Mushroom Madness


Talk about chasing down a story. Last week, I got a call from a reader who was pretty sure Chanterelles were growing on his backyard slope. “If you want them, you can have them,” said Joseph, who hadn’t seen that many mushrooms since he lived in Bavaria.

So I gathered my crack team of mushroom hunters and we drove to the patch, which – sure enough – was peppered with golden Chanterelles. Under the shade of an old Oak tree was a veritable feast of fungi. We came, we sautéed, we savored.

The job of a journalist is not always easy. You have to be willing to dig – to root out the story.

About town: Rumor has it the Orinda deli Europa is opening in Montclair, in the spot La Salsa just vacated. Now that’s something new for Montclair – a hofbrau and pub ala cafeteria style. I can hardly wait for those supersized sandwiches.

Meanwhile, next door, workers are finishing up the new sushi restaurant in the old Jamba Juice location. The chef at Kakui tells me he won’t be preparing traditional “old school” sushi – but more contemporary fare – a kind of Japanese fusion.

Street savvy: There have been so many complaints about potholes in Oakland, some citizens are filling them themselves. Janet Drew says she found some dirt and a few decent-sized rocks and stuck them in the hole, herself. “The weight of the cars going over the hole have compacted the rocks and dirt and wahlaw,” she says, “no more car damage!”  In another pot hole near her home, she filled it with left over pieces of granite from an art project. “Come on people, instead of just complaining about the city not doing this or that, put on your thinking caps,” she says, “and make our great city a better place.”

Talent abounds: Imagine my surprise, Sunday, when I realized my neighbor had the lead in the very play I was watching at the Julia Morgan Young People’s Performing Arts Center. I hardly recognized 16 year old Shelby Stewart, who did a brilliant job of playing Princess Winnifred in the Youth Musical Theater Company performance of Once upon a mattress. I must say, for $20 ($15 for seniors and $10 for youth) this show is an incredible bargain. The talent, the costumes, the live orchestra and the inviting and historic venue make this a memorable experience – and an affordable event for the whole family. The play runs through this weekend and tickets are available at

Furry fundraiser: And what’s better than a good time on a Saturday night? A good time and a tax write off! Friends of the Oakland Animal Shelter are holding their third annual fundraiser tomorrow night (Saturday) at the Uptown Center (401 26th Street at Broadway). For $25, you get the three D’s – dancing, desserts and drinks. The money goes to help animals like Remy, the sweet pit bull puppy recovering from gunshot wounds. To find out more, log on to

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418, by email at or on the web at


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