Suite Spot: Revived hotel blends Old West and casual elegance

920x920SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: April 4, 2018

Lake County’s water-rich resources have always been a draw. In the late 1800s, the Tallman Hotel was a popular stagecoach stop for travelers. San Franciscans Bernie and Lynne Butcher bought the Upper Lake property in 2003. Bernie, a banker turned high school history teacher, and Lynne, a retired leasing agent looking for her next project, fully restored the 17-room luxury hotel and adjacent full-service restaurant and bar, the Blue Wing Saloon. Continue reading


Town Crier: Oakland, please install metal grates around sidewalk


Brian Wells, longtime bartender and manager of Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon in Jack London Square, played a prank on Town Crier columnist Ginny Prior. (Ginny Prior/For Bay Area News Group)

MONTCLARION: March 23, 2018

Most folks don’t walk with their eyes focused down — unless they are looking for money. Maybe they should. Montclarion Larry Hayden was strolling through Montclair Village recently when he fell in a tree well. Almost every city I’ve seen has those holes covered by grates that sit flush with the sidewalk — but not Oakland. And Hayden is hobbled because of it. Continue reading

Town Crier: Oakland Ice Center a magical elixir for ageless wonder


Tony Howard, who turns 88 soon, is getting ready for one of his 10 group lessons a week at Oakland Ice Center. Howard has been teaching skating for 65 years and says he’s been giving lessons to one student for 50 years. (Courtesy of Kara Piganelli)

MONTCLARION: March 7, 2018

The Olympics are over in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but it seems our winter is just ramping up. The skiing was epic at Northstar California this week after a 66-inch snow dump. And as I barreled down the back side of one of my favorite Sierra resorts, I channeled a fellow cold weather enthusiast who is still teaching skating, just weeks from his 88th birthday. Continue reading

Burger Wars Heat up in Oakland

The Copper Spoon’s bar area is seen from above. The new Oakland restaurant is on the site of the former Art’s Crab Shack, the iconic diner that served patrons for decades. – Courtesy Copper Spoon

MONTCLARION: January 18, 2017

The Bay Area burger wars have a hot new contender. It’s chef Andre Hall’s juicy lamb merguez burger with Tracey’s spice rub, Carmen’s kraut and Vita’s tzatziki on a brioche bun (yes, it’s a mouthful). Continue reading