If you are a fan of chicken and waffles, you MUST come to the House of Chicken 'n Waffles near Jack London Square. Their chicken is mouth-wateringly good... the pieces come to your table piping hot with a deliciously addictve blend of spices. The chicken meat is moist and packed with flavor. Their waffles are equally good - golden, crisp on the outside, hot and soft on the inside. Top it with their spiced syrup. YUMMY! The only downside to this house of yummy and tasty is the bill - average combo is around $8)
CONS: Pricey - service can be slow.
If you're in downtown Oakland and ever have the hankerin' for Hawaiian food - well you're in luck. Sort of. Hawaiian Walk in has really cheap Hawaiian food (plate lunches with teri chicken and mahi mahi sandwiches, not poi.) You can score a plate lunch for under $5, and that includes the scoops of rice and mac salad. The downside is they don't use the best quality of meats and tend to be heavy on the batter (mahi mahi) , but if you just need a carbo load...
PROS: Hawaiian food in Oakland.
CONS: Not the best Hawaiian food.
I love the Buttercup for what it is - a good coffee shop a la Denny's, but without the crowds. They have good hearty breakfasts and giant sandwiches - and they also offer dinner. I've never had anything bad here, everything breakfast is quite good - pancakes, waffles, French toast - and lunch ain't bad either. The food is a satisfactory plus - but one thing I don't like about this place is the lukewarm, unpredicatable service.
PROS: good breakfast spot alternative
CONS: the service can be bad
You can't go wrong at Thai Pepper - they offer what you'd expect on any Thai menu. Soups bursting with flavor (the Tom Kha is nice and sour), appetizers (the chicken satay is the best), curries, and noodles. The food in general is good - but nothing to write home about. The notable thing about their menu is the large vegetarian selection.
PROS: Excellent Chicken Satay
I really like Horton Plaza because of the way it's laid out - not a big regtangle like all the other malls - but a uniqely architectured outdoor mall with seven or so stories. You can use the stairs and escaltors to weave your way up or down the entire building, and you'll pass stores and restaurants - great for an afternoon of window shopping. Parking is relatively easy (use their structure.)
Gold's is a pretty good gym - they have maybe a dozen ellipticals and treadmills, and maybe a total of 15 bikes and stair machines, and there usually isn't a wait. It's right across the street from the lake so you can always run around it and get some fresh air and sun. There's a good sized room for aerobics, and a small room for stretching and such. The best thing about this gym is the massive weight room upstairs - and it's not just for beefy guys!
PROS: Large weight room
If you're returning a rental car to the airport - you're glad this Arco is here. It's usually a few pennies cheaper than the station nearby, but that can add up, especially if you rented a behemoth for the weekend. The only downside to this Arco is the bums that ask for money. I'm glad I don't have to go to this one regularly. The employees are just there to ring up cigarettes and sodas.
PROS: Great location.
CONS: Wish there were no pan handlers.
A few years ago, Lucky Dog was the only place I knew of that carried tubes of frozen raw food that I'd feed my bull terrier. It's a small shop that carries these frozen tubes - as well as other things for dogs and cats - toys, leashes, bulk treats. They're small, but they seem to carry a lot of hard-to-find things like kosher dog food, gourmet items, and horsefeed. They also carry animals like hamsters.
PROS: They carry hard to find things
I'm recommending Lisa Bruce for the wonderful job she did for my permanent makeup. (I had permanent eyeliner done.) She is patient, will work with you, and she is very skilled. Her clinic is in a residential area and feels very comfortable and feminine. I am going to assume that the hair removal services are just as good. I think she is one of the few cosmetic tattooists in the area that is licensed. Do your homework, and you'll end up at Lisa Bruce Studios.
PROS: Lisa Bruce is wonderful.
CONS: Expensive - but you get what you pay for.
If you shop at Trader Joes, then you'll know how crowded it can get. Why not? They've got killer prices on flowers, healthy and hard to find treats and goodies, wine deals - basically cheap "gourmet" items for everyone. If you're in the know, you don't shop here after work. But... the Trader Joes in Alameda is actually a little bigger than the other two in the East Bay - and you know life on "the island" is a little slower - so shoppping here is actually kind of nice. A lot less frenzied than the other two.
PROS: More leg room.