Monday, April 26

Ivor And Habiscus

Last night I re-union with some dear Berkeley friends whom, in some cases, I have known >30 years of my life. Ivor, pictured, and I went to college together and he reminds me that I knew of his acceptance to Brown before he did thanks to an indiscretion from Brown’s swimming coach Ed Reid (Ivor played water-polo). I think I mostly kept my mouth shut. The ten days before college was spent in Bronxville which we used as a launch-pad into Manhattan and the clubs, joined by Dan and John. God bless my Aunt and Uncle, who were in VT for most of our visit. Now that was brave. I did my best to act like a college kid, nipping the family car when I should not have, which still gets play at the family gatherings. Ivor and I lived together Sophomore year next to Delta House, which I famously depledged deciding I did not wish to be in a fraternity after deciding I wanted to be in a fraternity. For his part, he was dating his high school sweet heart,Alison, who was at nearby Amherst College so he was often away on the week-ends (I can appreciate why Alison did not wish to visit us – college living no place for a lady). Today, Ivor and Alison married with two beautiful girls living next to the Claremont Hotel with views of the Bay Area. They are architects and following their early dreams.

So. Habiscus is a dinner club in a cool part of downtown Oakland that is gentrifying. It is not far from the old Fox theatre, which was renovated several years ago and, once again, a top draw for music and bands. Nearby is a Greyhound bus station (with its wonderful logo) next to modern condominiums and Oakland's few sky-scrapers a visible backdrop. I cannot decide if menacing somehow. Christian is an investor in the restaurant and they love him here – before the crew arrives, Christian introduces me to the head-chef, who is a black lady from England. We chuckle about the weather of course. Christian’s interest in Habiscus is presumably for a return but he also supports Oakland and the East Bay. Plus it is a rocking venue.