The live music Saturday was by “Berkeley's beloved "Peacenick" John Fizer” who sang the title song.
Peeking in the kitchen that Phoenix Pastificio shares with Café Zeste is like knocking on heaven’s door.
The bread, just pulled from the oven, was loaded with fat salty purple olives that were heavy with oil coaxed out and made liquid by the heat … the soft, warm, white bread embraced by a thin, crackly crunchy crust
The bread almost spoke … “break a hunk off of me NOW or you are a hopeless fool’.
The bread is available about 1 pm during the week. On weekends they bake all day and have those great pastries that are sold at the Saturday Berkeley Farmers market.
I miss the old store, but there is more of a connection with the source here. It is real-er and so charming.
Walk through Café Zeste to the kitchen door. Glance at the tattered list of pastas on the door. There are always four or five reduced-price specials. On one visit boxes of Meyer lemons lined one wall.
Poke your head in the kitchen and it is one-on-one with the friendly down-to-earth owner who interrupts his pasta-making to hand you a loaf of warm bread and chat for a while.
Antoine, the owner’s son … who has grown up quite a bit … plays hide and seek with his friends outside the building.
You’d never guess the pasta is the star in so many top Bay Area home and professional kitchens. No crazed lines of like Acme snaking out the door and into the parking lot.
Just a relaxed, almost provincial, shop. This feels more like a little side street is a small European town rather than Berkeley.
On my first visit, the olive bread was both a reward and a consolation prize.
FINALLY near Phoenix Pastifico on a Friday, I stopped by for the challah. They no longer make it except for by special order for events. They will also make some sort of large challah on request.
There’s still the same list of pastas cut to order.
I was interested in the pasta on that post and didn’t list the ravioli: pumpkin, butternut squash, spinach ricotta, smoked salmon, smoked chicken, spicy roasted vegetables, three cheese, wild mushroom, parsnip, carrot & sage, crab & lobster.
For dinner I had the olive bread … delicate, flavorful, sweet pea with sautéed leek ravioli … goat cheese with roasted garlic ravioli that a bit of orange zest ... on a bed of pizziaola sauce … a light crushed tomato sauce with garlic and oregano.
The Phoenix Pastifico
1250 Addison St. Suite 109
(Cross street: Bonar)
Berkeley, CA 94702