Oakland Unseen

Oakland, California's unreal news source.

David Foster Wallace-themed cafe opens in Uptown

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The cafe, which does not have a name, is billed as Oakland’s first postmodern, or metamodern cafe. Cell phones, iPods, and laptops are prohibited, however, typewriters and Walkmans are allowed and smoking is even encouraged in the indoor space. The place serves plenty of black coffee—no decaf available—but its food items are what separate it from the traditional cafe.

The menu requires a minimum IQ of 131 to decipher. There are puns in Latin, codes and cypher text that you have to have Infinite Jest on hand or more than a passing familiarity with http://infinitejest.wallacewiki.com to put in an order. The menu is loaded with acronyms and explanatory footnotes. Throughout the text, it reads as if it is self-conscious, doubting, and not sure if it actually is a menu or not. With help from the staff, Oakland Unseen deciphered these items on the menu:

  • Antidepressant-infused muffins
  • The Stale Thing
  • A Supposedly Fun Dish I’ll Never Eat Again
  • Both Flesh and Not

The highest priced item on the menu is Consider the Lobster. It’s actually imitation crab. One of the most popular dishes is Fate, Time, and Sausage, which is a traditional German sausage dish, but instead of it being served on a plate, it’s served on a copy of Sarte’s Being and Nothingness.

Oakland Unseen asked a twenty-something girl dining in the cafe what she recommends, and she said, “A side dish of Signifying Crackers goes very well with This is Water. And for dessert, I recommend Everything and More or the Bananas Foster Wallace.”

The menu describes “This is Water” in the following manner: “Is it water, or is it the acknowledgement of the insolute reality around us?”

The space is dark and musty and features a coin-operated cigarette dispenser, which dispenses Marlboro Lights. There is a library in the back, and converted phone rooms, just big enough for 2 people to have endless philosophical debates.

When Oakland Unseen asked a twenty-something Caucasian male on his typewriter what he was working on, he said it was too deep, that we likely wouldn’t understand it. When we prodded him some more, he replied that it’s a 2,000-page novel that’s the most authentic piece ever written about the African American experience. His working title is Django Reinhardt Unchained.

We asked if he has a degree in African American studies, and he solemnly replied, “No, but I’ve listened to Bob Dylan.”

A source familiar with the cafe owners’s plans said that they want to expand to Silver Lake, Williamsburg, the Mission District, Pearl District, Wicker Park, H Street Corridor, and East Austin. The cafe in the Uptown District of Oakland is currently hiring and in their Craigslist posting, they’re specifically looking for a “girl with curious hair” and “hideous men.”

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    I really hope this is a joke
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    Except that suicidal depression isn’t a joke…