The Best of Oakland
Win is the word
By Judith M. Gallman, Daniel Jewett and Derk Richardson
The Best of Oakland
Win is the word
The ballots are in and all the votes tallied for Oakland Magazine’s second annual Best of Oakland opus. Will you agree with what your fellow readers say—and what we editors claim—is the best in 50-plus categories? Probably not, but that’s half the fun.
We had a few laughs over a couple of responses. One crazy sports fan wrote this in the best pro team category: D’A’s. (We couldn’t agree more, by the way.) Another couldn’t be bothered by sports, asking, “Who cares?!”
The scenic drive category prompted wacky answers: Interstate 580, “Grizzley Peak” and “The Milky Way” (apparently just another name for Martin Luther King Jr. Way). Meanwhile, one reader loves to dine at “Beowolf,” and another opted not to vote for any nightlife choices, confessing, “Sorry, have young kids.”
Some readers aren’t quite clear on the Oakland-centric concept of our Best Of contest, designating the Gilroy Garlic Festival as the best annual event. Sigh. We’ll try to be more specific on next year’s ballot.
And finally, we asked for advice on what categories we left out, generating some no-brainers (like best Vietnamese), but some oddball picks surfaced, too, among them best tattoo shop and best oil-change outlet. Readers will have to wait for the 2008 ballot to see whether those categories make the cut.
FOOD AND DRINK
Best New Restaurant
Small plates are still big news, and when César chef Maggie Pond and partners piggybacked on their Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto success, Oaklanders flocked to this larger hot spot for house-cured meats, patés and cheeses; such signature tapas as salt cod and potato cazuela; and an astonishing variety of cocktails, spirits and wines. César, 4039 Piedmont Ave., (510) 985-1200, .
Mama’s Royal Cafe
Perpetually slammed Mama’s Royal Cafe—famous for napkin art, home-style cooking and weekend brunch—takes the best breakfast category, with the Blackberry Bistro in Glenview, another down-home star, a very close second. Tucked in between Piedmont and Temescal, Mama’s has been packing in the hungry masses since 1974, appeasing unruly appetites with yummy omelets, awesome scrambles and unbeatable home fries. Mama’s Royal Cafe, 4012 Broadway, (510) 547-7600, www.mamasroyalcafe-oakland.com.
Sicilian-style pasta, pizza and regional specials give Lo Coco’s, the wildly popular Piedmont Avenue pizzeria, a leg up on the contenders in the best Italian category. This tiny, always-crowded and unassuming restaurant turns tables fast yet dependably plates up delicious dishes, including unrivaled eggplant parmigiana and to-die-for tortelloni. Zza’s and Oliveto also received voter attention and gave the stalwart a definite run for the money. Lo Coco’s, 4270 Piedmont Ave., (510) 652-6222.
Little Shin Shin
For two years running, Little Shin Shin has separated itself from the East Bay’s vast pack of Cantonese, Schezuan, Hunan and Shanghai eateries, earning diner loyalty with such sure-fire dishes as kung pao beef, hot and sour soup, sizzling black pepper beef, walnut prawns and salt-and-pepper beef ribs. Little Shin Shin, 4258 Piedmont Ave., (510) 658-9799.
Bay Wolf and Garibaldi’s
Bay Wolf and Garibaldi’s on College. (Oliveto garnered greater total numbers, but its votes were scattered Oakland Magazine readers may not be sure what “California” means, but they certainly love joint winners among Italian, French and California.) The Piedmont Avenue pioneer’s unpretentious integration of seasonal ingredients into Mediterranean styles, its trademark duck dishes and exclusive wine list coexist amiably with the chic Rockridge establishment’s popular bar and eclectic menu of wood-fired pizzas, risotto, local seafood and lamb specialties. Bay Wolf, 3853 Piedmont Ave., (510) 655-6004, www.baywolf.com; Garibaldi’s on College, 5356 College Ave., (510) 595-4000, www.garibaldis-eastbay.com.
Breads of India
Breads of India got its start in Berkeley and eventually expanded to Oakland and Walnut Creek, and the reason is obvious: great-tasting Indian food and truly out-of-this-world naan. The often-changing menu features just a few specialties, each with a recommended naan option. Try pairing sizzling tandoori salmon with aromatic garlic naan for a palate-pleasing sensation. The attractive (and newest) Old Oakland location is theperfect place to get to know each menu item. Breads of India, 948 Clay St., \(510) 834-7684.
Bay Wolf Restaurant
Executive chef and founding owner Michael Wild claims his Bay Wolf Restaurant, an Oakland institution for more than 20 years, hasn’t always been quite the star it is now. “We weren’t made perfectly at birth,” he says. “The restaurant looks nothing like it did 20 years ago.” Whether you believe that or not, the good news is that this Mediterranean-style, carnivorous-oriented restaurant with its rotating monthly menu (where signature duck liver flan plays a regular cameo role), fresh-from-the-field ingredients and hard-to-find-wines, has blossomed into one of Oakland’s best. Bay Wolf Restaurant, 3853 Piedmont Ave., (510) 655-6004, www.baywolf.com.
General manager Dona Savitsky and executive chef Thomas Schnetz know their food, enabling tony Doña Tomás to earn top honors for best Mexican cuisine. Seasonal, local and often organic ingredients make their way into DT’s authentic, upscale and original concoctions worth swooning over, among them savory, rich mole; tender, slow-roasted carnitas and artful crème fraîche-drizzled chiles rellenos. Cal-casual Cactus Taqueria made a valiant second-place showing. Doña Tomás, 5004 Telegraph Ave., (510) 450-0522, www.donatomas.com.
Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers
Where do busy parents wind up after soccer or swim practice? Kid-friendly Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers, of course. It’s inexpensive, the burgers are good and there are dozens of flamed-broiled options that go way beyond the traditional (organic tofu burger, anyone?), not to mention soups, salads and
sandwiches. Check out the four East Bay locations at www.barneyshamburgers.com.
Everett & Jones
When it comes to ’cue, Oakland voters left no doubt—it’s Everett & Jones by a landslide of smoked pork ribs, all-beef links, open-fire-grilled chicken, crusty brisket, bountiful sides and, of course, the mouth-watering sauce (in three degrees of heat) that has tantalized taste buds since 1973. See www.eandjbbq.com for Everett & Jones’ five East Bay locations.
Zachary’s Chicago Pizza
Legendary Zachary’s Chicago Pizza KOs the field, and it’s no secret why: The cheese-laden, chunky-sauced stuffed or thin pies are the stuff of obsessions, keeping the pizzeria constantly overrun. From a slice of piping-hot pepperoni to the mountainous stuffed spinach-and-mushroom pie, Zachary’s turns pizza-making into an art. No time to wait? Zachary’s half-baked pies for takeout are not half bad. Visit www.zacharys.com for info on the three Bay Area locations.
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Peet’s Coffee & Tea has the lock on Bay Area coffee hangouts. Expertly roasted, perfectly brewed and always fresh, Peet’s inspires an almost cult-like following and is guaranteed to perk you up. Cups come to customers (or “Peetniks”) in serene, calm settings where mellow classical music starts every morning off just right. See www.peets.com for store locations.
L’Amyx Tea Bar
Everything you know about tea may not be wrong, but it’s probably incomplete without a visit to L’Amyx Tea Bar, our readers’ preferred source of everything from green, black and white to herbal and pu-erh teas, as well as brewing-technique tips and a refined oasis ambience. L’Amyx, 4179 Piedmont Ave., (510) 594-8322 and 3437 Lakeshore Ave., (510) 835-8322, www.lamyx.com.
Editor's ChoiceA Handmade Corn Tortilla for the Ages
LA MEXICANA RESTAURANT
La Mexicana Restaurant may have changed hands once or twice over the past 40 years, and the hands that pat out the homemade corn tortillas almost certainly are different, but the results—large (8-inch), thick, almost-pillowy griddled treasures of lovingly formed masa—are amazingly consistent. Whether you enjoy it as the casing of a generous La Mexicana enchilada or the crisp foundation of a tostada; use it to sop up tomatillo and mole sauces; eat it solo, slathered with butter; or take home a dozen ($6) for some innovation of your own, this is the quintessential tortilla—product of a craft that should never be allowed to die. La Mexicana Restaurant, 3930 International Blvd., (510) 533-8818.
Two longtime Bay Area chefs, Curt Clingman and Mary Jo Thoresen, brought the taste of the French countryside to Piedmont Avenue in 1999 and haven’t looked back. Not ones to chase culinary fads, the chefs keep it simple, tempting with the likes of saffron-and-fennel-scented seafood stew and Meyer lemon curd tartlets. The pair are passionate about food and great dining and, for the second year in a row, our readers agree that Jojo is the place to go. Jojo, 3859 Piedmont Ave., (510) 985-3003, www.jojorestaurant.com.
Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers
The standard-bearer of hamburger heterogeneity, Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers stands uncontested in the hearts and bellies of Oaklanders. Freedom of choice is the rule, from ground chuck or turkey to chicken breast, eggplant or tofu; from buns to baguette, pita or rye and everything (cheeses, bacon, mushrooms, pesto, avocado, artichoke hearts) in between. Check www.barneyshamburgers.com to find Barney’s East Bay locations.
Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant
Vegetarian fare has never tasted so good. At Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, chefs skillfully use ingredients such as soy protein, wheat gluten and vegetables and nuts to mimic the meaty tastes and textures of regular Vietnamese and Chinese favorites. The restaurant also gets high marks for its affordable buffet. Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant,
1301 Franklin St., (510) 893-0383.
Great Japanese cuisine and fresh sushi make Tachibana a local favorite. The never-too-crowded Rockridge establishment attracts noshers with comfortable atmosphere, dim lighting and a long sushi bar manned by several very friendly chefs who can turn heads with sashimi assortments, melt-in-your-mouth spicy scallops and bonito flake–garnished agedashi tofu. The East Bay has a lot of good places to eat sushi, but Tachibana is clearly our readers’ favorite. Tachibana, 5812 College Ave., (510) 654-3668.
Fentons Creamery & Restaurant
When 112-year-old Fentons Creamery & Restaurant claims it gives customers old-fashioned portions, it’s not kidding. About halfway into your handmade ice cream dish, you may begin to wonder what you’ve signed up for. Focus on the great taste and you’ll make it through. Fentons Creamery & Restaurant, 4226 Piedmont Ave., (510) 658-7000, www.fentons-creamery.com.
Most Sought-After and Talked About East Bay Sandwich
Hipsters, squares and parents pushing babies in strollers—plus anyone else in the know—are on the Bakesale Betty bandwagon, making a habit out of the Temescal bakery’s famed chicken sandwich: a gargantuan buttermilk-fried chicken breast on fresh-made bread with a nest of oil-dressed savory coleslaw spilling forth. Mmm! Bakesale Betty, 5098 Telegraph Ave., (510) 985-1213, www.bakesalebetty.com.
À Côté fanned the tapas flame into a small-plates revolution in Rockridge, taking place à côté (next door to) Citron. Communal tables, specialty cocktails and nearly four-dozen wines by the glass add convivial accents to seasonal Mediterranean bites and such year-round faves as pommes frites, croque monsieur and mussels with Pernod. À Côté, 5478 College Ave., (510) 655-6469, www.acoterestaurant.com.
Barclays Restaurant & Pub and luka’s taproom & Lounge
It’s a two-way tie this year between two very worthy candidates for best beer selection. Last year’s winner, Barclays Restaurant & Pub, scores again with its constantly rotating selection of beers on tap, of which there are always 30 available. But the new kid on the block, Luka’s Taproom & Lounge, makes an equally strong showing with its tasty selection of 15, mostly Belgian, beers on tap. Can’t we all get along? We’ll drink to that. Barclays, 5940 College Ave., (510) 654-1650, www.barclayspub.com; Luka’s, 2221 Broadway, (510) 451-4677, www.lukasoakland.com.
Carnitas, tamales and rellenos may rule the menu, but the various hand-shaken admixtures of top-shelf tequilas (Pepe Lopez, Sauza Blanco, El Tesora, etc.), liqueurs (triple sec, Citronage, Cointreau) and fresh lime keep Doña Tomás in the south-of-the-border vanguard of the contemporary cocktail renaissance. Doña Tomás, 5004 Telegraph Ave., (510) 450-0522, www.donatomas.com.
Luka’s taproom & Lounge
Luka’s Taproom & Lounge is such a great place to go after work that it won the category for best happy hour—without even officially having one. But Luka’s does have fun specials, the best being $1 oyster night every Monday. Also, look for “drinking liberally” from 6 p.m.–8 p.m. every second and fourth Wednesday of the month and half off all bottles of wine on Sundays. Get there early, grab a seat and order Luka’s signature cocktail, the Buddha’s hand martini; it’s the sound of one hand drinking. Luka’s, 2221 Broadway, (510) 451-4677, www.lukasoakland.com.
Chic and sexy with an über-hip vibe, the Paragon inside the Claremont Resort & Spa is the go-to spot for high-end specialty cocktails. Drink-meisters behind the bar hand-stir premium spirits, including house-infused vodka, tequila and rum, with fresh-squeezed juices, delivering colorful and flavorful concoctions in the bar, which grants a bird’s-eye view of the Bay Area. Paragon, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, (510) 549-8585, www.paragonrestaurant.com.
Editor's ChoiceHottest Place for Cool drink
Z Café and Bar
When Z Café and Bar owner and mixologist, Mehdi Zarekari, left San Francisco to open his new restaurant in downtown Oakland, he brought only one thing with him: the Mehdi Special. It’s the drink that has built Mehdi a loyal following wherever he has bartended. Now patrons can get Mehdi’s amazing take on a classic mai tai anytime at Z Café. Pair the tropical treat with some of Z’s spicy garlic shrimp to be transported to Polynesia. Z Café and Bar, 2735 Broadway, (510) 663-2905, www.zcafeandbar.com.
Live Music Venue
A rare jazz club designed with musicians and listeners in mind, Yoshi’s has provided state-of-the-art sound, unobstructed sightlines and the biggest names in mainstream jazz (as well as “smooth,” avant-garde and local acts, plus Japanese cuisine and a full bar) at its Jack London Square location since May 1997. Still not convinced? With new executive chef and former Ozumo mastermind Shotaro “Sho” Kamio at the helm, Yoshi’s is always in good taste. Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, (510) 238-9200, www.yoshis.com.
One of Oakland’s classiest arts organizations, Pro Arts is a member-driven community arts outfit with 1,000 artists and supporters. Occupying a sunny, 2,500-square-foot gallery in Jack London Square, it’s probably best known as the force behind the twice-a-year East Bay Open Studios event, which allows public tours of area artists’ private studios. Pro Arts, 550 Second St., (510) 763-4361, www.proartsgallery.org.
Crogan’s Restaurant, Barclays Restaurant & Pub and The Golden Bear
When it comes to great places to enjoy a beer and watch the game, we’ll have to let our readers agree to disagree. Our first ever three-way tie goes to Crogan’s Restaurant, a restaurant and Irish pub in Montclair; Barclays Restaurant & Pub, where big screens, a huge beer selection and great food rule; and The Golden Bear, a classic college-student hangout near Lake Merritt. Only one thing is common to all three pubs—no Los Angeles Lakers fans are allowed. Crogan’s, 6101 La Salle Ave., (510) 339-2098, www.crogansmontclair.com; Barclays, 5940 College Ave., (510) 654-1650, www.barclayspub.com; The Golden Bear, 389 Grand Ave., (510) 663-2327.
Best Place to Eyeball Oddball Art
Troll for artistic treasure on the first Friday of every month at the Oakland Art Murmur in which a dozen or so arts venues schedule coinciding openings and events. Ground zero, often crowded with hipsters, is 23rd Street and Telegraph Avenue, steps away from the stylish Esteban Sabar Gallery, usually mobbed Mama Buzz Cafe, eccentric Ego Park and the hip Rock Paper Scissors Collective. Visit www.oaklandartmurmur.com for participants and a map.
Editor's ChoiceBest Place to Win a Shuffleboard Championship
Kingfish Cafe and Pub
The Kingfish Cafe and Pub is a true dive bar that just reeks of character—and maybe a few other things. The juke box hasn’t been changed in at least 10 years, the ceilings are low and the walls are covered with sports memorabilia and chalk graffiti. Still, the place is always full of friendly characters and good vibes. Sidle up to the bar and enjoy free popcorn and a Guinness poured the way it’s supposed to be. Head to the back room where everyone, even newcomers, is invited to take part in the occasional shuffleboard tournament. Winners walk away with their very own Kingfish T-shirt; losers have to talk about the one that got away. Kingfish Cafe and Pub, 5227 Claremont Ave., (510) 655-7373.
Impress out-of-towners at Lake Merritt, a quintessential Oakland landmark and the oldest wildlife refuge in North America. By day, it’s an athlete’s Mecca, where walkers and runners can eye birds that breed at or migrate to the salt-water lake. Illuminated by the Necklace of Lights at night, it’s a vision of loveliness, with the Oakland skyline shimmering faintly in the ripples on the water.
Judging by the number of votes cast, Oaklanders are as passionate about their neighborhoods as they
are about their pizza and breakfast joints. And the combination of local pride (in the Craftsman bungalows and corner cafes) and widespread admiration of its dining and shopping destinations stirred a rally that allowed Rockridge to eclipse Montclair as the ideal neighborhood. Rockridge, www.rockridgedistrict.com.
Farmers MarketGrand Lake Farmers Market
Home to colorful characters and colorful food, there is no place like the Grand Lake Farmers Market. Every Saturday the market draws more than 50 vendors offering produce, prepared foods and arts and crafts at Splash Pad Park right across from the Grand Lake Theater near Lake Merritt. 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at the corner of Grand Avenue and Lake Park Way. Grand Lake Farmers Market, (800) 897-3276, www.splashpad.org/farmersmkt.html.
Local Day Spa
After a 2001 facelift, the Claremont Spa became as integral to the Claremont Resort’s destination status as its grand, ornate hotel and chic restaurants and bars. Thirty-two treatment rooms provide ample space for everything from à la carte treatments all the way up to the Claremont Ultimate Escape Package. Claremont Spa, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, (800) 551-7266, www.claremontresort.com/spa.
Redwood Regional Park
For the second year in a row, Redwood Regional Park was voted a favorite outdoor getaway. It’s no secret that the East Bay has some of the best and most beautiful hiking, biking and horseback riding trails in its hills; what is surprising is that so much of it is within the 1,836-acre Redwood Park. Throw in swimming, picnic areas and the chance to spy rare species—such as the golden eagle or Alameda striped racer snake—and you just may have heaven on earth. Redwood Regional Park, (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.
17 Jewels Salon + Spa
Owner Julie Stevens named 17 Jewels Salon + Spa after an inscription she found on a watch left to her by her grandfather and as a nod to the nickname, “Jewels,” she has had her whole life. It appears readers agree that it is time to give some recognition to this local jewel that prides itself on pampering its customers. 17 Jewels Salon + Spa, 4801 Telegraph, Ave., (510) 653-1059, www.17jewelssalonspa.com.
Most Active Way to Learn Oakland History
Bike Trips of Oakland
History can be participatory, not passive. Check out the free Bike Trips of Oakland with the bike-tripping docents of the Oakland Museum of California. These volunteers lead leisurely paced, two-hour, five-mile tours of Oaktown and surroundings to reveal historical gems on certain Sundays (reservations required; riders meet at the 10th Street entrance). Bike Trips of Oakland, 1000 Oak St., (510) 238-3514, www.museumca.org.
For breathtaking views of the Bay Area, snake along Skyline Drive, the curvy two-lane road that hugs the ridge in the East Bay Hills, coursing through majestic redwoods and fragrant eucalyptus trees on its way past houses perched cliff-side and mansions anchored on wooded lots. Cyclists, runners, walkers and Harley Davidson–riding sightseers travel the drive for inspiration.
Oakland Museum of California
Opened in 1969, the Oakland Museum of California is the only museum devoted to the art, history and natural sciences of California. To showcase the Golden State’s present, past and future, the museum houses comprehensive permanent exhibits on three floors and supplements those with galleries, education programs, tours and special exhibits, with the annual Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, exhibit and celebration, an eagerly anticipated annual affair. Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., (510) 238-2200, www.museumca.org.
It’s not a stretch to call Piedmont Yoga the cornerstone of the East Bay yoga scene. Beyond
co-founder Rodney Yee’s celebrity vibe, the updated facilities, diverse teacher roster and expansive class schedule (including Pilates, Tai Chi Chuan and programs for people with special needs or disabilities) have garnered unparalleled devotion for 20 years. Piedmont Yoga, 3966 Piedmont Ave., (510) 652-3336, www.piedmontyoga.com.
Best Place for an After-Work Escape
Martin luther king jr. regional shoreline park
Nobody goes to the airport to relax, but just a few minutes from Oakland International lies a little-known stretch of land offering great views, abundant wildlife and plenty of fresh air. Bordering San Leandro Bay off Hegenberger Drive, the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park is a real find, with beautiful Arrowhead Marsh as its crown jewel. Walk the winding bayside trails, take in views of San Francisco and downtown Oakland, and enjoy the sounds of nature only occasionally interrupted by a passing plane or helicopter. Be on the lookout for a large wooden pier and ramp structure as well as a sculpture of a gray whale and Roger Berry’s mysterious art piece, Duplex Cone.
Art & Soul Festival
Oakland’s signature outdoor event of the year is the Art & Soul Festival, which enters its seventh round on Labor Day weekend. No word on headliners yet, but festival-goers can count on three days of music from national performers on five stages, food and family fun in downtown’s Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. In 2006 more than 60,000 people attended the event. Rock on. For more information, visit www.artandsouloakland.com.
They may be Fremont-bound, but for now, the Oakland Athletics remain Oakland’s team, and the Golden State Warriors and the Oakland Raiders can’t compete with the much-loved ball club on the popularity front. The season is in full swing, so head to the ballpark today for the best game on dirt. Oakland Athletics, 7000 Coliseum Way, (510) 638-4627, www.oaklandathletics.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
With last year’s poll-topper Barry Zito transplanted to the pitching mound across the bay, free-swinging Oakland A’s slugger Nick Swisher, a 26-year-old switch-hitting first baseman/outfielder, slides past his former teammate (and runner-up Eric Chavez) into first place as the local fan fave. Nick Swisher, Oakland A’s, www.oakland.athletics.-mlb.com.
Farmer Joe’s Marketplace
After 12 years as the produce mart of choice for East Oaklanders, Farmer Joe’s Marketplace grew in June 2006, adding a new Fruitvale Avenue location. Such staples as fresh nut butters, bulk oils and grass-fed beef are augmented by freshly made soups, sandwiches, smoothies and sushi. Farmer Joe’s Marketplace, 3501 MacArthur Blvd. and 3426 Fruitvale Ave., www.farmerjoesmarketplace.com.
Grand Lake Ace Hardware
John Madden is right—Ace is the place. For all of you who dread entering a Home Depot, the East Bay has been blessed with a handful of unique and amazing Ace Hardware stores. And readers have singled out the Grand Lake Ace Hardware in Piedmont as the place to go for a one-of-a-kind selection of garden supplies. No more chasing guys in orange smocks down endless aisles. Grand Lake Ace Hardware, 1221 Grand Ave., (510) 652-1936, www.acehardware.com.
One in a chain of three local independent bookstores (there are two Pegasus stores in Berkeley), Pendragon truly has that independent bookseller spirit. The store offers a ton of programs, author events, groups and readings for its customers and can make them chuckle with its very informative and humorous Web site. Go online to see Amazon versus the independents, or to view photos of staff members’ pets. Pendragon, 5560 College Ave., (510) 652-6259, www.pegasusbookstore.com.
Rover and Bowser can keep up with the Jones’ pampered pooches thanks to the astonishing selection of upscale toys, snazzy accessories, healthy foods and high-end snacks at Redhound, where the knowledgeable staff is feline-friendly, too, stocking everything from salmon treats and fishing-pole playthings to chic cat carriers and stylish scratching sculptures. Something to bark about. Redhound, 5523 College Ave., (510) 428-2785,www.redhoundpets.com.
Fine furniture and fun stuff for the home, most reasonably priced, are what you’ll find at Rockridge Home, a trendy furniture, accessory and gift shop in the heart of Rockridge that’s been going strong since 2003. Owner Jennifer Kaplan says she stocks for the “casual urban sophisticate,” selecting sofas, ottomans, tables, vases, martini glasses, plates and more for comfort, style and uniqueness. Rockridge Home, 5418 College Ave., (510) 420-1928, www.rockridgehome.com.
Founded in 1993, Pelago prides itself on offering a wide selection of unique and affordable gifts and home decorating items. This Montclair shop seems to have a little bit of everything—soaps, jewelry, cookbooks, photo frames, cocktail glasses—and not much of anything you would find anywhere else.
Pelago, 6134 Medau Place, (510) 339-7090.
Pavé employs a staff of custom designers and skilled craftspeople to make sure each
customer gets something special and unique every time. Our readers seem to be happy with the results; they have voted the Rockridge jeweler No. 1 for the second year running. Pavé, 5496 College Ave.,
(510) 547-7000, www.pavefinejewelry.com.
Whether they’re tucking their toes into budget sandals or designer-name platforms, Oakland Magazine’s inveterate shoe-shoppers again find inspiration for their inner Imeldas and soothe their soles in the footwear and foot-care fantasia known as Tootsies—where pedicures reach party proportions on Friday nights. Tootsies, 5525 College Ave., (510) 595-7272.
Editor's ChoiceBest Place to Ease into the Digital Photo Age
Montclair 1-Hour Photo
As film started going the way of LPs and cassette tapes, Montclair 1-Hour Photo adapted by mastering the digital processes in which the 28-year-old shop specializes today. Whether you want to have old prints scanned or restored; make holiday cards or posters from your favorite shots; maintain a free online album; or get friendly, expert assistance with your art photography or professional e-commerce, this modest storefront houses the cutting-edge technology and bend-over-backwards staff to address every need. Montclair 1-Hour Photo, 6170 Antioch St., (510) 339-3686, www.montclairphoto.com.
Buying designer-label goods at greatly reduced prices makes any shopaholic’s day, and bargain hunters can find deals by the dozen at Rockridge Rags, the little indie recycled-clothing store that ekes past area chainster Crossroads Trading Co. in this year’s used-goods contest. Togs and shoes, purses and coats, jeans and sweaters and more—it’s all there. Rockridge Rags, 5711 College Ave., (510) 655-2289.
Wheels of Justice Cyclery
Although its business moniker derives from owner Justice Baxter’s name, Wheels of Justice Cyclery spins the pun into fair and balanced policies, including 30-day test rides, 90-day price protection, lifetime tune-ups and parts warranties and a 100 percent value trade-up program for kids. Wheels of Justice Cyclery, 2024 Mountain Blvd., (510) 339-6091, www.wojcyclery.com.
Health Food Store
Dating back to 1933, Oakland’s original health food store, the Food Mill, may not be as polished as Whole Foods, but it makes up for what it lacks in ambience with 700 bulk food items, nutritional supplements, a general grocery store, health and beauty products and its own line of cookies and peanut butter. The Food Mill, 3033 West MacArthur Blvd., (510) 482-3848, www.foodmill1933.com.
Best Way to Show Local Spirit
Oakland Cutie T-Shirts
It’s never too early to start showing a little local love, and now Oakland Unwrapped, a local nonprofit group promoting Oakland businesses, has a great new way to do so. The organization’s totally charming Oakland Cutie T-shirts prove that you don’t have to know how to walk to be able to show how much you love Oakland. This line of toddler tees is available only online as part of Unwrapped’s new Internet marketplace. Ask your parents to help you order one. www.oaklandunwrapped.org.
Paul Marcus Wines
Because of its location in Rockridge’s European-style Market Hall, Paul Marcus Wines emphasizes food-friendly wines. This amiable and sophisticated shop posts helpful ratings and descriptions of both budget-conscious and exclusive high-end European and domestic varietals from a wide range of French, Italian, German, Austrian, Spanish and California producers. Travel the world with just one stop. Paul Marcus Wines, 5655 College Ave., (510) 420-1005, www.paulmarcuswines.com.
What’s the little record store that can? It’s Saturn Records, the one-time mail-order-only record house in San Francisco that opened a retail shop in Oakland in 1992. Today, the Rockridge vinyl specialist is a generalist, dealing in all genres of music and priding itself on its ability to offer a rare collector’s item next to an inexpensive classic. It all sounds good to Oakland Magazine readers. Saturn Records, 5488 College Ave., (510) 654-0335, www.saturnrecords.com.
Local TV News Anchor (Male)
KTVU-TV, Channel 2, anchorman Dennis Richmond easily wins this category again, but in all fairness, is there really anybody else? Richmond has been a staple of Bay Area life and a local favorite since becoming anchor of KTVU’s flagship program, The Ten O’Clock News, in 1976. Dennis Richmond, www.ktvu.com.
Local TV News Anchor (Female)
Before her elevation in December 2006 to co-anchor, with Dennis Richmond, of the Ten O’Clock News on KTVU-TV, Channel 2, Julie Haener had already won three Emmy awards, including one for Best On-Camera News Anchor in 2004. Oakland Magazine readers agree, nudging the Washington state native past popular peers Sarah Sidner and Dana King. Julie Haener, www.ktvu.com.
Kudos to Hizzoner Ronald Dellums, the beloved Oakland native son and former U.S. congressman who took over the reins of California’s eighth-largest city in January, becoming the city’s 48th mayor. A senior statesman who wants to turn Oakland into a model city, he leads with an inclusive style and a provocative motto: “Together We Can Do Great Things.” Ronald Dellums, www.mayor-rondellums.org.
What do you do when, after playing in punk bands and working at Pacific Bell, you decide to make a career change? If you’re Fresno native Paul Canales, you enroll at the Culinary Institute of America and work your way up to head chef at a famous Bay Area restaurant. That was the road traveled by this gifted chef, who finds himself at the helm of Oliveto Cafe & Restaurant, preparing innovative variations on regional Italian cuisine. And now everyone can taste his success. Paul Canales, Oliveto, 5655 College Ave., (510) 547-5356, www.oliveto.com.