Explore San Francisco Bay Area’s hot spots for organic and sustainable living
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — East Bay

Dona Tomas, a green restaurant in Oakland

Celebrating the graduation of my boyfriend’s sister from Berkeley, we all went to a restaurant in Oakland, called Dona Tomas. I had first heard of this restaurant by watching KQED’s show “Bay Area Bites” which portrays recommendations of restaurants by ordinary people. Dona Tomas is an Alameda County green business, meaning it has complied with green business standards. They also source local and organic ingredients as much as they can.

We entered a homey, Oaxacan restaurant, with a lot of energy and people inside. We waited for about 10 minutes for a table by taking a seat by the bar, fresh mojito in hand.

We were seated at a nice homemade wooden table by the front where we could see the open kitchen. The group started with fresh guacamole and chips and ceviche. I had a cheese enchilada (above) with avocado and parsnip as my main course. The best part of the meal was the fresh baby asparagus, which tasted very fresh and delicately dressed with oaxacan cheese.
Dona Tomas also has a cookbook on authentic Mexican food, well displayed in their open kitchen. I really had a great time at Dona Tomas. It wasn’t a typical Mexican restaurant nor did it feel too pretentious. The atmosphere was welcoming and high energy, with careful attention to details. Dona Tomas is located on 5004 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

May 22, 2007   No Comments

Organic Express, home delievery of organic produce from San Francisco to Los Angeles

Yesterday, I received a flyer in the mail by Organic Express, a local organic food delivery service. I haven’t yet tried them, but I noticed some striking differences between them and a normal CSA like Capay Farms or Eatwell Farms. For one, I think Organic Express covers a much larger region, the whole San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles area, unlike the other CSAs I mentioned. This can be good and bad. There is much more selection in their fruits and vegetables than a standard CSA. All of Organic Express’ produce is organic and grown in California. If you are a stickler for local foods, unfortunately they do not tell you where exactly the produce comes from. But I thought pricing was reasonable at $29/box or $39/box per week and you can actually choose what you want in the box, unlike the other CSAs. I think it’s worth a try.

May 11, 2007   No Comments

Farmers’ Markets now open with local, organic food in the Bay Area

May is the time of the year in which many of the smaller seasonal farmers’ markets open in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a list from the www.cafarmersmarkets.com. Enjoy fresh local organic produce in your neighborhood!

East Bay

  • Fremont/Centerville, Fremont Boulevard and Bonde Way. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Fremont/Irvington, Fremont Boulevard and Bay Street. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Fremont/Kaiser Hospital, 39400 Paseo Padre Parkway. Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Fremont/NUMMI, 45500 Fremont Blvd. Fridays, 2-6 p.m., June 1-November.
  • Hayward, Main and B streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Hayward/Kaiser Hospital, 27400 Hesperian Blvd., Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Livermore, Carnegie Park, J and Third streets. Thursdays, 4-8 p.m., May 17-Oct. 18.
  • Pleasanton, Main and West Angela streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Union City, Cesar Chavez Park, Smith and Watkins streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Union City/Kaiser Hospital, 3553 Whipple Ave. Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.

San Francisco

  • Alemany, 100 Alemany Blvd. (near the intersection of Interstate 280 and Highway 101). Saturdays, 6 a.m.-5 p.m., year-round.
  • Bayview-Hunters Point, Third Street and Oakdale. Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., May 16-Oct. 31.
  • Crocker Galleria, 50 Post St. at Montgomery. Thursdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., year-round.
  • Ferry Plaza, Ferry Building, the Embarcadero and Market Street. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round; Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Fillmore, Fillmore and O’Farrell streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., April 28-Nov. 17.
  • Heart of the City, Market Street between Seventh and Eighth streets. Wednesdays, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sundays, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., year-round.
  • Kaiser Hospital, Geary Boulevard and St. Josephs Avenue, at the hospital entrance. Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Marina, location to be determined. Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., June- October.
  • Noe Valley, 24th and Sanchez streets. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Parkmerced, the Meadows, Arballo and Serrano drives, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., June-October.


  • Belmont, Caltrain parking lot, El Camino Real and O’Neill Avenue. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 6-Nov. 18.
  • Burlingame, Park Road at Burlingame Avenue. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 6-Nov. 18.
  • Daly City, Serramonte Shopping Center in the parking lot behind Target. Thursdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Half Moon Bay, Shoreline Station, Kelly Avenue at Highway 1. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 5-December.
  • Menlo Park, between Chestnut and Crane streets downtown. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Millbrae, 200 block of Broadway between Victoria and La Cruz avenues. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Pacifica, 400 block of Old County Road, near Rockaway Beach Avenue and Highway 1. Wednesdays, 2:30-6:30 p.m., May 16-November.
  • Redwood City, Winslow Street at Hamilton. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, April 7-Nov. 24.
  • Redwood City/Kaiser Hospital, 1150 Veterans Blvd. at Maple. Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • San Carlos, Laurel between Cherry and Olive. Thursdays, 4-8 p.m., May 3-Sept. 13.
  • San Mateo/College of San Mateo, 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd. Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • San Mateo/25th Avenue, First Presbyterian Church, 194 W. 25th Ave. Tuesdays, 4-8 p.m., May 15-Oct. 23.
  • South San Francisco, Orange Memorial Park, Orange Avenue at Tennis Drive. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 12 to Nov. 17.
    South San Francisco/Kaiser, 1200 El Camino Real. Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.

South Bay

  • Campbell, Campbell Avenue between First Street and Central Avenue. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Cupertino, Vallco Fashion Park, Wolfe Road at Interstate 280. Fridays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Los Altos, State Street between Second and Fourth streets. Thursdays, 4-8 p.m., May 3-Sept. 27.
  • Los Gatos, Montebello Way and Broadway Extension, downtown Los Gatos. Sundays, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., year-round.
  • Morgan Hill, downtown train station at Third and Depot streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 12-Nov. 17.
  • Mountain View, Hope Street and Evelyn Avenue, across from the Caltrain station. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Palo Alto/California Avenue, California Avenue, near El Camino Real. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Starts June 3, will be year-round.
  • Palo Alto/Downtown, Gilman Street behind the post office, downtown. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, May 12-December.
  • San Jose/The Alameda, The Alameda and Hanchett. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 26-Sept. 29.
  • San Jose/Alum Rock Village, 57 N. White Road. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • San Jose/Blossom Hill, Princeton Plaza Mall, Kooser Road and Meridian Avenue. Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • San Jose/Cambrian Park, Camden and Union avenues, Wednesdays, 4-8 p.m., May 2-Oct. 31.
  • San Jose/Downtown, San Pedro Square between Santa Clara and St. John streets. Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., May 4-Dec. 14.
  • San Jose/Evergreen, Evergreen branch library, 2635 Aborn Road, Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Opens May 20, end date not set.
  • San Jose/Japantown, Jackson Street between Sixth and Seventh streets. Sundays, 8:30 a.m.-noon, year-round.
  • San Jose/Kaiser-Santa Teresa, Cottle Road and Highway 85. Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • San Jose/Santa Teresa, Santa Teresa Boulevard and Camino Verde. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., June 2-October.
  • San Jose/Santana Row, Stevens Creek and Winchester boulevards. Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., year-round.
  • San Jose/Willow Glen, Lincoln Avenue and Willow Street, behind the Garden Theatre. Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., April-November.
  • Santa Clara, Jackson Street, between Benton and Homestead. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Santa Clara/Kaiser, 710 Lawrence Expressway, Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Saratoga, West Valley College, Fruitvale and Allendale avenues. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Sunnyvale, South Murphy Avenue between Washington and Evelyn avenues. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round. Wednesdays, 5-8:30 p.m., June 20-Aug. 22.

May 9, 2007   No Comments

Hodo Soy, an organic, local soy company in the Bay Area

One of my friends from high school started a great food company, Hodo Soy Beanery. It’s an all organic, fresh, locally produced soy product company–from tofu, to soy milk, and special textures of soy that you typically can’t find at a market. They sell at farmers markets such as the Ferry Building in San Francisco, the Berkeley Farmers market, the Marin Farmers market and recently in Oakland and San Mateo. I’ve tried their tofu, soy milk and other products and it all tastes very fresh and light.

May 1, 2007   2 Comments

QUEST, a new KQED series about environmental and science issues in the Bay Area

I recently started to watch KQED’s new series, QUEST. I love this show–it’s all about the Bay Area and how we are dealing with different environmental and science issues. It’s in high definition and you can download free videos of previous episodes on their website. Some of the ones that I like include: plug-in modified hybrid cars that carry 100mpg, a biodiesel road trip from LA to San Francisco, Earth Day in the Bay Area, green building, and Silicon Valley’s investments in green technology. If you have high definition, definitely check this out. Disclaimer: I am a KQED member, but this is still an interesting show to watch.

April 27, 2007   No Comments

Find a green hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area

Next time you visit or have visitors coming to the San Francisco Bay Area, stay at a green hotel. What makes a green hotel? Top ten green hotel practices include:

Good Housekeeping and Pollution Prevention
1. Monitor, record and post rates of energy and water use.

2. Evaluate cleaners, sanitizers, paints, pesticides and other chemicals used throughout your facility.

Solid Waste Reduction
3. Buy recycled-content products for the office, construction and remodeling projects.
4. Buy in bulk, whether it’s guest amenities or food for the kitchen.
5. Start a recycling program for trash from guest rooms, the kitchen and your business office.
Encourage Green Practices in both Employees and Guests
6. Provide incentives to encourage staff participation in efforts to “green” the establishment.
7. Institute a linen reuse program in guestrooms.

Conserve Energy and Water
8. Install energy efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs, heating and air conditioning, washers and dryers, and other electrical equipment.
9. Install water conserving showerheads and toilets in guestrooms.

Minimize Food Waste
10. Donate leftover food, amenities and other “extras” to local shelters or other recipients.

Scroll down to see recommendations in the Bay Area from the Bay Area Green Business Program. Some of these hotels also serve organic food.

San Francisco
Courtyard by Marriott
Hotel Carlton
Hotel Monaco
Orchard Hotel
Prescott Hotel
Tuscan Inn

Marin County
Mountain Home Inn, Mill Valley
West Point Inn, Mill Valley
Inn Marin, Novato
Bear Valley Inn, Olema
Embassy Suites, San Rafael
Marin Headlands Hostel, Sausalito

South Bay
Stanford Terrace Inn, Palo Alto
Hilton San Jose and Towers, San Jose

East Bay
Doubletree Hotel, Berkeley
Four Points by Sheraton, Emeryville
Fremont Marriott, Fremont
Courtyard by Marriott — Oakland Downtown
Oakland Marriott City Center
Wyndham Garden Hotel, Pleasanton

April 25, 2007   No Comments

Earth Day Events in Bay Area

There’s a lot going on this weekend to celebrate Earth Day. Here are some events that look interesting to me:

But you can find many more events in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Earth Day listings.

April 19, 2007   No Comments

See ya at Cha-Ya

Cha-Ya has opened a new location in the Mission and what a difference it makes! The original spot in Berkeley was always packed and took over 30 mins to get in (they don’t take reservations) because of its tiny size. The Mission spot is twice the size with a 5 minute wait and nicer interior.
The food was great, even for my non vegetarian friends. Their menu was inventive, all vegan and many organic ingredients. They even had vegan ice cream Japanese style with grean tea and azuki beans. My personal favorites were the Summer Green roll ($6.75), a reverse roll with avocado, cucumber, sprouts and sea vegetables, along with the Moon Garden ($8.50), a tofu custard with japanese vegetables.
Prices are very reasonable, especially when compared to Medicine Eat Station, another organic Japanese place in downtown or Minako’s Organic Japanese Restaurant.
Check Cha-Ya out on in San Francisco (762 Valenica Street) and avoid the one in Berkeley (1686 Shattuck Ave) unless you get takeout or you can stomach a very long wait.

April 12, 2007   No Comments

Spring Time Gardening

With the sunny weather now in season, it’s a great time to start growing some organic plants and vegetables. I was inspired by the farms I had seen in Uganda especitlly their ability to do so much with very little AND using organic practices. Try to buy organic seeds and fertilizers for your garden. If you live in an urban area, here are some local community gardens you can use:

April 2, 2007   No Comments

Michael Pollan and John McKay debate in Berkeley!

Get your tickets to this event before it sells out on Feburary 1. This is going to be an amazing event: the CEO of Whole Foods and Michael Pollan (author of Omnivore’s Dilemma) having a discussion about organic, local agriculture and the role Whole Foods plays in these markets.
The event is in Berkeley on Tues Feb 27th at 7pm and tickets go on sale for $5 Feb 1st (get them fast!).

If you can’t make it to Berkeley, they will be airing the discussion live online as well:

For a little more background on the relationship b/w these two, check out this blog:

UPDATE: Here is the videocast of the debate, download here.

January 25, 2007   No Comments

Eatwell Farms

Check Spelling

I was at a book club last week discussion on Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. One of the book club members was saying great things about Eatwell Farms CSA program after using them for a year, and especially their eggs. Apparently there is already a waitlist for their eggs for CSA members! I wanted to check them out, but they have pick up locations in the East Bay, San Francisco and Marin, but not yet in the Peninsula or South Bay. They also sell at the Ferry Market Farmer’s Market every Saturday. Give Eatwell Farms a try!

January 23, 2007   No Comments

Vegetarian cooking classes in Oakland

One Saturday morning, I took some very cool classes at a vegan cooking workshop in Oakland. Set in the First Unitarian Church near downtown, Compassionate Cooks is one of the few vegan cooking classes in the Bay Area.

In about three hours, we made:
-Hearty Three-Bean Chili
-Marvelous Mushroom Risotto
-Peanut Pumpkin Soup
-Polenta with Sundried Tomatoes & Fresh Basil -Farm-Fresh Apple Pecan Muffins

Even as a long time vegetarian, I enjoyed learning how to make vegan foods and I liked Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the founder and head chef’s funky and energetic personality. She shopped locally and also recommended places to buy food like the Oakland farmer’s markets and the Old Mill, a natural food store in Oakland.

Compassionate Cooks won Veg News’ 2005 Veggie Awards. Come check out this cool series of classes! They offer classes once a month on Saturdays, or you can buy their DVD and recipies.

December 26, 2006   No Comments

Capay Farms CSA Update

Yesterday, I got my CSA box for the month from Capay Farms’ Farm Fresh to You program. All the produce is organic and locally grown through Capay or one of their partners. I’ve been with them for about half a year and so far I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. You just let them know what box size you want, and whether you want the mix of veggies/fruits. They come and deliver straight to your door each month or week depending on your preference.

For $21.50 a box (I get the smaller box), you get 4 veggies and 2 fruits. This week I got about 1 lb of heirloom tomatoes, 2 lbs of star frinson red pears (see picture to the left), 1.5 lbs of organic grapes, 2 lemon cucumbers (never seen this before!), and organic bok choy. In the picture below, I stir fried the bok choy for dinner today in fresh ground garlic and ginger and then tossed some salt, soy sauce and sesame oil to complete the dish. Give this CSA program a try! They deliver to most of the Bay Area.

September 16, 2006   1 Comment

Too busy to cook? Organic meals delivered to your home!

Thanks to Om Organics‘ resource directory, here are companies that deliver organic meals to your door in the Bay Area:

September 8, 2006   2 Comments