I love pizza, I always have and I always will. I also believe that pizza can be part of a healthy and whole food lifestyle, I have proven that over the past year. My memory is filled with pizza related anecdotes. I used to wait tables at an iconic pizza shop off the Syracuse University campus where the owner slung doughs in the window for 40 years. I have eaten classic versions on the piazzas of Italy. I’ve grinned watching my son eat half a margherita at Boot & Shoe Service. I’ve had my eyes opened wide by squid, cherry tomatoes, and aioli on a version at Pizzaiolo. I have sipped a beer while eating kale & pancetta with my kids at Jules Thin Crust, pointing out the animals in the pictures draped across the walls. All these memories connect pizza to my heart and put a smile on my face. When I heard about a group of local Oakland guys bringing half-baked artisan pizzas to the doorsteps of our neighborhoods, I knew I had to give Pizza Matador a try.
Restaurants & Drink
There is something nostalgic about a cafe tucked into the back corner of a local market. It feels reminiscent of times when the local general store offered a lunch counter to stop and enjoy a quick bite, or a fountain shop to grab a scoop or two. Grocery shopping used to be less of a chore, but part of a daily routine; taking time to grab ingredients for the evening meal, saying hello to neighbors, stopping for a cup of coffee. So many cultures around the world still treat shopping this way. I think of grocery shopping as a tedious task I try to get through as fast as I can. As our culture sees a shift towards local, sustainable, organic, and small producers, a secondary movement is taking hold, reviving the corner market in an refreshing way. Just across the historic Leimert Bridge in the Oakmore Neighborhood of Oakland, Rocky’s Market is a great example of this shift; and just past the produce aisle, Two Local Girls is a wonderful and inviting addition.
El Nino is here. Our days are filled with clouds, rain, and an occasional punctuation of sun. We can’t complain, it’s what we need. So lets focus on ways to enjoy these dreary days. A bookstore and a warm, indulgent sandwich were the ways my sister and I chose to spend a recent cold & cloudy Friday. I was in need of a new book to read, so a trip downtown provided the opportunity to pop into Laurel Bookstore’s new home in the historical Lionel J. Wilson Building. A stroll through the neighborhood then took us to Stags Lunchette; a cozy little spot serving up oozy deliciousness in sandwich form.
Fall colors and flavors were in full force last Friday in Old Oakland. The brightness of summer has given way to the warmth of fall, visible in the deep oranges, purples, and greens on display at the Old Oakland Farmer’s Market. The seasonal flavors were abundant in dishes being served from the dining hotspots tucked into the revitalized Swan’s Market at 10th & Clay.
There is a charming simplicity to Sequoia Diner. A lovely combination of delicious & classic diner fare served in a space full of classic diner style.
Sequoia Diner is located in the Laurel District of Oakland, in a spot that has been occupied by cafes and diners since the 1940’s. Owners Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson have set a nice example of how to make an entrance into an established and tight knit Oakland community. Bringing their years of experience from the front and back of the house at East Bay hotspots such as Camino, Duende, and La Note, they have blended new into old in a subtle and respectful way. Neighborhood residents themselves, they have focused on creating a place that feels like it was meant to be for those of us who are their neighbors.
I have had my eye on the space for months, driving by and watching with curiosity to see what was going to unfold behind the “Grand Fare Market – Grand Hospitality. Grand Fare” sign that hung outside the old Monkey Forest Road space on the 3200 block of Grand Ave. Given the proximity to Charlie Hallowell’s local gems Penrose and Boot & Shoe Service, my hopes were high.