Eating Our Way Around Berkeley (and some of Oakland)

One thing I love about my friend who was in town this weekend is that she isn’t daunted at all when I present her with an eating itinerary for the weekend.  As you all know, I have FOMA for myself and for others and in no area is my FOMA worse than when it comes to food.  So, given that my friend was only in town for a little over 2 days, I had to make sure she got to experience lots of yummy food.  It’s also still amazing to me that despite living here for so many years, there are always new places to discover, so I try to combine that with my trusty standbys.  Here’s our whirlwind food tour:

Saturday:

  1. Philz Coffee – My friend always likes to try different coffee places when she travels, so we went to Philz.  I wasn’t particularly impressed by their Chai, but it wasn’t bad.
  2. Cheese Board – Obviously we had to go to Cheeseboard.  It’s one of my most favorite places in Berkeley.  Mmmmm.
  3. Masse’s Pastries – The cassis french macaroon was delicious and the coconut cookie was very coconut-y, but I wouldn’t say this is a must visit in Berkeley.
  4. Bakesale Betty – Their fried chicken sandwich is delicious and their tofu version is almost as good.  I almost always get their ginger cookie, which is delightfully chewy and crispy at the same time.  Their lemonade slushy and strawberry shortcake are also both divine, but they didn’t have either when we went.
  5. Donkey and Goat Winery – This local winery is super cute.  My friend is a wine connoisseur, so she wanted to check this place out.  I’m glad we went.  It was my kids’ first wine tasting … just a little tasting, don’t worry!
  6. Kermit Lynch – I think this store is kind of pretentious, but we always stop by when my friend is in town.
  7. Country Cheese – Despite living in Berkeley for 7 years, I had never been to Country Cheese because really, it’s hard not to just go to Cheese Board.  I’m glad I went, but Cheese Board still can’t be beat.  They just don’t have the obvious love of cheese that the people at Cheese Board do.
  8. Monterrey Market – Despite recent controversy about taking business away from neighborhood specialty shops, Monterrey Market is still a good place to get good produce.  We picked up some delicious grapes and more cheese!
  9. Sea Salt – Sea Salt is usually a reliably solid seafood place and the crab risotto did not disappoint.  It was delicious.  The short ribs, though, were a little too salty, and the coriander crusted tuna was only okay.  I guess it wasn’t a great night, but I would still return.

Sunday:

  1. Local 123 – We stopped by to pick up coffee for my friend and it filled my car with amazing smells.  Much better than Philz.
  2. La Bedaine – French bakery that also sells vacuum packed meals.  I’d go back for their chocolate croissant and mushroom quiche, but probably not the almond croissant.  The filling was more of a custard than your typical almond paste filling, which is what I want when I get an almond croissant.
  3. Home Room – Seriously good mac and cheese, but not the type of place you can go too often … unless you’re not afraid of clogged arteries.  They also had an “experimental” drink that was 3/4 cider topped with stout that was surprisingly delicious.
  4. Berkeley Bowl West – The greatest grocery store that ever existed.
  5. La Mission Mexican Grill – We stopped by for a quick taco snack before going home to make dinner.
  6. Pizza Dinner Party – We had people a bunch of people over for dinner.  We prepared a super simple pizza dough, tomato sauce (Cheese Board recipe), and some toppings (various types of tomatoes, mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, spinach, goat and mozzarella cheese) and people assembled their own pizzas, which my partner than grilled on our BBQ (grilled pizza comes close to brick oven pizza and is far superior to pizza baked in a regular oven).  People also brought over sides and dessert and voila, we had dinner for 10!

Monday:

  1. Local 123 – We went here to grab a quick breakfast.  The sausage and biscuits with herb butter were pretty tasty and you can’t really go wrong with granola and fruit.  Yum, yum.

That’s it – how to eat your way through Berkeley and some of Oakland in a little over two days.

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