Finding Inspiration at Book/Shop in Oakland

We have a deep love for creative bookstores, and Book/Shop in Oakland's hip Temescal Alley certainly fits the bill. When you walk in, not only are you visually stimulated by the bright and delightful decor, you'll also find that you can't stop staring at...everything. 

In case you missed it: View our Oakland City Guide Here

Book/Shop has a curated selection of 80 books on rotation, with some vintage books and rare editions too! We love this concept, as it introduces you to new authors and genres you wouldn't otherwise find.

This space will not only leave you inspired to finally start that novel you've always wanted to write, but will also have you wanting to dust off your bookshelves for a little re-organizing. We love how Book/Shop displays books as art, and the reading-themed prints are oh-so-cool too. 

Want more local Oakland love? Check out our Oakland City Guide here! 

Heading to New York? Good news: there's a Book/Shop location there too.

Coconuts + toast at Trouble Coffee, Oakland

We talked a bit about Trouble Coffee in our post about the Outer Sunset, but the coffee shop you'll find in West Oakland is a stark contrast to the original- it's big, bright, and oh-so-white. Fear not, the toast and coconuts are still to be found!

Here to tell you the story of Trouble Coffee is our friend (and talented photographer!) Cory Maryott. Cory is a California native and a freelance photographer who now calls the Bay Area home, and you can get to know him more on his Instagram! Take it away, Cory.

I’d heard of the original Trouble Coffee from a friend a while back. Their original location is a few blocks from the beach, on Judah street in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. I was told of their wondrously delicious cinnamon toast and coffee, and of the other intriguing menu choices—whole coconuts, and grapefruit juice shots. I was also warned that Trouble is quite unlike other coffee shops, and that the staff and culture could be a little “intense”. When I heard a new location had opened close to me in the East Bay, I was excited to check it out and see what the buzz was all about.

My friend Ellie and I met one morning and enjoyed coffee, toast, and a coconut in the beautiful light filled cafe. Large windows flank both the south and east walls, and light bounces around the nearly all white interior. 

The culture here is very different from other coffee shops. The space is designed to get people to talk to one another, so the use of laptops and other electronic devices is not allowed. Instead, customers are encouraged to grab a coconut or toast and some coffee and strike up a conversation with someone next to you, or the staff there.

Trouble's owner Giulietta has a very compelling story, and you should definitely listen to this episode from This American Life to hear it all. Every element of her coffee shop is derived from her experiences: cinnamon toast was one of Giulietta's comfort foods, and coconuts were a nutritious source of sustenance for her. At Trouble, the coconuts are served with both a straw and a spoon, to scrape out the meat. Coconuts were also a way for Giulietta to start conversations with people and make new friends.

I had the latte and cinnamon toast, while Ellie went for the coconut and a drip coffee. You can learn more about Giulietta's story here

We both enjoyed the airy space and Giulietta had a conversation with us. I actually didn’t know what she looked like, so I had no idea she was the owner until she talked about her vision for an all white coffee shop with us. She and the other staff are very kind and welcoming, don’t be shy about talking with them!

Some things to know before you go: the cafe is cash only, so be sure to bring cash! Otherwise there is an ATM on site. Trouble has been known to reprimand people for taking photos in their other locations, but it seems that rule has now been relaxed a bit. The staff kindly requested I do not include them in any photos, so please be sure to double check if you go!

All photography in this post is by Cory Maryott. Thanks for sharing your story, Cory!

Your Guide to Local Oakland

Our city guide to Oakland, California is here! Check it out.

If you're only in Oakland for a day, you'll want to start out with all the goodness in Temescal Alley. It's an alleyway full of local art, goods, and delectables! Stop by Doughnut Dolly's and pick the filling for your cream-filled doughnut, grab a coffee at Cro Cafe, and fall in love with the turquoise jewelry at Marisa Mason.

Book/Shop is a unique curation of art, books, and literary loves, and Ali Golden is a women's boutique for the modern California girl.

Now, let's talk brunch! Our two favorite places for brunch in Oakland are Boot and Shoe Service and Portal Restaurant. Boot and Shoe Service is a cafe during the day and pizza parlor at night, and Portal's bottomless mimosas make it a patio party every weekend.

Blue Bottle is beloved in the Bay Area, and the location in Oakland's W.C. Morse building is one of the prettiest! You'll also find an espresso machine repair shop, and some street-style Belgian waffles.

A few blocks down, you'll find Homeroom, which is home to tons and tons of mac and cheese varieties. The best part (besides the food)? It's both gluten-free and vegan friendly! Nearby you'll find Subrosa Coffee, which is attached to a bike shop, and we loved hanging on their chill patio. 

Along Piedmont you'll find the unique and local shop Neighbor, where you'll find a ton of things you never knew you needed. Issues is also and Oakland classic, full of magazines, zines, and collectibles.

Moving uptown, Coloso Coffee is a tiny coffee shop pulling delicious espresso from Heart Roasters. 

Lost and Found is a laid back beer garden with yummy bites, and there's even some games to play to boot!

In Grand Lake, you'll find the gorgeous Lake Merritt, and the local shop Oak Common were you'll find men's and women's clothing by local California brands. Wander over to Alchemy Bottle Shop to find all the essentials for making the perfect hand-crafted cocktail.

Over in Old Oakland, you'll find two unique shops - one catering to American tastes, and the other Japanese. Marion and Rose's Workshop has all-American made goods, whereas Umami Mart's "conbini" in the back has all the Japanese goodies you could want!