Beyond the Gourmet Ghetto

Venture to Walnut and Vine for you, your dog, and your family.



Visit Twig & Fig for stationery and specialized printing needs

Lori Eanes

North Berkeley’s famous Gourmet Ghetto, home of Chez Panisse, the Cheese Board Collective, Epicurious Garden, and the birthplace of California cuisine, gets all the attention. But behind the famed foodie row, just a block off the bustle of Shattuck Avenue and nestled under a canopy of oaks, is the corner of Walnut and Vine streets, a lively and charming area full of surprises.

 

Shop

Twig & Fig Paperie is a more than a store—it’s an experience. Twig & Fig is a couture stationer with an exquisite collection of fine paper, cards, wax seals, wrapping paper, washi tape, journals, wall art, and more. But this business is also a design studio, with professionals waiting to help you create one-of-a-kind invitations, stationery, and cards. Their creations are then lovingly hand-printed on an antique press dating from 1890, making your special occasion extra special. And if you drop by the studio, the workers are always happy to give an impromptu tour. 2110 Vine St., 510-848-5599, www.TwigAndFig.com.

For the four-legged members of your family, Holistic Hound is a natural pet store dedicated to improving the health and wellness of East Bay dogs and cats. This cheerful store is well stocked with hormone- and antibiotic-free food and treats, homeopathic supplements, and pet accessories, including locally made beds. Holistic Hound also holds regular events and educational talks on subjects like cannabis for pets and how to keep pets safe from environmental toxins. And, of course, dogs are always welcome. 1510 Walnut St., 510-843-2133, www.HolisticHound.com.

The motto of Aura Jewelers is “Just Beautiful Things,” and once you walk through the door, you’ll see why. With new and antique jewelry as well as stone bowls, animal carvings, and even fossils, Aura has a wide selection of treasures sure to delight any connoisseur of sparkly stuff. Aura has been in business in Berkeley for 36 years and offers appraisals and evaluations by appointment. 2122 Vine St., #A, 510-644-1487, www.AuraJewelers.com.

 

Play

Set in Berkeley’s lush Live Oak Park, the Live Oak Theater is an intimate performance space and community hub featuring the best of theater, dance, and film. TheatreFIRST is the company currently in residence at Live Oak. Its mission is to bring unheard voices to the stage, reflecting the real world through multiple, simultaneous viewpoints. The 2016-2017 season includes Beneath the Tall Tree, a tale of a missing samurai sword and the effects of anti-Japanese sentiment and forced internment during World War II. 1301 Shattuck Ave., 510-981-8150, www.LiveOakTheater.org.

After you’ve taken in an afternoon matinee at Live Oak Theater, take a stroll through Live Oak Park and Berryman Path. Berryman Path is named for Henry Berryman, an early Berkeley entrepreneur, and was originally intended to be an extension of Berryman Street. Neighbors fought the extension, however, and proposed that a path be constructed instead. Today this scenic walkway extends a short distance up the hill from Live Oak Park, almost reaching Berryman Reservoir near the Berkeley Rose Garden. The rose garden is a Berkeley treasure, with 250 varieties of roses and breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay—well worth the short hike. Live Oak Park and Berryman Path, 1301 Shattuck Ave.; Berkeley Rose Garden, 1200 Euclid Ave., 510-981-5150.

Also nestled within Live Oak Park, the Berkeley Art Center performs many functions: gallery, performance space, classroom, and community center. It serves the unique and diverse population of Berkeley by curating exhibitions that question conventions and challenge perceptions through visual, performing, and literary arts. Visiting artists also offer classes to adults in topics such as origami jewelry, Japanese calligraphy, and performance art. Family class topics have included kite-building and paper-making. Admission to the art center is free. 1275 Walnut St., 510-644-6893, www.BerkeleyArtCenter.org.

 

Eat

For your next special occasion or romantic night out, try Nico’s Hideaway. This elegant Italian restaurant offers private, curtained booths for an intimate dinner for two, as well as an outdoor patio with tables overlooking the bay. Don’t miss the sumptuous brunch boasting locally sourced ingredients and a well-rounded cocktail menu. 1508 Walnut St., Ste. B, 510-280-5920, www.NicosHideaway.com.

Love At First Bite is a bakery dedicated to spreading love through sweets—just the way Grandma used to. This sweetshop carries 12 to 15 flavors of cupcakes on any given day, like peanut butter, green tea, or hummingbird, which is a Southern treat made with bananas, pineapples, and pecans. These bakers also make cakes, including vegan creations, to order. 1510 Walnut St., Ste. G, 510-848-5727, www.LoveAtFirstBiteBakery.com.

Published Oct. 19, 2016 at 8:00 a.m.

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