the kawaii guide to california :: part I
welcome to the kawaii guide to california! jump aboard the kawaii bus with us as we venture to all our must-see & feel areas and the little known spots of san francisco bay area or SF as affectionately known by locals.
while the golden gate bridge is defs on the must see list when days are not so foggy, the lesser known sister is the east bay bridge that takes you over to oakland & berkley - two super awesome neighbourhoods of the bay area where increasingly more & more creative folk from the city are moving to being driven out by cray cray prices in the city by the google heads who now reside there.
locals say oakland is totes where it’s at - the main drag of telegraph street is lined with colourful street murals, awesome cafes with options for folks of the most intolerant kind. fave spot for brekkie is julie’s. try their home-made granola with cashew milk yoghurt and don’t go past their freshly baked biscuit - which is like the american cousin of a scone.
oakland is dripping with character. the houses look as if they were built by gnomes and goblins and the redwood trees somehow just magically grow in tiny gardens & their flower friends grow wild here. its as if the folks here innately understand their garden has a mind & will of its own and do not attempt to manicure it, instead they have learn to co-exist and allow nature to be.
off the main road of telegraph is the super kawaii temescal alley off 49th street - meaning sweathouse in its nahuatl tongue. this hood is filled with all your artisan needs & wants of the 21st bespoke century. in-house made bum bag (or dare i say fanny pack) made from ethically sourced leather? tick. unbelievably delicious vegan ice-cream. tick. jewellery shop housing the most original pieces of ceramic hangings & adornments only seen on insta-heaven. tick. take a moment or three to just wander in & out of the shops in this nook.
our kawaii faves include —
escueleto | www.shopesqueleto.com | @shopescueletomindseye vintage | mindseyevintage.com | @mindseyevintagecrimson horticultural rarities | crimsonhort.com | @crimsonhortcurbside creamery | www.curbsideoakland.com | @curbsidecreamery
neighbouring hoods of rockridge & around are also super meandering pedestrian friendly & charming in that way that total SF rough around the edges kinda way.
downtown SF is dishevelled interesting melting pot. in the mission you will find excellent mexican food & murals adorning every wall. totes worth a gander. much of the city is inhabited by homeless folk. they are dotted all around the city on every curbside and street corner. its really quite eye opening & harrowing but its best to keep a clear conscience about the whole situation as you navigate around them & silently send them good vibes.
for day or overnight trips outta the bay area head up to nevada city for that old-skool western charm - a super cute town with great food & artisan shops. stop into three forks bakery for their organic wild yeast crust pizza. the architecture is amazing in all its art deco gold glory mixed with old world western saloon style shop fronts. locals say that the whole area is built on gold & the energy from the gold creates the magical buzz that exists in this part of nor-cal west.
down south of SF head down to santa cruz for that 60’s american beach town vibe that you have seen in movies many times over & where the classic surf/skate brand santa cruz was born. there is still a old skool surfy charm to santa cruz that is evident with its old motel signs & dilapidated beach shacks dotted around town. it’s also home a gigantic amusement park built right on the beach that is is scary and amazing all at once. further down the coast drive through capitola and down to monterey bay & it’s cannery row - a quaint fishing town packed with candied apples & happy touristas. stop by navarro’s cactus farm just off the highway for a truly unique succulent experience.
wherever you go in california your best bet for grub is mexican. without a doubt the general standard of mexican is top notch and its cheap as chips. when in down town SF make sure you stop by a mexican cart to grab easy taco’s for $3 a piece. throw some tapatio sauce on it for good measure. fish taco’s are also the state’s unofficial food of choice. so go where the locals recommend & eat up because they will never taste anywhere near as good back home. if you’re an annoyingly intolerant gf & df like us in the kawaii camp, head to wholefoods or trader joe’s for easy meals & where your eyes will bug out from your wheat-free head from the endless organic & alternative choices.
stay tuned for part II as we head down to the one & only la-la-land - los angeles - home of the angels.
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