A former New York fashion editor is seeing the beauty in our fair city. Melissa Davis is writing what she calls a "chic" full-color publication called "This Is Oakland: A Guide to the City's Most Interesting Places." The book was born from her desire to boast about the sunny side of the Bay that she and her husband have called home since 2003.
"The sun welcomed me with open arms," says Davis, "but so did the melt-in-your mouth doughnuts at Donut Savant, the perfect-every-time cocktails at Flora, mouthwatering fish tacos at Tamarindo and Crimson Horticultural Rarities, a shop I'd be more than happy to live in 24/7."
The book is divided into seven chapters, each highlighting a different Oakland neighborhood with colorful descriptions and photos by co-author Kristen Loken. Loken has shot photos for The Wall Street Journal and other national publications, and Davis was a fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar and Mademoiselle before opening PR agency Ruby Press in downtown Oakland.
"Moving our office to the heart of the city felt right and made me feel really proud to be a part of the city in that way. It's what inspired me to create a stylish photographic guide book to the city -- to show America that there's a reason Oakland, CA has been called 'The New Brooklyn' time and time again."
Around town: The New Year brings changes in Montclair. Snapshot Mosaics is closed after a holiday going-out-of-business sale. Owner Gina Dominguez was a great booster for the Village -- especially with the stylish mosaic planters she created to spruce up our streetscape. She and her shop will be missed, but I'm sure we'll see more of her public art around Oakland.
Speaking of sprucing -- the next Montclair Community Work Day is Jan. 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will meet at the basketball court in Montclair Park, help pick up trash and trim unruly bushes and trees. Crogans, Crown Wines and Spirits, Starbucks and Colonial Donuts will provide the goodies. Can you help? See www.montclairvillage.com for more information.
Crime beat: There are still no clues as to who stole two historical plaques from Joaquin Miller Park. Linda Brown, of Friends of Joaquin Miller Park, says the monuments were stolen Dec. 12 from the front of the ranger station. "One plaque was from the Native Sons of the Golden West (about 1941)," says Brown, who thinks the other plaque commemorated the dedication of the Ranger Station in the mid-1950s. Public Works has alerted recyclers to be on the lookout.
Dining scene: One of my favorite holiday discoveries is a cozy new restaurant and wine bar at 5330 College Ave. The Barrel Room is the creation of Sarah Trubnick and Carolyn Johnson, sommeliers who opened the first Barrel Room in San Francisco in 2011. The Oakland venue is intimate -- like a speak-easy living room with warm redwood tables and bar, pressed tin ceiling and dozens of hard-to-find, small-production wines lining the main wall. Chef Sam Paulding helps pair the wines with a menu of seasonal California cuisine that changes every eight weeks. The Barrel Room even has its own wine club. The website is www.barrelroomoak.com.