Wednesday Postcard: Oakland, California

postcard image by S. Woo

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features the Cathedral of Christ the Light, located near Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.

In 1962, the Diocese of Oakland was established. Unfortunately, its first cathedral, St. Francis de Sales, was heavily damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

In 2005, construction began on the Cathedral of Christ the Light. It is the first cathedral in the world to be built in the 21st century. It opened its doors in 2008.

the main entrance is underneath the cross

This 58-foot-high hologram of Christ is located above the circular altar. The image is based on the sculptural relief found on the Royal Portal of the west façade of Chartres Cathedral in France.

For more information:

Cathedral of Christ the Light – Cathedral History & Art

Visit Oakland

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

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4 Ways I’m Coping with California Wildfire Smoke

It makes me blue to think about the dozens of people who’ve lost their lives and hundreds more who are missing due to the recent devastating wildfires in northern and southern California. So many people have lost their homes, animals, businesses, farms, and vehicles.

Since the Camp Fire wildfire in Butte County began on November 8, 2018, air quality in surrounding areas, like the San Francisco Bay Area, have reached unhealthy, very unhealthy, and even hazardous levels on the Air Quality Index.

Where I live, we’ve been strongly encouraged to stay indoors. Schools have decided to close and cancel classes. Local businesses have distributed special N95 filtration masks. Several museums have offered free admission to provide relief and temporary escape from the bad air.

Self care is important. I’m coping during this stressful time by:

  • spending quality time with loved ones
  • enjoying comfort food
  • staying positive
  • supporting the American Red Cross

Spending quality time with loved ones 

Part of my self care routine is engaging in a pleasurable activity. I enjoy good food, so I recently ventured outdoors and had brunch with my family. Spending quality time with loved ones brought comfort and a sense of normalcy.

Enjoying comfort food

We went to one of my favorite brunch spots called Crepevine. The fast-casual restaurant has ten locations around the San Francisco Bay Area, but the cozy atmosphere of the one I frequent makes it feel one-of-a-kind.

the San Francisco crêpe: salmon, capers, baby spinach, Dijon mustard, red onion, and dill Havarti cheese

Business was brisk at the College Avenue (Oakland) location. Understandably, no one inside lingered after eating their food. It was sad not to see anyone out on the patio, which is usually packed with diners and their beloved pets snuggled at their feet.

Staying positive

Almost two weeks after the wildfires broke out, I’m happy to report that much-needed rain is falling today (November 21). I hope we get enough precipitation to help contain the remaining fires. In the meantime, I’ll keep thinking of and thanking all the brave firefighters out there.

Supporting the American Red Cross

Another way I cope is knowing that I can help relief efforts by supporting the American Red Cross. I’m a longtime blood donor and supporter because I trust they use contributions properly. If you feel so inclined, please join me and make a financial contribution to the California Wildfire relief efforts. Change lives with your gift and donate now to the American Red Cross.

Thank you and remember to do something each day to take care of yourself.

For more information:

  • Air Quality Index (link)
  • American Red Cross (link)
  • CAL FIRE – Current Incidents (link)
  • Crepevine Restaurant (link)

Where My Beignets At?

Closely associated with New Orleans, a beignet (“ben-YAY”) is a donut made with choux, a French pastry dough also used to make éclairs and cream puffs. Luckily, I don’t have to travel that far to enjoy these fried and pillowy sweet treats! Café Jolie in Alameda and Powderface in Oakland both make delicious beignets!

from Cafe Jolie

I’ll update this post as I discover places that make beignets in the Bay Area and beyond!

Where do you get your beignets? Tell me in the comments!

La Farine: French bakery in Oakland

This photo was taken at the Rockridge location of La Farine, a French boulangerie and pâtisserie in Oakland, California:

I’m tickled that “chocolatine” is catching on outside of Toulouse, France, where I learned that’s what they call a chocolate croissant (also known as pain au chocolat)!

chocolate éclair, shortbread, and a chocolate espresso cookie from La Farine

I wanted coffee to go with my chocolate espresso cookie, but learned that they stop making coffee at 4:30. So I went next door and got a cappuccino from Peet’s instead.

Overall, it was a nice Sunday afternoon break!

My related post:

Farmers’ Market (link)

For more information:

La Farine (link)