We spent this past weekend in Berkeley, and since our plans (which involved a wedding) were changing at the last minute, we didn't know where we were going to end up -- hence the lack of one of those "LA Native Needs Berkeley Help" posts on this board.
Besides, one of the things that really makes a Chowhound is the ability to sniff out food that is tasty, and it's certainly easy enough to do in Berkeley... not to mention that Berkeley is a very walkable, fairly compact city.
Friday night, after a long, hard drive punctuated with long periods of sitting on the 5 with the car off, we went to Cheeseboard Pizza, where they were serving roasted bell pepper and tapenade pie. It was my first experience with the Communist Pizza Parlour (100% of people who ate there on Friday voted for the bell pepper and tapenade pie), and it was very tasty -- a little bit too much tapenade on some of the slices which made it very salty, but good and filling and hot.
Saturday morning, after I discovered by walking from the Marin Circle down to Ashby and back, that nothing opens before 8:00 or 8:30, I stopped at the Virginia Bakery and bought a competently-made apple ring and a cherry strudel for the house we were staying in. Nothing earth-shaking, but well-made. I also stopped at Peet's (yes, I know, there are 100 independent coffeeshops on Shattuck, but none of them were open at 6.30 AM!).
For lunch, we met the rest of the family who were coming in from LA for this wedding, and we wandered Telegraph. We were all starving for an early lunch and we happened to walk past a Korean place on the west side between Durant and Channing, called Berkel Berkel. It was very tasty -- I had soon dubu, others had various permutations of barbecue, my (very non-Chowhoundish) mother-in-law had bibimbap. It was all quite good, again, nothing earth-shaking... but the price for five of us was $28, which is unheard of here in LA.
I did wander the Berkeley farmers' market, which was nice -- I do wish my local FM sold meat and better bread -- but I noticed mostly that the seasons for produce are different in the Bay Area, where we are still getting peaches, figs, melons, eggplants and lots and lots of fall strawberries, Berkeley's FM had more apples, pears and squashes. Prices seemed very expensive compared to my home (Studio City) FM, but about the same as the Hollywood or Santa Monica FMs.
Dinner Saturday was at the hotel where the wedding was.
Sunday we went to Hong Kong East Ocean in Emeryville for dim sum. It was nice to have fresh, hot dim sum but I have to say it's the most expensive dim sum I've ever bought -- nearly $25 a person (all told) with regular pu-erh tea. The xlb had hardly any soup in them, but the steamed custard buns were really good; the siu mai were tasty but the har gau were rubbery. The braised fried tofu was very good hot, but as they got cold it got unappetising. It wouldn't be my choice for dim sum again, I don't think -- I remember Ton Kiang fondly but didn't want to deal with parking in the City.
It was a good weekend... and a nice change from the Valley.
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