If you're looking for Alexis Krauss, singer for the band Sleigh Bells, check outside. She's often out exploring eats by bike in the cities her band visits or taking her dog and frequent touring companion, Rizla, on sprawling walks. A longtime vegetarian who broke her vows for barbecue, Krauss leans toward local, organic and sustainable. That's an easy ticket in Oakland, California, where the Brooklyn-based band has been camping out while recording their next album. "I've been going on tons of Oakland adventures and eating really well," Krauss says. Here's where.
"For breakfast, head over to Temescal for Pizzaiolo. It's in a beautiful old building with a casual atmosphere. It's known for thin-crust pizzas, but it also has delicious coffee and espresso—you can get a wonderful latte there. And at breakfast, the restaurant has toast, which is very trendy in San Francisco. The kitchen knows how to do it right—freshly baked and thick cut, with seasonal preserves and nut butters. It sounds simple, but it's fulfilling and lovely. The restaurant also has some savory pastries, a few egg dishes and very delicious doughnut holes that you should definitely treat yourself to."
Photo: Petra Collins
Lunch: Stag's Lunchette
"Stag's is a small sandwich shop that's great about getting things from local farms, using hormone-free, antibiotic-free meats and organic produce whenever possible. The menu is constantly rotating with killer sandwiches, beautiful side salads and good soups, so you can't go wrong with anything there. And the service is pretty quick, so you can grab a sandwich or boxed lunch and go on a hike, but it's also nice to sit at the counter. I usually get the daily vegetarian special—last time it was local mushrooms with a beautiful white bean purée on focaccia."
Dinner: Ramen Shop
"Ramen Shop is small and simply decorated, but it has a great atmosphere, and it's always packed. I highly recommend the pork belly ramen. If you're a vegetarian, there are options for you, too—the last time I went it was a shoyu ramen with Meyer lemon, mushrooms, turnips, summer squash, tomato confit and scallions. Things are a bit unorthodox, but you always get the ramen fix you're looking for. It also has a black sesame ice cream sandwich that is just killer."
Cocktails: Boot and Shoe Service
"Boot and Shoe Service, which is inside an old shoe repair shop, actually has the same owners as Pizzaiolo. There's a little seating outside, but inside is the most warm, welcoming place, with communal tables and incredible food and cocktails. To me, it epitomizes the way that California's doing farm-to-table—incorporating it into Italian cuisine while still feeling very local. I tend to order like five things off the appetizer list, but I also love the drinks: The restaurant has a list of wonderful Italian red wines and delicious cocktails. And the bar makes a perfect old-fashioned, which is something of a rarity."
Beer Bar: Portal
"If you're doing cocktails, I'd say stick to Boot and Shoe. But if you're feeling beer, try Portal. It's on the other side of the lake, and for added atmosphere, you can walk around the lake and make your way there. It's a beer garden with outdoor seating at big picnic tables, and it's great, because there are heating lamps and big blankets so you can go year-round. The bar has an incredible local craft beer selection and wonderful service—you're really encouraged to try everything. There's also really good food, including this thing called stuffed garbage bread. It's fantastic if you're hungover and just need fat and cheese. It's very appropriately named."
Farmers' Market: Grand Lake Farmers' Market
"This farmers' market is every Saturday, and it's actually on the lake, so it's a fun weekend activity. There's one place that has fresh juices and smoothies, and it has the most wonderful collection of produce that I've seen in a long time. The farmers' markets in California are phenomenal. You can get bread and pastries while you walk around and eat, then bring a bunch of ingredients home to cook with."
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