Oakland Exposition Celebrates Local Innovation

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The Oakland Indie Awards, last night in Jack London Square, filled the old Barnes & Noble building with Oakland's most prominent independent vendors. For the fourth year in a row, businesses and artists displayed their products, and restaurants provided samples of their food, as the OneCalifornia Foundation named the best business in each of eight categories. (The full category list, including such creative titles as "Greenie," "Oakland Soul," and "Ripple Effect," can be found here with explanations.)

A few of the restaurant tables distinguished themselves with exceptionally good flavor. In a room full of tasty food, the Salvadoran restaurant Las Lupita's (contact info below) served incredibly tasty pupusas. Stuffed not just with cheese but with meat as well, these pupusas, fried corn tortillas, were both perfectly textured and arrestingly flavorful. Another delicious sample was the pambaso from Huarache Azteca Restaurant, described as a Mexican-spiced French roll filled with potatoes and chorizo. I'd never seen anything like it, and its amazing flavor surprised me. Also at the Huarache Azteca booth, two different sangrias (white and red) were noteworthy for their tastiness.

I particularly enjoyed the Wandering Soul Photography booth. Len Finocchio takes digital photos around the East Bay, then color-adjusts the images on Photoshop. The end result is a series of fascinating photos that grabbed my attention, and made me think critically about the pictured buildings and landmarks. I was especially impressed that Finocchio creates this photography for fun, in addition to working at his regular job.

The entire Indie Awards was an inspiring showcase of Oakland's best independent vendors. Beyond several creative household items, like the sprocket-based Bicycle Clocks, and the popular "The Town" t-shirts (which several of my friends wear), I was impressed with the diversity and ingenuity of the entire exposition. It says a lot about the East Bay community, and the spirit that distinguishes us from the rest of the Bay Area.

Vendors mentioned:
Las Lupida's - (510) 434-9537 - 4509 Foothill Blvd.
Huarache Azteca - (510) 533-2395 - 3842 International Blvd.
Wandering Soul Photography - (415) 254-9142

EBAC thanks the Oakland Indie Awards for access to this event.  

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