Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Baltic Is Open Again - It's Called 'Brezo' This Time

Brezo at Baltic Square Restaurant Opens in Point Richmond

richmondpulse.org  March 27, 2017  By Michael J. Fitzgerald  | Photos By David Meza

Brezo at Baltic Square, Point Richmond’s newest restaurant, is an eclectic mix of old and new.
The old is the historic Baltic building, built in 1904. At different times it has been a private home, a speakeasy, a funeral parlor, a saloon, and a German restaurant, among other things. (The name “Baltic” remains emblazoned on the front windows of the original tavern.)

The new is the new owners, Heather Mervine and Hector Hernandez, who revamped the restaurant’s interior and offer a menu of items they call “California Latin Fusion,” a blend of food that has something for the most dedicated carnivores to the most faithful vegetarians.

The couple has a long history in the food industry in the Bay Area, working at various restaurants and catering. Mervine attended the California Culinary Academy and was raised on an organic farm in Ukiah. Hernandez is originally from Mexico City.

The couple met while working at Paula Le Duc Fine Catering in Emeryville.

“But I decided I really wanted to do my own food,” Mervine says.

She focuses her culinary efforts on doing the side dishes coming out of the Brezo kitchen as well as making all of the restaurant’s pastries. Hernandez’s specialty is cooking the meat items offered.
“But honestly, Hector can cook anything,” she says.

Mervine’s personal favorites on the menu are the kale quinoa salad, grilled zucchini, and the cod or chicken sandwich. But she says she is also tempted by green chili braised chicken and the grilled rib eye steak.

Since the restaurant opened in February, the most popular items with customers are braised short ribs, green chili chicken, chilaquiles, polenta with eggs, and scallops.

“Right now, we are kind of feeling out what the customers want,” Mervine says.

Also in the works: opening the deck in the back of the restaurant for table service, and providing musical entertainment. The expansive wooden deck only needs time to dry out after this winter’s heavy rains before it will be pressed into service.

Music is a little more complicated. But the couple is looking at beginning with music during their Sunday brunch service.

The couple tries to offer food that is organic and sustainable whenever possible. Even some of the wines behind the historic bar are organic, Mervine says.

Beer and wine are available, along with plenty of non-alcoholic beverages. The restaurant is considering getting a full liquor license as well.

While the couple has their hands full running the restaurant six days a week, they are also open to hosting special events, particularly when the deck becomes available.

They also have their hands full with their three children: Valeria, 13, Wesley, 6, and 2-year-old Evelyn.
“We are a family restaurant, for sure,” Mervine says.

And where did the couple come up with the name, Brezo at Baltic Square for their restaurant?
“Brezo” means heather in Spanish.

If you go: Brezo at Baltic Square is located at 135 Park Place. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, with dinner Tuesday through Saturday, and brunch offered on the weekends. Brezo is closed on Mondays. Reservations are not required but can be made by calling 510-680-5196.

Thylacines Still Around?

'Sightings' of extinct Tasmanian tiger prompt search in Queensland

 Eyewitness accounts of large, dog-like animals in state’s far north spur scientific hunt for thylacines, thought to have died out in 1936

 The Guardian  Elle Hunt 27 March 2017 

The Tasmanian tiger is widely believed to have become extinct on mainland Australia at least 2,000 years ago. Photograph: Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images 

 “Plausible” possible sightings of a Tasmanian tiger in northern Queensland have prompted scientists to undertake a search for the species thought to have died out more than 80 years ago.

The last thylacine is thought to have died in Hobart zoo in 1936, and it is widely believed to have become extinct on mainland Australia at least 2,000 years ago.

But sightings of large, dog-like animals that are neither dingoes nor foxes have persisted over the decades, despite widespread scepticism.

Recent eyewitness accounts of potential thylacines in far north Queensland have spurred scientists from James Cook University to launch a search for the animal long considered extinct.

Professor Bill Laurance said he had spoken at length to two people about animals they had seen in Cape York peninsula that could potentially be thylacines, and that they had given plausible and detailed descriptions.

One was a long-time employee of the Queensland National Parks Service and the other was a frequent camper in the north of the state.

Laurance said all the potential sightings to date had been at night. “In one case four animals were observed at close range – about 20 feet away – with a spotlight.”

Descriptions of their eyes, size, shape and behaviour were inconsistent with known attributes of other large species in north Queensland such as dingoes, wild dogs or feral pigs.

The sightings were at two separate locations on Cape York peninsula, but the specifics were being kept confidential, said Laurance. “Everything is being handled with strict confidence.”

He said people who claimed to have seen a thylacine were “very nervous about relating their tales for fear of being branded kooks or fringe types”.

Richard Dawkins had tweeted hopefully of news of the study.

“Can it be true? Has Thylacinus been seen alive? And in mainland Australia not Tasmania? I so want it to be true.”

Sandra Abell, a researcher with James Cook University’s Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science who was leading the field survey, said they had been contacted with more possible sightings since their intentions were publicised.

She was in the process of deciding on sites for the more than 50 “camera traps” to be set up on Cape York peninsula, with the survey due to get under way when the dry season begins in April or May.
Abell said even if a thylacine was not detected, the survey would inform the centre’s understanding of the status of rare and endangered mammal species on the peninsula.

Many mammals, including the northern bettong, were at risk from introduced predators, she said.
“It is a low possibility that we’ll find thylacines, but we’ll certainly get lots of data on the predators in the area and that will help our studies in general.”

It was “not impossible” there were thylacines to be found, she said. “It’s not a mythical creature. A lot of the descriptions people give, it’s not a glimpse in the car headlights. People who say they’ve actually seen them can describe them in great detail, so it’s hard to say they’ve seen anything else.

“I’m not ruling it out at all, but to actually get them on camera will be incredibly lucky.”

Thylacine “truthers” active on Facebook were emboldened by the recent rediscovery of the night parrot in Western Australia, presumed extinct until 2013, and photographed this month.

“Maybe old stripey next?” commented one member of the Thylacine Awareness Group.

Steampunk Pie

“As a kid my brother and I used to crack old garage sale watches open to try to figure out how they worked (and to harvest the wee rubies, which we assumed must be extremely valuable.) I still find watches and clockwork absolutely fascinating, and this is my homage – in pie form – to the beautiful art form.”

Watch Jessica’s tasty tutorial video to learn how to make your own steampunk pie:

Shaolin Flyers

The Temple of the Flying Monks

Amusing Planet  Kaushik Monday, March 27, 2017 

That tiny orange figure levitating above this futuristic structure high on the Songshan mountain in rural Henan, China, is indeed a monk, although he is not flying by the sheer power of meditation. There is a giant fan beneath him, hidden in the interior of the structure. This is a vertical wind tunnel, the kind where skydiving is practiced.

Designed by Latvian architecture studio MailÄ«tis Architects, the recently completed Shaolin Flying Monks Temple is actually a 230-seat amphitheater where Shaolin monks could host weekly shows. I’m not sure where the wind tunnel fits in the scheme of things, but supposedly, in the words of the architects, “the concept is to tell the history of Zen and Kung-Fu through artistic performances and the architectural image of the building itself."

The mountains are home to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shaolin Monastery, which is also considered to be the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and Kung-Fu martial arts.
The good news is, the wind tunnel will be open not only for the monks but for the general public as well.

via Dezeen

Handmade Dugout Canoe

The Birth of a Dugout Canoe by Northmen

from NorthmenPRO2 weeks ago

This is a documentary movie uncovering the difficult and time consuming process of making traditional expanded dugout canoe using mostly traditional hand tools and techniques.

The master woodworker in this movie is Richard (Rihards Vidzickis) - an experienced green wood worker, wood sculptor and dugout canoe maker. Richard’s passion to green wood and solid wood creations has grown together with him since his childhood days. Richard’s father is also a wood worker and carpenter and has led his son into the beautiful world of working with wood. Richard has gone through all the traditional steps of becoming a master woodworker - starting from an apprentice, then journeyman and then receiving his Master degree in Latvian chamber of crafts. Richard’s passion to wood is not only sculpturing and carving it but also knowing the wood in a scientific level. So Richard has studied in Technical university as a student and reached his degree of Doctor in engineering materials science, so he has combined the craft, nature and science in his life and work. While working in furniture making during the studies, with making different kinds of difficult wood carving for Jugend, Barrocal, Renesance design style furniture, Richard has discovered that he tends to get back to more rustic, robust and natural forms of wood, so he created a park of massive wooden sculptures, wood crafts museum and live workshop where Richard lives and creates wooden bowls, plates, boats and accepts visitors to share his work and lifestyle.

Watch it HERE 

Music - Alan Gogoll, Jason Lowe “When a River Parts”.
Sound - Gints Sola
Camera, edit - Jacob (Northmen Guild)

Revive the guild!