Oakland's Sweet Side

Oakland is hardly regarded by most people as a must-see tourist destination. But novelist-poet Ishmael Reed is determined to change perceptions of this Northern California city, his adopted hometown, which he argues is still vital, despite ongoing problems with crime and budget cuts. In his new book, Blues City (Crown; 191 pages), Reed recommends the following Oakland sights and activities:

--Scott's Seafood Grill & Bar, which features hot seafood and cool jazz. The patio offers an excellent view of the estuary and passing sailboats.

--Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon, built from the timber of an old whaling ship in 1880....

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