Almond Blossom Trp 2010 – Day 4-6: Alameda

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday March 8, 2010

We finally actually checked out at the Mark Hopkins, and THIS time, took what are always reasonably priced in a big city, a taxi, to BART. We boarded BART with a sad goodbye to SF, one of our favorite cities and traveled UNDER the bay….to the west Oakland station…..

With glee, we saw Serafina arriving to Pick us up! We soon were on the move to Alameda, and their fabulous 100 yr old Craftsman home where we were greeted with many licks by Abby & Glenda. I’m not sure whether they were so happy to see US, or the smells of MAC still on our clothes was the REAL draw.

A busy afternoon of talking steadily began while Serafina began the rough prep work for an Italian dish she claimed was simply fabulous………. Savoy Cabbage, Mushrooms, and Bacon Sauce w/Penne Pasta. No, not a fabulous long foreign name, but……by evening, the name no longer mattered. Serafina was right: THIS is a fabulous dish…..and classic Italian, slow cooks for hours with a few simple ingredients. **Recipe to follow after this post**

Well, it seemed that day was gone in an instant, but we were up early next morning for walking the pups along the Bayshore Parks that run so close to their home.

She and David call their local Park Employee, “Uncle Neal” . . . ..a nice guy, the dogs seem to love. This is truly one beautiful part of the San Francisco Bay not familiar to many, but rich in history. In the late 1800s, early 1900′s, many of the wealthy San Franciscans built “summer” homes (ESTATES) here since San Fran’s summers were always so foggy and cool. Alameda STILL has NOT lost that charm, feel, and attitude. It seems in much of the historic Park Street District, few tourists have ever discovered the charm found here.

Dozens of small cafe’s, restaurants, California’s OLDEST Bakery (Boniere…….luscious), and an ice cream maker, called TUCKER’s, who’s Ice Cream is made with ultra rich dairy cream, and fresh flavors…one of the finest ice creams I’ve ever tasted. It’s like being in the Tom & Jerry’s Factory would be…. AND….they give you samples of any flavor you seem attracted to.

Well, we BEGAN that day’s food-feasting with a fabulous breakfast at Ole’s Waffle House, another Alameda tradition……

Yes, it was crowded as always, but with a friendly service staff…THIS place is where to start your day.

As a treat, Serafina showed us a true GEM for old hardware store fans. We shopped at Pagano’s Hardware today…

THIS is one of the few RARE classic Hardware Places operating the same way it has for probably 60-80 years. Browsing through brings you to Odd hidden stairs, trails, merchandise hidden all over the place. We found a few treasures, left, and I couldn’t help but look at the place when we left. After we’d wandered through trails, tunnels, alleys, for 30-40 minutes I expected to see a giant building….. Whew! Fun experience.

That evening, another unique dining experience. I have never dined at a restaurant claming to serve the foods from BURMA. But the Burma Superstar was wonderful.

With its proximity to China, Thailand, Vietnam, etc….it’s foods are a rich mix of all those venues. ALL delightful.

We once again were allowed to peruse artist David’s work, and that’s always a delightful experience. I feel like I’m in an art gallery when we get to do this.

After one more morning walk, Wednesday, we HAD to leave…one day was DUE to spend w/Rodger’s Dad in Oakley, prior to our departing for the excuse for this trip, the RIPON Almond Blossom Festival at Aunt Paula’s.

What a goodbye from Alameda……we had a fabulous time. The two pups, did a good job of mourning our departure. Abby/Glenda showing off such a sad look…….they wouldn’t even come to the door to say goodbye. THANKS, David and Serafina.

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