How to Impress Your Parents

By Joe Eaton and Ron Sullivan
Tuesday August 21, 2007

After the ritual stop at the Lawrence Hall of Science parking lot for the view of the bay, you might want to show your parents around your new home.  

If you’re a Goth and want to give them a dose, you know where to find others of your kind. But don’t miss The Bone Room for atmospherics and jewelry (1569 Solano Ave., 526-5252), or the East Bay Vivarium for lovely snakes, lizards, and arachnids (1827-C Fifth St., 841-1400). 

Mom’s a gardener? Take her to Mrs. Dalloway’s, a unique independent bookshop in the Elmwood neighborhood (2904 College Ave., 704-8222). Dedicated to the literary and garden arts, the store has a thoughtful selection of books and periodicals, live plants and containers.  

If it’s the first Sunday of the month and the weather’s decent, give them a megadose of yesterday and the surreal for a mere $5 each at the Alameda Antiques Fair on the former Naval Air Station (follow Pacific Avenue; 522-7500). There’s no shade, but there is chow, and you can listen to the folks exclaiming, “My mother has a pair of those!” or, “I used to have that game!” 

If they brought the dog along, they’ll all love the scene at Berkeley’s Cesar Chavez Park or Richmond’s Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, where they can mingle with Catahoula hounds, komondors, and other canine curiosities. At Point Isabel, dogs that have found a splash in the Bay irresistable can be hosed off at Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub. 

For out-of-staters, the Oakland Museum of California provides a painless introduction to the state’s ecology, history, and art (100 Oak St., 238-2200). Check out the 1940s kitchen and the beat and hippie exhibits. 

Food and drink? There’s a wealth of options. For cocktails by the bay, try Hs Lordships at the Berkeley Marina (199 Seawall Drive, 843-2733). Unlike many popular bars, you can actually have a conversation there. And for Hong Kong-style dim sum with a view, you can’t beat Emeryville’s East Ocean (3199 Powell St., 655-3388). For tiki and pupu aficionados, Emeryville also has the legendary Trader Vic’s (9 Anchor Drive, 653-4300). 

There’s a tiki bar run by actual Hawai’ians down at the bottom of University Avenue: Templebar, (984 University, 524-6403 messages and reservations; 548-9888 during business hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5:30 p.m. 'till Last Call).  

Eating your way down Solano Avenue can be a rewarding experience. Start with Ajanta (1888 Solano, 526-4373) for some of the Bay Area’s best Indian food; other choices include Japanese, Thai, Nepalese, several kinds of Chinese and Mediterranean. On University Avenue, Lagosia offers Nigerian cuisine in a stylish setting (1725 University, 540-8833), and the same stretch of a few blocks also offers Indonesian, Salvadoran, Indian, Thai, and more. 

Fourth Street, the Anti-Telegraph Avenue, has splendid Mexican food, mostly small plates, at Tacubaya (525-5160) and breakfast fare at Bette’s Oceanview Diner (972-6879). 

Everyone knows about North Shattuck’s Gourmet Ghetto, but downtown Shattuck Avenue offers microbrews at Jupiter (2181 Shattuck, 843-8277) and rustic French at La Note (2377 Shattuck, 843-1535). College Avenue has memorable Italian food atTrattoria La Siciliana (2993 College, 704-1474). 

If your parents are more the meat-and-potatoes or fish-and-fries type, The Dead Fish is worth the drive to Crockett: crab and prime rib, white-tablecloth nautical decor, and a view of the Carquinez Straits (20050 San Pablo Ave., 787-3323). 

The same sorts will like Fatapple’s classic burgers and pies (1346 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, 526-2260), and for breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch, don’t miss the scones, cornmeal pancakes, and oyster po’-boys at Meal Ticket (1235 San Pablo Ave., Albany, 526-6325). 

Just over the Oakland border but technically in Emeryville, try Lois the Pie Queen (851 60th St. just off MLK, 658-1516) for downhome cooking; Lois has passed on, but her son keeps the culinary tradition going.