Discovering Oakland’s Roots

Oakland, California: welcoming and enterprising in spirit and gritty and multicultural in soul. It is a diverse city that has a similar “hustle and bustle” to San Francisco. After spending a weekend in Oakland, I can see why it is San Francisco’s beloved counterpart!

I began my trip with something familiar: spending a day in San Francisco. I enjoyed a morning soak at Onsen and savored a bowl of udon at Marugame. Although I was originally put off by the long wait, the homemade noodles were worth it! I walked off the calories by spending a few hours at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Classic art, modern art, media art, paintings, and sculptures; there is something for everyone there. Later that evening, I caught a friend’s theater performance at The Flight Deck. We celebrated with drinks at The Hatch, a cocktail lounge with a dive bar vibe.

The next day, I grabbed a latte at Snow White Coffee and strolled down Piedmont Avenue. I stopped in to La Farine Bakery and ogled their legendary olive bread. I decided that my money was better spent on books than carbohydrates and headed down the street to the Owl and Company Bookshop. Independent bookstores have a special place in my heart. Owl and Company is one of a kind; they offer vintage and antiquarian books on all subjects. You can imagine my delight when I found a signed book about Budapest circa 1922! On a similar note, Walden Pond Books is not to be missed. They have a larger selection of your usual finds than Owl and Company. Be sure to set aside time to peruse their aisles.

Book about Budapest from 1922

Next on my list was Oaktown Spice Shop. As someone who enjoys cooking, the herbs and spices at Oaktown are unrivaled. I appreciate mindfully sourced ingredients and Oaktown stands by their values. Having worked up an appetite, I indulged in Dosa by Dosa’s tandoori lamb kebabs, Chennai fried chicken, and potato-stuffed naan. I would come back to Oakland just for Dosa by Dosa’s Indian food! I rounded out the afternoon by grabbing a beer at Drake’s Dealership and playing with the shelter cats at Cat Town. Adult beverages and adoptable kitties, what’s not to love?

Oakland certainly holds its own next to San Francisco. The city lives up to its motto of “Love Life.” Each neighborhood goes above and beyond in fostering a deep sense of community. There is much more to explore and I cannot wait to return. Have you been to Oakland? If so, what are your favorite places to visit or things to do? Please comment below or e-mail me with your recommendations!

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