Badass Block: College and Ashby Ave. in Berkeley
There are certain blocks in this city that seem like mini-universes. Each week, we'll highlight a stretch of pavement where you could spend an entire day and night. Next up? College and Ashby Avenue in Berkeley.
Where to grab coffee for a good cause:
Elmwood Café has been delighting locals with its sandwiches, coffee and soup since 1921. These days, you’ll usually find the beautiful space (designed by famed architect John A. Bischoff) packed with UC Berkeley students and residents chatting over their delectable drinks, pastries, and the famous grilled cheese. The best part? Elmwood Cafe takes half of their proceeds and uses them to support great local causes. At any given time they have three different charitable causes displayed in the café; when you pay at the counter you’re given a voting chip to place into one of the charities’ boxes. The cafe then makes a donation to the cause with the most votes and the other two stick around until they also get enough votes for a donation.
Where to summon Virginia Woolf:
Spacious and inviting, Mrs. Dalloway’s is the perfect independent, neighborhood bookstore. Beyond the carefully curated fiction, non-fiction, poetry, garden and children’s books, Mrs. Dalloway’s hosts over 150 in-store author events each year. Stop by to pick up something new to read or have your book delivered for free within the neighborhood.
Where to eat Mediterranean:
Savor authentic Mediterranean cuisine either street side or on the patio of this Berkeley gem. La Mediterranee offers on-the-go boxed lunches as well as full menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner including a wide variety of gluten-free and vegan options. You can’t go wrong with any of the fresh and tasty options.
Ici Ice cream, Courtesy of East Bay Express
Where (it’s worth it) to wait in line:
You’ll never regret stopping for dessert at Ici. Everyday they offer 11 flavors of handmade ice cream, sorbets, and sherbets in either a cup or a delicious hand rolled, chocolate filled tip, cone (go for the cone!). The flavors change daily, and you can take home your favorites packed in pints or quarts before they run out. They also have Bon Bons, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Root Beer Floats, Brownie Sundaes, and homemade candies and cookies for sale along with full sized ice cream cakes and Blue Bottle Coffee to wash it all down. Be prepared to stand in line, but you’ll get to taste as many flavors as you want while you wait.
Where to shop for discounted designer duds:
You’ll find college students and CEOs alike rummaging through the racks at Jeremy’s for high-end couture at rock bottom prices. You can find anything from a pair of Louboutins to Gucci sunglasses or a Prada bag at majorly discounted prices. Plus, there’s an equally fashionable and affordable men’s section. Say goodbye to your wallet now.
Where to feast family-style:
Trattoria La Siciliana is the perfect place to sit downs with friends, family and wine and feast on some of the most authentic and delicious Italian food around. All of the items in this cozy restaurant can be served family-style and the atmosphere really feels like you’ve been invited into the home of a large Italian family (one with a really expansive wine list). Make sure to make reservations if you don’t want to wait for a table, and know that the restaurant accepts cash only.
Where to stretch your muscles:
The Dailey Method is one of the best ways to get fit in Berkeley. The unique combination of ballet barre work, core conditioning, muscle strengthening, yoga and orthopedic exercises will have you looking toned in no time. The one hour classes effectively strengthens, tones and lengthens the entire body. And who doesn't want that? The spacious studio also offers a ton of class times, two spa-like locker rooms, onsite childcare, and ample parking.