Friday, May 2, 2008

Eating in Berkeley

Eccolo: crisp fried artichokes; French fries; chopped salad: lettuces, pine nuts, blue cheese, Parmesan, oil, vinegar, salt…; rhubarb crisp

Chez Panisse: garden salad (lettuces, oil, vinegar, salt);
braised lamb shoulder with greens and a gribiche toast

Berkeley, May 1—
WELL, WHY WOULDN'T YOU EAT in Berkeley if you had the chance? Careful consideration led us to Eccolo for lunch, partly because we knew we could count on the food, partly because we suspected we could eat outside, where we'd have a chance to converse. Dining rooms are so infernally noisy these days.

We did get a table on the patio, and plunged into little halved artichokes cooked in hommage to carciofi alla giudia, though not quite that crisp; and absolutely delicious French fries cut like fettucini, and Chris's chopped salad, old-fashioned and delicious. It's the sort of thing makes you believe in the possibility of an utterly American bistro.


And then ice cream at Ici, smooth and full of both flavor and that sense that you're actually being nourished; and then on to dinner Chez Panisse, where the salad was its dependable perfection, the braised lamb was meaty and substantial in its complex and rewarding juices, and the dessert — fruit compote with gelati and a puff-paste twist — both classical and enterprising. P1010506.jpg

I suppose there are other ways to eat, but this suited me fine.

with dinner: Green & Red Zinfandel, 2006

1 comment:

George Mattingly said...

Glad I figured out where you'd moved this blog, Charles. For an entire month I meditated on the headline "Eating Like Peasants Again (or Still)." Your May 1 entry makes it sound like you drove straight from lunch to dinner. Do anything else on Thursday?! We took Dylan to Chez Panisse for his 17th (in March), were seated in what I think of as the "treehouse," ate terrific food and . . . yes drank the Green & Red Zin, a great bargain. A whole evening rich in taste and memory, taking us back to our first time at C.P. in the 70s when we were in our 20s.