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Best Cafe Gallery: A sustainable place to caffeinate 

Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden

Imagine auntie's kitchen with black-and-white checkered linoleum tiles, the aromas of tea and homemade soups, down-the-
rabbit-hole teaware, painted tables, and dangly, jeweled, funky chimes. Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden is all inspiration — it's the tiny-venue place to see some of the East Bay's best artists. This year alone, Julie's has hosted paintings by Felon Aquino, photographs by Linda Kramer and James Chan, paintings by Michaela Yee, mixed media by Jennifer McKinley, and this month features an exhibit by up-and-coming collagist Kate Swoboda. Many of the cups, aprons, and tea paraphernalia are made by local artists and are for sale, and local music acts and guest speakers round out the weekly artistic calendar. Julie's prides itself on its local consumables. It buys its organic fair-trade coffees from Taylor Maid Farms in Sebastopol. Its several dozen varieties of loose-leaf teas from around the world are also organic and free-trade. The food menu consists of fresh, organic dishes, all from ingredients grown within a hundred miles. After browsing the art, step into the back garden, where owner Julie Baron has created a green oasis nestled between two of Alameda's old Victorians, using native herbs, plants, and locally made ceramic and metal gardenware. It's a quiet nook just steps away from the Park Street bustle.

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