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Shopping Recreational or Medical?

Feel Good Guide: Oakland

Feel Good Guide: Oakland

Sure, there’s San Francisco, its towering skyline often sitting above the clouds of the city below, but just next door is Oakland, and, simply put, Oakland is just a cool town.

There’s a deep history in Oakland and the people that live here. They’ve been fighting for their community, their rights, and of course, for cannabis legalization. Maybe this town is hella cool because it’s considered the most diverse city in America. Hell, this is where the Black Panthers started their push for social justice and it’s where the dispensary group Harborside pushed for proper cannabis testing, compliance, and education.

But more on that later. First, a much needed coffee from a bar + bookstore + record store that’s a true embodiment of Oakland and the great people that live here. This is North Light.

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An old school brick building with high ceilings. An ascending bookcase with novels and records lining its shelves. At North Light, there’s even a sliding ladder to scramble up the shelves to find that perfect gem.

A white marble bar takes up the back of the shop with two turntables comfortably seated on its edge. Accompanying the slowing turing record playing, Ahmad Jamal’s album FreeFlight sits on a number of what appears to be Pixar lamps…did we mention Pixar’s less than 10 minutes away?

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Julian, the bartender whips us up some Zeric-style coffees served in tall cocktail glasses.

Something to eat perhaps? We gravitate to the umami potatoes with bonito flakes. This is a burst of flavor with smoky mayo and scallions.

Next up, the mushroom toast; the bread smeared to its very edge with ricotta and topped with caramelized onions. It’s a delicate balance that works so well and has a salty, meaty texture from the mushrooms.

We thank Julian and as we leave, he says “come back, hang out when you’re in town, you know where to find me.” And you know what, we’re just gonna have to take him up on that.

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Located right next to the Oakland Harbor with sailboats cutting through the clear water sits the iconic dispensary, Harborside.

We meet up with the lovely, friendly, and knowledgeable Kathy Starbuck, one of Harborside’s many helpful employees. She’s been working at Harborside for almost two years and started right before recreational, adult-use cannabis was legalized (also known as “the Green Rush”).

The store is quite large and one of the best aspects is the large windows letting in the natural sunlight. When it comes to cannabis, they want to take it “out of the darkness and into the light.”

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They’ve really taken that to heart in the store, from the shelves of clones you can purchase for home growing, to the education they provide. But one comment Kathy said stood out among the rest.

She points to the various products throughout the store and says, “Products now hit the floor – before it used to be under lock and key and at some point it was time to treat our customers like customers not criminals.”

With Harborside’s historic push to enhance the industry, just the acknowledgement of having products out for customers to explore themselves is a relatively new concept.

With a day of sunshine ahead, we grab a Delight Pen and head off for some dumplings.

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Reservations? Nope, they don’t do that. Killer dumplings? Yup, they do that.

Shan Dong is located in Chinatown — which, by the way, is a proper Chinatown and you don’t hear English spoken as you walk down the streets. Another example of the celebration of cultures living together in Oakland.

We’re seated at yellow worn down tables with a view of the dumpling station; woks lined up ready to cook up deliciousness. A woman making dumplings works quickly yet effortlessly by the window. We should point out this is where Domee Shi did all her R&D for the Pixar movie, BAO.

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First up, green beans cooked in garlic and when it hits the table with the white rice, bam! You’re hit with a garlicky aroma that will make you melt with sensory overload.

Next up, Shan Dong chicken – twice fried and crunchy but oh so saucy.

And of course, dumplings. Oh, the dumplings. With a vinegary sweet sauce drizzled on the sticky outside of the dumpling and the softness of the steamed meat inside. All hand made with perfect imperfections of the outer casing. You want this, you need this — go get this, people.

Time for a drink and something sweet perhaps.

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Drake’s Brewing Co. is an open air space with trees sprouting out of gravel floor for shade as you sip your local brew.

As one does, we get a few flights of beer. One flight on the lighter side and another on the hoppy side. A light breeze slowly blows through the trees as we sip our beer and snack on some grilled peppers with big flakes of salt and drizzled with a healthy amount of lemon.

Just outside sits Humphry Slocombe, oh so good ice cream and after a few beers, nothing’s better.

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As the day comes to a close we head over to Lake Merritt, first grabbing some pizza from Arizmendi Bakery for our stroll.

This is a huge lake in the middle of Oakland with big green trees on the water’s edge. A drummer rhymically plays along to the sounds of crashing water from a fountain and birds soar overhead as we enjoy a slice of pizza and watch as the world goes by.

Until next time, Oakland.

Core vs. Seasonal Strains

Core vs. Seasonal Strains

For thousands of years, humans have cherished their relationship to cannabis. The versatile plant has been used for food, fiber, medicine, socializing, and as a path to spiritual experience.

Our sun-grown cannabis is completely free of toxic chemicals. There’s no lamp in the world that grows happy and healthy plants as good as the sun. Our 325,000 square foot Dutch-glass greenhouse practices sustainable cultivation using geothermic well water and the full spectrum of the sun.

Our grow produces hundreds of strains throughout the year — some with traditional genetics, others with unique genetics that depend on the ever-changing elements of Mother Nature. Get to know our different classification of strains below.

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Core Flower features strains with trusted genetics that thrive year-round in our 7-acre Dutch glass greenhouse. These sun-grown strains are steady and potent home runs that grow in large quantities, so we’re offering them to you at consistently affordable prices, day in and day out. Core Flower is your go-to selection for every occasion.

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Seasonal Flower features strains with unique genetic profiles that are sourced and grown only when the conditions are just right. We pick rare strains that deliver on the highest notes of flavor and potency — but only when Mother Nature allows. Consider it our farm-to-table selection of strains, and stock up whenever you can — once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Feel Good Guide: Costa Mesa

Feel Good Guide: Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa: surf, skate or ski. Okay, maybe you can’t ski, but Costa Mesa’s home to some of the largest action sports brands around, including Vans, Hurley and Rip Curl — just to name a few.

Hittin’ the surf, rippin’ down a hill on a board…maybe next time, people. This trip, we’re getting killer BBQ, chillin’ in a zen garden and exploring the Orange County Fair.

But not before we grab some pre-rolls.

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A ten-minute drive from John Wayne Airport sits OC3, an OG dispensary that was “one of Santa Ana’s first city-licensed Medical Cannabis Dispensaries.” Now catering to both the medical and recreational adult-use cannabis markets, OC3 is a great spot to grab the goods before hitting the town.

You might be saying to yourself, “Wait a minute — isn’t this a Costa Mesa guide?” Well, in Orange County, you can only buy cannabis in Santa Ana, so we stop there before Costa Mesa, which is conveniently just next door.

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At OC3, we meet up with Geneva Laulhere, or “G” as everyone calls her. G’s been working here for years and tells us that they always make sure to carry all sorts of different products, saying “We have a wide variety because everyone’s different.”

She talks about how everyone has a different tolerance and that OC3 tailors to everyone’s specific needs. If someone is coming in with particular cannabis effects in mind, especially a medical patient, they want them to have something in stock that’s just right for them.

What’s just right for our breezy adventure is a pre-roll or two. We grab a Delight Pre-Roll Pack and head out.

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First up, some zen before the day ahead. Noguchi Garden is a human-made rock oasis nestled in the middle of a corporate park — perfect for recharging during your lunch break.

Large tan stones are pieced together to give the illusion of a desert floor. A triangular monument jets out of the earth, creating a perfect 90-degree angle. Water slowly bubbles down a rock face into a stream that snakes through the garden.

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Giant rocks have been placed throughout the space, adding a natural feel while chiseled gray stone benches follow the arch of the stream. It’s dynamic and mesmerizing.

On two ends sit little hills, one full of rocks and cacti, and the other a cone-shaped fountain with water crashing down its sides. There’s a yin and yang here; one the dry desert and the other a lush green.

After some relaxing, it’s time for a bite or two.

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An anti-mall shopping area that’s like a bunch of local businesses got together and made their own little Main Street. This is The Lab.

An airstream called “Creme Tangerine” in the corner sells records and plays easygoing music of the past. This place has it all, restaurants, shops and a brewery that’s pouring up some great sours.

Our first stop coffee, and as one must, a doughnut.

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A quaint little shop with vegan options. Good Town Doughnuts is a local spot with a neon sign on the wall that says, “I’m a doughnut freak” and well, we’re all here for that.

Miki helps us from behind the coffee bar as we snag their iced coffee and a vegan triple berry doughnut. This puppy is garnished with mint, blueberry, and raspberry all atop of a triple berry glaze. We sit back and enjoy the outdoor seating, sipping our cold brew as shoppers pop into this shop, then that one, then the next.

Now onto one of The Lab’s more hearty spots.

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This is brisket on brisket on brisket. LA Brisket, a BBQ joint that literally just smells like oh-so-sweet goodness.

In honor of the place’s namesake, we start with the half-pound brisket. It’s fall apart, call back home to tell the parents about this one, delicious.

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Next up is the elote topped with cotija cheese, paprika and finely chopped cilantro with a sauce that’s letting that corn take a swim. Lime squeezed on top? Yes please, and thank you.

Last up is the 405 Sandwich — it’s a Monster. The bread holds in all that awesome brisket like a baby in a blanket. As you take that first bite, there’s a wonderful cut through the sandwich with blue cheese onions. Yum!

Filled to the brim, it’s time for the County Fair.

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The Orange County Fair is everything that comes to mind when you think of a fair— and we’re here for it. Thrill rides move at what seems like a hundred miles an hour, the iconic ferris wheel slowly spinning, and of course the smell of fried…well, everything.

A perfect end to the day: the old county fair that brings us back to simpler times, the loud ringing of a bell from this game or another. And whether you actually win or lose really doesn’t matter.

Until next time, Costa Mesa.