As a HUGE fan of the LA Flower Mart, I was thrilled to learn about the Oakland Flower Market. Both BZ and I really enjoy having fresh flowers in the home, and because the LA Flower Mart is both affordable and special, I had high hopes.
Located in downtown Oakland (parking is available in the back or on the street) the market is a wholesale and retail floral company catering to both the general public and trade businesses. It's a one stop shop for all floral needs, providing a nice variety of flowers and greens, general supplies, vases, floral tools, ribbons, sticks, moss, etc.
Because it was smaller than I had imagined, I asked about it's history and learned that years ago, the flower market flourished and had multiple vendors, but sadly over time all but one vendor closed down. As a result it feels like a smaller and less impressive venue (especially compared to the LA or San Fransisco Flower Mart (which was kinda a bummer). Due to this small size, I found that the prices weren't that competitive (BOOO) so the convenience of having everything under one roof is really the only reason to go.
With that said, BZ was able to put together a beautifully simple arrangement (that continues to look healthy and vibrant) for much less than a florist (but not less than Trader Joe's or the Farmers Market).
I have always been a fan of Serena & Lily, but I had no idea they expanded beyond nursery/baby items (like YEARS ago). I was so pleased to learn about their wide variety of home goods, and not surprised by the stylish quality. Perfectly modern with just the right sprinkle of ethnic detailing, everything except the price, is right up my alley. Here are some of my favorites :)
Berkeley Bowl is an independent, full-service supermarket committed to bringing the highest quality groceries at the lowest possible prices. I realize that a grocery store might not be so exciting for everyone, but I promise you it's AMAZING and totally worth a family outing (at the very least). Their specialty has always been produce and the selection is a beautiful variety of every fruit and vegetable under the sun. Since tasting is encouraged, you can snack your way through the produce department and fill up your cart with the freshest, sweetest and healthiest of treats. Even though HML is a good eater (knock on wood) this could be a great way to get little ones to try new fruits and veggies if that is something you are up against :).
The rest of the store carries a wide array of organic and natural foods, speciality items, international foods, beautiful meat/seafood/dairy departments, a gourmet kitchen (which includes hot meals, sushi, sandwiches, salads, etc) a huge bulk food section that will blow your mind, conventional groceries, a fresh bakery, and other everyday items.
I like going to the grocery store, but this was beyond my wildest dreams. Where else can you try four different types of pineapple before making a selection, have the best tangerine you have ever had in your entire life (I bought 10), find treats you haven't had in years cause you could only find them abroad, sip your favorite Japanese soda, and then get a deli sandwich to bring home for lunch. The downside is the crowds (although they do have wide aisles, which really helps) and parking might also be hard - so plan your trip accordingly and happy shopping!