"On my thirteenth birthday, my father took me to lunch at the Poodle Dog, one of San Francisco's oldest restaurants, the kind of place with red leather banquettes and smoke-stained walls." From the Introduction to Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California by Frances Dinkelspiel. I forgot to list the opening sentence when I started this book last week, and am now almost halfway through. This is a hugely entertaining history of California centered on one man -- a financier and investor who played a major role in getting Los Angeles off the ground before moving to San Francisco where he . . . . I don't know yet; I have to keep reading! Dinkelspiel is Hellman's great-great-granddaughter and a journalist. The book moves along at a good clip, written in a clear, journalistic style. I am really enjoying it. I am reviewing it for the upcoming issue of The Internet Review of Books. It is also the "gold" book on my Colorful Reading Challenge list.