The Best Pizza in Town

The Best Pizza in Town

One of my favorite comfort foods is pizza. Locally, there is one restaurant that puts out a superior product. It is a small bakery-café called 54 Mint Il Forno, 1686 Locust St. in Walnut Creek.  It is the brainchild of Claudio and Daniele, who operated a white tablecloth restaurant of the same name at Treat Blvd. and Oak Grove for several years.  Their current Italian rendition is much more informal. Outside of operating a coffeehouse-like destination in the morning, 54…

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More Healthy Bread, Maybe Not

More Healthy Bread, Maybe Not

The vast variety of breads available in supermarkets and bakeries reflects the unquenchable appetite of Americans for this grain-based food.  Breads labeled as “whole grain” appear to be a smart way to add fiber to your diet. Whole grains improve regularity, slow digestion, reduce appetite, improve cholesterol, and prevent spikes in blood sugar — a major driver of obesity, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes. A whole grain bread uses the entire grain seed:  the bran (an outer layer…

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Orinda: Going, Going, Gone?

Orinda: Going, Going, Gone?

Demands by the State of California on Orinda are seriously jeopardizing the desirability of living in Orinda. Essentially, the state, for years, has been usurping Orinda’s ability to control the city’s destiny. The state’s attack has been especially obnoxious.  Orinda’s schools, its semi-rural environment, and its open spaces are in jeopardy. Two state-mandated programs are depriving Orinda of local control. One program is the Housing Element.  According the website of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, “Since 1969,…

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Development Proposed for Large Orinda Valley

Development Proposed for Large Orinda Valley

An engineering firm has outlined a proposal for the development of housing in Southwood Valley, a large, natural area in the midst of Orinda. The Southwood plan might not comply with Orinda’s General Plan.  Each city in California is required to have a General Plan, which is a document covering a city’s governance, especially in the area of land use. At a meeting at the Orinda Public Library on April 16, 2018, Design Resources, an engineering firm in Walnut Creek,…

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Chocolate: A Smart Food?

Chocolate: A Smart Food?

There is universal agreement that chocolate is a feel good food.  Chocolate melts in your mouth, releasing its sweet, creamy, cocoa flavor, and the brain follows with a burst of “happy” chemicals.   Beyond the sensory joy of eating chocolate, there are claims that chocolate is a healthy food for the brain.  Most of us would gladly eat more chocolate if proven to benefit the brain.  Several ingredients in cocoa have been proposed to explain the possible cognitive benefits of…

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The State Wants More Control Over Orinda

The State Wants More Control Over Orinda

The State of California wants to dictate more land-use policies to Orinda and elsewhere. Additional state mandates for Orinda (and other cities) go beyond a recent plan to require high-rise, high-density housing in transit-rich areas. In February 2018, the Orinda City Council supported the sending of a letter by Amy Worth, a member of the Orinda City Council and the city’s current mayor, to State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). The letter stated that the City of Orinda opposes State…

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Housing & the Free Market

Housing & the Free Market

Economically, everything appears to be getting worse in Northern California.  The same situation may also exist in Southern California.  Housing in Northern California is drastically overpriced.  Try finding a decent home for less than $1 million or $2 million (or more).  Taxes are high.  California leads the nation in the sales tax, the gasoline tax, and the top-bracket of the state’s personal income tax (13.3 percent).  The freeways are jammed in Northern California.  There is limited parking, assuming one can…

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EDITORIAL: Re-Elect Catherine Baker To The State Assembly

EDITORIAL: Re-Elect Catherine Baker To The State Assembly

In November 2014, Catherine Baker (R-Dublin) won election to a two-year term to the California State Assembly.  She was re-elected in 2016. Now running for a third term, Assemblywoman Baker deserves re-election.  Her name will appear on the June 2018 primary ballot. Assemblywoman Baker, whose 16th Assembly District includes Orinda, has been a tireless advocate of good government. Her district includes such cities as Lafayette, Moraga, San Ramon, Danville, and Pleasanton. Ms. Baker is hard-working, frequently holding town-hall meetings to…

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Orinda Opposes State Land Grab

Orinda Opposes State Land Grab

A land grab of local communities’ territories by the State of California has drawn the opposition of the Orinda City Council. On February 23, 2018, Amy Worth, a member of the city council and the city’s current mayor, wrote that the City of Orinda opposes State Senate Bill 827 (SB 827), which, if enacted, would seize control of a local community’s land near transit stops. Specifically, SB 827 would give the State of California control over a given city’s land…

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Water: The Fountain of Youth?

Water: The Fountain of Youth?

Based on the fact that about two-thirds of the body is composed of water, it seems obvious that consuming water is important for health.  Water requirements have been studied for decades.  Recommendations are narrowed to two alternatives:  Consume a minimum of eight cups of liquid per day or drink to quench thirst.  Research now reveals that drinking water when feeling thirsty boosts the brain’s performance in mental tests.  Dr. Caroline Edmonds, the author of a lead study, found that reaction…

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