Review: the Parkway Speakeasy Theater!  »

For being delightfully in the heart of Oakland, the Parkway Speakeasy Theater place sure sees a lot of Skinny White Bitches.* In fact, I can count the number of black people I’ve seen here on one hand AND I ONLY HAVE TWO FINGERS. That’s a lie about the two fingers but wouldn’t that be cool? And by cool, I mean horrible. Other than the not-so-delightful gentrification (wait sorry, revitalization) of Oakland, I do enjoy sinking my fat white ass into one of the comfy (yet probably highly unsanitary) couches to enjoy a second generation first-run movie or art house feature. They also have special nights with horror films, kids’ films (you can bring your gross baby that night) and tons of other special events. But the coolest thing about the parkway is that you can GET ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES DURING THE MOVIE. OK, not all alcohol, it’s only beer and wine but there are decent selections in both categories. The second most awesome thing about The Parkway is that you can enjoy your movie while snacking on VEGAN PIZZA (they make their own vegan cheese, kinda like a fake ricotta but it works, and tons of vegan toppings!) They also make a few vegan sandwiches and salads and various other vegan-friendly snacks (and often vegan cookies!!)! It is a very satisfying experience. The vegan stuff is clearly marked on their menu and they’re open to suggestions so you can email them or leave a comment card when you’re there and they’ll try to accommodate. It was loud-mouthed vegans who got the vegan stuff onto the menu to begin with it so it pays to speak up and FIGHT THE POWER! Or NICELY MAKE A SUGGESTION!

Two more things: It’s only $5 admission price and it’s two-for-one on Wednesdays! Love that as I’m hella cheap. Also, they have a second location in El Cerrito if you want to enjoy a movie out in the sticks. El Cerrito is totally far away.

*Oh and calm the fuck down, Skinny White Bitches of the world. I don’t need any hate mail because I used such an offensive slur against your people. If being called a Skinny White Bitch is the worst thing that has ever happened to you well then, LIFE IS GOOD.

[marquee photo by disrupsean; beer and popcorn photo by queenkv]


Review: Atlas Café!  »

Atlas Café is a wonderful quiet little neighborhood coffee shop of the best sort. It’s big enough that there is always an available table (except during real rush periods), yet still feels cozy and welcoming. The baristas are super-friendly and casual (except for ONE dude! What’s his problem?) and will remember who you are and stuff, if that’s important to you.

Atlas does not quite have a full kitchen, but they do have a large menu with a bevy of vegan options. There are two vegan sandwiches available—the baked tofu (with nori!—probably the best choice), and the baked beet; and two sandwiches which can be made vegan without the cheese—the portobello mushroom and the roasted yam. At least one of their two daily soups is always vegan (go for split pea or lentil if they have it, avoid the mushroom: tastes like gravy!) They have a delicious no-cheese pizza made with tofu, yams, beets, and mushrooms (it sounds sort of weird, but the flavors just work together somehow). For breakfast you can get a bagel with hummus, and opt for tomato, onion and sprouts if you wish. (Would that they had Tofutti, alas.) There is also a wonderfully spicy ginger lemonade which is amazing on a hot day (all five of them).

Atlas consistently gets high marks in “best of” lists for being dog-friendly. You can sit with your dog in the enclosed patio area, as well as in the table area on the street out front. The downside is that smoking is also allowed in these areas.

Beware showing up on Thursday evenings, however, as they usually have a LOUD bluegrass band playing. If you’re not there to get down Kentucky-style, then it’s impossible to do anything else, like have a conversation or read a book. There’s approximately seven to 15 dudes with beards strumming various instruments or washboards as the case may be, and it’s just not what I come to a coffee shop for. I actually happen to like bluegrass, and I can’t stand being there when the band is playing. I turn right around and go back out. San Francisco is also home to an annual bluegrass festival; Atlas seems to host about half of it. So again, avoid.

[top photo via yelp]

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