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Get Addicted to a Croissant

It's embarrassing, really. The first thing I think of when I get up on Saturdays isn't that my dog needs to go for a walk. It's the ham-and-cheese croissant at Crispian Bakery, the relatively new, French-inspired artisan pastry and bread shop over on the island in Alameda. The croissant is designed traditionally, like a pinwheel, with strips of cheese and ham folded inside to form a perfect world of savory and buttery good morning. It's also seasoned perfectly, which imparts a welcome umami first thing in the morning. This is by far the best $4.50 one can spend any weekend. 1700 Park Street, No. 120, Alameda; 510-239-4751, CrispianBakery.com. (NM)

Do It, Dog

Nothing says summer like a good weenie roast, and Top Dog is a hands-down classic. Dominating the Berkeley sausage scene since its origination in 1966, Top Dog has carved its name into the hearts and taste buds of the East Bay with menu items varying from smoked chicken apple, German bratwurst, mango habanero, and even a vegetarian option, all for under $4 a dog. The place is often hailed as a late night favorite for college students, but if you're trying to avoid lines, the business also sells dogs in bulk to throw on your own barbie at home. 2534 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, 510-843-7250, TopDogHotDogs.com. (SJ)

Go New York with that West Coast Slice

It was a bizarre afternoon. I won't bore you with needless details, but what's important is that the good times made their way to Prizefighter, the excellent Emeryville bar. Brews, shots — you've been down that road. Then, I trip you not, Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio walks into the place and posts up at the corner chair. Great guy! We chatted for a bit. The reason I'm sharing all this is because — pro tip — the nearby Rotten City Pizza delivers to Prizefighter (among other locations, such as your pad). Excellent thin-crust pies, in the New York tradition, but with high-level West Coast toppings. That pie was so amazing that I yelled across the bar, "Hey coach, you gotta have a slice of this!" I'm still embarrassed to this day. Go Raiders! 6613 Hollis Street, Emeryville, 510-655-2489, RottenCityPizza.com. (NM)

Barbecue Grub (with No PESKY Kids)

With summer comes barbecues: kids frolicking in the grass, beers sitting in the cooler and hamburger patties sizzling on the grill. What's not to like? Well, depending on who is hosting the shindig, those patties might be from Costco's freezer aisle, that beer might be Bud Light, and those kids might be super annoying. Take the party inside and ensure the grub will actually satisfy at Gogi Time, where the $26.95 all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue is among the best in the region. Grill marinated meats, like beef bulgogi or spicy pork, or keep it pure with un-marinated brisket or pork belly. You can even get seafood. Or spam. Whatever you do, go for dinner or during a weekend, when the restaurant stocks its tables with charcoal grills. You'll taste the difference. 2600 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, 510-394-1949, GogiTime.com. (JB)

For that Sausage and Beer Fix

The entrance to Telegraph Oakland Beer Garden is right next to the flat-top grill, so before you can take in the communal picnic table seating, quality selection of brew or the work of local artists adorning the walls, the rich aromas emanating from the small but efficient kitchen encourage you to order the food. It's legit. Grilled-to-order specialty burgers, such as the 5150 with a half-bacon, half-Angus beef patty, and a BLT to die for when you can catch it on the special board — that housemade bacon — are both great. But where the kitchen really shines is the handmade sausages seared on the grill, served on a toasted roll with jalapeño-cilantro slaw. Dog-friendly, family-friendly, and with outdoor-seating, Telegraph is an excellent place for a bite and a brew on a summer afternoon. 2318 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, 510-444-8353, TelegraphOakland.com. (JM)

Taste the Burmese Rainbow

Maybe you're contemplating your bathing suit these days. Maybe you find yourself saying, "I should eat a salad tonight." Maybe you're dreading it. Let your slimming, salad-eating experiences be grand, bold affairs — let them be Burmese. At Burma Superstar, the most famous dish is the 20-ingredient tea leaf salad. While certainly delicious, its fermented pungency can be a little intense for some folks. For an easier introduction, look no further than the rainbow salad ($11.75), a medley of 22 ingredients, including four types of noodles, dried shrimp, and green papaya. Tossed tableside in a tamarind dressing, it's a wealth of textures and bright — ahem — summery flavors. 4721 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, 510-652-2900; 1345 Park Street in Alameda, 510-522-6200; BurmaSuperstar.com. (JB)

Wait in a Long Line for Amazing Ice Cream

The always-slammed ice cream parlour by Mary Canales, a former Chez Panisse pastry chef, does everything right. Its unique, seasonal ice cream flavors — think green tea rose, candied Meyer lemon, and honey-lavender pistachio — are not only delicious, but their ingredients are also sourced from local farms. But before you spend your twenty minutes in line agonizing over exactly what flavors you'll taste, remember one word: sandwich. Ici Ice Cream's individually wrapped ice cream sandwiches ($4.35) bring to mind the novelty treats of your childhood, with a thin, delicate cookie hugging a fat layer of cold, creamy goodness. Call ahead to find out what flavors Ici is serving that day, but if there's earl grey tea on chocolate wafers, you want it. 2948 College Avenue, Berkeley, 510-665-6054, Ici-IceCream.com. (JB)

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