Wednesday, December 30, 2009

food: Actual Cafe

Actual Cafe

Anew cafe at the corner of San Pablo and Alcatraz is my kind of place. Actual Cafe is made for cyclists. Not only do East Bay Bike Coalition members get a discount on tea and pastries, but there's indoor bike parking.

Indoor bike parking and a pedal-powered jukebox aren't the only interesting things about Actual Cafe. It gets its name from the manifesto of the founders:
Living in this modern world, driven primarily by the movement of dollars and (more recently) bits and bytes, we're losing our sense of neighborhood and neighbors. Instead, we're relying more and more on "virtual" ways to communicate and socialize.

Here at ACTUAL, we heart technology and all, but prefer the real thing. That's why we like real china cups, instead of those paper sippy-lidded landfill-multiplying ones. It's why we buy our supplies from local businesses ... from real folks who live nearby and care about their neighborhoods like we do. It's why we stay open late. Why we have local art on the walls. Why we have comfortable furniture and communal seating. Why we want you to have your group meetings here.

the bike rack

I had a mug of (Oakland's own) Numi Organic tea while I perused the cafe. Besides various tables and a long bar to sit at, there's a reading area in the back stocked with various books and magazines. I read on their Facebook page (and confirmed in person) that they've gotten a license to sell beer, so they'll soon have beer on tap, too.

The menu isn't online yet, but I grabbed one while I was there today. Besides the standard coffee drinks and the aforementioned teas, they've got sodas, house-made sodas, and ice cream sodas rounded out with iced coffee and tea. Breakfast stuff (until 11 M-F, noon on weekends) includes granola, toast, empanadas, egg sandwiches and various pastries. I didn't try one, but some empanadas came out of the oven while I was there and they looked and smelled great. It brought back memories of Argentina, where K and I sampled empanadas everywhere we went.

Non-breakfast stuff (after 11) includes sandwiches (turkey, ham, tuna, grilled cheese, PB&J), an empanada plate, and a "real big salad" which I can confirm looked real big, and the couple I saw eating theirs seemed to be enjoying it.

Beer, bikes and Oakland -- what's not to like? They're having an opening shindig on Friday, January 8th, 2o1o (eek! 2010?) from 6pm-10pm, with drinks, snacks and music, and the opening of "Composited Neighborhoods", photography by Allan Ayres. Beer, bikes, Oakland and art? Even better!

Additional reading:

2 comments:

ArtSparker said...

Best wishes for the New Year, and thank you for the Oakland Signs throughout the year. This Cafe is roughly (via Alacatraz) down the street from the Antique Centre on Telegraph Avenue, also a nice sign, though not neon. The proprietor, James Cross, is a very dear man. If you're in the neighborhood...

Gene said...

Thanks for the wishes and the sign leads!