Although Alameda is almost literally smack dab in the middle of the San Francisco Bay Area, it's always been somewhat of a culinary wasteland*. However, lately there's a sea of promising restaurants opening, and some of the old classics are kicking it up a notch. One is Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden, an adorably tiny cafe on Alameda's main drag, Park street. Julie's offers an incredible selection of teas and a lunch menu that'll rival anything on Church street, scone for scone. Plus, an impossibly lovely backyard teaming with succulents, heat lamps, and wooden picnic tables. You'll have no choice but to question why you're selling off your babies and organs just to live in that shit box in the Tenderloin. Hello, Alameda!
Now, onto the food. Oh, the food.
Menu highlights including thin, sourdough crust pizza, tea-soaked quinoa, and a creamy, savory, addictive vegan walnut-lentil pate. Seriously, this pate is something to cross two bridges for -- it's thick and toothsome, and slathered on toasty ciabatta. It's pretty much the classiest sandwich you'll ever eat.
The tea-soaked quinoa is another menu standout. It's brought to you on a tray with a big bowl of organic quinoa, seaweed, edame, shredded veggies and other surprises. On top sits a mound of stinky, yummy miso, and next to all that is a steaming pot of houjicha tea. When you're ready to dig in, simply pour the tea into the quinoa and bam, instant lunch. Cup of Noodles is for chumps!
On top of that, they have a huge selection of fresh baked pastries, scones, hot oats, and more tea than you can... shake a bag of loose leaf tea at? Don't get us started on the rosemary-mint green tea cooler. Good lord!
I grew up in Alameda, and this place has changed. It used to just be old people and Skippy's peanut butter. Now, it's old people, Skippy's peanut butter, and vegan pate. Things change, y'all. Plus, Alameda's got a beach -- it's basically our Hawaii. Or Coney Island. Whatever.
*I can say that because I grew up there but if you say it, I'll tap dance on your face.