Ok so I’m diggin’ the South and all but there are certain things I miss about Oakland and the Bay Area in general:
First: 76 degree temperatures all year round – you really can’t beat that. This is the first time in my adult life that I have ever NEEDED air conditioning.
Second: Downtown Oakland – the skyline, when you come into downtown from off 880 the first big structure you see is the courthouse. I spent a lot of time there for traffic cases. The other place down the street and around the corner is the Alameda County Courthouse that is the place where that legendary picture of the Black Panthers was taken at.
Jack London Square has some good clubs and restaraunts, heading in the other direction is where I worked for many years, places like the Kaiser Center which is right across from Lake Merritt. The SBC buildiing on 14th and Franklin (used to hit up a spot called Pat's after work sometimes - when there wasn't a shootout. The Black Muslim Bakery - Honey Carrot Pie is off the hook. I've taken many people in there who were very skeptical about honey carrot pie, after one taste - they were believers.
Lake Merrit was the place that the Festival at the Lake was held for many years, until folks forgot how to act! Now its the Art and Soul Festival which is held more so downtown near the Federal Buidling.
Third: Thanh Long – I love the South but I sure do miss Vietnamese food. I knew before moving out here that I would be giving up certain things for a more affordable lifestyle, but man, giving up places like Pho 84 and Thanh Long is giving up a lot!
If you have never had Vietnamese food, by all means man, the next time you are in a major city, seek some out. Thanh Long is expensive but it is truly worth every dollar you spend. They are world famous for roasted crab and garlic noodles. Lemme tell you something about this place, it is the only place I have ever been where you can find couples on dates, families, pimps, playas, gangsters and business executives all in one place and ain’t nobody concerned with anybody else. The food is so Goddamn good people go there just to enjoy themselves. For real.
And oh yeah one more thing, they are a family owned business, their recipes are their lifeblood, so they don’t give out any info on that tip. They have two kitchens: one that the waiting staff gets the food from, and the other is where the family prepares the food. Waiters, waitresses, hosts and hostesses are not allowed in the family kitchen!
Fourth: I love the food in South Carolina, but ain’t no barbecue like Everett and Jones out here. I can safely say that I haven’t come across a barbecue spot yet, that gets down like Everett and Jones – and I’ve looked! I miss Everett and Jones, man.
I'll never forget the time when I worked for the James River Corp on 300 Lakeside Dr, every holiday we'd have food catered it was always Chinese food. One day someone said, "Hey, we're having some Black peoples food this year!" We got a place called 'Soul Brothers Kitchen' to cater our Christmas lunch. Boy, was that funny! White folks will eat Chinese food, Japanese food, Korean food, Italian food, and Greek food but when you put a plate of grits in front of them: HA HA HA HA AH HA, they ain't goin' for it. At least not any white folks in New York and California! Southern Whites are a different story, they will pile their plates UP.
Fifth: Real Hip Hop radio: College and Community radio the Bay Area has plenty of it, like: KZSU – my man and fellow Queens native, Kevvy Kev Cool Breeze has been holding things down at Stanford U since the summer of 1984, thank God for the internet cause I get to listen online sometimes. He has the longest running hip hop show in the known universe and anywhere else! Sundays 6-9 for 22 years…
KPFA: Peja Peja rockin’ reggae late into the twilight, Lawd o Mercy!
Hard Knock Radio: Community issues and world issue from a progressive POV.
And last but not least…
Record Stores: My man Joe Quixx is the hip hop buyer for Amoeba in Berkeley, whether its crate digging music, independent hip hop, old school, whatever they have it there.
Rasputin Records: Good place to go get up on DVD’s and local acts as well as used records.
Funky Soul Stop: My man Ed digs everywhere for the funk, he used to have a small space in an office building and you had to set an appointment with him to buy records, now he has a full store.
Cue’s: For serious deejays
Groove Yard, Record Man, Record Finder and Groove Merchant: Strictly for serious beat diggers and producers