Let's catch up.


BART Wants to Ask Voters for Bridge Toll Hike, San Francisco Chronicle

Fresh from winning voter approval of a $3.5 billion bond measure, BART is looking at asking for another $1.5 billion as part of a bridge-toll increase that could go on Bay Area ballots as early as next year.

The idea being pushed by BART and other transit agencies is to raise tolls on the Bay Area's seven state-owned toll bridges — that's every one of them except the Golden Gate — by $1 to $3. Officials are still haggling over the exact amount, but the upper range would boost the top cost of crossing the bay in a car to $9.

The full list of transit projects that would get the money isn't finalized. But BART is already planning to push its way to the front of the line and ask for as much as a third of the toll dollars that the measure would generate. Read more.


San Francisco's 2017 James Beard Awards Semifinalists Are Here, Eater SF

Restaurant awards season has officially begun, with today's release of the James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists list. As per usual, San Francisco has a strong showing with unsurprising nominations for regulars like Mourad Lahlou (Mourad, Aziza), Belinda Leong and Michel Suas (B. Patisserie), Saison, and Bar Agricole. New to the list this year, though, are Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood), James Syhabout (Hawker Fare), and more. Interestingly, both Sara Hauman and Melissa Chou have been nominated for the second year in a row for Rising Chef of the Year and Pastry Chef of the Year, respectively, but both are now at Mister Jiu's. Read more.


Does Fame Have a Recipe? Dominique Crenn's Fast Rise, New York Times

Five years ago, Dominique Crenn was just another hardworking Bay Area chef running a small, ambitious restaurant. She had been cooking since the early 1990s, when she arrived in this city from her native France, but she was still off the radar for many American food lovers. She had never won a James Beard award or served as a judge on "Top Chef" or hit any of the other marks of culinary stardom.

But in 2013, Atelier Crenn, her sleek modernist restaurant in Pacific Heights, won two stars from the Michelin Guide, making Ms. Crenn the highest-ranked female chef in the United States — and drawing the tribe of global gastro-tourists who follow the stars. Last year, she was named "the World's Best Female Chef" by the World's 50 Best, a London-based group that publishes an influential (if somewhat arbitrary) annual list of the best restaurants in the world.

Since then she has shot video campaigns for LG refrigerators and Georg Jensen tableware, been the cover model for the magazine Gastronomique En Vogue, and is profiled in an episode of "Chef's Table" on Netflix. She has been honored by the French government for her contributions to gastronomy and culture, delivered a TED Talk on "defining success," lectured at Harvard, and spearheaded a movement of chefs to help restore agriculture in Haiti. Read more.


Boy? Girl? Both? Neither? A New Generation Overthrows Gender, NPR

If same-sex marriage was yesterday's battle to redefine gender roles and privileges, and transgender rights today's, we just may be on the cusp of the most transformational stage yet. This you-ain't-seen-nothin'-yet phenomenon involves the splintering of what heretofore has been one of the most resilient organizing principles of American society—the division of the entire human race into male and female.

Those who erase that line may identify as both male and female, as neither male nor female, or as sometimes male and sometimes female. "They" is often the pronoun of choice. These individuals may use any number of terms to describe their gender identity: genderqueer, gender-fluid, gender creative, gender-expansive. While definitions fluctuate, "nonbinary gender" has emerged as an umbrella description. Read more.


Amazon to Open Bookstore in Bay Area, SF Gate

Amazon is coming to the Bay Area.

The online giant that got its start in books — and has in the past two years opened three brick-and-mortar stores on the West Coast — is opening a store in Walnut Creek.

The store will be at Broadway Plaza, an open-air shopping center, a spokeswoman for Amazon said.

Amazon would not say when the store will open or how big it will be, adding that the company is now hiring store managers and associates.

The opening of an Amazon store in the Bay Area — a hub of independent bookstores — seemed inevitable, as there are stores in Seattle, Portland and San Diego. The company says others will open soon in Chicago, Greater Boston (two locations), New Jersey and New York City. Read more.