East Bay Days

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Standing serene on my peninsula. A little to the right (not pictured) is the Golden Gate Bridge.

All my life, I’ve wanted to live in San Francisco. I can remember being about four years old, walking through Chinatown, utterly enchanted.

Recently, my lifelong dream of living in this city came true. Sort of. I currently live right across the bay from San Francisco, with a foggy view of the Golden Gate just a short walk past my door.

Though the city sits just beyond the stretch of blue that separates it from me and the East Bay, my weekday commute gives the illusion of a much greater distance. {If only I could just take a ferry across the water!} So when it comes to the weekend, I like to explore the little patch of the Bay Area in which I actually reside.

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If only windswept hair looked as glamorous as it sounds.

On Saturday, K and I started out by meandering through the artisan booths of Oakland’s monthly waterfront market, Jack of All Trades. We saw plenty of adorable goods, but I have to admit that we also discovered the food trucks, where we enjoyed strawberry lemonade and cheese fries from Cheese Gone Wild. I was skeptical of the concept of cheese fries, but these ones were delicious.

In downtown Oakland, we discovered E.M. Wolfman, a small bookstore with a gallery and a gratifying small press selection. This place gives me hope for the East Bay I am only just beginning to know.

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Gondolas are frequently seen in Oakland’s Lake Merritt.

With a bit of time to spare, we headed to a more familiar spot—the picturesque Lake Merritt, which always seems to draw us to it. We grabbed a couple of books from the nearby library and bided our time before heading to a vegan Chinese restaurant, Nature Vegetarian, for dinner. The dishes we ordered—Veggie Mongolian Beef (I think it was made with seitan) and Braised Eggplant with Spicy Sauce—were just as flavorful and hearty as I’d hoped. I am neither vegetarian nor vegan, but if delicious food is available to me without worry of gristle or (animal) fat, I often prefer it. This place (along with San Francisco’s House of Nanking and Shangri-La Vegetarian) makes my evolving shortlist for Bay Area Chinese food.

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A festive view of Lake Merritt’s evening sky speaks in warm tones.

As the work week winds up and then down, I like to imagine what this coming weekend will bring. How are you planning to spend it?

My look ~ Sunglasses & Scarf: Charming Charlie. Earrings: Inherited from Grandma. Top: Thrifted. Pants: H&M.

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