In part 3 of our series dedicated to East Oakland, we’ll hang out with farmers and ice cream makers, take a stroll through a verdant college campus, eat the best chicken satay you’ve had in your life, marvel at an eclectic arts playground, and come home with beautiful discount furniture items. Not bad, right?

As before, feel free to give a shout-out to your own favorite East Oakland spots in the comments, and in case you missed them, check out parts one and two of the Heading East series here and here.


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Nieves Cinco de Mayo | 3340 E 12th Street, Suite 2

Family-owned Nieves Cinco de Mayo serves up delicious artisanal ice cream, hand-churned by Luis Abundis, an Oaklander originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, who’s been making ice cream for 25 years. Crafted from quality farmers market produce, the flavors change depending on what’s in season, but you can expect to find some unexpected options (corn, rose petal, cheese) alongside traditional favorites like vanilla. Non-ice cream options such as sorbets, raspados (snow cones), and mangonadas (a very popular item) are also available. There can be a line on hot days, but the reward for waiting is well worth it. An additional bonus: prices are low compared to other artisanal Bay Area creameries. Nieves Cinco de Mayo is located in the Fruitvale Public Market, across the street from Fruitvale BART, and is cash only.

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Pollinate Farm & Garden: eggs

Pollinate Fram & Garden | 2727 Fruitvale Avenue

Pollinate Farm & Garden is a farm and gardening store in Fruitvale with a DIY ethos. You don’t just go there for supplies, you go for an education. Founders Birgitt Evans and Yolanda Burrell are passionate about making it accessible for urban dwellers to grow, harvest, and preserve their own food. At Pollinate, you’ll find livestock feed, tools for beekeeping and cheesemaking, composting equipment, seeds, soils, irrigation supplies, and more. Thanks to the diversity of products offered, as well as workshops, speaker series, and tool sharpening services, Oaklanders are finding they don’t need acres of land and a tractor to have nutritious, budget-friendly meals of farm-fresh eggs, vibrant greens, backyard honey, and homemade cheese. And this is a lovely thing.

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Mills College: Littlefield Concert Hall

Mills College | 5000 MacArthur Boulevard

Since 1852, Mills College has been one of the country’s most acclaimed women’s institutes for higher education. These days, it boasts one of the nation’s top graduate programs for experimental music (Laurie Anderson, Dave Brubeck, Joanna Newsom, and Steve Reich are all former students). Mills’ lush green campus is dotted with buildings designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan, making it a lovely destination for a tranquil afternoon walk. It’s worth keeping an eye on the Mills events calendar, as it features a lot of interesting programming, much of which is open to the community.

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Old Weang Ping | 6217 MacArthur Boulevard

Old Weang Ping: behind the entrance to this little ivy-covered house exists a magical thatched-roof hut, decorated like a whimsical tropical garden, that secretly serves up some of the best Thai food in the Bay Area. Pat and Jook Sawanwatana, who opened Old Weang Ping in 1983, are now back after a brief hiatus, under which the restaurant was under new ownership. Call in advance to reserve a table, then savor Old Weang Ping’s peaceful tranquility, friendly service, and richly flavorful entrees, all priced under $10. Do not miss the spicy but complex barbarian soup (pictured) or the scrumptious chicken satay with the best peanut sauce you’ve ever had. Cash only.

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Poor Honey’s Used Furniture | 4250 San Leandro Street

Furniture. It’s either spendy (boutiques), bland (Ikea), or time-consuming (Craigslist), isn’t it? Except that’s not true at all. You see, in Oakland, we’re lucky. We have Poor Honey’s, a mom-and-pop used furniture shop with a large selection of high-quality items and astonishingly low prices, even on antique/vintage items. Sofas, dining sets, wardrobes, file cabinets, lamps, mirrors — you’ll find it all at Poor Honey’s, along with super friendly and helpful customer service. Delivery options are available.

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NIMBY: duck

NIMBY | 8410 Amelia Street

NIMBY is a 65,000-foot industrial arts workspace in East Oakland, shared by makers of various stripes: welders, painters, jewelers, woodworkers, mechanics, glass-blowers, and more. Their website describes NIMBY as “a place to create the impossible, the new, the ridiculous, the exciting, and most importantly, the never seen before.” True to form, NIMBY is a real trip: towering metal sculptures (many of which emit flame), outlandish art cars, and then the artists themselves: a delightfully eccentric bunch. For a jolt of creative inspiration, you could really do worse than pay NIMBY a visit, and by far the best way to visit is to attend one of their parties. Keep tabs on upcoming events at NIMBY by following their Facebook page.


Stay tuned for Heading East Part 4! Feel free to share your own favorite East Oakland spots in the comments.

3 Responses

  1. queervantes

    glad you highlighted “Nieves 5o de Mayo.” their ice cream is good, their mangonadas are great, but perhaps best of all: their hamburgeusa con papas. for $5: a delicious hamburger with lettuce and a thick, fresh slice of tomato and a (little) side of hand-cut papas fritas (fries). also in fruitvale: “La Torta Loca” makes the best torta – really. i asked once if i could have mine without mayo, the normally friendly woman behind the counter (it’s just a walk-up window on Int’l) denied my request, saying that it wouldn’t be as good if she made it my way. so i had it her way and she’s right – why mess with perfection? if you miss mom’s costillitas or are in the mood for frijoles de olla con nopales, “La Mexicana” further down Int’l (near 40th Ave.) really hits the spot.

    Reply
  2. Sabina

    One of my favorite spots is 3411 Lounge at 35th and MacArthur. With everything from House, Drum and Bass, Breaks, Hip Hop, Dancehall, and Karoke — this place is AWESOME! Most friendly vibe I’ve seen in a bar in ages! Their happy hour drink specials will make you swoon (or get really drunk and fall over, which is kinda the same thing, yes?).

    Reply

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