Post holiday goodbyes prove emotional


MONTCLARION: JANUARY 15, 2010

There’s a weird, hollow feeling in my heart. Nothing can treat it – it just has to heal on its own. The pain occurs every time my daughter goes back to college.

You’d think I’d be used to it by now. We’ve put her on a plane to Georgia plenty of times over the last two years. For some reason – it doesn’t get any easier.

I should be happy with my daughter’s choice of schools. Our family loves Athens, and is Bulldog proud to the point where most of our wardrobe sports big red G’s. This Christmas we exchanged Georgia sweatpants and tee shirts – and I got a keychain that barks out the UGA fight song.

I should be thankful that Athens is safe – the town wraps around campus like a warm, Burberry scarf – exuding southern charm and architectural delight.  The nightlife is exhilarating (Athens is the live music capitol of the south-east) and clubs like the Melting Point, in an old Civil War foundry, pull in top name acts.

As my daughter matures, she is becoming this fascinating person with layers of experience that I can only begin to imagine – and therein lies the rub. She’s grown so much, I can’t get enough of her humor and stories and insight. She’s becoming an adult with her own life and interests. I guess that’s a good thing – but it still hurts.

Great night out: Dinner and a show can cost plenty in the Bay Area. But Jon Kawamoto has found the bargain of the year at Chabot Space and Science Center. For around $25 you can have dinner for two in their “bistro”, and enjoy both a planetarium show and a movie on their giant 70 foot MegaDome screen. “The food was excellent – and the service was superb,” says Kawamoto, who had the polenta and vegetables.  Dinner, Movie and the Universe is available on Friday and Saturday nights. For more information see http://www.chabotspace.org/dinnermovieuniverse/.

Around town: Readers have been asking about the new middle-eastern/kosher restaurant in Montclair called Amba (6464 Moraga Avenue). It’s owned, in part, by the landlord of the building – who was faced with the dilemma of what to do when he lost his tenant. Reuven Kahane had owned eateries before – including a chain of the first bagel shops ever in Israel. So he gathered some investors and remodeled the building and opened Amba over the holidays. It’s a bright, open eatery with an energetic vibe and inviting presentation for its food. I love the way the hummus and falafels and other dishes are prepared in the open – where you can see the artistry. “There’s been nowhere to go for 20 years,” says Kahane, who estimates there are a half million Jews in the Bay Area, including many who are looking for a strictly kosher restaurant. The word is already spreading. On the day I was there, the place was humming. There was even a rabbi “holding court” at a long center table, as the scent of warm pita seasoned the room.

Speaking of eateries…La Salsa closed down this week. I’m surprised they were able to hang on this long, given the popularity and pricing of the family-owned Taqueria on the next block. And speaking of block – employees at Blockbuster in Montclair say the store is not closing. There was some talk about shutting down this location, but with no brick and mortar competition in the area, the company reportedly wants to keep the shop open.

In passing: The eclectic and close-knit community of Canyon is mourning the loss of a longtime resident and father. Chris Martin died, recently, after his car veered off the tree-lined and sometimes treacherous Pinehurst Road between the hills and Moraga. Chris was well known in Canyon. He could often be seen hitting golf balls along the rural road and was a rabid Raiders fan. A team hat sits prominently atop a makeshift memorial at the crash site.

Just a few miles from Canyon, a memorial was held for a young man who would have turned 21 last weekend. I wrote in detail about Phat Vin Le after he was shot to death near his East Oakland home. His family and friends ask that we keep him in his prayers, and spread the word that there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of his killer.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418, by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.

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