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Three Reasons to Cross the Bay Bridge

Three Reasons to Cross the Bay Bridge

Photo from Comal's website

Let’s face it, even with its real summer weather, most of the time the East Bay is the redheaded step brother of San Francisco—occasionally he’ll surprise you with something entertaining, but most of the time you tend to avoid hanging out with him. This  is one of those occasional weekends where the East Bay is equaling if not besting the charms of the city. Following are three of the main reasons why:

The Oakland Jazz Festival – Okay yes, it’s not world famous like the San Francisco Jazz Festival, but how much do you want to bet that Oakland has always been a little more jazzy? The good part about not being a huge international festival is that you can host concerts at smaller venues arguably better suited to jazz music. The Oakland festival, which runs from 12pm until “whenever” (see? Jazzy) this Saturday, is held at the historic Dunsmuir-Hellman Estate, which adds a whole other dimension to it—with its Neoclassical columns, 50 acres of manicured lawns, and charming carriage house, the estate lends the festival a Great Gatsby, golden age of jazz feel that’s tough to beat.

Bauer-worthy Mexican at Comal, Berkeley - San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer is not a raver. And by that I don’t mean that he hates glow sticks and electronic music (he might), but that he is notoriously tight with praise. So his recent rave, three-star review of Comal, Berkeley’s newest Mexican eatery, was enough to make everyone sit up and take notice. The restaurant may be more crowded than usual now, but it’s worth the wait to try the rabbit quesadillas and pea-and-green-olive tamales at a spot Bauer says is like the restaurant he would run if he ever decided to open one.

Picnic at Roberts Regional Recreation Area
- The crown jewel of the East Bay Regional Parks district, Roberts, in the Oakland hills, has something for everyone: There are  dozens of off-leash dog trails, plus equestrian and mountain biking trails, a community pool, a kids play area, and about a million ideal picnic spots. Walking through the redwoods, with peek-a-boo views of the Bay, it’s hard to believe you’re just a 10-minute drive from downtown Oakland.