The bewitching bakers at James and the Giant Cupcake whip up their signature cupped cakes with impeccable ingredients, using unrefined sugars, organic ingredients, and fresh fruits from local farmers’ markets whenever possible. Choose one from a selection of rotating daily flavors; past hits have included delectable classics such as red velvet, sea-salt caramel, chocolate, and vegan carrot. Pushing the frosting-smudged envelope are heavy-hitting neophytes such as chocolate chili, french toast and maple bacon, and Guinness and Bailey's—chocolate cupcakes made with Guinness stout and topped with Bailey's Irish Cream frosting to whisk eaters back to that term they spent abroad in Dublin, reading Joyce at Trinity College and subsisting on corned-beef shamrock shakes.
At Organic Soul Live in Oakland's Chinatown, conventional restaurant elements are upstaged by Elijah Joy and his flavorful, ever-changing menu of vegan food. Currently, Organic Soul Live's menu features shiitake bacon, dairy-free mac 'n' cheese, and a tofu-of-the-day, which changes daily and is made from tofu.
Cafe Madrid excites palates with a traditional lineup of Spanish deli selections alongside creative coffees and cold beverages. Embark on transatlantic flavor treks atop the menu’s roasted eggplant sandwich ($8), just the way Columbus did, or bundle a bocadillo with a choice of gourmet meats, cheeses, and zesty condiments ($7.50). Early risers can stop by on morning commutes to employ teeth in the disassembling of tomato-topped andalusian toast ($3) and pair it with a choice of coffee concoctions such as café con leche ($3) or find a tempting treat for after-work outings by sipping sangria by the glass ($6), pitcher ($13), or hollowed-out gold brick.
Growing from the seeds of coffee beans, Farley's started as a java shop that eventually transformed into a community feeding and watering hole. As a neighborhood citizen, the eatery stocks its shelves with magazines and decks its tall white walls with monthly rotating displays of local art from local artists. Farley's welcomes the morning crowd with a menu of stimulating percolators and hearty breakfast bites. A double shot of espresso ($2.50) or a 16-ounce cup of French-press joe awakens sleepy heads. Utensil-wielding hands are directed toward a basket of Farley's baked eggs with Yukon Gold potatoes and prosciutto ($7), or a cool bowl of house-made granola with yogurt ($4.50).