Only a half hour car ride from San Francisco, Uptown is one of Oakland’s coolest neighborhood to explore! We took an Uber across the Bay Bridge and found ourselves in a place that has a great mix of entertainment, shopping and of course restaurants and bars. More and more tech companies are planning to make the move into the district, which will redefine what society thinks of the once dangerous city. Modern restaurants are already popping up and are here to stay. We got to experience Uptown Oakland with help from Edible Excursions. From tasty brews, donut holes and even fried grasshoppers, Oakland’s flavor palette is quite diverse. Here are seven stops we visited while walking through Uptown.
STOP ONE // WOODS BEER CO.
Our meet-up spot was Woods Beer Co., a small brewing company known for their bold craft beer and empanadas. We went around and introduced ourselves as we sat around the fire pit and sipped on our beer. We got to sample two beers, an IPA and an herbal pale. My new favorite drink is now Wood’s Local Honey! It was like aromatherapy in a cup, hints of lavender, eucalyptus, honey and mint made this brew simply amazing. We also got to try a full-size swiss chard empanada, perfectly flaky on the outside.
STOP TWO // ITANI RAMEN
Next, we walked over to Itani Ramen to taste some yummy appetizers. We all cheered with J Pop Grapefruit Sparkling Chu Hi, a malt beverage with about 6% alcohol content. It was refreshing and light! Next, we tried yaki pork and veggie gyozas, cooked to perfection. My favorite part of this stop comes next! We got to make our own spicy tuna hand rolls. Each ingredient was served on one platter, seaweed, nori, spicy tuna, and sushi rice.
STOP THREE // DONUT SAVANT
Time for some sweets! While walking to our next stop we paused in front of Donut Savant. Even though they were closed, our tour guide had a box of donut holes ready for us! This spot is popular in the morning as it’s conveniently located right in front of a BART stop station. We all got to try cinnamon sugar, vanilla glazed, chocolate frosted, and maple pecan donut holes.
STOP FOUR // CALAVERA
Our next stop was Calavera, an upscale Mexican restaurant with beautiful decor and big glass windows. Combined with the rebel spirit of Oakland, Calavera has a menu and various beverage pairings that make this place so unique. Here we got to try chicken tinga tacos, chips and guacamole and washed it down with some refreshing agua fresca. For the brave, adventurous foodies out there, we also got to try fried grasshoppers! The thought of eating it freaked me out, but I held my breath and just pooped it into my mouth. It was surprisingly tasty and crunchy like a sunflower seed.
STOP FIVE // SWEET BAR BAKERY
Next, we stopped by Sweet Bar Bakery, a flourishing bakery and cafe in the historic MacFarlane’s Candy and Ice Cream building. We got to meet Mani the baker and owner and listened to him talk about his shop and how it came to be in Uptown Oakland. We got to sip on local;y brewed coffee and taste one of their famous Sweet Bars.
STOP SIX // TWO MILE WINE
We walked over to Two Mile Wine after our coffee break. This cozy spot is shared with a print shop and art gallery. Our group got to taste three different wines and then one of their spirits. This spot had artsy decor like a vintage van and a floral print couch. It looks like a cool place to sip wine and catch up with friends!
STOP SEVEN // PLUM BAR
Our last stop was a Plum Bar, a small, sophisticated restaurant with ambient lighting and amazing drinks. If you take a moment to look around, you’ll notice that the wallpaper is made up of pages from a novel! Our first taste was a fruit infused vodka drink, a perfect way to cheers to our amazing Oakland tour. Next, we shared smoked deviled eggs and a spicy tofu rice bowl.