For a quick city break, head to the hills beyond Oakland for great food, views, a game of Frolf and the promise of peace and quiet in Moraga, an under-the-radar retreat worth a day away from it all.
1. Hiking at Rancho Laguna Park
If you follow Moraga Road west and make a left on Camino Pablo, you’ll find Rancho Laguna Park. The park itself is a little accommodating gem, equipped with BBQ grills. But the real treasure of Rancho Laguna can be found in the trails which begin at the back of the park. These trails can be followed though pleasant hilly pastures to a scenic trail along the Moraga reservoir. Plenty of locals enjoy these trails, yet the trails never feel crowded.
2. Home/Made Kitchen
This new eco-friendly bakery and cafe offers the area’s best breakfast in a beautiful green venue. The restaurant, which only uses organic and local ingredients—often grown on site—is an ardent contributor to Contra Costa Food Bank.
3. Frisbee Golf (Frolf) at Moraga Commons
A sport beloved by fraternities everywhere, frisbee golf is one of the many attractions offered by the Moraga Commons Park, which is fully equipped with basketball hoops, a skate park, sand volleyball courts, a cross-fit trail, and a children’s playground, and of course, several open grass areas for picnics and BBQs. The Moraga Frisbee Golf Course features nine holes of frisbee golf around the hill on the Moraga Commons Park. The course wraps up and down the hill, providing a nice workout and view in one. There are no disk rentals on-site, so B.Y.O.D. (bring your own disk).
4. New Delhi Bistro
This is the best Indian food in the greater Lamorinda area. They specialize in tandoori, which are soupy, flavorful sauces chock full of meat or vegetables, served over rice with baked to order naan bread. One of the house favorites is the Paneer Wrap. Its a wrap-style sandwich with naan bread, lettuce, tomato, onions seared paneer (which is a dairy product of a similar consistency to tofu) and special sauces, usually reserved for dippable foods like somosas. The staff is extremely friendly and will let you sample anything you don’t recognize before you order it. For an inexpensive, casual lunch or dinner, New Delhi Bistro will easily become a memorable favorite.
5. The New Rheem Theater
The Rheem Theater looks misplaced in time. It has the look of a movie theater from a half-century or so ago, but recently renovated, the New Rheem offers screenings in modern movie-going luxury. One of its charms is the couches in the backs of the theaters that make you feel like you moved a 50-foot projector screen into your living room. If you want to fit a movie into a budget, the New Rheem offers $7 films on Tuesdays as well as inexpensive matinee showings.
Getting there: Moraga is a tucked away town in the hills east of the Caldecott tunnel. The drive will be around 35 minutes, or take BART and a bus ride from either Lafayette or Orinda BART. The county connection bus (route 6) will take you from the station to within walking distance of these destinations for the price of $1.
Photo: Robert Dawson