Happy Monday, Berkeley.
Halloween is just around the corner, and I just read this article by The New York Times about a Harry Potter-themed exhibition by the New-York Historical Society. So today, I’m in the mood to learn more about owls.
For the kids among us, Berkeley Public Library’s central branch is holding “Owl-o-ween” on Monday, which will include owl-themed crafts, story times and a presentation featuring a live owl from Lindsay Wildlife Experience. Or for a more adult experience, take a crack at David Sedaris’ essay collection “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” — the book is thought-provoking and hilarious, though be warned it has little to do with owls themselves. And at the end of the night, watch “Hoot,” featuring a young Logan Lerman fighting to protect a group of burrowing owls.
And while I don’t expect any trick-or-treaters at my apartment this year, it’d be a shame to ring in Halloween without anything sweet to eat. So Tuesday, I’ll take a look at some of Berkeley’s best chocolate spots. Truth be told, I’m pretty sure I’ll end up going to Casa de Chocolates in Elmwood — from the cajeta-filled bonbons to the tres leches cake, everything there is a real treat. Or I might head to Trader Joe’s for a variety of sweet fall foods, such as apple cider donuts, candy corn popcorn and chocolate mousse pumpkins. If all that sugar gets to be too much, I’ll whip up some elevated avocado toast for a snack, with hummus, avocado, hot sauce and an egg.
Then, it’s Halloween. Try to snag tickets for “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the The UC Theatre. For just $16.50, you can enjoy all the traditions and ritual that accompany the show. Or take the day to relax — just curl up with your candy and a good book, and spend a night in.
Now I suppose you could call me a writer, but I can’t imagine attempting to write anything longer than one of these articles. If that sounds like your calling, though, Thursday is Nov. 1, kicking off National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, so it’s your chance to join a community of writers in writing 50,000 words within the month. If you’re uncertain, check out one of the pep talks written by esteemed authors such as Andy Weir.
And if all that writing wears you out, you can relax with your pick of concerts Friday. I’m excited for Troye Sivan’s concert at the Masonic or Dirty Projectors’ show at Starline Social Club, both of which would cost about $40. And Los Angeles punk rock band Fidlar is playing at the Fox Theater, with tickets selling for less than $30. Or for an even more low-cost night, go see synth pop group Still Corners at Neck of the Woods for just $10. If you want a more visual experience for the night, you could check out the Oakland Ballet Company’s dance and music show “Luna Mexicana.” For $22, the event will feature Día de los Muertos-themed performances by groups such as Ballet Folklórico México Danza and Nahui Ehekatl & Co. Aztec dance company.
Then Saturday, head to Jack London Square for the Patchwork Show, a biannual makers festival. You’ll be able to take part in crafts such as making holiday cards and terrariums while also shopping among more than 150 artisans and indie businesses.
And Sunday, head out a little farther. The 40-something miles to Half Moon Bay may seem daunting, but it’ll all be worth it when you’re standing on the beach, toes in the sand and clam chowder in hand. Take the long way down, via State Route 92, and watch the pumpkin patches along the way turn to Christmas tree farms. Pass by Sam’s Chowder House or Barbara’s Fishtrap for fresh seafood, ranging from lobster rolls to fish and chips and, of course, plenty of chowder.
After a day on the classically cold Half Moon Bay State Beach, drive back along the picturesque State Route 1, and stop for dinner at La Costanera in Montara. The restaurant offers classic Peruvian dishes such as ceviche, causa and lomo saltado, as well as stunning alfajores for dessert.
And while you’re curling up with your chowder on the beach, read Adesh Thapliyal’s review of Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, “Mid90s.” In his words, the film is “sensitively shot,” even though it only achieves “the better part of mediocre.” If you’re interested, you can see the movie at Shattuck Cinemas in Downtown Berkeley.
And if you have a great idea for a novel or a favorite local chocolate, let me know: [email protected]. I’ll be as fascinated as scientists are by the dumbo octopus.
Until next time.