Fans of the always crowded but always delicious “parkside” location now have another option for upscale breakfast at decent prices. Dierk’s Midtown Café (1422 Fourth St., Santa Rosa) is now open for breakfast and lunch.
They’ve been open a week so far, and the buzz hasn’t caught on yet. Dierk’s Parkside is one of the most consistently
It’s a good time to get Dierk’s thick bacon, poached eggs or goat cheese in any of the breakfast dishes without having to elbow for position in line. Plus, the jam they put out on each table is as good as ever, and there can neer be too much on a slab of toast. Think of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, swishing around his knife on the White Rabbit’s pocket watch, getting jam everywhere. Now imagine that watch as a piece of toast about to enter your mouth. That’s my kind of toast.
Dierk’s expansion has been planned for a few months now. It’s taking over the former Midtown Café, a well-intentioned dining spot that just didn’t catch on. The small space is full of light, making a great atmosphere for reading a newspaper like the Bohemian during breakfast. In case it isn’t obvious, I might still be on a bacon high from this morning’s breakfast. Does that count as "Gonzo" journalism?
In newsrooms all over, reporters get press releases by the bushel. There are services like PRWeb and PR Newswire that reporters can use to find story ideas. They can even subscribe to get e-blasts on specific topics, such as healthcare or banking. Or media ethics. Press releases provide a way for the government, businesses, labor unions and anyone who has something to say to get in front of a reporter. In of itself, this is not a bad thing. It is a useful tool.
But... sometimes... a story that comes out sounds a whole lot like the release it comes from. Sometimes it's word for word. (Which kind of, but sometimes not exactly, could be called a free advertorial. Just sayin'.) Other times, direct quotes, or sections of the release, are copied and pasted into the story. Sure, copying a quote from a press release means the quote will be exact—yet often they're taken out of context.
Churnalism is a product launched last week by the Sunlight Foundation that enables media consumers to conduct a side-by-side comparison of news stories in American media and press releases they (may) come from. The project is modeled after a similar British product that came out a couple of years ago.
One thing I think is exceptionally cool about this is that in addition to press releases from a variety of places, it also compares the articles to Wikipedia. As a reporter, I have no problem looking at a Wiki site to get source IDEAS, but copying and pasting from Wikipedia? Sorry kids, that is just plain ol' plagiarism. And will very possibly be wrong.
You might think Zach Braff is a destitute hobo, the way he was begging for money on the internet last week. But no! Zach Braff is in fact a very famous and wealthy actor, screenwriter, producer and director, and Zach Braff is also the donor who just pitched in enough money to save the Rio Theater in Monte Rio.
That's right: the star of Scrubs and Garden State put the Rio's fundraising efforts over their $60,000 goal just today—meaning that the cutest little Quonset hut theater in Sonoma County will be able to buy a digital projector, thereby appeasing the big-movie-studio ogres and staying open to bring life and love and entertainment to the deep reaches of West County.
On Facebook, Braff testified about the Rio Theater that he "Can't wait to see a movie there!"
Congratulations to the Rio Theater, which opened in 1950 and has become a favorite of ours here at the Bohemian. The quaint one-screen is a true small-town gem, refreshingly removed from the moviegoing experience at huge megaplexes. With its hand-picked music, personalized slides, and fabric from Christo's fence hanging from the ceiling, it's a beloved staple of the West County community. (For the full story of the Rio Theater, see Stephen Gross' history of the place, here.)
May the Rio last another 63 years or more—and you can bet that sometime soon, they'll be showing Braff's upcoming film, Wish I Was Here.
At the annual California Newspaper Publishers Association awards luncheon on April 27, the Bohemian was honored to take home two awards. Competing in a category with 35 other weekly newspapers statewide, staff writer Leilani Clark won second place in the Best Feature Story category for her cover story detailing the crackdown on medical marijuana growers and dispensaries ("Smoked Out," May 2, 2012). In addition, the Bohemian staff won second place in the Special Section category for our Best Of issue spotlighting longstanding local businesses that have thrived for 40 years or more ("Best Of: Legends," March 21, 2012). Furthermore, Blue Ribbon certificates were awarded to William Smith and Sara Sanger for their Bohemian work in illustration and photography, respectively.
This marks three statewide awards and seven national awards that the Bohemian has won in the last five years for excellence in journalism. Frankly, we're honored, and will continue to work hard to bring you the best paper possible.
Blasting Sonny Rollins in Joy
Bay Area News Group reported yesterday that former North Bay congresswoman Lynn Woolsey is part of a public hearing on the government and extraterrestrial life.
According to the story, the hearing was organized by Paradigm Research Group, which it calls "a UFO conspiracy-theory group in Bethesda, Md., founded by activist Stephen Bassett, which invited the former lawmakers to use their House-honed skills in interviewing witnesses."
It also features a 2011 quote from the White House in response to Bassett's information requests: "the U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye."
But hey, Lynn Woolsey and a handful of senators and representatives will be presented with all the facts (?) this week.
You can read the BANG story here.
Several weeks after our story on the Herczog tragedy, in which an allegedly schizophrenic son killed his father, Mother Jones has written a much longer, more comprehensive piece on the incident, as well as some of the systemic issues that cause us to criminalize instead of treating our mentally ill.
You can read the piece here.
The trial for Houston Herczog began Monday. You can read the Press Democrat's account here.
Virgin America, recently rated highest in terms of customer satisfaction in an Airline Quality Rating (AQR) study conducted by researchers at Purdue University and Wichita State University, is finding itself in hot water after a man filed a $500,000 lawsuit on Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Franisco. He was detained by the FBI after causing a scene on a Philadelphia-to-San Francisco flight. He says the allegations that he swore at flight attendant are untrue, but says nothing about the accusation of "maliciously leaving a toilet unflushed" on his April 28 flight.
Even on a plane, the old adage rings true: if it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down.
Spoonbar is a wonderful restaurant on its own. The place is beautiful and the food just as pleasing. The bar is highly acclaimed and it has a great reputation. So, why take a chance with pop-up dinners when the day-to-day operations are seemingly solid enough on their own? Because Spoonbar is not just about subsisting at a high level, it's about taking risks and pushing the boundaries to celebrate the culinary nirvana that is the North Bay.
Upon arrival at the Moonlight Brewing popup dinner April 25, Spoonbar's mixologist Daniel Sorentino served up a cocktail made with Death and Taxes beer, Genever gin, housemaid ginger beer, molasses, allspice and lactic acid. The best thing about this was the use of appropriate, large cubes of ice. It was an experiment, a risk, and though it worked well enough, I was expecting something more smooth and refreshing like the beer it was based upon. This cocktail was instead full of strong flavors with a warm profile, but the surprise and innovation was appreciated.
Third course reintroduced meat to the menu with wage beef tartare, red jalapeño and a puffed rice cracker paired with Twist of Fate bitter ale. The style of beer doesn't always accurately describe the taste of Moonlight's brews. This "bitter" was more of a rich amber ale, which was a great choice with the rich, sweet raw beef. The red, sweet jalapeño contributed to the sweetness with a touch of heat, and the cracker played up the beer's hop flavor. Could it get any better than this?
The main entree was slow roasted duck with ramps and sunchokes. This was paired with Points North, which tasted like an American schwarzbier (because, I found out later, it is). This dark brew is thick and rich, notes of fruits like prunes and red wine grapes. It went well enough with the duck, but it seemed that the pairings had plateaued with the previous course. Again, the food was superb, but I would have loved another slice of succulent duck.
Spoonbar proved once again that it is one of the better restaurants in Sonoma County, not just an over-hyped, overpriced Friday night reservation destination. Events like this should fill up fast in the future, and not just for fans of the hard-to-get beer.
The same week we ran our tragic story about the Herczog family, This American Life also ran a story about a son who killed his father. He pleaded NGI (Not Guilty by reason of Insanity) like the Herczog case.
However, a judge, jury and several doctors decided he was faking and he was put in prison for ten years, until another doctor (with the same name as the first doctor) realized something was wrong.
This is an amazing podcast that you should listen to if you have any interest in the deeply complex and sometimes flawed issue of NGI trials.
Listen to it here.