Don't judge when you read about the places I have wanted to go for months -- sometimes years -- if I had the time or made the time.
Either way, I still haven't. So here is my list. It's not a long one, but you will think I am weird after you read it. You're right, but I prefer the word idiosyncratic. Anyway, you can add your own, email me or post your comment online.
Dino's in Castro Valley
Dino's looks like the place Frank Sinatra's ghost would most likely eat at if Sinatra's ghost visited Castro Valley. The restaurant is the antithesis of chic or chain restaurants, with its shiny, red leather chairs, white tablecloths and oak colored curved booths. The walls are red, the carpets are red, and the ruby bar is dark except for a low light with a glow that makes the glasses shine. The sign below the name declares, bluntly, "Italian Cuisine Seafood." Dino's is not a place to be seen unless you are a member of Castro Valley's "Medicare Set" or looking for strong drinks in a throwback kind of place, judging from what I have read and heard. It sounds like the perfect place to slide onto a bar stool, order a highball and pretend you are planning a Las Vegas heist with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
(3600 Castro Valley Blvd., 510-537-1454)
El Torito in San Leandro
I said don't judge. It's waterfront. Not only are the views lovely but, as a Yelp commenter perfectly captured in this post, "I come here at least 1-2x a month, mainly for happy hour and I ain't complaining because they have $3 margaritas that taste pretty good to me!"
(5 Monarch Bay Drive, 510-351-8825, www.eltorito.com)
Jack London George's Salon
Just when you think you've been to every dive, upscale drinking establishment and underground venue, you find yourself one night in a sprawling, labyrinthine building overlooking the Oakland waterfront -- the Oakland Riviera, artist Neysa Budzinski called it. Those are Budzinski's words about Jack London George's Grand Grub gatherings at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Food is provided, BYOB, and they do pass the hat.
(1300 E. Eighth St., 510-712-9698,firstname.lastname@example.org)
Oakland Nights Live
The founder describes it as, "half Johnny Carson, half 'Pee-wee's Playhouse,' half 'Fresh Air,' and all Oakland." That is if Carson, Pee-wee and Terry Gross of NPR's "Fresh Air" got together in a backyard near MacArthur BART after Burning Man.
The free Oakland Nights Live has featured talks with Oakland public school teachers, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" re-enactors, call-in relationship advice, a marine biologist, music from a giant seesaw violin and an in-person interview with an astrophysicist from the South Pole. Then there's Oakland trivia, strange performances, giveaways from local businesses and spotlights on nonprofits. "It is a microscope that looks in on all the little wonders across the Oakland Bay Area," it said on its website. It happens 8 p.m. every first Saturday. That means Oct. 6 is the next one.
(911 Clarke St., 510-585-3537, http://on.fb.me/ShWlXt)
Pasta Pelican in Alameda
For years, I have looked across the estuary at Pasta Pelican. I can see the lights, and I keep imagining entering into a shimmery dining room with low lights. I would sip a martini while I stared out over the water through big windows facing Jack London Square. You could say Pasta Pelican is tucked away. You have to go through the Webster Tube, then turn right and go to the Mariner Square Loop, past the athletic club, then left on Mariner Square Drive. Some people have called the location in the middle of nowhere.
I picture Pasta Pelican as the swinger cousin to Dino's and Francesco's. The bar serves "Mafioso Margaritas" and Sicilian salsa with pizza chips. Pasta Pelican has a panoramic viewer on their website so you can see for yourself.
(2455 Marina Square Drive, 510-864-7427, www.pastapelican.com)
Some last minute additions to add to the list:
California Canoe and Kayak
I love sea kayaking but not usually in the estuary. However, Oct. 27 is the next full-moon paddle.
(510-893-7833 or www.calkayak.com)
The New Parish
Yes, it's true: I have never been to the New Parish, where Oct. 7 you are invited to dance the president to another four years in the White House at the Salsa for Obama fundraiser. Tickets are $25.
Follow Angela Woodall at Facebook.com/angelawoodall.