Ali Nazar lives in Berkeley with his wife and 2.5 children. He and I taught computer classes to kids at the Kirkwood Ski Resort together back in the dark ages. He is the author of a new novel called Five Pillars, which is about a journey through the Muslim world. Today he answers our questions about his family’s favorite places in the Bay Area.
Ali and Family at Dolores Park in San Francisco
Where do you live and what is your neighborhood known for?
We just moved to a border neighborhood – where Gourmet Ghetto meets the Berkeley Hills and Thousand Oaks.
So far we love it. Besides great walkability to both Solano and Shattuck businesses, we’ve been amazed by all the old trees everywhere – they are great calming influences on our daily hectic schedules.
And how many kids do you have?
Our boy Roshan is 6 and our girl Aziza is 3.
Where do Roshan and Aziza like to play?
Live Oak Park. It has everything – big kid playground, little kid playground, park, hiking, creek, theater, lit hoops and tennis courts – something for everyone!
Where do you like to take your parents when they visit?
Vik’s Chaat House in West Berkeley is our go-to spot when my parents want to hang in Berkeley. It’s an East Bay institution that takes my parents back to their Indian roots.
What’s your favorite East Bay kids birthday party venue?
The picnic area behind the Carousel in Tilden Park. I’ve been countless times and it’s always a blast for the kids. Ed: More details on that spot >
What’s your favorite family dinner out?
Our kids are obsessed with Build – I think it’s the raw pizza dough they get to play with there. They make a mess.
Got a date night tip for other East Bay parents?
Go see some music – there are so many great venues in the East Bay. Some of our favorites include The New Parish, The Fox, and Zellerbach. We love the feeling of leaving the kids for a few hours and seeing some world class music – its like a time machine, back to pre-kid times.
What must every new-to-the-East-Bay parent know about?
This isn’t exactly a secret, but Children’s Fairyland is an amazing place that every new East Bay parent need recognize. It was built in 1950 but is still awesome today!
Can you tell us about a great class your kids have taken?
Soccer Shots rocks! By the third one my son had the basics down and was loving soccer. I especially like Coach John.
How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working or dadding?
My hobby is to DJ at KALX 90.7FM. Alone time for me usually means spinning tunes as DJ Silk Road on air – set lists here!
What are you looking forward to doing with your kids when they get older?
Tennis. I have played my whole life, and can’t wait until both my kids can rally with me. The day they beat dad will be a great day indeed!
Ali is a Bay Area native who works as a technologist by day and a DJ, talk show host, and author by night. His new book, Five Pillars, is a fictionalized version of a two-year, post-9/11 trip he took throughout the Islamic world.