Found myself in downtown Berkeley today, with a legal parking space close to the Phoenix Pastificio (1786 Shattuck @ Delaware), so it seemed appropriate to drop in for a spot of lunch at Phoenix Next Door, the cafe adjoining the pasta and bakery counter. It was wonderful, as always.
I chose the Meyer Lemon pappardelle with sauteed eggplant, tomatoes, toasted pignoli and chopped chives ($10.50). It tasted of Spring and I savored every last bite. To accompany it, I had a small bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water with freshly-squeezed juice of one Meyer lemon -- delicious and refreshing. I was offered sugar, but it wasn't necessary.
I was sitting at the counter and enjoying every minute -- it's such a warm and welcoming place, everyone including the staff seemed to be having a really good time, and I didn't want to leave. Dessert was called for, so I walked around to the retail side and chose a square of semolina cake soaked in honey and rose-water -- ravishingly sweet, crumbly and flowery, and nicely complemented by a small but perfect espresso.
On the way out, I picked up one of their amazing Rustic Olive baguettes, hot from the oven.