15 East Bay Favorites: Oakland + Berkeley



About Miyuki Baker

Miyuki is a resident of the place where many circles overlap. They’re a queer, multi-racial/lingual artist, activist & academic passionate about using common or discarded objects, stories, zines, and performance in public spaces to make accessible art. Their research examines how we practice “hope” and meaning through space, architecture and the environment. They’re currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 2012, where they were involved in queer Asian activism and making art, they received the Watson Fellowship to travel the world in search of queer artists and activists and made 8 zines highlighting what they learned under their publishing house Queer Scribe Productions. From 2014-2015 she lived in Ecuador and traveled by bicycle from Ecuador to Colombia cataloging traditional textiles, music and food. After returning, they built and lived in a mobile tiny house for a year (until selling it in May 2016).


  1. KateH

    Yay! Cool to see what all you’ve been up to. And yeah, Duart’s hot tub is HOT. The max I’ve ever held out for is about 5 minutes. Then I laid around outside, naked, in ~50 degrees F weather, and radiated all that heat out for about 25 minutes. So pleased you made it to the Morrison reading room at Cal. It’s like the platonic ideal of a library. For things not on your list, the Missing Link, Thai brunch at the Thai community center on Sundays, and Novella Carpenter’s urban micro-farm in Oakland, formerly on squatted property, are pretty much on the top of mine.

  2. Yeah same here! But I love it because I grew up on similarly hot Japanese hot springs 😉
    Is the Missing Link the bike shop that you met Jim at?
    Oh yeahhh Thai brunch! I was invited to it but have always been booked! Maybe this Sunday 🙂
    The urban micro-farm also sounds fabulous–thanks for sharing Kate!

  3. KateH

    “just another anarchist meeting space” Ha! SO east bay! Yup, met Jim and other characters at the Link. It’s probably on my list primarily for nostalgic reasons, but it’s also a good bike shop. Thinking more on this, The Cheese Board (Berkeley’s other long standing collective) would also have to be near the top of my list, but I don’t know how relevant that is for someone trying to eat vegan. Still, their breads are awesome. Another favorite is the walk, on foggy mornings, from very near the Thai community center, (I lived more or less around the block for 6 years) up to the Peets near the Claremont hotel. Tom and I did this for our morning cuppa on countless weekends. The earlier we did it the better as the city was quiet and the line when we got to Peets was manageable. The benches outside were the perfect place to savor our tea, and whatever pastry we got provided ample crumbs to feed the house sparrows. Very atmospheric, very Berkeley, and it was a decent bit of exercise followed by a marvelous reward. Just don’t take Ashby. Oh, and if there’s time, get up to Tilden. I’ll stop now before embarrassing myself. I must say though that you certainly seem to have plugged in to the beating hearts of the east bay. Well done!

  4. Terrell Baldwin

    Any chance I could get some help with the hot tub location and password? I will be headed out to the East Bay next week for Christmas break.



  5. tclark328@gmail.com

    Hi Miyuki, just so you know- Essex is going through a really rough time. It may be closing, because Deward is getting older and having a hard time dealing with the vandalism and disrespect of his property. The most recent info from D is that he wants to open it up just during the day- but that it will be closed at night. Though, its unclear what his capacity will be and for how long. It might be helpful to put a note indicating that it is in transition on your website.

  6. star

    I love your recommendations, it’s almost like I wrote this! Except I’ve never been to the Essex Hot Tub, so I can’t comment on that. But I love and frequent Asha and Shooting Star and Berkeley Bowl and Koreana Plaza and Vik’s and Lake Merritt and East Bay Depot Creative Reuse! 😀 I went to UC Berkeley for grad school and still live in the area. 🙂

    • Glad you liked the recommendations 😉 I’ll be arriving back in the East Bay in a couple weeks to start grad school at Cal in Performance Studies and since I haven’t been to Great China, ShareTea, Ocha or Purple Kow, that sounds like a way for us to meet up since it sounds like we have so much in common haha
      My contact is up at the top if you want to get in touch!

  7. star

    Berkeley has changed a lot recently…have you been to Great China (reopened one), ShareTea, and Purple Kow? I saw that they’re opening up an Ocha too.

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