Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Over the past eight years I've contributed numerous features and Shop Talk pieces to the East Bay Monthly, a literary and commerce magazine in the San Francisco Bay Area. For my work on Shop Talk I've loved getting to know the new shopkeepers in town and, hopefully giving them a little boost in traffic. By now, however, I can usually tell which ones will survive, and which won't. These two recent ones are, I believe, keepers.

Step into Berkeley’s Modernaire, and you’re instantly transported back to the midcentury world of Mad Men. Red, orange, turquoise, and chartreuse Murano art glass pops against Paul Frankl’s white, treated-cork tables. You can almost see a Brylcreemed Don Draper, whiskey glass in one hand, ever-present cigarette in the other, reposing on the tweed-covered Scandinavian love seat.
Photo by Spiral-A Photography
Bee Healthy Honey
Verdant valleys carpeted with wildflowers: not our Western vision of Yemen. But for Khaled Almghafi, proprietor of Bee Healthy Honey Shop in Oakland, these are vivid images from his childhood. “Yes, we do have deserts filled with acacias from which we get acacia honey,” he explains. “But we also have mountains and on the beautiful island of Socotra, off the coast, very rare plants. That honey goes for $180 a kilo in France.”