Food in Live Oak

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The merchants of Monterey Bay Spice Company purvey an online apothecary of aromatic herbs, spices, oils, and teas from around the world. Mortars and pestles pulverize enticing spice blends—including Indian garam masala ($8 per lb.) and Cajun spice blend ($5.80 per lb.)—to bring imported ideas to the tongue without the need for a phrasebook. Organic herbs, such as sage ($9 per lb.) and cinnamon ($6.10 per lb.), fill open spaces in under-stocked pantries. Monterey's teas tint hot water with black, green, herbal, and Mr. blends in both loose-leaf and bagged form. Beautify brews with jasmine pearls ($12.60 per 1/4 lb.), hand-rolled to preserve their freshness, or dunk portioned parcels of english breakfast ($9 per lb.) sealed inside unbleached tea filter paper.

719 Swift St
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Produce Spot specializes in fresh fruits and vegetables grown on local farms. The hearty sustenance shack boasts a huge variety of organic vegetables and fruits including juicy gala apples, adorable baby bok choy, and pleasantly plump avocados ($1.45–$5.99/lb.). Conventional fruits and veggies such as grapefruits and artichokes provide all the ingredients for a perfect grapefruit-and-artichoke salad ($0.55–$1.99/lb.). Water your lactose tree with a fine selection of conventional and organic dairy products ($0.99–$6.75). Melt-in-your-mouth sweet breads and croissants are consistently worthy morning treats, fueling an entire day's worth of procrastination ($3.25–$3.85). Ready-made salad and sautéed veggie dishes are also available for busy chefs and imposter restaurateurs.

2505 Berryessa Rd
San Jose,
CA
US

Inside Santo Market, Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian foods line the shelves, tended to by staffers who can offer up culinary input in English, Chinese, or Spanish. A San Jose staple since 1946, the full service grocery specializes in Asian cuisine. They also serve deli meat and pre-made dishes including homemade Japanese pickles, seafood croissants, and beef teriyaki sandwiches, which guests can enjoy alongside cups of hot coffee and espresso.

245 E Taylor St
San Jose,
CA
US

Named in honor of the women in owner Paulo Acosta Cabezas’s life, Mamá Art Cafe creates a local hub for the output of creative energy and the intake of savory snacks. Mamá's baristas brew a lineup of specialty fair-trade organic coffees, with beans culled from Berkeley Coffee and Tea and served up hot and fresh from an array of roasts, flavors, and magic-beanstalk origins. The intimate café setting boasts an interior adorned with local and international artwork—with past art exhibitions showcasing Marta Ayala's paintings and Charles Anselmo's photographs—and the cafe regularly entertains with creative performances, such as dinner tango routines and live jazz music.

Mamá Art Cafe's tireless effort to give back to the community earned the eatery a shout-out from then-Mayor Gavin Newsom with a 2010 Latino Heritage Award for Achievement in Business, as well as honors at the 2011 Annual Hispanic Business Salute.

4754 Mission St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Winner of the 2010 ENERGY STAR Award for Sustained Excellence, Lowe's has been helping customers conserve energy and expletives with home improvement, gardening, and hardware solutions for every budget. With the store's friendly handypeople as their guide, nail-pounding novices and seasoned remodelers alike can outfit their toolbox for any undertaking with more than 6,000 products between $25 and $50. Impress spouses and annoy car-pooling coworkers by ably installing ceiling fans into your car roof. Add lighting fixtures to darkling domiciles, or finally finish your back yard's Super Mario Bros. level with Lowe's garden tools. The store can also mix together a rainbow of hues for painting projects involving dining rooms, nurseries, and sweat lodges. Afterwards, you can clean up the dust with a 6-Gallon HP Wet/dry Shop Vac ($44.97), or rinse off caulk-covered corpuses under the Moen Brushed Nickel 7 Spray Pattern Shower Massager ($49.98). Regardless of your mission, the accommodating staff at Lowe's will offer expert advice for completing your home's improvements.

491 Bay Shore Blvd
San Francisco,
CA
US

Five Things to Know About Simple Pleasures Cafe

This neighborhood coffeehouse has been serving delicious food and house-roasted coffee since 1978. Read on to learn more about this friendly joint.

  • It’s hard to find fresher beans in the area. The beans for all the coffee sipped at Simple Pleasures Café is roasted just next door at its affiliated roasting house.
  • They serve so much more than just coffee. The selection of bagel sandwiches, pastries (bear claw, anyone?), soups, quiche, and other drinks make it easy to lose a few hours here.
  • The WiFi’s free. Everything else is cash only.
  • Ever been in a parklet? It’s the affection name for a mini green space in an area otherwise populated by sidewalks and streets. The stunning Simple Pleasures parklet—located right out front—features wood benches, planters, and plenty of sun-soaked lounge space.
  • It’s also a party. Beyond coffee, the team at the counter also pours beers and frequently welcomes live music.

3434 Balboa St
San Francisco,
CA
US