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Last Day in the East Bay 

Local luminaries tell how they'd spend their last 24 hours here.

Shirley Sheffield

“Fat activist” Shirley Sheffield is one of the founding members of the Padded Lilies, an Oakland-based synchronized swimming team for fat women.

Condemned to exile, I suppose I would begin my last day in the East Bay with a hearty breakfast at the Full House Cafe in Oakland, where they have Hangtown Fry frittata, pastries, and yummy hash. On a summer day, I'd go to Redwood Park to Robert's Pool, to swim lazy backstrokes gazing up at hawks wheeling in the sky, surrounded by redwood trees, or to Don Castro Regional Park in Hayward, which features a lovely swimming lagoon, a lake for fishing, and shady picnic areas. Then it's Barney's for a pesto burger, fabulous beer-battered onion rings, and a shake, or Val's Burgers in Hayward where they have the same fare, and delicious steaks besides.

If I'm in San Leandro, I'd probably drop by Luke's Grill for gyros or a crabcake sandwich. Where to see my last East Bay sunset? How about sitting on a wall just outside Tilden Park in the Berkeley Hills? Afterwards, dinner at Spettro in Oakland for their Caesar salad and warm rosemary rolls. Afterwards, the Chabot Space and Science Center Planetarium for a view of the night sky through its huge telescope

Dandelion Harris

Harris is the co-owner of 510 Skateboarding, a popular skate shop on Telegraph Avenue.

I would start the day off with a visit to Royal Coffee on College Avenue to pick up a cup of English breakfast tea and one of their morning cinnamon buns. Later, if the Berkeley Skate Park was open, I'd skate there. I'd have to do some clothes shopping, too; I'd go to Mars, an excellent vintage store, and then I'd hit Slash to get some vintage Levis. I'd pick up some music at Mod Lang. I like their selection and the people who work there know a lot.

For lunch, I'd go to Filippo's -- I love Filippo's -- and order the spinach salad; they've got a great dressing, and the pine nuts are tasty. At night, I'd go to Doña Tomás in Temescal. They've got the best Mexican cuisine. The ceviche is delicious, and their drinks are great, especially the mojitos and margaritas. After that, I might go to Radio or Ruby Room. Or maybe I'd just go to Bigum's Silver Lion, where my friends congregate, and order a beer.

Leslie Frates

After thirteen shows, Frates is tied for the greatest number of times a female contestant has appeared on the game-show Jeopardy! Last year, she was invited to play in the Masters Tournament of Champions, where fifteen of the show’s most memorable contestants were invited back to compete for $1 million. (Frates took fifth.)

I’d go to Mountain View Cemetery. Cemeteries are very interesting and that one is very historic. There are some famous local people buried there: Charles Crocker, Samuel Merritt, Domingo Ghirardelli, the Bechtels, Henry Kaiser, Bernard Maybeck, and Julia Morgan. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York. I’d love to go -- although it’s not quite done being restored yet -- to the Water Temple out in Sunol. It’s this neoclassical dome temple that’s got beautiful columns and you can see the water coming in from Hetch Hetchy. The rushing of the water is beautiful to see; its power is almost kind of scary. I would have to have a Val’s burger and a chocolate shake before I ever left for good -- that would be the taste I’d want to die with on my lips. I also love Emil Villa’s barbecue; I think I’d definitely go there and have a slice of lemon pie. As for dinner, I love Scott’s Seafood in Jack London Square, they have a bitchin’ Chinese chicken salad.

Finally, I’d go up to Cal State Hayward to see the view, and not just because I work there. You can see four bridges from up there, you can see all of the peninsula and the tall buildings in San Francisco, you can see the planes come in. At night, it’s like a fairyland, it’s like the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland with all the little lights everywhere. It’s something very special, especially after a rain when everything is very clear, but if you go up there bring a coat because it’s ten degrees colder than anywhere else in the Bay Area.


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