesday through Sunday, but the owners hope to be open for breakfast sometime soon.
Around town: A scene in the film about Oscar Grant, "Fruitvale Station," may seem more than a bit familiar. The store where Grant bought a greeting card is none other than Annie's Hallmark in Montclair. The shop may or may not have been where Grant actually got the card, but the place is photogenic and for filming purposes it's the only Hallmark in Oakland.
Montclair's newest art gallery isn't in a coffee shop or even a real estate office. It's in the back dining room at Crogan's. Eric Grbich (son of Oakland artist Michael Grbich) is showing eight of his large sports-themed oil paintings in the popular bar/restaurant. Each piece is for sale and portrays a different athlete in sports from baseball to boxing. Eric is even taking special requests for sports celebrities that may grace the walls in the future.
House party: Want a unique way to entertain guests at your next party? Two Bay Area musicians are hosting a series of mini-concerts in homes across America. The Oakland-based performer known simply as Artemis has joined multi-instrumentalist Daniel Berkman to bring back salon-style performing in intimate living room settings. Reader Audrey Daniels says it's a cool concept that helps support local musicians and makes for an amazing party. Find out more at http://www.artemis.fm/summerfall-house-concert-series/.
On canvas: One of San Francisco's most beloved paintings has returned to its rightful place -- behind the renowned Pied Piper Bar in the Palace Hotel. The Pied Piper of Hamelin, painted in 1909 by famed artist Maxfield Parrish, was removed for restoration several months ago after smoke and other elements had dulled its natural beauty. The Palace Hotel is celebrating its return with overnight packages, a holiday ornament and even a cocktail in its honor.