Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Things To Do In The Bay Area: A Date Night At Plum & The Paramount Theater

This is the outside of an ultracool, uber-trendy restaurant in the up and coming uptown Oakland district.  You would never know it existed unless you were actually looking for it, as you can see by the nondescript building and clear lack of restaurant signage.  I am not ultracool or uber-trendy enough myself to know about hidden little gems like these, but luckily husband and I have some friends who are.  This is what we did with our friends Mike and Katie (Matie) last Friday night.

First, I feel it is important to address something.  If you are familiar with Oakland (say, via the news) you may have formed a negative opinion of the city.  I get it.  You hear about the crime, but never about the culture.  There is so much more to Oakland than what you hear about on tv.  Recently, there has been a big push to bring back nightlife to the uptown area.  You will find hipster bars mixed in with chic restaurants next to grand historical theaters.  There are art galleries and nightclubs.  If you are looking for an alternative to the San Francisco nightlife, this is the place to be.
Welcome to Plum (said nondescript restaurant).  The menu is small, but the flavors are big.  
There are just a few offerings of appetizers and main courses, but what they do here, they do well.  The portions are not meant for sharing.  The bar is well stocked.  The service was spot on.  The bartender made a mean grapefruit gimlet and our waiter had the most exquisite mustache I had ever laid eyes on.  

We started off with a cheese course which was a heavenly blend of cheeses, strawberry compote, walnut butter, and bread. I then had the bavette (flank steak), which was cooked perfectly medium-rare.  This was followed by a caramelized brioche and napoleon of tiramisu (which we all split).  For some reason we were served what I would refer to as a hot pretzel bread after our meal, instead of before.  This was an odd but tasty occurrence.    

As we walked along through the streets to our next adventure, I found these posters on the wall from Oakland of long ago.  

Our next stop that night was the fabulous Paramount Theater.  This Art Deco building was built in 1931 as a grand movie palace. The entire building is reminiscent of old Hollywood, from the marquee outside to the gilded grid design on the ceiling.  Every detail of this building is stunning.  It is now considered a National Historic Landmark.  
The Paramount of today is a popular concert venue and is home to both the Oakland Ballet and Oakland Symphony.  This theater also continues to show older movies on Friday nights.  We were there to see Apollo 13.  

I have to admit, I was a bit worried that there wouldn't be popcorn, being that this isn't mainly a movie theater.  However, I was impressed to find a concession area where they sold gourmet popcorn and beer, wine, and champagne.  The night just kept getting better.
 Going to the movie here is an experience.  There were ushers at every entrance who welcomed us to the show and guided us around the theater.  Once we were seated I realized that there was an actual organist who is playing live music before the motion picture started (You really have to get into the old timey spirit here.  Maybe I should refer to it as the picture show?).

Before our movie started, we watched newsreels of historical significance and a cartoon.  Then there was a raffle hosted live on the stage.  Finally the movie started, and while the sound wasn't as great as in modern theaters, the experience alone made it all worthwhile.  
Clockwise from top left:  1) Main lobby taken from the second floor staircase. 2) Organist lit up in lower left-hand corner of stage.  3) The powder room that leads to the bathroom.  Obviously, getting your makeup perfect was a necessity before returning to your date. 4) Historical newsreel.
Matie on the left, and me and my husband on the right. 

The marquee light up at night.  

If you are in the area, you should check these places out.  If you are in town and looking to spend time like the locals do, then this is the spot for you.  


Adele said...

OMG! The choc dessert on the right looks sooooo delic! Great pics :)
Have a fab Tuesday Hun xoxo

colleen said...

that theater and sounds so cool - and your dinner looks delicious.

Oh my Dior said...

I love your pug blog!


rooth said...

Oh that's awesome. I've never been to Oakland and I'd really like to go sometime. Sounds like the food is pretty ridiculous there, particularly the taco trucks

Miss Margaret Cruzemark said...

Oh my God…This is so so cool. Your blog totally rocks!!!
Best Regards
Miss Margaret Cruzemark

Kim (A Very Sweet Blog) said...

Erin, thanks for sharing this. I truly believe it's what is on the INSIDE that counts. Oakland holds many treasures. The same goes for my city (New Orleans). People think bad things, but it's not that way. We have a historical theater just like the Paramount. I featured it when I had my other blog, but I think I'll revisit and feature it again. It has so much charm. It has one screen, and does classic movies, recent movies and midnight movies. Again, thanks for sharing this.

Marika said...

cute pics!!
Follow my blog on http://laviecestchic.blogspot.com hope you like and join it, you're always the welcome!!
kisses and Thank you

Ashley said...

I actually haven't heard anything about Oakland...but I'm sure my hometown has a bad rep too.

If I'm ever in the area I'll be sure to get some suggestions from you!!

Beauty Follower said...

Nice place, the food looks great!

SizzleandZoom said...

Awesome post. Looks like you had fun.

Antonella C'est moi said...

awesome post!!!

Elle Sees said...

There's a place in ATL you have to find a pay phone and say the secret password to get in. I never have!

little t said...

Looks like so much fun- its been an age since I've been to the theatre!

Anonymous said...

great photos! looks like so much fun!!

Loulou said...

Wow, those places look excellent, especially the neat movie theatre. Appears to have been a very nice night out indeed!


honey my heart said...

what a great date night! i would really like to visit the paramount!

Blond Duck said...

We have a Paramount Theater in Austin...I wonder if it's named after this one!

Tamra {ever swoon} said...

So fun! If I'm ever in the area i'll have to check those recos out!

Bonnie said...

We have nothing cool like this around us. Jealous! I really want to do some traveling, and this would have to be on my must list.

Twitter: @GlamKitten88

rolala said...

If I'm in the Bay area I will have to look into checking out these spots. I love the old school art deco look of the Paramount. New venues just don't have that kind of character or charm.

Rowena @ rolala loves

danielle p. said...

actually planning a trip out there within the next few months, so i'm taking note of everything here :] thanks for sharing! xx

Tina L. Hook said...

This all looks amazing. This is the one thing we give up living in a small town, and I long for snazzy restaurants like nobody's business.

High Heels & Good Meals! said...

This would be right up my alley! It seriously looked like you all had an amazing time.

MizzJ said...

Sounds like a fun night! It's very cool how they are trying to revive that part of Oakland. I hope they keep the historic touches to the area as it gains popularity - that art deco theater is so cool!

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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