Oakland Travel Guide
We were all in a tizzy to hear what Allegiant Air had in store for us this week, as they were teasing some news on their Facebook page. It wasnít exactly like waiting for Santa to arrive, but we kind of thought they would finally reveal some new details about their plans for Hawaii. Unfortunately, that wasnít the caseóweíll continue to waitóbut they did announce information on their plans for another pretty decent location.
Allegiant Air is ready to boost service to and from the Bay Area of California, as they now have Oakland on their radar. Folks looking for some cheap options in the East Bay will probably welcome the addition, and the airport is only a traffic-filled bridge away from the rest of the areaís residents. Allegiant has named Oakland their newest focus city, so that means like seven new nonstop options for everyone from Raiders fans to MC Hammer.
Itís Academy Award season, but we usually are too busy watching awful television shows like Real Housewives of Somewhere to get out and see classy stuff like Black Swan. Even if we donít have time for true cinema, we usually make sure we see all the nominated cartoons, so we were pretty excited when Disneyís Up took home that little statue last year for best animated film.
Sure itís make believe, but at the end of the picture the two heroes of the film were enjoying some down time over an ice cream cone at Fentonís. Luckily for everyone, Fentonís Creamery isnít a made up place, and we had the chance to swing by for a scoop and a sit not too long ago at the original Oakland location.
Director Kevin Smith (Mallrats, Clerks, Cop Out) has a warning for fellow fatties, "IF YOU LOOK LIKE ME, YOU MAY BE EJECTED FROM @SOUTHWESTAIR".
I flew out in one seat, but right after issuing me a standby ticket, Oakland Southwest attendant Suzanne (wouldn't give last name) told me Captain Leysath deemed me a 'safety risk.' Again: I'm way fat... But I'm not THERE just yet. But if I am, why wait til my bag is up, and I'm seated WITH ARM RESTS DOWN. In front of a packed plane with a bunch of folks who'd already I.d.ed me as Silent Bob.
Last month we mentioned that Oakland was one of Five Cities With a Bad Rap that really deserved another chance. Aside from visiting the land that shaped MC Hammer, we urged you to check out some of the city's noteworthy neighborhoods and restaurants including the Pican restaurant with its gourmet take on Southern comfort food.
But another reason to hit up Oakland is for Zachary's Deep Dish Pizza on pedestrian-friendly College Avenue.
Now we know deep dish pizza is best left to the Chicago folk and we're not trying to tread on their territory here but Zachary's is Chicago-style deep dish (they call it "stuffed") and its founders Zach Zachowski and Barbara Gabel came from Wisconsin and Chicago, where they learned the art of the deep dish.
And indeed Zachary's is deep. And thick. With perfectly roasted tomatoes and plenty of cheese and whatever topping your gluttonous heart desires. Above, witness the perfection that is a large stuffed pizza with pepperoni and garlic.
Some locales canít seem to shake their less-than-sparkling reputations despite efforts to lock away the skeletons of yesterday. Weíve decided to highlight five of these Bad Rap Cities that are making moves to shed their grimy and gritty images in hopes of becoming more tourist-friendly. Maybe, just maybe, after reading this series you'll be willing to take a chance on them. Enjoy.
Bad Rap City: OaklandWhy Go?
Despite what you may have heard, Oakland isnít a head-to-toe gang-riddled Dodge City. In fact, the word out now is that many parts are super chill and exemplify the real California state-of-mind, more so than high-energy San Francisco, less than 30 minutes away across the bay. True thereís evidence of poverty and homelessness on major streets like Broadway, but youíll find that element in any Big City, U.S.A.
Here, blue and white-collar professionals live side-by-side, with more blending of races than ever before. There have been plenty of renovations in the city, especially in tourist-friendly Jack London Square (JLS) and the Oakland CVBís website is a wealth of info on all thatís new in the city.
Another plus? Itís often cheaper to fly into Oakland than SFO thanks to Southwest and JetBlue (psst..there are rumblings of Ryan Air joining the low-cost carrier mix). Besides, how can you not visit the city that brought us MC Hammer? C'mon, you know you liked him, too.
Despite the return of professional football, we did not have a good weekend. Our favorite team blew it, and apparently fantasy football is not our forte. Thereís always next weekend, so weíll get over it, and for now weíll focus our football attention towards Air Asia X and their snazzy Oakland Raiders plane. Seeing a big airplane in NFL livery is pretty cool, especially since weíre still secretly hoping that the low cost carrier will announce a plan to serve the US.
We saw the new plane sticking its tail out from the hangar over the summer, but today itís flying into Oakland to celebrate the start of the season. After all, the Raiders are playing tonight, so the timing is perfect. However, if you head to the teamís website, youíll see that tonightís game is being promoted side by side with ads for Hawaiian Airlines. Maybe team officials didnít get the memo that another airline has honored them with a custom plane.
Thanks to a lead from a tipster a few months back we heard that Air Asia X was readying one of its planes with an Oakland Raiders logo which led us to think that the no-frills airline would be starting service at OAK soon. But it turned out that it's just a sponsorship.
We got an official release from the Air Asia X folk about the Raiders plane, an Airbus A340 which will be called "Xcellence" as nod to the team's motto "Commitment to Excellence." While the plane will be flown into Oakland on September 14 for the Oakland Raider's kick-off game (for Monday Night Football), there are no plans in place yet for U.S. Air Asia service.
Still, Air Asia will be hosting a 1,000 FREE SEATS online contest in which students will be chosen at random for the opportunity to win free tickets to a Raiders home game. You can visit AirAsia.com or Raiders.com for more info on the contest.
In the meantime, if Air Asia does start U.S. service soon we have a feeling that they wouldn't mind kicking it off in Oakland first.
· The Oakland Raiders' Air Asia X Plane is Just a 'Commitment to Excellence' [Jaunted]
· Are The Oakland Raiders Getting an A340 Jet Or Just An Air Asia Route? [Jaunted]
Air Asia X / Oakland Raiders / A340 / Ads / → All Tags
Remember the other day when we wondered if the Oakland Raiders would be getting a new jet or possibly a new route from Air Asia X? Well, an Examiner story says that the Raiders have put the logo on an Air Asia X plane only as a way to "enhance their brand globally." And in that spirit, the plane will be called The Commitment to Excellence.
Yup, a team that finished 5-11 in the NFL is trying to get new international fans by tricking out an Air Asia X A340. The Examiner writes:
What makes this combination most unusual is that not only is Air Asia X not the carrier that the Raiders use for their away games, they don't even serve the United States, nor do they have plans to do so in the immediate future. They serve Malaysia, London, and Australia. [Raiders CEO Amy] Trask does expect that "Commitment to Excellence" will be flown in to Oakland for at least one game day.
And apparently, the logo on the tailfin is just the beginning. Raider Nation will be present throughout the plane in the form of pictures of Raiderettes, Raider scenes, Raider Jerseys and Raider logos in other areas. (The lavs, maybe?) The Raiders CEO also referred to Air Asia X as a "bodacious airline" but said the new deal would not conflict with the team's long-time partner Hawaiian Airlines. Whatever the deal, let's hope the Raiders can improve their record this year or at least show some commitment to excellence.
· Are The Oakland Raiders Getting an A340 Jet Or Just An Air Asia Route? [Jaunted]
Airline Rumors / Air Asia X / New Routes / OAK / KUL / Oakland Raiders / A340 / → All Tags
Azran Osman Rani (CEO of AirAsia X) has been talking to JFK and 2 California airports regarding launching long haul service from KL. There's nothing definitive lined up, but the time-frame would be in about a year.
This weekend, we were tipped off about a thread over at Airliners.net where a member noticed this plane adorned with an Oakland Raiders logo peeking out of an SIA hanger at the Changi Airport in Singapore. There's a lot of speculation going on in the comments of this thread, ranging from the Raiders owner Al Davis forking out money for a new team jet to the rumor we like the most--Air Asia X is going to start an Oakland service soon.
We've all heard that restaurants are bearing the brunt of the poor economy, with food prices rising and diners eating out less often. But Oakland restaurateurs have been getting hit especially hard--with a string of takeover-style robberies throughout the city.
There has been a string of crimes throughout the Lake Merritt and San Antonio neighborhoods, following numerous incident earlier this summer, but the one earlier this week was the first to hit an upscale dining area. The Rockridge District branch of Pasta Pomodoro (a West Coast Italian chain) was robbed by two men in masks and hoodies Monday night.
Let's hope this is one dining trend that doesn't go national!
It's by no means an exaggeration to say that the Bay Area has an arts festival for just about every genre, sub-genre and sub-sub-genre, so it's no surprise that there's an Oakland International Black LGBT Film Festival.
This year's festival runs August 14-17 and includes "Shirts and Skins," a documentary about a gay basketball team, an opening night screening of the 1975 Diana Ross movie "Mahogany" and a Saturday performance from Donna Summer.
The movies all screen at the Parkway Theater, a classic-style 1920's movie house on Park Boulevard where you can grab pizza and beer while you watch.
Seems his luggage, pictured above, was mangled, half devoured, attacked by sharks, when it arrived on the baggage carousel in OAK. US Air, agreed to pay for the passenger to get a new bag and for the clothes the airline lost or ate. Furthermore, they told him to just "bring in the receipt", which we told him meant go get yourself a new suit. Hey, he deserved it.
The kicker? This passenger had a second bag which, yep, you guessed it, never arrived. US Air assured him they would speedily find the lost baggage and send it to his hotel, mangled or not.
US Air did not say how long it would take for them to process the reimbursement for his new luggage and attire.