Monday, August 16, 2010

showing off Oakland!

Thanks for the ideas on showing off Oakland. After figuring out when we were both available, I arranged to meet my friend D Thursday morning at West Oakland BART as he was coming over from SF.

Brown Sugar Kitchen

The first stop was Brown Sugar Kitchen for breakfast. K and I went there earlier this year and loved it. I considered Mama's Royal Cafe (worth the trip for the napkin art alone) and Mama Buzz Cafe, but settled on BSK as more unique to Oakland and because it was close to West Oakland BART. We both had the cornmeal waffles, which are served with brown sugar butter and apple cider syrup. Maybe not the healthiest breakfast ever, but hecka tasty. We took our time drinking coffee and catching up, as we hadn't seen each other in some years. As we drove around, I told him about the Cypress Structure and the Loma Prieta earthquake, and a bit about the railroads before that.

City Center

We went over to Downtown and walked around. It was foggy (no great surprise there, given the weather this summer), but there were lots of great buildings to look at and interesting things to see. By European standards, even the oldest buildings are new, but they're still interesting architecturally.

City Hall and Frank Ogawa

Cathedral Building

Oscar Grant mural

Walking towards Uptown, there were Oscar Grant posters in various store windows, and this large mural. I told D about the killing of Oscar Grant, the protests, the trial, and the impending sentencing.

Fox Theater


We walked to Uptown to admire the Fox Theater, Flora, and various other buildings. On the way back, we passed Oaksterdam and talked about the ballot measure to legalize marijuana and the futility of 'the war on drugs'. In Switzerland, apparently marijuana is not legal, but generally the police won't make an issue of a small amount. Most police, at least; like California, it depends on where you are.

Chinatown church

Old Oakland

We then walked around Chinatown, enjoying the life and activity there. Not so much the cooked ducks hanging in the window, but the hustle and bustle of people going about their lives, going to shops, to work, etc. Then it was back to Old Oakland to admire the old brick buildings.


glass and steel, anyone?


kids playing

Lake Merritt colonnade

As we headed over to Lake Merritt, the sun finally made an appearance. D had been at a conference in San Francisco, and was dismayed to pretty much not see the sun the entire time. I told him the usual weather patterns, and while the basic pattern (foggy in San Francisco, foggy mornings and sunny afternoons in Oakland) was normal, the duration and amount of the fog was not. We walked around Lake Merritt, stopping in to check out the cathedral and bird- and people-watch as we walked around.

Tacos Sinaloa

After working up an appetite, we headed over to Tacos Sinaloa for a late lunch. Discussing favorite taco trucks can be like discussing politics or religion, but Tacos Sinaloa (well, technically the Mariscos truck) is my favorite. After lunch I drove him through San Antonio and the Fruitvale, again noting the life and energy present there.

Loard's Ice Cream

As lunch was on the small side, we stopped by Loard's for some ice cream, and to view the Mormon Temple. D said there aren't many Mormons in Europe, but there are fair number in South America where he's traveled.

Joaquin Miller Park

Despite the ice cream to cool us down, it was getting on the warm side, so we headed for the hills. We walked around Joaquin Miller Park and nearby Roberts to check out the redwoods. Proximity to various parks is a big part of why I bought our house here (and I'm glad I bought when I did). D lives near some parks, too, so he felt right at home. We stopped by the house (D reads my home improvement blog) to meet the cats, check out the improvements in person, and talk some more.

Julia Morgan designed church

We checked out the view on the way down from the hills, and went to Rockridge. All this touring and talking was thirsty-making work, so we headed to Barclay's for a pint and more talking. I was considering various options for dinner, but one pint turned into three, so we had dinner there and talked some more. After more talking, I put D on a BART train back to San Francisco, and headed home myself.

A long, tiring, fun tour of Oakland. I know I had a good time showing off Oakland -- I hope D enjoyed it at least half as much as I did. I think he did, because typical tourist things in San Francisco (e.g., Fisherman's Wharf) aren't his favorite, so a somewhat non-typical tour of Oakland was more his speed.


Unknown said...

Sounds like a great way to spend the day.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

This sounds like a full day covering a lot of ground. I'm going to remember your itinerary for future guests. What did your friend like best?

Unknown said...

@ODP - I think Lake Merritt and environs. The fact the sun was finally out for that probably helped :-)