Search Best Of Oakland Winners
2015 Lifestyle & Leisure
Lace up your trainers and zip up that track suit, because if you haven’t had the pleasure of breaking a sweat in one of Oakland’s prettiest roundabouts, you’re going to want to remedy it quickly. It doesn’t matter where you park, or if you start your tread on Piedmont Avenue and enter on foot. When you find yourself in the manicured maze of the lush green that is Mountain View Cemetery, you will know you are about to embark on the best run of your city-dwelling fitness career. Pebble-covered walkways crawl through fields of gravestones, staircases jump legions of step, and a bright red dirt path stretches up a steep hillside (beware of the monstrous tree trunks placed sideways to keep out cars). On a single run you will see huge fountains reminiscent of vintage plantations, a stone arbor heavy with tangled ivy, and trails and trails of winding natural beauty that you may not have known The Town could boast. Bring water, bring your “A game,” and bring a camera if you come at sunset. When you get to the top, this locale also has one of the best views.
2015 Food & Drink
Best Espresso Empire
Soon after emigrating from Italy to Alameda with his wife and two eldest children in the 1970s, Carlo DiRuocco was shocked at the scarcity of well-made espresso around the Bay Area. Aiming to enlighten his new neighbors, DiRuocco began buying espresso-making machines in Italy and renting them to Bay Area restaurants and cafés including Caffe Mediterraneum, Chez Panisse, and Bay Wolf. Training, repairs, and coffee beans were included in every deal. Nearly 40 years later, Mr. Espresso is an Oakland-based family business involving all three of the now-grown DiRuocco children and their folks—still offering cutting-edge European machines as well as coffee; this is the nation’s first and only roaster to roast beans exclusively over an oakwood-fueled fire.
2015 Food & Drink
Best Marzipan With a Twist
Before moving to the Bay Area, Kristian Salvesen grew up in rural Norway. Nibbling his beloved almond-paste treats during a hometown visit four Decembers ago, Salvesen suddenly realized how difficult it was to find high-quality marzipan in the United States. “In my house, marzipan was always a huge part of the holidays,” he remembers now. “At Easter, I would always try to get my favorite little marzipan logs before anyone else. And at Christmas, everyone played the traditional game of finding the almond in their porridge to win the marzipan pig.” Those memories gave birth to Nuttyness, which allows Oakland-based Salvesen to craft California almonds, Oregon hazelnuts, Madagascar vanilla, and other prime ingredients into milk- and dark-chocolate-enrobed delectables.