Clockwise from below: Umami
Mart evolved from a food blog to include a shop. Open since January, Duende is already an Uptown favorite.
curatorial sensibilities. She stocks locally handmade artwork, jewelry, housewares, and stationery; the shop occasionally hosts parties, tastings, and classes as well. Around the corner, Umami Mart is a brickand-mortar manifestation of the community food blog and online shop with the same name. The space, minimal and Zen-like, features eye-catching structures made of birch plywood that display barware, cooking tools, and kitchen accessories, mostly sourced from Japan. For co-owner Kayoko Akabori, the decision to launch in Oakland was very deliberate. “It’s not intimidating or competitive here, and everybody is really open to collaboration—especially in the food scene,” she says. “It’s nice to hook up with people and come up with creative things to do.” For instance, Umami Mart has teamed up with Grease Box, a gluten-free mobile kitchen in Oakland, and now sells chef Lizzy Boelter’s organic soul food lunch boxes every Wednesday. 55