MY EAST BAY HIGHLIGHTS & HANGS
There are so many charming neighborhoods in the East Bay, each with their own unique vibe. From Berkeley, to Rockridge, to Piedmont, to Downtown Oakland, Jack London Square and Alameda, the options of where to spend your time (and money) really are endless. With new places opening all the time, it's hard to keep up, but here are a couple of my favorite spots!
BRUNCH & LAKE STROLL
Nothing like a big breakfast or lunch followed by a three-mile walk around Lake Merritt, which is just across the street! Get to Grand Lake Kitchen early as there is a line on the weekends, or head there mid-week for a quieter experience.
Grand Lake Kitchen
576 Grand Avenue, Oakland 94610
PIEDMONT AVENUE DATE NIGHT
Piedmont Avenue has a lot to offer - yoga studios, coffee shops, vintage clothing and furniture stores, and restaurants line the sides of this quaint East Bay avenue. A favorite night here has to be an early dinner at Homestead followed by a film at the Piedmont Theatre, and if I haven't gorged myself on popcorn and candy, a gelato at Lush!
4029 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland 94611
4186 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland 94611
Uptown? Downtown? Who really knows, except to say that Oakland is happening; nuanced, complex and trending with an array of businesses, cafes, and food-truck events all celebrating the diversity of Oakland. A stroll down Broadway is eye-opening with new commercial and residential development, "cutting-edge" barbershops, artisan bakeries and ice creameries all worth sampling and supporting. Buy local, eat local, and celebrate our amazing city.
2343 Broadway, Oakland 94612
This urban-hip bread bakery is unparalleled when it comes to the art of baking breads, croissants and biscuits to name just a few. Offering both inside and outside seating, you are always sure to find yeast-loving patrons, often with dogs in tow, savoring Firebrand's mouth-watering pastries. Open for breakfast and lunch in the heart of uptown Oakland, this casual eatery is a welcome respite and proof that great baking is right in our own backyard.
538 9th Street, Oakland 94607
While this market has had a few changes, with mini-restaurants that have come and gone, some favorites still remain and continue to attract foodie fans, all in a casual and affordable setting. Conscheca continues to be an Oakland favorite serving Mexican fare with a flare; everything is prepared from scratch daily, including handmade tortillas, pastries, and complex traditional entrees such as duck carnitas and pork belly tacos. The Cook and Her Farmer is a cafe, oyster and wine bar serving fresh, local, and coastal-inspired cuisine with a taste of the south and Cupcakin' bakes the best cupcakes for a dessert treat. Swan's Market is all about the community table, fresh ingredients, casual dining and neighborhood, so be sure to visit. It never disappoints.
COLLEGE AVENUE & THE ELMWOOD
There's a number of reasons why so many people love the Berkeley/Rockridge area, and the Elmwood. Home to street festivals, a BART station for easy access to the City and a host of tasteful boutiques and top-notch restaurants, this charming neighborhood is also peppered with historic Craftsman homes, large shade trees and English-country gardens.