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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I contact you?
You can send questions, comments, or ideas to cityhomestead -at- gmail.

Are you still maintaining this blog?
Sort of. I’m no longer writing regularly, but I do check for questions and comments periodically, and hope to begin writing more often in the future as life permits. In the meantime, I have no plans to take the old content down.

I have a cool Oakland event/project/business that I’d like to promote. If I send you information about it, will you write a blog post about it?
Maybe. You’re more than welcome to send me information about interesting projects, events, people, or places (Oakland or otherwise). If I’m intrigued by it I might write it up, but no promises! Also, sometimes I simply don’t have time to write about even the most compelling things, since I do work full-time at a real job—so don’t take it personally! (There are also a few topics that I don’t write about even though I do think they’re really interesting because they are too closely related with my professional work.)

Do you advertise on your blog?
No. That includes all advertising, which means I also remove any commercial links in the comments unless they’re directly relevant to the comment. Right now, I don’t anticipate adding any ads to this blog, as it’s just a hobby. If at some point in the future I do decide to put up ads, they will be limited to Northern California independent businesses and organizations, so please don’t send unsolicited advertising proposals if that’s not you. (Actually, please don’t send unsolicited advertising proposals, period, since I’m unlikely to read them!)

Will you post a link to my blog?
Maybe, if it falls into one of the categories on the main page (Oakland & East Bay blogs, house & design blogs, and garden & food blogs). I try to keep the blog roll a manageable length, so I can’t include every site—but I always love discovering new voices, so feel free to send the link along and I’ll take a look.

Why hasn’t my comment shown up yet? Do you moderate comments?
I don’t moderate comments (and hope that I won’t have to as long as people remain respectful of one another), but WordPress does hold comments from first-time posters for review, and sometimes I’m a little slow on that. On very rare occasions, comments from real people also get caught in the WordPress spam filter, though I try to watch out for that.

I want to know more about one of your projects. Can you give me information about the store/contractor/product?
Sure, although the best way to get this information is to post a comment so that I can put any details up for others too. My rule on local contractors and stores is that I never, ever identify anyone we’re actively working with or getting estimates from. Renovations are stressful enough as it is without adding the public eye! (The notable exception to this is large retailers like IKEA or Rejuvenation, since it will be abundantly clear when we are using their products!) Once a project is complete, if we are happy with the outcome, I will profile the contractors and/or stores involved. If not, or if they request not to be identified, they remain nameless. However, if you need the information in the midst of a project, I’m happy to send it to you privately, or to talk offline about any mixed experiences we may have had.

Is your dog really a Labradane?
Is there really such a thing? No, our dog is a mutt rescued from the streets of Fresno. We suspect he’s mostly Lab with a splash of Great Dane given his size and features (and the number of Great Dane owners we meet who think he must be Dane), but until the doggie DNA tests get cheap enough that they reach novelty status, we’re content to be in the dark on his actual mix. He’s still pretty cute, right?

Who is Artemis?
Apparently I’m just about the only one who had to read Edith Hamilton in high school, since this question (and the accompanying “are you a he or a she?”) comes up a lot. Artemis is a Greek goddess, the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. She’s the goddess of forests, wilderness, and hills; the moon; the hunt; childbirth; virginity; and fertility. In classical mythology she protected girl children up until the age of marriage; the Beaux Arts architectural movement in the early twentieth century modernized her and made her the goddess of commerce. (However, all of this is completely unrelated to why I picked the name, as some of you know!)

What do your restaurant ratings mean, anyway?
I get asked about this a lot, for some reason! First, I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a restaurant reviewer. I write about restaurants I find interesting, especially those that are new and/or nearby. Often, the writeup is based on a single visit, so your mileage may vary. If you’re looking for “real” reviews, the Chron, the Trib, the East Bay Express, Oakland Magazine, and even San Francisco Magazine all cover Oakland dining. You can also find other informal dining reviews on Chowhound, Yelp, and many local blogs. I don’t write about all of the restaurants I go to, and I only write about Oakland restaurants. There’s lots of terrific food in other parts of the Bay, but I try to keep this blog focused on Oakland—and specifically, my little slice of Oakland—as much as possible. And finally, I try very hard not to post negative reviews of local businesses on this blog. It’s a karma thing. To date, I’ve never had a dining experience that warranted one, and hopefully that trend will continue. But don’t expect to see a scathing review unless the experience is really, really atrocious.

THE RATINGS
All that said, here’s roughly what the ratings mean. I judge each restaurant relative to what it’s trying to be—so, for instance, Arizmendi warrants an A, and so does Wood Tavern. At Arizmendi a meal will run you $5 and arrives in a basket as you seat yourself, while you can easily drop $50 at Wood while you’re waited on hand and foot and served schmancy cocktails. That said, both are good at what they do—Arizmendi at being a community bakery, and Wood Tavern at being a fine dining experience.

“A” restaurants are worth special trips from outside the neighborhood.
A+:
Truly wonderful; nothing I would change.
A: Excellent food and service; one or two areas where there’s room for improvement.
A-: Good food and service; some areas of weakness, but no deal breakers.

“B” restaurants are solid neighborhood destinations, but don’t warrant special trips—you probably have a similarly good place in your own neighborhood.
B+:
A strong neighborhood spot with a few problem areas that keep it from the “A” tier. (Often this is reflected in the prices and wait times, though, so these can still be great places to eat.)
B: Solid, but nothing special; a reasonable option if you’re looking for a specific location or cuisine.
B-: Mediocre spot if you’re committed to the cuisine or location, but otherwise look for someplace else.

“C” restaurants, which I will rarely if ever spend time writing up, are probably not worth a visit unless there are no better options and you must eat out. Don’t you have a box of macaroni and cheese or ramen in the back of the cupboard somewhere?

THE COST
$:
Cheap; entrées are under $10 each and a meal is under $15
$$: Moderate; entrées are $10-$20 and a meal runs $15-$40
$$$: Pricey; entrées are $20-$30 and a meal runs $40-$60
$$$$: Very pricey; entrées are over $30 each and a meal is over $60

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