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Three Reasons to Cross the Bay Bridge

Looking to get out of the city for the day? You don't need to go all the way to Napa or Point Reyes, there's plenty of entertainment, good eats, and natural beauty just across the bridge in the East Bay. Following are a few of our favorite examples:

What the Wat? Every Sunday, Berkeley's Thai Buddhist temple, Wat Mongkolratanaram, serves up a brunch of fresh and amazing Thai goodies. The temple gets around the legal issues of a non-restaurant selling food by asking guests to "donate" funds for tokens, which are then traded for food. The curries are out of this world, the mango sticky rice is a little pile of heaven, and the whole experience is so very Berkeley, right down to the progressive-but-peeved neighbors.

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words In most modern art, any sort of underlying story or meaning is supposed to be hidden or subtle. Viewers are encouraged to overlay their own stories on the visuals but artists are to keep their stories to themselves. Curator Alison O.K. Frost attributes this to the need in modern times to separate visual art from other art forms (theater, writing, and so forth), but notes that in ancient times narrative and visual art coexisted peacefully. The Mayans and Egyptians both, for example, used pictures to tell stories. Frost has now brought together five different modern artists to do the same at an interesting exhibit called “The Artist as Storyteller,” running through August 19th at Compound Gallery (1167 65th St., Oakland).

Trash to Trails The East Bay Regional Parks District recently added several acres of restored Damon Slough wetlands to MLK Shoreline Park in San Leandro, extending the park's trails to enable visitors to explore the wetlands. Damon Slough won Save the Bay's Bay Area Trash Hot Spots competition last year and the nonprofit has since adopted the area for regular cleanups. With the new trail now open, visitors can help with the cleanup, then spend some time enjoying the nature they're helping to preserve, all while getting a visceral glimpse of the impacts of overconsumption.