Howard, who is listed as "Dado" in my phone, is someone who should be celebrated on more days than one. I constantly brag about how my dad is cooler than me (he really is though). Behind that passionate Irish flare, lies a man that is kind, generous, empathetic, extremely well-read, and world-savvy. For his 69th birthday we celebrated by dining on the other side of the bay in Rockridge, Oakland.
Howard was particularly excited to go to Oliveto because of the restaurant's collaboration with Community Grains. Industrial milling and the commodification of wheat has squandered artisanal, small-scale wheat production. It also motivates Community Grains to create a thriving and self-sustaining grain economy in Northern California.
Inspired by the bounty of our own urban garden in the center of San Francisco, Howard decided to start growing his own wheat. Yes, it's a lot of work to grow your own wheat, and the edible payoff in our garden is approximately 2 loaves of bread. However, wheat is a stunning addition to our edible garden. Taller than either of us, the wheat dances in unison, swaying from side-to-side, when the wind passes through the garden. Aside from being aesthetically mesmerizing, the wheat provides my father and I another connection to the fertile earth and adds to the garden's zen.
Returning back to the birthday dinner:
Even though I went to grad school in Berkeley for two years, I rarely ate out in the East Bay. I'm a firm believer in packing both my lunch and breakfast, as it is almost always healthier and more economical than eating out. For me, eating out is an occasion to socialize and celebrate. It is also one of the primary ways I am inspired to experiment in my own kitchen. To celebrate another year of life, health, and gardening, my father and I went out to lunch to taste the artisanal pasta, made from Community Grains' wheat, at Oliveto. So, happy birthday Dado! I love you oodles of noodles.