A day trip to San Jose and Berkeley California

Sometime Friday morning I decided to take the train over to see The Tech museum in San Jose. I’m blown away about how easy it is to get around here in the Bay area, so many options and interconnected transit systems. I can only hope that Edmonton gets somewhere near this someday.

San Jose Art Gallery

It took about two hours in total to get into San Jose, the BART and an express bus into the city. First stop was the San Jose Museum of Art. Couldn’t miss it. They had a Retro Tech exhibit and a lot of mixed media/mixed technology pieces there. My favourite part of the space was that it encouraged participation and creativity, and provided “Art Packs” that had art supplies, paper and a game in it, so people could write/draw/play while they were in the Gallery.

I think one of the most moving and horrifying things I saw was the Midway: Message from the Gyre (pictures are graphic) photo exhibit from Chris Jordan. I’ve seen them before, but just wow. They are photos of dead albatross chicks who had been fed plastic debris from the ocean by parents mistaking it for food. It was hard to look at.


The Tech Museum was great, and had a lot of interactive fun stuff to do (even as an adult) and they have an extra bit of fun to take home with you (via website.) My favourite exhibit was the one on alternative energy, and that tied in well to going up on the roof of the building and seeing part of what powers the place.

solar panals on top of TheTech

Afterwards I was feeling hungry, so I went in search for something to eat. It didn’t take long, there are options all over the place, but I’ve been trying to go to primarily vegan restaurants, so I was happy to stumble upon Good Karma near the train station. It’s got a hippie vibe, and feels like an old hole in the wall coffee shop, but the food was great (albeit microwaved.)

3 items from Good Karma

I had the Chinese Chicken Salad, the Jerk Tofu, and the Thai curry. It comes with a side of brown rice. My favourite was the Chicken Salad surprisingly enough, considering my position on salad. For desert, there was chocolate pie, and it was yummy, but I probably could have done without it.

Chocolate Cake

Then it was back to San Francisco… well, not so fast. As I head out the door, I saw the express bus (#181) heading to Fremont, so I ran and got on. But on the drive back I started thinking… why go back so early… So when I got to the BART station, I got on the Fremont-Richmond line with the intention of heading to Berkeley, rather than the Fremont-Daly City line that would take me back to San Francisco.

Cafe Gratitude had been recommended repeatedly, for for a meal. I’m not very new age-y so the names of food dishes made me giggle a little, but I liked what they were doing with them. I had the “I Am Abundant”, which is a sampler plate. It had sprouted almond hummus, hempseed pesto crostini (which was amazing), spicy cashew nacho cheese (which I had heard a lot of good things about, but wasn’t very excited by) with flax chips, an amazing olive tapenade, buckwheat crackers, a spring roll, and a tiny tiny tiny sample of the house soup (which was a lentil.)

I was overwhelmed with the mosaic of flavours in the spring roll. The avocado, apple, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, sprouts with cilantro wrapped up in collard greens… and then the coconut-almond dipping sauce… was heaven. Probably my favourite thing on the plate.

"I am Abundant" from Cafe Gratitude

Then of course, as always, it was time for dessert. I picked the most absurdly large dish on their menu, a piece of double layer cake, which they call “I am Rapture”. This time it was chocolate chocolate flavour, but they say it changes often. It didn’t seem like a raw cake at all, but it was based on a nut flour. Very innovative.

"I am Rapture" From Cafe Gratitude

I walked over to Berkeley campus, and just hung out for a while. It was foggy and cool, but I had my fill of sunshine in San Jose. I got there a bit late, so most things were closed, or about to close. I hung out at University Press Books for a few hours and almost got locked in after staying in the math section very quietly, but one of the employees found me, shucks! If there is a store I wouldn’t mind getting locked into, it’s that bookstore. So I jumped on the BART and went back “home.”