Town Crier: Valentine’s Day brings sweet thoughts — and food


Love is in the air. And what do we love this Valentine’s Day weekend? Take a look at the heart in the window of Hatch. The Montclair eco gift shop has been gathering sweet sentiments on red Post-it notes. The objects of affection range from husbands and peacocks to Jesus and Mother Earth.

And cookies. Some of us can’t get enough of those sugary treats that surface just once a year. Think about this as you see those adorable Girl Scouts selling in front of Montclair Sports, Safeway and Chase this weekend: In 2014, people bought more than 50 million boxes of the No. 1 seller — Thin Mints. No. 2 was my favorite … the caramel and coconutty Samoas.
Speaking of food and love, Old Oakland’s authentic Italian restaurant, Desco, has a romantic Valentine’s offering — a three-course, prix-fixe dinner that includes a $10 coupon for Gondola Servizio. The menu and gondola ride are in honor of Italy’s Carnevale celebration before the start of Lent. Desco’s chef and owner, Donato Scotti, grew up in Bergamo, Italy, and went to culinary school at the Instituto Alberghiero di San Pellegrino before coming to America.
Around town: There’s a perennial debate in Montclair over whether financial institutions should be allowed to move into empty retail space. In last week’s column, I wrote about Farmers and Merchants Bank of Central California’s pitch to the Montclair Village Association. The bank is eyeing prime real estate at the corner of Mountain and La Salle (formerly Wheels of Justice). I’ve set up a poll on my website at www.ginnyprior.com. Take a minute to let me know what you think.
Email bag: I get frequent complaints about dog doo, but this is a new one … goose droppings. Reader Merete Aiyer says Montclair Park is such a mess that he couldn’t even play with his 2-year-old grandson. “I wanted him to chase a ball on the lawn. We had to stop that immediately when I saw all the geese poop. Every few inches!” This would be a good project for the next Montclair cleanup day.
Meanwhile, reader Jamin Hawks wants to weigh in on Montclair’s new graffiti-style mural.
“Seems to me that the murals are all works of ‘art’ in the sense that they create strong emotional reactions in their viewers. Personally, I welcome additional color — literal and figurative — to the village,” Hawks says.
Flashback: It’s funny what people find when they start spring cleaning. Reader Ruth Jaffe says she found an Oct. 17, 1946, issue of The Montclarion in her garage. The fact that it surfaced is remarkable. You see, the house burned in the 1991 firestorm, but the garage, which was detached, didn’t burn. Like a time capsule, that old Montclarion gives us a glimpse of what life was like the year after World War II ended. One advertisement of note in the real estate section: Executive mansions were going for $35,000.

 

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