By Ken Martin

FINIT0!: I have decided to end, or at least to curtail, my journalistic career, thereby ending the writing of “CV Side Trips” on a regular basis. I find that the distribution of my personal time has changed such that it is difficult for me to seek out subjects for the column. Also, I have not received the amount of input from readers that I expected to get to enable me to sustain regular production of a column without infringing on other aspects of my already crowded life.

My first column was printed on November 20, 2002. The last, this one, appears today, November 21, 2007. It’s been an interesting ride for five years and 114 columns and I hope the “Side Trips” have been as much fun for you as they have for me.   

Anyway, I’m not going away entirely. From time to time, as suitable subjects emerge, I’ll give them a write up but I won’t be writing on a regular basis. As they say, I’ll see you in the funny papers!

INDULGENCE: When I first started writing this column I made it a policy to not write about commercial establishments unless they had something special to give to their customers. Since this is my last hurrah, I’m going to indulge myself and tell you about a few of my favorites. Here they are:

Al’s Food Market, 3550 Somerset Avenue. The greatest little market in the West. Great meat and produce. Competitive prices. The best selection of oils, vinegars, sauces, jams and jellies in town. Friendly greetings from Jerry Weinmeister, Larry, Mac, and the employees. Little or no waiting in line. Why put up with the chaos at the big chain stores when you can shop in leisure here?

Sazio Ristorante, 20400 Lake Chabot Road. Just great plain traditional Italian food. No yuppie or gourmet stuff. A very large menu at reasonable prices. Outstanding service. And Tony, the chef, sings as he is preparing the meals. Why go over the hill when the best is right here?

B. A. Morrison Heating & Air Conditioning, 2544 Castro Valley Boulevard. Pleasant and accommodating technicians. Prompt service well done. Brian is willing to do anything you need to help you out. Why go into the Yellow Pages when everything you need is right next door?

Don’s Auto Body. 2944 Grove Way. Outstanding body work and paint matching. Satisfaction is really guaranteed here personally by Ray. Why shop for more estimates when nobody does it better than Don’s?

Rudy’s Donut House, 3692 Castro Valley Boulevard. Great selection of pastries and donuts. Always a cheerful greeting from Angela, Gina, and the help. Just a nice atmosphere here. Who needs more?

Pete’s Hardware, 2569 Castro Valley Boulevard. Still family owned after 80 years. Some times, if you’re lucky, you get personal service from Pete’s great granddaughter, Jennifer. Truly a full service hardware store. Always a pleasure to shop there. Why not save gas and shop here?  

The Dell Cafe, 2637 Castro Valley Boulevard. Arguably, the best breakfast in town. Everything is cooked in butter. The eggs and pancakes are delicious. Still the same ‘40’s place it has always been. What more could you ask for?

The Village Barber Shop, 3372 Village Drive. Al “Charlie Chaplin” Proietti always gives a cheerful greeting and is willing to help any one, any time, either in his shop or elsewhere. Gives good haircuts, too. Where else can you have “Charlie Chaplin” shear your curly locks?   

There are more but space is limited. Now I have broken one of my cardinal rules! Ahhh, that felt good, like having someone scratch your back!!