Inside OMCA: Blue Oak Cafe

I spent the morning at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), a museum dedicated to California art, history, and natural sciences. As a child, I have had many memories and field trips to OMCA to view the large collection of California art. As an adult, I have visited OMCA to attend private events, Friday Nights at OMCA, and special exhibits.
Today I was there to catch the exhibit Respect: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom before it closes in another week, on August 12. From music, dance, fashion, and graffiti art, the exhibit explores the many facets of Hip-Hop culture. It was cool to see that the exhibit attracted an ethnically diverse group as well as young and old.  

I stopped to have an early lunch at the Blue Oak Cafe, OMCA’s dining option. Today, the cafe is run by Grace Street Catering. Blue Oak Cafe offers a variety of options including soups, salads, burgers, and sandwiches.  
I decided to order the BLT which is prepared with Niman Ranch Applewood smoked bacon, butter lettuce, tomato, harissa aioli on sliced sourdough bread. I was impressed by the generous sized BLT that also came with an organic mixed green salad topped with pickled vegetables. The harissa aioli spread elevated the sandwich and gave it a California twist. It was all very fresh as well.  
The Blue Oak Cafe appeared to be pretty popular. As I was heading out, the tables were filling up and the line to order was quite long. The cafe has some outdoor seating with umbrellas, so it’s definitely a nice place to enjoy lunch, an afternoon snack, or a glass of vino. The Blue Oak Cafe is open on museum days (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) and admission to OMCA is not required to eat there.

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Crossroads Cafe: Straightforward and Delicious

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I love going to Crossroads Cafe by the Waterfront in San Francisco. It’s part restaurant and part bookstore. It’s also part of the Delancey Street Foundation which helps former substance abusers, ex-convicts, and homeless people turn their lives around. All the employees of the cafe are part of the residential self-help organization that are learning key skills in restaurant operations. My BFF introduced me to Crossroads many years ago and I always enjoy going there for their inexpensive and delicious food.

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Three of us decided to head out to Crossroads today. When the weather is hot, it is actually nice to cool down at least 10 degrees by heading out to the City. I was craving a hot fudge sundae, but I guess I needed to have lunch first. At Crossroads, you order at the counter and your food is delivered to your table.

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It was a beautiful day, so we sat outside where there is a really nice garden. I had ordered the BLT with avocado. Perfectly toasted with applewood bacon, it also came with a side salad. At $4.95, it is a total bargain. The sandwich hit the spot.

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One of my friends ordered the tuna melt, which is a sandwich I typically order because it is really good. I have yet to find a better tuna melt anywhere else. The bread is crisp and light and the tuna and cheese has just the right amount of richness (which is not too rich).

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One of my favorite things to get is their tasty hot fudge sundae. I still had room for a single scoop so I went back to the counter. They start out with Mitchell’s ice cream, add chocolate fudge, add some more ice cream, spoon out homemade whipped cream, and toss on toasted pecans. Delicious! It’s well worth the $3.15.

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The items on the Crossroads menu tend to be simple and taste homemade. All the employees are really nice which really shows how awesome the organization is and why they are so successful.