31 Days in SF Bay: Alameda (East Bay)

This is Day 5 of our 31 Days in SF Bay series. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

sfbaybannerContinuing our series in the East Bay, we will make a stop in Alameda.

Park Street’s Spring Festival

Festivals are always a fun time, especially when you add friends and food to the picture. :p You can see more photos HERE.

Thompson Avenue Christmas Lights

Every year around New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day/Night, we go to Sushi House in Alameda for dinner, and then head to Thompson Avenue to look at Christmas lights. The whole neighborhood (except one house) is decorated with lots of fun lights, and sometimes there is a theme. It is fun, even though we are freezing. :p You can see photos from 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013. For some reason, I didn’t post photos from 2012.

Semifreddi’s Bread Bakery Tour

We got to take a field trip to Semifreddi’s. It is kind of hidden in a business area. I love the story of how the bakery grew to what it is now. And we each got a huge bag of goodies to take home. Bonus! It was a fun field trip. When else can go walk through a 90*F oven?  🙂 You can read the blog post HERE. You can see more photos HERE.

Harbor Bay Lagoon

I volunteered to help at the Alameda MOPS MOPPETs program last month. We were supposed to visit friends, but there was a change in plans. We ended up eating lunch at the plaza where the church was, and there is a lagoon there. We got to watch the ducks as we ate. And there is a bridge there too. The girls had a good time. In the same shopping plaza, closer to the street, there is also a play structure and a library. You can see more photos HERE.

I will probably add photos later, but here are some places that we enjoy in Alameda. We have written reviews of some of these restaurants, so they are linked up.

This is part of our 31 Days in SF Bay series.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th birthday consisted of a day of eating and surprises.

For lunch, we went to Chevy’s Fresh Mex at Bayfair Mall.  It used to be outside next to Chili’s, but now Chevy’s is inside the mall.  It’s a lot more spacious now.  We picked Chevy’s because of the free sombrero and dessert on your birthday.  I printed out a coupon for a free entree in the morning.  I thought Melody would like the sombrero, but she’s a bit scared of it.  Don’t know why, but the service was super slow.  It took us two hours to finish our meal.  I had to get utensils and the free tortillas that go with the fajitas I ordered from El Machino myself.  Melody loved eating chips, quesadillas, and my Raspberry/Strawberry Lemonade there.  She also picked the dessert.  It was caramel/chocolate syrup drizzled on top of vanilla ice cream on a huge brownie.  Yummy!

Melody spotted some construction vehicles inside the mall next to Chevy’s.  She was ecstatic.  These were the ones you put money in and they would move.  Bob the Builder was in the middle construction truck.  There were bulldozers, backhoes, and dump trucks…all construction trucks Melody learned about in books we borrowed from the library.

For dinner, my side of the family met up with Joyce, Melody, and myself at Kamakura Japanese Restaurant in Alameda.  I yelped the restaurant before in search of another Japanese restaurant to frequent.  We ordered a bunch of rolls, my usual Amaebi, and Edamame/Inari for Melody.  The food was pretty good and the service (I think) is better than Sushi House due to the place being smaller.  I was surprised when they turned out the lights and the staff and owner sang Happy Birthday to me.  They gave me a card and a birthday platter decorated with a golden tree, paper crane, cup of Green Tea Ice Cream, an orange cut-up in an orange bowl, and a Fuji apple sliced in the shape of a bird.  I was truly surprised.  At the end of every meal, guests get plum wine apertif (a really sweet dessert wine with hardly any alcohol) and kids 10 and under get Botan Rice Candy.

Joyce surprised me BIG TIME when she handed me a book of birthday wishes from over 50+ people I’ve befriended over my 30 years of life.  I was so surprised and shocked so many people wrote.  What is even more surprising is that Joyce assembled the book right next to me while I was checking e-mail.

Afterwards, we came back to our place and ate cake.  The restaurant wouldn’t let my family bring something from outside into the restaurant.  It was a pretty good Mango/Raspberry Mousse Cake from Sheng Kee Bakery.

All in all a very surprising and scrumptious 30th birthday.  Thank you everyone for such a memorable birthday.

– Norm