Monday, April 4, 2011

Beach in the Bay - Exploring Alameda

Did you know Alameda has a beach? Beach means there is sand and water, not just water.  Anywhere can have water.  Not everywhere has sand.  And this sand, more importantly, looks like it's the naturally created kind - not imported - by the work of the bay.

Friday was the perfect day to visit this little island city.  Not only was the sand and salty air absolutely glorious, but Alameda itself isn't half bad.  It has early 20th century architecture including the awesome Victorian paint jobs, as well as a smattering of stained glass panels every so few houses.  Add a determined group of locally owned shops representing all manner of products and services, and you have quite an interesting community.  I recommend taking a stroll down Park, the main drag, to get a little taste of what is available.

We decided to check out La Penca Azul, a Mexican restaurant within easy walking distance from our car that had gotten very good reviews. We were very glad we did!  We were lucky enough to be there during happy hour, which meant their huge appetizers were half off.  So a bill that normally would have been close to $40 was less than $20 including tip.  And honestly, we could have had a whole other meal with our leftovers, there was so much food.

Though we didn't drink, the place is renowned for their selection of tequilas which are proudly displayed along the wall of the restaurant.  I was happy with our gigundo appetizers, soda, and the excellent service we were provided from all the staff that came by our table.  The only downside was the awkward conversation taking place behind us at high volume - which wouldn't keep me from going back between 4 and 6 pm.

All in all, Alameda is worth an afternoon of wandering, food, and fun.  There are many other interesting shops and restaurants there that I would love to try out (but there just isn't enough time!).  Who knew? Sand, water, and an awesome island community right in our own backyard.

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