Hey y’all! I’m back!! Yes, I’ve finished moving and unpacking, and am finally beginning to feel some semblance of normal life again.
Some of you might remember my last move, when I waxed poetic about my then-new neighborhood. Trust me, I didn’t want to leave, but a significant drop in rent was a serious motivating factor. I mean, if you could save $400/month, wouldn’t you move too? There are tons of things I’ll miss about my old apartment (bye bye, adorable bird vinyl applique wall clock!) and my old neighborhood. But the upshot is that I’m now living in a vibrant area of Downtown Oakland, close to Jack London Square, Chinatown, and Lake Merritt. So, while I’m sad to say goodbye to North Berkeley, I’m also extremely excited to explore my new environs.
So, consider this the first part of a two-part post. This one will focus on North Berkeley, and my next post will reveal the top 10 things I’m looking forward to checking out in Oakland. So without further ado, here’s a list of the Top 10 things I’ll miss about North Berkeley (all within walking distance):
9. San Pablo Ave & University Ave: This little corner has so many great, affordable places, including Casa Latina Taqueria, Kabana Pakistani food, Acme Bar, and Lanesplitters Pizza. Don’t forget about the 99-cent store!
8. Acme Bread: I regret not taking advantage of being so close to this awesome bakery more often. Their cinnamon currant bread is to die for, and is especially tasty in french toast.
7. Hopkins Street shops: In addition to Monterey Market (see below), the shops at the intersection of Hopkins and Monterey are great. There’s a butcher, a baker, a cheese shop, Gioia pizza, and Cafe Roma. (Sorry, no candlestick maker.) It was a convenient, one-stop shopping area, with the benefit of supporting small, locally owned businesses.
6. Ohlone Greenway: I took this greenway all of the time between Berkeley and El Cerrito, either on foot or by bike. It’s not the most scenic route, but it was a nice, flat alternative to running in hilly Berkeley. Also, it was a lot better than biking on busy streets like San Pablo Ave or University Ave.
5. Cedar Rose Park (and greenery, in general): This cute park was right across the street from my apartment complex. Because my apartment was so small, I ended up hosting 2 parties in the park. It’s also a lovely place to sit on a blanket and read, people watch, or just relax. I’ll also miss the lush vegetation in North Berkeley. So many great trees and beautiful, creative gardens! No matter what time of the year it is, there’s always some kind of flower in bloom.
4. Berkeley Bagels: This is the one place I have found in my 6+ years in California that serves anything remotely close to a NY style bagel. They are chewy/soft on the inside and hard on the outside, with boil marks, as they should be! I might have to make semi-regular trips back there and buy bagels to freeze, just so I have some on hand whenever the craving hits me.
3. 4th Street: Yeah, it’s a bit yippie (yuppie-hippie), but I love 4th street. There’s Tacubaya, my favorite place for Mexican breakfast. Chilaquiles, FTW. I’m also a big fan of the Crate and Barrel Outlet, Sur la Table, Bette’s Oceanview Diner, the Benefit Brow Bar, Flight 101, and Cafe Rouge’s meat market (they make their own sausages!). It’s also a great place to walk around on a lazy weekend morning and window shop/people watch.
2. Albatross Pub: I’ve celebrated the last 4 birthdays at the Albatross, that’s how much I like this place. It’s a nice sized pub with trivia on Sundays, board games, and lots of dart boards. They’ve also got a nicely stocked bar with polite bartenders and a down-to-earth crowd. The only thing that’s a miss are the some of the paintings, which are freaky. My tip: sit with your back against the wall, facing away from them. You’re welcome.
1. Monterey Market: Oh man, I loved this place so, so much. Super cheap and awesome produce, a lot of it seasonal, local, and organic to boot. Yeah, it’s sometimes hectic, the (non-produce) groceries can be expensive, and they don’t sell everything (e.g., meat), but it’s pretty great and will be the #1 thing I miss about North Berkeley.
So there you have it! Luckily, my new home is only a 20-minute drive/BART ride away, so if I miss anything too much, I can always go back to visit. Look for “part 2″of this series soon!