The Diablo Quiz: How East Bay Are You?
Have you dined in the Gourmet Ghetto, explored an old naval ship, or sipped an original East Bay cocktail? Take our quiz, and see how you fare in our roundup of some of the area’s most iconic experiences.
Dine at Chez Panisse
Restaurateur and food activist Alice Waters pioneered the farm-to-table movement before it even had a name. The culinary icon opened her legendary Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley in 1971, advocating the use of organic and seasonal ingredients, and instigating a revolution that would become known as the local food movement. Housed in a bungalowlike space in the Gourmet Ghetto, the two-story restaurant features a reservations-only downstairs dining room that serves innovative three-to-four course meals. (Think Dungeness crab and Meyer lemon fritters, Magruder Ranch beef rib eye, wild nettle and sweet pea soup.) Upstairs is The Café at Chez Panisse, which opened in 1980 as an alternate dining option, offering à la carte items in a more casual setting. The market-inspired menus at each eatery change daily, but one everything is signature Alice Waters. chezpanisse.com. —A.S.
Down a Cup of Joe at the Flagship Peet’s
After being shocked by what Americans called coffee, Alfred Peet from Holland opened the first Peet’s Coffee and Tea on April 1, 1966, at the corner of Walnut and Vine Streets in Berkeley. Thank goodness he did—now all of us “Peetniks” can stay happily and tastefully caffeinated. peets.com. —L.B.
Get to the Greek
Nestled in the foothills of the UC Berkeley campus, the massive 8,500–seat outdoor amphitheater is a hot spot for some of music’s biggest artists. Past performers include the likes of Bob Dylan, Adele, and Yo-Yo Ma.
Built in 1903 and financed by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, the structure was modeled after the ancient theater in Epidaurus, Greece, and initially hosted theatrical performances by students, graduation ceremonies, and events. But it has morphed over the past century into a platform for superstar musicians as well as other eclectic guests, such as Theodore Roosevelt, Michael Moore, and the Dalai Lama. Catch a concert this summer, with upcoming performances by Jack Johnson; Portugal. The Man; and Frozen’s Idina Menzel. thegreektheatreberkeley.com. —C.C.
Ride the Carousel in Tilden Park
Become a kid again—or take your own—and go for a spin on the historic merry-go-round at Berkeley’s Tilden Park. Filled with colorful hand-carved horses, frogs, lions, sea monsters, and other unique creatures, the 106-year-old carousel continues to provide fun for people of all ages. ebparks.org. —A.S.
Belly Up to Oaklands Oldest Bar
To the untrained eye, Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon in Jack London Square seems out of place amidst the refined waterfront restaurants and concrete buildings. But the 134-year-old, one-room bar still sits unassumingly at the end of the harbor—and it’s where author Jack London did his homework as a schoolboy.
The pub, built from the wood of a retired whaling ship, also served as the spot for sailors to have a pint before going out to sea or upon returning from a voyage. Now, visitors can drink at the same stools that held many of the sailors who inspired London’s literary characters, and walk on the slanted floor that sank during the 1906 earthquake. (A clock on the wall still reads 5:18—the time the earthquake struck, causing the clock to stop.) heinoldsfirstandlastchance.com. —R.C.
ADD 2 POINTS if you’ve read a novel by The Sea-Wolf author.
Catch an A’s or Warriors Game
An Oakland A’s or Golden State Warriors game (2 points each) is best enjoyed in Oakland: Nothing compares to seeing Marcus Semien hit a home run or Steph Curry sink another trey in person. Plus, the Oakland Coliseum recently reduced its beer prices, so now there’s no excuse not to go. mlb.com/athletics, nba.com/warriors. —A.S.
Tour the USS Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum
The historical (and perhaps haunted) landmark played a significant role in naval aviation history, the defense of our country, the Apollo Program, and the exploration of space—and it’s harbored in Alameda. uss-hornet.org. —L.B.
See Shakespeare Alfresco
Cal Shakes puts on stellar performances in its Orinda amphitheater. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and perhaps a little vino because “the play’s the thing” at this open-air venue. calshakes.org. —L.B.
Admire the View From the Top of Mount Diablo
If you haven’t reached the summit of Mount Diablo yet, put down the magazine right now, and go do it—you can’t call yourself a true East Bay resident until you’ve been there. (You’ve seen it from afar at least, right?) Those who’ve driven, biked, or hiked from bottom to summit are already well-aware of the vistas that await at the top of the 3,849-foot-tall mountain: On a clear day, you can see nearly 200 miles in every direction, so you may catch glimpses of such iconic landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Farallon Islands, Loma Prieta, and Lassen Peak. (Tip: The best time for viewing is in winter or early spring after a storm has cleared the skies.)
After admiring the view, head to the Summit Visitor Center. The sandstone building is embedded with ancient marine fossils and houses an array of exhibits, photographs, and artwork that highlights the cultural and natural history of the area. parks.ca.gov. —A.S.
ADD 3 POINTS if you’ve spotted Mount Diablo buckwheat, a rare pink-colored wildflower that grows on the mountainside.
Hike the Lafayette Reservoir’s Rim Trail
We’ve all spent a Saturday morning strutting around the Lafayette Reservoir’s paved two-way trail in our Lululemon. But have you braved the upper unpaved Rim Trail? The 4.7–mile loop allows for gorgeous views of the East Bay, but it’s no picnic. You’ll need to take more than a few breathers, and pack water and snacks—at some points along the trail, you’re climbing steep uphill grades. ebmud.com. —R.C.
Drink beer brewed at UC Berkeley
Blaine Landberg almost got kicked out of UC Berkeley when the school discovered he was brewing and distributing beer from his dorm room. But Landberg’s early brew has become one of the most popular East Bay beers to date: Buzzerkeley is a sparkling ale that’s part wine and part beer. Calicraft Brewing Co. was officially launched in 2012, and late last year, Landberg and his team opened a tasting room in Shadelands Business Park. It doesn’t get more local than that. calicraft.com. —R.C.
Tour the Tao House in Danville
In the 1930s, American playwright Eugene O’Neill retreated to his new home in the sleepy San Ramon Valley. Today, the Tao House offers an inside look at the writer’s life, with archived photographs. eugeneoneill.org. —C.C.
ADD 2 POINTS if you’ve read O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, which he wrote at the Tao House.
Attend a Concert at Wente
Every summer, Wente Vineyards hosts a concert series at its outdoor amphitheater. This year’s lineup features Kenny Rogers, Diana Krall, and Smokey Robinson. Enjoy a preconcert sunset dinner and a glass of wine or two, at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. wentevineyards.com. —C.C.
Discover the Campanile
UC Berkeley’s beloved ivory tower is the third tallest bell and clock tower in the world. Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the Campanile was designed by John Galen Howard, founder of the Department of Architecture at the university, and was inspired by the famed campanile of San Marco in Venice.
While under construction, the Campanile became storage space for thousands of fossils collected during excavations at the La Brea Tar Pits.
The tower sports a 61-bell carillon that regales students, faculty, and visitors with a concert three times a day. And to top it all off, visitors can ride an elevator and then climb 38 steps to the observation deck, which provides views of the Bay Area, including the Golden Gate Bridge (on a clear day). campanile.berkeley.edu. —L.B.
Cruise on Lake Merritt
Experience the magic of Venice, Italy, on the waters of Lake Merritt. Enjoy a serene, romantic getaway with your beau on a daytime or nighttime glide, as your gondolier regales you with Italian love songs. gondolaservizio.com. —C.C.
Dine at Bridges Restaurant and Bar
This Danville eatery is not only famous for its cameo in Mrs. Doubtfire, but also for its imaginative California cuisine and craft cocktails—which are best enjoyed outside in the peaceful, gardenlike setting. bridgesdanville.com. —A.S.
Mysteries at Mountain View Cemetery
Take a trip to the Piedmont cemetery for a tour of huge mausoleums, historical graves, and spectacular views of the Bay. See if you can find the Ghirardelli family mausoleum and the Black Dahlia’s grave. mountainviewcemetery.org. —C.C.
It’s part museum, part wildlife hospital—and a whole lot of fun. Meet Lindsay Wildlife Experience’s 40 animal ambassadors up close—
including a bald eagle, a porcupine, and a rattlesnake—while learning about California’s native wildlife. lindsaywildlife.org. —C.C.
ADD 5 POINTS if you’ve volunteered at Lindsay.
Try Vodka With a View
Housed in a former naval air station near the shores of Alameda, the popular Hangar 1 distillery opened a chic new tasting room last October. The refurbished space features vintage aviation-inspired decor, and has multiple tasting areas and a visitors’ center. Come see it for yourself—and enjoy the stunning sunset views—while sipping one of its exclusive, small-batch vodkas. hangarone.com. —A.S.
Stargaze at Chabot Space and Science Center
Chabot’s Leah (an eight-inch refractor telescope), Rachel (a 20-inch refractor telescope), and Nellie (a 36-inch refractor telescope) are all excellent choices for celestial viewing. Tip: Check the weather forecast ahead of time to ensure clear skies for optimal twinkle. chabotspace.org. —L.B.
The Kitchen Sink Challenge
Clocking in at six pounds, the Kitchen Sink at Walnut Creek’s San Francisco Creamery was made famous in Man v. Food. (Adam Richman devoured the eight-scoop, topping-covered sugar rush in 45 minutes.) People from all over the world attempt to win free ice cream for a year by finishing the dish in less than an hour. (The current record is 16 minutes.) sanfranciscocreameryco.com. —R.C.
Drink a Mai Tai at the Home of the Mai Tai
While Oakland may not scream “tropical island escape,” the city is famous as the birthplace of the mai tai. Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic’s, now in Emeryville, invented the Jamaican rum–based drink in 1944, though many others have taken credit for the cocktail’s origin. Sip the concoction like a true local at Vic’s bar, overlooking the water. tradervics.com. —R.C.
Drink Vino in Livermore Valley
Who needs Napa when you have Livermore Valley? With more than 40 wineries and beautiful scenery, this largely undiscovered wine region is worth exploring. So, the next time you want to go on a vino adventure, grab your girlfriends, and get a taste of the East Bay’s own wine country. lvwine.org. —A.S.
See History at the John Muir National Historic Site
Naturalist John Muir lived in Martinez for the last 24 years of his life, and his three-story Victorian home has been meticulously preserved since his death in 1914. Take a self-guided tour, and see Muir’s “scribble den,” where he penned many of his famous works and conceived of the National Park Service. Also make sure to explore the orchards and scenic trails that Muir once considered home. nps.gov/jomu. —A.S.
ADD 4 POINTS if you’ve joined park rangers for a Full Moon Walk on Mount Wanda.
Tally Your Score
Total possible points: 85
You’re an East Bay Newbie: Maybe you just moved here, or maybe you’re antisocial and just don’t like to leave the house. Whatever your reason, this list is a wake-up call to get out and explore the place you call home. Think of it as your summer homework, your must-do list, your official initiation to the East Bay. (Trust us, this will be the best “don’t stay at home” work you’ll ever have.)
You’re a Dedicated Local: You like to play it safe. You’re a homebody, but on the occasional weekend, you don’t mind burning a few daylight hours out and about, hiking nearby trails and sipping beer at a local brewery. We know—life is busy, and you’ve got plenty of things on your to do list. But summer is the best time to live it up a little, don’t you think? Take advantage of the rich culture around you because #YOLO.
You’re a Hard-Core Native: Congratulations—you’re a seasoned East Bay veteran. In your social circle, you are the go-to for restaurant recommendations and weekend fun ideas. Most nights, you can be found out on the town, sipping drinks on a rooftop or exploring the local art galleries. (We’re betting that your coffee table is full of well-worn Diablo issues, too.) You love the East Bay and love to share the best parts of this wonderful area with your friends and family. —R.C