Posts From August 2009

Lama Thogme, a highly revered mandala artist who will be in attendance at the San Francisco Grace Cathedral, is shown here working with a Tools For Peace camper to create a sand mandala.

August 31, 2009

Tibetan Lamas Create Mandalas in Grace Cathedral

Bay Area Unites to Raise Awareness and Funds for Tools for Peace™

Mandala represents the complete qualities of enlightened mind. Mandalas can be two-dimensional, such as a painting or a sand mandala, or they can be more intricately represented in three-dimensions. The Tools For Peace curriculum uses the blueprint of the Tibetan Shi-tro Mandala, a symbolic representation of peaceful existence that can help us conceptualize harmony within our world and ourselves.

San Francisco, Aug.31, 2009—For one week in September (Sept. 21–25) four Tibetan lamas and selected students will work daily in the quiet and peace of the north transept of Grace Cathedral creating traditional and community sand mandalas, side by side. In this extraordinary setting and by this unique artistic and spiritual endeavor, participants hope to build awareness for Tools for Peace, a program founded by the venerable Lama Chodak Gyasto Nubpa.

Tools for Peace programs provide participants with the support they need to actively incorporate compassion, peace, and well-being into their daily lives, communities, and our world. Tools for Schools empowers students by teaching them how to cultivate compassion through motivation, mindfulness, meditation.

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Tibetan Lamas Create Mandalas in Grace Cathedral


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Jack London Square, the new location of Pan-American restaurant Bocanova. Photos by Ashley Teplin

August 24, 2009

Jack London Revival Starts with Bocanova

Jack London Square's Exciting New Dining Scene
Kicks Off with the Pan-American Restaurant, Bocanova

The Oakland waterfront has been a bustling commercial hub for more than a 150 years—the Transcontinental Railroad ended at the city's Long Wharf terminal, and Oakland later grew into one of the largest shipping ports on the West Coast—it still is, but today there is a growing vibrant life, focused around historic Jack London Square.

The Square, named for the celebrated author ("The Call of the Wild", "The Sea-Wolf") who spent much of his boyhood here in the late 19th century, is in the midst of a $350 million renovation by Ellis Partners. They will bring 100,000 square feet of new Class A office and retail space, a 72,000-square-foot public market modeled after San Francisco's Ferry Plaza, and a community of exciting new restaurants.

The first of these to open will be Bocanova, with its unique "Pan-American kitchen" created by Rick Hackett, executive chef at San Francisco's popular MarketBar, and his wife and front-of-the-house partner, Meredith Melville. Bringing new life to in a 1926-vintage ice warehouse, Bocanova is opening on September 1 and will feature dishes inspired by the cuisines of South, Central, and North America, showcasing their Mediterranean roots and featuring great Northern California raw ingredients, many of them sourced from small sustainable farms. Specialties might include fried Petrale Sole tacos, Yucatan seafood stew, slow-roasted heirloom beans with chorizo, Sea of Cortez scallops with Brazilian curry sauce, organic rotisserie chicken with guajillo chile & banana salsa, and Argentinean-style steaks from the grill. Ceviches and crudos will come from the extensive raw bar, and a one-of-a-kind selection of unusual but menu-appropriate wines from the Americas and beyond will be featured.

Noted Bay Area architect Michael Guthrie (Bix, Myth, Zinnia) has employed recycled and sustainably harvested materials, including wood, stone, glass, tile & textiles to bring warmth and verve to the stunning Bocanova space, with its soaring ceilings, magnificent concrete columns, and floor-to-ceiling south- and west-facing windows providing unparalleled views.

Other participants in what will soon become Jack London Square's flourishing culinary scene include Daniel Patterson (Coi) and Lauren Kiino (Delfina), whose Bracina will highlight "rustic-refined California cuisine". Richard Corbo, formerly of Ducca in San Francisco, will start his own pizzeria project called Pizzeria Zanna Bianca, and it will follow in the footsteps of the Bay Area's ubiquitous rustic Italian pizzerias/eateries. Meg Ray of the acclaimed Miette Patisserie plans to open a retail shop and baking school.

“Having lived all over the Bay Area, Meredith and I bought a house in Oakland five years ago," says Hackett, "Oakland is to San Francisco what Brooklyn was to Manhattan— we're proud to be a part of this exciting and diverse city.”

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Pulled Pork, Coleslaw and the St. Louis Cut Ribs from Bounty Hunter Smokin’ BBQ in Napa. Photo by Ashley Teplin

August 17, 2009

Rib-Roaring Competition with Napa Winemakers

A Napa Valley Winemaker’s Rib Eatin’ Competition tops the bill at Blues, Brews & BBQ

Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ is hosting a Winemaker’s Rib Eatin’ Contest at the Blues, Brews & BBQ event on Saturday, August 29, 2009 in downtown Napa. Ten highly regarded Napa Valley winemakers will compete for the title of ‘Bounty Hunter Top Rib Eater’ by devouring as many of the Bounty Hunter’s St. Louis Cut Ribs as they can. The friendly contest will begin at 3PM. The winemakers will have 10 minutes to compete for the rib championship honors. Learn more about the event at

The wine world’s star-studded rib eatin’ contestants are: Andy Beckstoffer, Owner, Beckstoffer Vineyards; Brian Brown, Winemaker, Round Pond / Emmerson Brown; Marco DiGiulio, Winemaker, Girard; Mike Drash, Winemaker, Luna Vineyards; Glenn Hugo, Winemaker, Hugo Family Cellars; Marbue Marke, Winemaker, Caldwell Vineyard; Kevin Mills, Winemaker, Trinitas Cellars; Tim Milos, Winemaker, Bounty Hunter Rare Wine & Provisions; Zeke Neeley, Winemaker, Trefethen Vineyards; and Matthew Rorick, Winemaker, Elizabeth Spencer / Forlorn Hope.

Bounty Hunter is the exclusive wine sponsor of the Blues, Brews & BBQ event and will be pouring many of their own wines. Streamside and Broken Spur, two of the nine Bounty Hunter brands, will be available by the glass all day long.  The contest’s St. Louis Cut Ribs are slow-smoked for five hours in the Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ’s own Southern Pride smoker.

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Sea of Cortez Scallops—Brazilian curry sauce - Photo By Ashley Teplin, Studio-707

August 3, 2009

Mouths Have Changed

At His Vibrant New Restaurant in Oakland's Revitalized Jack London Square, Chef Rick Hackett Pays Tribute to a Vivid and Diverse World of Cuisine

Oakland, Calif., August 3, 2009--Is this a great hemisphere or what? Mexico and Central and South America gave the world a wealth of wonderful foodstuffs, including such essentials as potatoes, tomatoes, corn, chocolate and vanilla, sweet peppers and spicy chiles, and a whole hill of beans, from black to lima to pinto to white. The great melting pot of North America, in return, added its own indigenous products and an encyclopedia of imported ingredients to the mix, and turned the culinary traditions and abilities of scores of vibrant immigrant cultures loose on the resulting cornucopia.

Bocanova, the vibrant new Pan-American restaurant opening September 1 on Oakland's revitalized Jack London Square, draws on all these culinary riches, celebrating the ingredients and cuisines of Latin America and their intimate connection with their Old World counterparts, expressed through the culinary bounty of Northern California.

Rick Hackett, Bocanova's classically trained executive chef and co-owner, combines a long commitment to sustainably grown organic raw materials with impeccable California–Mediterranean credentials as a veteran of Chez Panisse, Postrio, Bay Wolf, Oliveto, and MarketBar, among other places. The idea behind Pan-American cuisine, he says, is to blend the complimentary culinary currents of Europe and the Americas in a delicious new way.

"The introduction of New World foods helped shape what we think of today as traditional Mediterranean cuisine," he points out. "At the same time, cooking in the Americas was obviously changed tremendously by Old World ingredients—foods as basic as beef and lamb, wheat, olives, and wine grapes—and by the techniques and cooking culture that went along with them. Pan-American cooking brings a whole lot of exciting regional flavors and nuances to the table, but many of the dishes are still rooted in the Mediterranean profile."

He christened his new place Bocanova, which means "new mouth", Hackett adds, because "In the gastronomically rich Bay Area, mouths have changed. We're open to new flavors and experiences. I'm not trying to duplicate traditional dishes or experiences. What we choose to call Pan-American cuisine has evolved from a conversation between ingredients and cultures, with the old meeting the new, the familiar meeting the unfamiliar.

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