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Tag Archive for 'Berkeley'

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.

IMG_1506
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.

Visiting Prakash in SF

Like much of the exciting times in my life, this plan came together rather quickly. Thanks to Google Calendar, I was able to find a weekend P$ wasn’t busy (harder than it sounds), and after a few IM’s and despite many emails (due to my detailed planning), I was set to visit on the weekend of August 16th.

I did the research, made the reservations, and arranged dates. We were all set. The flight out of SBA to SFO was uneventful. I still cannot sleep on planes and the flight was early enough that it made me wish we had. Prakash picked me up in his beautiful IS350 and we were off to Berkeley. We actually had time to kill since the reservation was for 1:15 PM. We went to Haight and Sutter. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at La Boulange and shopped at True Sake and HUF.

Then, we headed off to Berkeley where Dave and Jessica met us at Chez Panisse for a late lunch. I was hoping they still had their duck confit but I settled for grilled squid instead. After, we crossed the busy street to visit a cheese shop and pizzeria. Prakash and I got some bread pudding. Then we drove about 5 miles away to Ici where we had some of their innovative ice cream flavors which ranged from Basil to a 50/50 orange sherbert.

As we said our goodbyes, I handed Jess three bottles of sake to give to her parents to take back to SB for me. I still need to pick them up! Anyway, we head back to Sunnyvale and hang out at Prakash’s apartment which was super clean and nicely decorated, I might add!  We hung out for a bit, watched some movie clips then his (former) PM met us and we went off to Los Gatos to Manresa. The meal was a marathon and we were literally the last ones to leave the restaurant. When we got back, everyone just went to bed, exhausted. 

The next day we got up early and got some boba (not too good), and drove to Napa to meet Noelle at Ubuntu. I had arranged to have Chef Fox cook us a tasting menu and boy did he deliver. We were seated outside on a picture perfect Napa afternoon. Then we went to Bouchon to get some pastries, wine tasting at a castle, and Dean and Deluca so Noelle could get some European butter. Yummy.

Back to Berkeley to change, then Ame at the St. Regis for dinner. Tropic Thunder (hilarious) then sleep for the flight the next morning. We woke up at 7AM for the flight and when we were almost at the airport, United texted me saying it was delayed. It was too late to turn around and I ended up leaving over an hour later than planned. What the heck? Shane picked me up at SBA and after grabbing a quick lunch I went to work.

P.S. Recently, when I told people about where I went in SF, they all exclaim “all those places?!” Sitting in the car and talking to a friend I’ve known for years made time fly. I do realize that it was an enormous undertaking (having me visit) and I am eternally grateful.

P.P.S. Complete reviews of Chez Panisse, Manresa, Ubuntu, and Ame coming.




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