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If you are creative and like collecting artworks, look out for FLAX Art & Design. This family run store is well-known for its large collections of creative merchandise and products, it is an absolute treat for the artistically inclined. The staff is courteous, friendly, informative and talented always willing to help you with your shopping needs. Find the best in stationary, art supplies, kids stuff, gifts and frames, albums and journals. They also stock on supplies for sculpting, calligraphy, carving and basically every art under the sun. A creative explosion is what you can expect on your visit here.
The Oaktown Spice Shop, right next to Lake Merritt, is a dream for people who love to cook. The interior is designed to look a bit like an old fashioned general store, with wooden barrels serving as tables, and of course walls lined with clear jars full of fragrant spices. You can find almost any spice you're looking for, and will probably discover some new ones in the process! They also sell gift boxes with several different complimentary or themed spices that come with several recipes utilizing them.
On sunny East Bay Saturdays, and even the cloudy ones, residents take a trip to this farmers' market, set in a charming part of downtown Oakland near Lake Merritt and the Grand Lake Theatre. It is an ongoing market and offers the chance to buy seasonal and organic produce, homemade baked goods, large farm eggs, and more. You will enjoy the opportunity of buying such items as fresh-cut sunflowers and ripe cherries direct from local growers. Admission is free. Some vendors may take credit cards.
The first of these gourmet bakeries in the Bay Area (they now have stores in San Francisco and Emeryville), Arizmendi bakes up amazing fresh breads and gourmet pizzas daily. Some baked goods are regulars, while others change daily, like Irish Soda Bread and fig-Fennel Sourdough. The huge draw here, besides the urge to overstuff your breadbox are the fresh, specialty pizzas which change daily. Whether its a more basic version like Tomato Sauce, Olives and Rosemary, or slightly more daring and unusual, like Pasilla Peppers, Red Onions, Zucchini and Cilantro Pesto, the pizza will please any palate. Pizzas can be bought by the slice, half-pizza, or a whole and can be heated up there for immediate consumption, or half baked for you to finish yourself when you get home.
Beauty's Bagels serves up a delicious alternative to the classic New York-style bagel with their Montreal-style wood-fired bagels. Available in the classics like poppy, sesame and everything, at Beauty's you can top your bagel with a whole array of things you might have never even thought of. Create your own sandwich with toppings like Sierra Nevada cream cheese, chopped liver, pickled onions, scrapple and many more (among the usual suspects, of course). If you'd rather have the work already done, they have a selection of pre-designed bagel sandwiches that are ordered with the greatest ease.
Dr. Comics & Mr. Games has been delighting kids and adults since 1988. Fans of comic books delight in the huge, organized selection of comics, ranging from classics to new and everything in between. The manga section gets particular rave reviews. In addition to the comics, they also have a selection of puzzles and games.
If you're in the mood for some ultimate comfort food, look no further than Homeroom. This cute, airy restaurant decorated with all things school paraphernalia specializes in one thing: Mac & Cheese. And this isn't your grandma's blue box of "Mac N Cheese" as the different varieties range from your classic cheddar mac to more adventurous versions like goat cheese mac, trailer mac with hot dog and crushed potato chips, Mexican mac with chorizo, chipotle, jack cheese and cilantro, and even vegan or gluten free mac so noone is left out. Some of the varieties are constant staples while others change from time to time. All dishes can have various different ingredients and crunchy toppings added to them. In addition to the cheesy goodness, Homeroom also features various breakfast and lunch special sandwiches, homemade desserts and a delicious selection of local beers and wines.
Oakland is a city full of bikes, and Tip Top Bike Shop is one of its favorite places to supply themselves for the activity. In addition to new, quality bikes Tip Top is also an extremely popular place for bike tune-ups and repairs. They also host a tire recycling program and special events the first Friday of every month for the Oakland Art Murmur. And don't forget about your helmets, locks and lights!
Oakland is all about its Farmer's Markets, and the Sunday Temescal Farmer's Market is certainly no exception. This market is a bit smaller than many of the other Oakland Farmer's Markets, although many regular shoppers see that as a good thing. Come to get the best pick of the best seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with high quality meats, baked goods, plants, flowers and prepared foods like tamales or wood-fired pizza.
Just across the street from the Rockridge BART station, you'll find this great little shopping center that feels like a bit of Manhattan's Upper West Side all rolled into a corner. You will find the best in gourmet delights, flowers, coffees and tea, and everything you need for a romantic meal at home. Market Hall offers restaurants, cafes, bakeries and florists as well as fishmongers and some of the finest produce available in the Bay Area.
Ramen Shop is a trendy eatery serving Ramen noodles, a popular Japanese fast food. Done up in dark wood tones, the eatery offers both table seating as well seating at the long counter. The open kitchen offers a fascinating view of chefs churning out sumptuous fare. You can indulge in the umami flavors of the rich broth and a variety of exotic toppings served with your noodles. The Ramen Shop also features a full bar and a selection of interesting cocktails and Japanese whiskey. The restaurant doesn't accept reservations, so it's advisable to be prepared for a wait on the weekend.