Katrina Alcorn is a freelance writer and web consultant. She writes the blog Working Moms Break, about the perils of working and raising young children. She has two kids ages three and eight, and a stepdaughter age 10.
What is your neighborhood called and what is it known for?
We live in the Santa Fe neighborhood. Also known more generically as North Oakland. Also known as the weird slice of Oakland that butts up against the Emeryville and Berkeley borders. While our ‘hood may be a little rough around the edges, we love it because its close to all the things we like to do.
Favorite place to go for family dinner?
Our kids love “sushi.” Or they think they do. They won't eat real sushi, but they love the chicken skewers, edamame, and cold tofu at Tachibana on College Ave. The waitstaff treat our kids like royalty, bringing them special plates and cups with straws and kiddie chopstick holders. They don't bring crayons, but the food comes so fast it doesn't matter.
Favorite outing for all of your kids?
Our kids have a wide age span (3, 8, and 10), so it's not always easy to find things that everyone wants to do. You can't go wrong with the Oakland Zoo (especially now that our big girls are old enough to ride the roller coaster by themselves), Albany Bowl (beside the bowling, there's the arcade and gumball machines), or the downtown Oakland ice skating rink. Nothing beats riding the scooters to Sweet Adeline Bakery. And they all enjoy the Little Farm in Tilden, which is free!
Amazing class your child has taken?
of Kinderguitar has infinite patience and a love of music that is contagious. He's taught our 8-year-old Ruby to fingerpick a mean “Ode to Joy.” Ruby also takes a ninpo martial arts class on Shattuck Ave. across the street from the Nomad Cafe. She's learning cartwheels and sword evasions as well as more esoteric things like self-discipline and respect. (Ninpo is the art of the ninja.) There's no web site for the the school, but you can contact the sensei Don Hughes about classes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Favorite date night destination?
#1. Hot tub at Piedmont Springs, then dinner at Oliveto.
#2. Walk around , then massage the Foot Spa and Tea Bar.
#3. For daytime dates, we love riding our bikes up Tunnel Road into Tilden Park.
Best-kept secret for Oakland parents?
Hmmm…this isn't in Oakland, but it's not far from our house. We are huge fans of the Berkeley YMCA. Maybe you think you know about the great kids' classes, the swim lessons and such. But did you know about the family date nights, the Kindergym (free to members), the awesome staff at Child Watch, the amazing yoga classes for adults? Best of all, did you know that child care for kids age 6 and up is FREE through the “Fit Kids” program?
Since I write about the plight of working parents, I feel a need to make a little plug here for two family-run businesses that have helped my husband and I keep our sanity over the years. Thania Marin's Mommy & Me daycare was a godsend when my first child was a baby and I went back to work. And Dinora's cleaning service kept our house from caving into entropy.