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Crossing the Bay, Starting Anew

Bi-Rite Market

I never thought I’d want to trek across the Bay for ice cream. After all, the East Bay is the land of Fenton’s, Ici, and Almare Gelato. But Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakery instantly won me over with its selection of organic flavors, like honey lavender, Ricanella, Mission Street Mexican chocolate, and balsamic strawberry. How can I resist making a trip to the Mission every week? All ice cream should taste this good. I just wish I had the appetite to sample 4 flavors with each visit. To ease the dent that Bi-Rite makes in your wallet, pick up a “validation” card and once you’ve accumulated 10 hole punches for each product you’ve purchased, you earn a free scoop.

Shopping • Hayes Valley / The Mission

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Joyous Union: Man + Beast

Animal Connection

We all remember the small town pet store, the one with friendly bird and reptile experts who will keep your parrot or bearded dragon healthy and thriving for decades. San Francisco’s last independent resource for reptiles and birds has complete pet supplies for those boring dogs and cats, and stocks all sizes of frozen or live reptile food. You can get walk out with anything from a cute fuzzy thing, to things that eat cute fuzzy things. For 10 years, my ball python has been kept healthy and happy thanks to Kelly, Joe, and all the others. The place is clean and humane, and the upstairs reptile display is swell. Don’t knock on the glass or you’ll have to hand feed that huge frog with an “active feeding response.”

Pet Shops • Sunset

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Fair Trade Go Juice

Awaken Cafe

When the Golden Bull bar closed shop last year, denizens of Oakland’s club scene gasped a collective beer breathed WTF!? But when Awaken Cafe opened in the space a couple months ago, the promise of a cool new downtown business district continued to materialize. And besides, now there’s somewhere to nurse hangovers on those Saturday mornings after Art Murmur. Run by Burning Man vets and Cafe Gratitude pals Cortt Dunlap and Kari Christensen, Awaken serves up fair trade java, healthy snacks and organic tea and wine with a Burner’s flair, but without the feel good, froufrou names of the Bay’s favorite new chain restaurant. For the moment only the small upfront coffee bar is open to the public, but the coming months promise a late night lounge/art gallery/performance space out back featuring a rotating cast of your favorite Oaktown artists and rabble rousers.

Art Galleries , Coffee • Downtown Oakland / Lake Merritt

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Mission Indie Mart

Thee Parkside

I love nothing more than an excuse to drink in the middle of the day while shopping. The Indie Mart is a bi-monthly market where local designers can sell their crafts–we’re talking necklaces made out of buttons, knit pins, vintage shoes, and bizarre looking stuffed animals. DJs spin music, cheap drinks are served, and the designers are on hand to show off how they make bracelets out of sprinkles and resin. It leads to many a damn-I-wish-thought-of-that-moments. Eventually, all of the items will probably start to blend into one dizzying and cutesy blur, but you’ll still have left with a few items and a buzz. July 27 at Thee Parkside.

Nightlife • SOMA / Potrero Hill (North)

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