Trying out food delivery services in the East Bay


Munchery: “As meals are prepared by restaurant chefs, many of the food choices are creative.” Photo: courtesy Munchery

Between my regular life as a parent of three busy children and my temporary situation as a part-time home renovator, I have tested local food delivery services to the limit over the past few months.

My favorite for fresh restaurant-quality food:

San Francisco’s Munchery wins hands-down as long as I remember to order before the 2pm cut-off. My children LOVE the salted chocolate chip cookie and have come to expect it when they see the telltale Munchery bag around. One of my children declared it, “Always delicious” and I tend to agree. Since meals are prepared by restaurant chefs, many of the food choices are creative. Always fresh because I finish the cooking at my house right before serving. … Continue reading »

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Getting actualized with John Schott

Actual Trio 1
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Berkeley drummer John Hanes paid his blues dues at Larry Blake’s in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, a rigorous bandstand education in the fundamentals of laying down a sly Jimmy Reed shuffle and a searing John Lee Hooker boogie. His schooling in the crucible of Larry Blake’s “Rat Band” led to widespread work on the East Bay blues scene, and he attained the kind of authority that let him emerge at the end of a gig backing R&B legend Etta James without the salty tongue lashing she liberally bestowed on drummer’s faking the funk.

When he played with Berkeley jazz guitarist John Schott for the first time about a decade later Hanes immediately recognized a kindred rhythmic spirit. “It was a trio and Myles Boisen was playing a blues shuffle and John was playing rhythm guitar,” Hanes recalls.  “I had experience playing with black blues players in Oakland, and when John started playing this blues he sounded correct. I thought oh my God, he really knows what he’s doing.”

They’ve been collaborating ever since, and kick off a West Coast tour celebrating the release of Schott’s new album Actual Trio (Tzadik) with Berkeley bassist Dan Seamans Friday at the Berkeley Arts Festival gallery and Sunday at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House. Schott created the group about four years ago when he acquired the musicians’ holy grail of a regular gig. The group still plays the first Sunday of every month at North Oakland’s Actual Café, and they’ve used the long-running residency to hone a loose-limbed approach drawing on postbop harmonies, graceful song forms, and quicksilver rhythmic shifts. It’s a stylistically encompassing sound that never sheds a blues sensibility. … Continue reading »

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Thursday: Free mental health screening in Berkeley

The Ashby campus of Alta Bates Summit Hospital, where nurses will be on strike tomorrow. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Alta Bates is offering free mental health screenings in Berkeley, Oakland and online Thursday, Oct. 8, the hospital announced Wednesday.

Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is offering the free, anonymous screenings in recognition of National Depression Screening Day, which takes place Thursday.

According to a statement released by the hospital, one in 10 people in the United States suffers from depression.

The screenings will be offered at the Alta Bates Campus in Berkeley and at the Summit Campus in Oakland from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday. After completing a screening, participants can receive referral information to local agencies that offer further evaluation and treatment. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 10.07.15

Marigolds by Quinn Dombrowski

Marigolds by Quinn Dombrowski

Building a prison to school pipeline (Express)
Council hears opposition to plan to arm police with tasers (Mercury News)
Kala Art Institute founder receives prestigious award (Express)
Where to get your international street food fix (KQED)
Amoeba Records hoping to add cannabis dispensary to Telegraph Avenue (News360)
Gather restaurant gets new chef (Inside Scoop)

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Berkeley police chief says Tasers would help his officers

Police Chief Michael Meehan
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Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan told the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night he believes his officers should be granted the option to carry Tasers, which are not currently allowed under city policy.

It was the first time Meehan has taken a stand on the issue in a high-profile public forum, though he said he had made similar comments in the past in smaller community meetings.

More than a dozen community members told council that Tasers should not be used in Berkeley, and shared stories from around the country about what they believed were inappropriate uses of the tool by law enforcement officers in other jurisdictions.

Tuesday evening, council received a report from researchers at the Stanford Criminal Justice Center who spent six months earlier this year looking into the issue on a pro bono basis. The researchers said, after reviewing more than 100 studies, that there are still too many unanswered questions about how Tasers are used, and that Berkeley should be cautious when considering whether to equip the local police force with them.

Berkeley is among about 2,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide, out of an estimated 18,000, that do not carry the tool.

Meehan told council that he knows the issue is a controversial one, but made his position on Tasers, also known as electronic control weapons or ECWs, clear.

Read past Berkeleyside coverage related to Tasers.

“The combined body of evidence and decades-­long experience leads me to believe that the availability of ECWs is in the best interests of our employees, and our community,” he said. “I would not say this if I did not think it was in the best interests of both.” … Continue reading »

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Chefs compete, create healthy ‘corner store’ dishes

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A Southeast Asian kale and pinto bean chili, a pita topped with za’atar, olive oil and fresh vegetables and a barley salad with tomatoes, green beans and feta were the finalists in a contest called HOPE Collaborative’s Healthy Corner Store Chef Challenge this week in Oakland.

HOPE stands for Health for Oakland’s People and Environment, and the HOPE Collaborative is a grassroots network of public agencies, community professionals and Oakland residents who are working toward bringing healthier food options to low-income neighborhoods in Oakland without easy access to healthy and nutritious food, like fresh produce.

Founded in 2007, HOPE was established by invitation by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Fitness Collaborative Initiative.

With its Healthy Corner Store Project, it has partnered with six markets in East and West Oakland, to bring in produce, as well as sometimes rearranging the store, putting healthier items in the front, but providing ready-made prepared foods that are healthy and cheap is a bigger challenge.

Chelsea Charles, who owns One Stop Liquor on the corner of 84th Avenue and International Boulevard in East Oakland, said children often come in with several dollars, asking for something to eat because their parents don’t cook for them. … Continue reading »

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Police make arrest in fatal shooting of 24-year-old

Residents watch police search the 1600 block of Russell Street for the suspect in a shooting in Berkeley. Photo: David Yee
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Berkeley police have announced the arrest of 24-year-old Anthony Durant following a fatal shooting Tuesday night in South Berkeley.

Police identified the man who was killed as 24-year-old Christian Sheppard of Stockton. Friends, however, said he grew up on Stanton Street in South Berkeley and was a lifelong resident of the neighborhood.

The shooting occurred in the 1600 block of Russell Street, according to police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, at approximately 8:30 p.m., police received multiple 911 calls of gunfire near Russell and California streets, Coats said.

When officers arrived in the 1600 block of Russell, they found a man suffering from gunshot wounds. He was taken by paramedics to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Trash’ and ‘Shout Gladi Gladi’

Trash, a film by Stephen Daldry
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Over the years, Brazil has given us several neorealist dramas about youngsters trying to survive in the poverty-stricken favelas of Rio de Janeiro (City of God, 2002) and São Paulo (Pixote, 1981). The Rio-set Trash (opening at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood on Friday Oct. 9), proves there’s some life in the old genre yet – and suggests that little to nothing has been done of late to address the problems of Brazil’s stark inequality.

14-year olds Raphael (Rickson Tevez) and Gardo (Eduardo Luis) spend their days scavenging for recyclables on the massive dumping ground that abuts their favela. When the two friends discover a wallet stuffed with cash, it appears things are looking up for the lads – but this, of course, is no ordinary wallet.

Tossed into a passing garbage truck by a man subsequently arrested and tortured by the police, the wallet holds the secrets of a corrupt politician in the form of a lottery card, a key, a flip-book, a letter, and – least importantly – the aforementioned reals. The politician needs the wallet back, or his campaign for Mayor will likely come to naught. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?


Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments, below.

Photo: Mary Flaherty.

Send your submissions for “Where in Berkeley?” to The more obscure the better —  just as long as the photos are taken in Berkeley. Thanks in advance.

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Shooting on Russell in Berkeley sends 1 to hospital

Residents watch police search the 1600 block of Russell Street for the suspect in a shooting in Berkeley. Photo: David Yee
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Update, Oct. 7, 10 a.m. Police arrested Anthony Durant, 24, in the case, and identified the victim as 24-year-old Christian Sheppard. See the update.

Update, Oct. 7, 1:30 a.m. Russell and Julia streets are now open. Police are no longer asking residents to stay inside. According to police, “Some officers remain in the 1600 block of Russell Street as they continue to investigate the shooting. We will provide more details regarding this incident later in the morning.”

Update, Oct. 7, 12:50 a.m. According to police, the roadways will be opening shortly.

Update, 12 a.m. Police detained three people in the 1600 block of Julia Street.

Update, 11:25 p.m. Police reportedly recovered a firearm in the 1600 block of Julia Street at about 10:20 p.m. At about 11 p.m., police called in the Berkeley Fire Department to stage nearby.

Original story, Oct. 6, 9:42 p.m. Police are asking residents in South Berkeley, near the 1600 blocks of Russell and Julia streets, to stay in their homes because authorities are searching for a possibly armed suspect involved in a shooting earlier Tuesday night.

Berkeley Police Officer Jennifer Coats said police got multiple 911 calls just after 8:30 p.m. about the sound of gunfire. Coats said one male was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She did not know whether he was expected to survive. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 10.06.15

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Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Sept. 17-23

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — you may be the only one to get in touch. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern and rely on our readers to help us stay informed.

From Sept. 17-23, there were reports of nine robberies17 burglaries18 assaults or batteries, one weapon-involved calls and four sexual assaults, according to There were also 17 stolen vehicles14 disturbances and 33 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two burglaries and a weapons call were reported by the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period.

Thursday, Sept. 17

Eight vehicle were stolen: at 1 a.m. at College Avenue and Garber Street; at 7:20 a.m. at Eastshore and Cedar Street; at 10:30 a.m. in the 2400 block of Ridge Road; at 6 p.m. in the 1200 block of Hearst Avenue; at 7:30 p.m. in the 2000 block of Woolsey Street; at 8:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of Eighth Street; at 10 p.m. in the 1600 block of Curtis Street; and at 11:58 p.m. in the 1200 block of Hopkins Street.

There were two robberies, at 3:30 a.m. in the 100 block of University Avenue, and at 11:45 a.m. in the 2000 block of Berkeley Way.

There were two home burglaries, at 4 a.m. in the 2500 block of Regent Street, and at 1:53 p.m. in the 1600 block of Rose Street.

There was a disturbance at 6:20 a.m. in the 2700 block of Dwight Way.

There were two felony sexual assaults, at 7:50 a.m. in the 2400 block of Stuart Street, and at 9:15 a.m. in the 2000 block of Center Street.

UCPD confiscated a knife from a man at 2099 University shortly before 11 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley man at center of new book, ‘Tangled Vines’

Mark Anderson at the Marin County courthouse, where he faced charges that he embezzled $1.1 million worth of wine from his clients. Anderson, a Berkeley native, later set a fire at a wine storehouse to cover his tracks. Photo: Marin Independent Journal
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Today marks the publication of Berkeleyside co-founder Frances Dinkelspiel’s new book, Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California. (See our critic’s review.) Its central character is Mark Anderson who was born in Berkeley in 1948 and who attended John Muir Elementary School. Anderson’s childhood haunts will be familiar to many long-time residents: he loved to slide down the circular exterior fire escapes at the Claremont Hotel, he put pennies on the trolley tracks that went down Claremont Avenue, and he snuck through the tunnel that went from school to the cluster of stores on Domingo Avenue.

“The Pappas family ran the Star Grocery and Sam and Quentin ran the Northgate Pharmacy next door,” Anderson recalled in one of a series of letters he wrote Dinkelspiel from the Sacramento County Jail. “Mrs. Dinwiddie’s Dress Shop had wooden mannequins in the store window that were an ideal target for a five-year-old terrorist, who could visualize their wooden ‘body parts’ strewn all over the display, at any cost.” … Continue reading »

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Six great East Bay spots for soft serve ice cream

Soft serve swirl from Timeless Coffee. Photo: Timeless Coffee
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You gotta love soft serve: it’s all-American, it’s got that smooth and fluffy texture, and it used to be the dessert of choice at fast-food joints and trucks blaring annoying jingles. These days soft serve is back in an all-grown-up kind of way, with creative toppings and quality ingredients. Here are some surprising (and a couple of predictable) East Bay spots to get your soft serve fix before that El Niño weather kicks in. We’re sure we’ve missed some — leave us a note about your favorite soft serve spot in the comments section. … Continue reading »

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