Just east of Lake Merritt, discover psychics and martial arts, tattoo artists and locksmiths, crawfish and sweet and savory pies.
Step onto Second Avenue to discover indulgent treats, great eats, and top-notch services. Just a block east of Lake Merritt, you’ll discover sweet and savory foods, coffee community, and tattoo body art at 16th Avenue, or step over to International to find Vietnamese food, martial arts training, psychic guidance, and locksmith services.
Find your way forward with inspired guidance from Psychic Vision Palm & Card Reader. “I offer help, advice, and I guide people onto the right path in life,” explained shop owner and psychic Nadia. Her enchanting space is like stepping into another time with silken vintage furniture, ornate lamps, and figurines from a different era. Her space has been open for 10 years, but, as Nadia explained, “I was born with this gift. I inherited it from my ancestors and was taught by them how to use my powers.” New clients can call to make an appointment with Nadia or walk in daily between noon and midnight. 104 International Blvd., 510-893-0473.
Freshen up your style with body art from Five and Dime Tattoo. Choose from tattoo flash (ready-made design options) or work with an artist to create tattoo art that is unique to your desires. Five and Dime also offers body piercing and has a range of body jewelry available. Want to really step up your game? Add some sparkle to your smile with tooth gems. Adhered with the same technology that keeps orthodontic braces in place, these crystal pieces or gold designs are nonharmful to the tooth and offer some serious swagger. Walk-ins are a possibility for those spontaneous moments, but your best bet is to make an appointment. 1607 Second Ave., 510-444-3444, FiveAndDimeTattooOakland.com.
Connect your mind and body with martial arts training at the Suigetsukan martial arts dojo. In Japanese, the word suigetsukan means “moon reflected on water school,” and this community-oriented dojo aims to reflect to students their own inner strength and abilities. Mike Esmailzadeh founded the original dojo in 1991 and, along with a staff of talented instructors, the nonprofit collective offers traditional Japanese martial arts classes including jiu jitsu, aikido, and battado. The belief of this dojo is that everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, should have access to martial arts teachings. To that end, it offers sliding scale rates and scholarships to those in need. Classes daily at 103 International Blvd., 510-452-3941, Suigetsukan.org.
Home goods, teas, gifts, and keys are all waiting for you inside Quach’s Locksmith. In addition to the in-store key cutting services, Quach’s Locksmith offers 24-hour lock-out services. It specialize in commercial and residential locksmith services, including home, auto, and transponder keys. Inside the small store, you’ll find a range of bulk teas imported from China, tea sets, dishware, and home decor from China, and much more. Stop in and say hello. 106 International Blvd., 510-839-8888, 510-663-2222.
Put some pep in your step with a stop by Akat Kalli Coffee during your weekend walk around the lake. Less than a block from Lake Merritt, this good-vibe coffee shop features a small dine-in or takeaway menu (chilaquiles verdes, bagels, and salads) and Latin American-infused espresso drinks like the Mexikan Latte (with cinnamon and brown cane sugar) or El Comandante (Americano and condensed milk). Buy Zapatista-grown coffee by the pound or swoop up locally made vegan donuts. Open wifi makes this a great spot for the freelance crowd. Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends. 1603 Second Ave., Squareup.com/store/akatcafe.
Sweet or savory, you can have it all at Pietisserie. Pie queen Jaynelle St. Jean offers fresh-made thin-crust pies out of her darling store front on the Second Avenue and 16th Street triangle. Savory meat pies compete for attention with the display of gorgeous dessert pies on the counter. Buy by the slice (and enjoy with a Red Bay espresso drink in the shop), or buy the whole dang pie to go. The seasonal menu reflects local flavors, so your taste buds will never get bored. Care to try your hand at pie-making (with a little secret help)? Pietisserie sells all-butter, chocolate, or lattice pre-made crusts. Your guests will never know. Eat in at the casual tables or carry your treats next door to Portal to enjoy with a brew and view of Lake Merritt. 1605 Second Ave., 510-859-7437, Pietisserie.com.
Enjoy beer, wine, and bottomless weekend brunch mimosas at Portal. This lake-view gastropub has the perfect patio for springtime hang sessions. It serves elevated pub food like chilaquiles, crispy Brussels sprouts, and gourmet organic turkey sliders with jalapeno slaw. They also have decent happy hour prices. For those with a nontraditional work schedule, Portal offers brunch every day — but it’s only weekends you’ll get bottomless mimosas. The wood deck is always lively (young kids are welcome but leave your pups at home), and the views are prime. There’s no dessert, so Portal encourage you to grab some sweets from Pietisserie next door. 1611 Second Ave., 510- 663-7678, PortalOakland.com.
Family recipes and Vietnamese classics will soothe your soul at Pho Huong Que. A new addition to the International Boulevard food scene (although the location was formerly Tasty Pho), this family restaurant has been open only six months, but the modern, clean interior, friendly service, and delicious food will keep you coming back. The veggie offerings are especially robust — try the vegetarian egg roll and fried tofu over vermicelli for a fresh, delicious meat alternative. 200 International Blvd., 510-788-4282.
Rockin Crawfish is a rockin’ good time. The busy restaurant is a fun place to meet friends and dive deep into delicious finger food. Tucked in an unassuming retail front on the corner of 16th Street and Second Avenue, this Vietnamese American Cajun menu is rich with spices and garlic. Order seafood boiled by the pound with lemon pepper, garlic butter, or a rockin’ combination of both, and prepare to get your hands a little greasy. No silverware in provided but bibs are. Makes for a playful date night or saucy start to the evening with friends. 211 Foothill Blvd., 510-251-1657, TheRockinCrawfish.com.