Airport and Rental Car Shuttle

I was on travel for 3 weekends in a row in the past month.  My adventures took me to northern CA twice and to the beautiful state of Utah. 

On my 1st trip to CA, I had a chance to hang out in Oakland.  In the past, my experiences of Oakland consisted of mainly getting out of the ariport and boarding the rental car shuttle.  BTW – there really needs to be a better way to get people to the rental car center!!

This time I stayed at the Oakland Courtyard by Marriott which so happens to be in the Chinatown area.  This was a food lover’s dream come true!  Little shops selling boba, pastries, fruit and vegetables, dim sum…the list of items goes on and on.  All I had to do was let my feet and nose lead me on my way. 

Funny that I wanted to have a hot tea boba but the 1st place I visited had a 30 minute wait on making the boba!  For the uninitiated, boba or bubbles are actually tapicoa pearls added to hot or cold drinks.  It provides a unique texture and you need a special large straw to “capture” them.

With a group of friends, we decided to get our boba fix by visiting Sweetheart Cafe.  I had the hot milk tea boba.  One of the fun things about the shop is that they have all kinds of traditional Asian dried fruits sold by weight.  So tamarind was sold in the bin next to the gummy bears.  Salty and sweet all at your fingertips! 
The group decided that we wanted Korean for dinner and it was a rainy night.  So instead of walking, we got into the car and ate at a Korean restaurant called Jong Ga House.  There were 20 different types of panchan!  In Korean cuisine, panchan consists of small dishes that start off a meal.  Sometimes it’s kimchi, potato salad, bean sprouts, cucumbers etc…It was absolutely one of the best meals I have had in a long time. 
It was one of those meals, where you’re so full but you can’t stop eating because it’s just that good.  Rub the food baby!
On one evening, our group of 15+ people met up at Lake Merritt.  Nestled on the Lake is a beautiful restaurant called Lake Chalet.  They have a really great happy hour that includes drink and food specials.  Highly recommend it for the ambience and the cuisine.
It was a rainy rainy rainy weekend but regardless of the weather, the most beautiful setting of the weekend was at Skates on the Bay.   Situated in Berkeley, the restaurant has views of the Bay bridge, San Francisco, and of the bay itself.  The combination of the storm clouds and the city truly showed the many shades that grey has to offer.  In addition, the side trip to Treasure Island was well worth the extra miles!  
It was a weekend full of new eating experiences – mom & pop stands in Chinatown, high end Korean and gogreous views of nature mixed w American fare.  Oakland is definitely more than just the airport and the rental car shuttle.
MXM

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