A single weathervane squeaks as it sways in the breeze atop a peaked roof. Below it, a building dating back to 1948 houses Montclair Bistro amid fieldstone and brick pathways created in french provincial style. At 7 years old, future chef and owner Henry Vortriede began his cooking career by thumbing through culinary magazines and preparing meals for his family of eight. After going on to earn diplomas in food and wine at Le Cordon Bleu and L'Académie du Vin in Paris, France, he honed his skills as a chef in several French restaurants and created chocolate art showpieces at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.
Today, as owner and chef at Montclair Bistro, Vortriede draws on his culinary background to create a rotating menu that includes organic chicken scaloppini sourced from Petaluma Farms, duck-and-wild-mushroom quesadillas with brown-butter chestnuts, and thick, double-cut pork chops with sweet-potato-apple pancakes. Another menu of brunch fare combines traditional favorites such as scrambled eggs with black truffle and eggs benedict with lobster cake.
Vortriede's taste is on display not only on plates but also on the restaurant’s walls, where elegant painted canvases hang. Two hundred bottles of wine stand nearby on storage racks inside walk-in glass covered with the pressed noses of oenophiles. The decor, which includes dark carpeting and dark chairs, white-linen-covered tables, and flickering candles, helped earn the restaurant OpenTable's 2012 Diners' Choice award for romantic restaurant in East Bay.
For more than 40 years, the family of experienced bouquet designers at J. Miller Flowers and Gifts has trussed blushing blossoms into works of botanical art. The store's hand-arranged, dew-fresh cut-flower arrangements nestle up against blooming and green plants, imported vases, chocolates, and gardening gnomes for hire waiting along the back wall. Pick up the bestselling How Sweet It Is bouquet, ablaze with fiery orange roses and hot-pink carnations ($34.95 standard), or cheer up a lonely table with the Be Happy arrangement, nodding with yellow roses and gregarious daisies in a happy-face mug ($35 standard). Nature-loving bouquets, such as the live-plant Violets and Butterflies basket ($32.95), provide perennial smiles, and the minimalist-chic of the Zen Artistry orchid arrangement ($42.95 standard) packs maximum beauty into one simple setting. For thoughtful reparations that say "Sorry I sold your cat online" better than words ever could, try the red roses in the Always On My Mind bouquet ($57.95 standard).
Musically Minded Academy is a non-profit music school and community arts center located in Rockridge, CA.
Our core mission is to provide high quality music education, to host concerts and other arts-related education programs, and to act as a haven for musicians and music lovers in the greater East Bay Area.