Chef Clive opened Sweet Fingers as an homage to his grandmother, Aunt Lu, who taught him about food, hospitality, and perseverance. He spent his early years in Jamaica learning recipes and life lessons in her kitchen after she took over her husband's fruit-selling business following his death. Building on that robust culinary education and inspired start, Clive moved to New York City at age 18 and went on to graduate from culinary school.
Eventually he worked his way up to the role of supervising chef during a 10-year career at the Marriott hotel. But his career’s turning point came in 2003, when he relocated to California and met the woman who would become his wife. That’s when the pair founded Sweet Fingers, giving locals a bar and eatery that now shines a light on Aunt Lu's recipes and the love she taught Clive to cook with.
By all accounts, Chef Clive has done his grandmother proud. Matthew Stafford of the East Bay Express praised the "juicy" jerk chicken and "creamy" fried plantains, adding that "the escovitch-style snapper, curry goat, brown stew chicken, and braised oxtail are uniformly rich, spiky, and tantalizing." Inside, the yellow and royal blue walls boast Jamaican flags and pictures of the island, and the bar serves a large assortment of cocktailsthat are no less colorful. Patrons also flock to the cozy spot for entertainment that includes live reggae, as well as open-mic nights filled with poetry and music, which often consists of impromptu compositions about intense feelings for the food.
When Natural Rhythm Healing Hut?s founder Farcia De?Toles Medearis opened her spa in 1999, she knew she wanted to model it after healing centers found in indigenous West African villages. Farcia told the San Leandro Patch that, as a child in Liberia, she watched her grandmother concoct herbal remedies and lead traditional healing dances, which inspired a deep appreciation for dance and movement in healing. Each of Natural Rhythm?s massage modalities uses techniques based on these dances to speed recovery by employing music and cadenced body movements that tune into a person?s inner rhythm and natural theme song. Even the lobby mimics a traditional healing hut with tribal patterns, rounded treatment rooms, and hand-painted murals featuring rural African scenes.
Some of the treatments offered at this retreat include 60- to 90-minute massages that mingle Eastern and Western strokes as well as herbal body wraps designed to detoxify, tighten, and smooth the skin. Farcia also leads healing fitness classes such as Nia, a program that combines dance, martial arts, and yoga to tone the body and relieve stress. All therapists at her practice have a health-education background and receive ongoing training in the center?s special bodywork techniques.
After sharing the basketball court with Wilt Chamberlain and Guy Rodgers while playing for the San Francisco Warriors, Al Attles became the head coach in the 1970s—one of the first African American coaches in the NBA—leading the team to a 1975 championship. His current endeavor, which he began in 1995, pleases crowds in a different way with Al Attles' California Cheese Steaks, crafted in an authentic Philly style similar to those from his native East Coast. Inside the restaurant, sports memorabilia adorns the walls and the menu with items named after athletes including the Mully sandwich, named after Chris Mullin, and the Destroyer burger, christened with Al’s own nickname. Cooks grill the chopped steak with sliced cheese, in addition to crafting more health-conscious fare such brown rice bowls packed with vegetables, grilled Alaskan salmon, and miniature food pyramids
The Sylvester family had bartending in its blood. Whether it was Uncle Mickey holding court with 40 years' worth of regulars or Tony Sr. mixing one of his signature Skip and Go Nakeds, they exemplified the easy grace and no-nonsense craftsmanship found in a true barman's barman. That dedication to well-poured drinks carried over to Tony Jr., who has spent the last 35 years training mixologists nationwide through the curriculum of his ABC Bartending Schools. Taught behind fully functional bars, his courses educate students in topics ranging from drink recipes and equipment setup to flair moves and alcohol awareness. His schools also emphasize employment; after graduation, students can take advantage of a nationwide job placement service to land gigs in Miami nightclubs, Las Vegas casinos, or the bar cars of Chicago's El trains.
An International Kiteboarding Organization affiliate center, KGB Kiteboarding hosts a staff of enthusiastic, experienced instructors that teaches small-group and private lessons in kiteboarding, snowkiting, and powerkiting. At training sites ranging from beaches around the bay to the Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain areas, instructors show students how to safely harness the wind for an adrenaline-pumping thrill. To facilitate smooth transitions into training, the staff maintains an online compendium of FAQ and safety tips.
KGB also encompasses a shop stocked with gear from brands such as Litewave, plus the company’s own line of eco-friendly products that protects equipment from sun, sand, and saltwater. In-house technicians are on hand in the repair center to mend worn gear.
Body Mechanix’s talented personal trainers, including a nationally ranked strongman and a Harvard grad, didn’t get buff all by their lonesome. Believing that encouragement and camaraderie make as much difference as weight and reps, they cook up ever-changing routines through collaboration with their fellow fitness gurus, a practice that allows them to share ideas and show off their ability to bench-press other bodybuilders. Individual lessons send clients sprinting across indoor stretches of turf or hiking heart rates with cardio and weight machines, whereas group classes help them sweat off inches with fast-paced boot-camp exercises or teach them how to jab out aggression with circuit boxing.