Hillside Supper Club Team Invades the Kitchen at James Beard House


The James Beard Awards are the Oscars for the culinary trade, and the James Beard Foundation is its Academy. Earlier this month, chefs Tony Ferrari and Jonathan Sutton from the Hillside Supper Club on Precita Park were invited to New York to cook a special dinner at the James Beard House, and it was quite a big to-do.

Of course, Chef Tony and Chef Jonathan also live right around the corner from the restaurant, so the glory bestowed upon Neighbor Tony and Neighbor Jonathan — and, by commutative extension, the entire Dominion of Bernalwood — is even more sweet.

Neighbor Tony’s brother Austin traveled to NYC to participate in the festivities, and he tells Bernalwood why the James Beard Dinner meant so much to Team HSC:

Hillside Supper Club has been a close watcher and member of the James Beard Foundation for a while. When Tony was in college he earned a scholarship from them, and with that scholarship he traveled to Europe to indulge in his culinary dream. The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit culinary foundation founded by James Beard. He was a food writer, teacher, ad cookbook writer. Think, Julia Child; except the male version. The Hillside Supper Club team was invited to cook at the Beard House based upon our cooking style, our inspiration, and hard work and dedication. It is probably one of the best events we will ever do in our culinary career, to be honest.

Jonathan Sutton, Austin Ferrari, and Tony Ferrari at James Beard House, NYC

Cooking a James Beard Dinner is sexy accomplishment, but the hotness doesn’t stop there. In fact, like a big, wet, dripping maraschino perched atop a Tcho chocolate almond cake with amaretto cream, smoked sea salt, and candied almonds, Neighbor Jonathan took the sexy one step further recently when Marie Claire named him one of the 11 Most Eligible Bachelor Chefs in America. Seriously:


Bernal ladies, if you’re hungry, you know where to find him in the kitchen.

PHOTO: Top, Hillside Supper Club on Instagram

Bernal Writer Ponders the Fate of the California Dream


In case you missed it over the weekend, Bernal neighbor Dan Duane had a very prominent, very thoughtful piece about the fate of the California Dream on the front page of the Sunday Review section in Sunday’s New York Times.

Neigbor Dan writes:

All over Northern California, there is a profound mood of loss: Oakland, long a bastion of African-American cultural life, has seen housing rental rates jump 20 percent this past year; San Francisco’s lesbian bars are closing, and the Castro gets less gay by the year.

Then there’s the shock of raising kids with public schools ranked among the worst in the nation, and public universities that have more than doubled in cost since 2007. Most of my outdoor pleasures are still available, but it’s getting scary with the desertification of subalpine ecosystems, Sierra snowpack at a historic low, as much as 20 percent of California’s once-majestic forests at risk of dying, and freeway traffic so ubiquitous that it can be soul-destroying just getting out of town to see all this stuff.

The real estate market, in the meantime, has become so bizarre that my funky little neighborhood is already beyond the reach of young doctors and lawyers — techies only need apply.

This may sound like the stuff of yet another nostalgic lament about the unsettling pace of change in California, but Neighbor Dan is too self-aware to fall into that dead-end trap; He knows people have been writing “California is over” essays for as long as there’s been a California.

Instead, he comes to a more nuanced realization: that the same dyanamism that makes California so unique is also what makes it so heartbreaking. As Dan puts it, “California has been changing so fast for so long that every new generation gets to experience both a fresh version of the California dream and, typically by late middle-age, its painful death.”

Whoa. Here’s Neighbor Dan’s essay. Don’t miss it.

Oh, also, Star Sighting!!! As destiny would have it, Bernalwood ran into Neighbor Dan on Sunday afternoon on the other side of town. We’d read his essay in the morning, so it was a locavore privilege to be able give him a big Bernal high five-later that same day:


If you see Neighbor Dan out and about, we encourage you do the same.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Star Sighting: President Obama Hangs Out with the PizzaHacker

Wow. Did you know that the fabulous President Barack Obama eats pizza from Bernal’s own PizzaHacker — just like us?!

It’s true. InsideScoop reports that POTUS enjoyed some of Jeff “PizzaHacker” Krupman’s sublime pizza goodness during his recent visit to San Francisco:

Remember when President Barack Obama was in San Francisco two weeks ago?

Well, it would appear that the leader of the free world ate very well.

[Below] is a photo from the private event during Obama’s first night in town (Friday, Oct. 2) — and it features quite the eclectic and talented mix of characters from the San Francisco food and drink world [including] Jeff Krupman a.k.a. the Pizzahacker (flannel shirt)

Photo or it didn’t happen?  Well, here’s the proof!


Hat tip: Neighbor Robert

PHOTO: Group shot, Justin Buell via SFGate

Star Sighting! Videogame Pioneer Nolan Bushnell Spotted at Red Hill Station


Famous creators of the videogame industry dine at Red Hill Station… just like us!

Neighbor Robert was on paparazzi patrol last week, and he filed this star-studded report:

It was very cool to see Nolan Bushnell, Atari founder and godfather of video games (shout-out to Pong!), at Red Hill Station last Friday night. He was in town for the Google I/O conference, and while in town he decided to dine at Red Hill Station.

Turns out his wife, Nancy, is a major LA foodie and visited Red Hill Station for dinner recently with her brother, a longtime Bernal resident. Nancy was so taken with the restaurant she made sure he paid a visit.

Nolan loved the food, the staff, the whole Bernal vibe, and when introduced to the chef, Taylor Pedersen’s eyes widened and he said he owed Bushnell a huge debt of gratitude. As a child of six, Taylor used to sing for quarters just for the chance to play Atari classics like Asteroids and Battlezone one more time.

PHOTO: Neighbor Robert

Tonight: Bernal Dads Star as Crash Test Dummies on BBC’s “Mud, Sweat and Gears”



If you’re a fan of the astonishingly popular BBC car show Top Gear, you probably know that Jeremy Clarkson, one of the presenters of the show, was suspended last week for getting into a scuffle with one of the Top Gear producers. And while Jeremy Clarkson is suspended, Top Gear is off the air.

This has created a unique celebrity opportunity for two Bernal Heights residents affiliated with the Bernal Dads Racing team. Many months ago, BBC America came looking for two crash-test dummies volunteers to participate in the filming of a pilot episode for a new TV show. The Bernal Dads – Neighbor Mason Kirby from Mullen and Neighbor Robert Freedman of Elsie – foolishly offered to participate.

Even more foolishly, the BBC signed them up to be in the show, which is called (… wait for it…) Mud, Sweat, and Gears.

Here’s how Variety describes it:

BBC America has given the green light to the new vehicle transformation series “Mud, Sweat and Gears,” hosted by UK car journos Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford and Jonny Smith. The hour-long spot will be produced by BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC America and BBC Worldwide’s new Brit channel.

In each of the eight unscripted episodes, daredevils Ford and Smith both captain a team of two fellow car enthusiasts and are given 24 hours to mutate, supersize or reconstruct ordinary vehicles to compete in stunt challenges.

Anyway, for the last few weeks,  Mud, Sweat, and Gears has aired immediately after Top Gear on BBC America. And tonight, the episode that stars Neighbor Mason and Neighbor Rob is finally set to air.

But with Jeremy Clarkson still in the dock and Top Gear on hiatus, this might be just the opportunity these two dashing Bernal Dads need to fill the void that now exists in our Top Gear-starved planet:


The show airs tonight, March 16 on BBC America at 10 pm.

Here’s a preview. Neighbor Mason and Neighbor Rob ended up driving a mutant gold Pontiac Aztec, and apparently, they’re not very good at opening the doors:


Bernal Heights Journalists R00Led the New York Times Magazine. Again.


It isn‘t the first time this has happened, but if you happened to peruse last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, you might have noticed that the feature well was once again dominated by a pair of Bernal Heights writers. This edition featured two of Bernal’s most glamorous literary-journalism superstars: Neighbor Liz Weil and Neighbor Jon Mooallem, both of Ellsworth.

Neighbor Liz’s article is a profile of teenage running prodigy Mary Cain:

The 800 [meter] is a crushing race. Runners go out hard, then try to hang on to the pace in a showcase of will. Through the first six and a half laps of that eight-lap relay, the announcer called the event gamely, like a horse race — “Bishop Guertin! Bronxville! Achilles!” — playing up the tension, implying that anybody could win. But shortly after Cain took the baton, the race became disorienting. Everybody was running one speed and Cain — eyes down, body tilted forward — was running at another. Like watching a turntable with one record spinning at 33⅓ r.p.m. and another at 45 r.p.m., it scrambled the brain. Cain completed her first lap in 58 seconds, only half a second slower than Roger Bannister ran his first lap at Oxford on May 6, 1954, when he became the first man to break the four-minute mile. The announcer, flabbergasted, began shouting: “Bronxville! Mary Cain! Bronxville! Mary Cain!” at irregular intervals. She ran her 800 meters in 2:03.74.

Immediately following that… as part of his excellent, ongoing investigation into oddball ways that humans relate to wild animals, Neighbor Jon tells the sordid tale of Arlan Galbraith,  a man who turned pigeon breeding into a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme:

Pigeon King International sold breeding pairs of pigeons to farmers with a guarantee to buy back their offspring at fixed prices for 10 years. Initially, Galbraith told farmers that the birds were high-end racing pigeons and that he planned to sell the offspring to the lucrative markets that support the sport overseas. Later, Galbraith changed his story, telling farmers that the birds were part of his trailblazing plan to elevate pigeon meat, known as squab, from a fringe delicacy in North America into the next ubiquitous chicken. But in the end, “they were neither,” the prosecutor said; Galbraith never sold a single pigeon for sport or meat. He seemed to have merely taken the young birds he bought from Pigeon King International farmers and resold them, as breeding pairs, to other Pigeon King International farmers, shuttling pigeons from one barn to another. And this meant continually recruiting new investors so he would have the cash to buy the pigeons his existing investors produced every month. When Galbraith’s scheme finally fell apart, Pigeon King International had almost a thousand breeders under contract in five Canadian provinces and 20 U.S. states. He’d taken nearly $42 million from farmers and walked away from obligations to buy back $356 million worth of their baby birds, ruining many of those investors.

PHOTO: New York Times magazine table of contents, March 8, 2015 by Telstar Logistics

Bernal Literary Celeb Jandy Nelson Wins Fabulous 2015 Printz Medal


Bernal Heights is thick with literary celebrities. You pretty much can’t throw a rock on our little rock without hitting someone who’s written a few brilliant books, or gotten some rave reviews, or won a closet full of writerly prizes. Because that’s the kind of glamorous we are.

So here’s a hot celebrity tip: The newest, most glamorous Bernal Heights literary superstar is Bernal neighbor Jandy Nelson.

Neighbor Jandy’s acclaimed young-adult novel, “I’ll Give You the Sun,” just won the Michael L. Printz Award, which “honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit.”

Publisher’s Weekly (!!) describes the awesome tale of how she learned about the accolade:

Jandy Nelson had to keep a very big secret – for two whole days. Last Saturday she found out she’d won the Michael L. Printz Award for her second novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, but the announcements were not being made until Monday. “I was so taken by surprise when they called,” Nelson said, reached by phone at her home in San Francisco. “They must have thought they were giving the award to a raving lunatic. I remember hearing it was the Printz Committee, and then I started screaming. I remember they were all clapping, and that made me burst into tears. They said a lot of nice things about my book, and I screamed some more. It was one of the happiest, most exciting moments of my life.”

I’ll Give You the Sun is told through the alternating perspectives of twins Noah and Jude, which thread their way to the event that drove the once-close siblings apart. The author says the book took her three and a half years to complete. “It was very much like writing three novels in total,” she said. “I wrote Noah’s story start to finish, and I locked the file [that contained] Jude’s story. Then I wrote Jude’s story start to finish. I didn’t want their voices to blend. And I wanted each story to have its own propulsion so it would work when I combined them. Then the last year I spent interweaving their stories, and working on the book as a whole.”

Citizens of Bernalwood, you know the drill: If you see Neighbor Jandy in the ‘hood, please give her some robust congrats and make sure she gets a big high-five.