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Chez Panisse

Note: This meal took place on August 16, 2008.

A date to visit Prakash was quickly set which is par for him and I. We don’t dabble in dates and scenarios. We just set a date and work at planning for the trip. And what planning I did! I had the obligatory Google Map laid out with key shops and restaurants I had to eat at. The best part? Prakash was up for anything! Love that guy!

Dave and Jessica met us out in Berkeley for lunch. I had to try Chez Panisse, Alice Waters famed restaurant. I was not expecting much other than dependable (possibly boring, but) delicious food. One person I spoke to described it as a restaurant that really pushed San Francisco into the culinary spotlight but really never moved on. So it’s important in that it inspired many other chefs and restaurants but now it’s sort of aged, like Citronelle in D.C. Anyway, this description was spot on.

We had reservations for a slightly later lunch. The Barcelonas came from Alameda and we came from Sunnyvale. We met up within 15 minutes of each other. We ate upstairs. The service was nice, perfect for the price and atmosphere. The decor was nice, not modern but not rustic either.

I had the squid because what I really wanted, the duck, was sold out. It was good, though some pieces were kind of pasty tasting. The citrus note really saved the day.

Monterey Bay squid roasted in the wood oven with shell beans, peppers, and salsa verde

Dave had the chicken which he confessed to not liking later on. In fact, he seemed to have diner’s remorse after, saying he didn’t think it was worth it. I sort of agree, and would definitely agree if the prices were only $5 more.

I think Chez Panisse is a very important restaurant in SF culinary history and still is a wonderful place to dine at when you want a nice meal without having to spend too much or dress up too much. I am glad I was able to check it off my list. I doubt I’ll be back.

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