Eastside Road, August 7, 2014—YESTERDAY WE ATE ALL DAY. At least it seemed so. And why not? Day before we'd fasted…
After our usual breakfast (a slice of toast, two bowls of coffee with milk) we drove down to Berkeley, stopping first at Doughnut Dolly, where our friend Hannah was opening her second shop. She specializes in filled doughnuts, delicious yeast doughnuts she makes by the dozens and fills to order with jam or various custards. This morning she offered strawberry jam, and we picked up a number of them for the meeting we were going to — but I had a bourbon cream doughnut: smooth, delicate, eggy custard; nicely textured and pleasantly yeasty doughnut. We'll be back; probably often.
• Doughnut Dolly, 1313 Ninth Street (Gilman), Berkeley
Hungry after the meeting, we were reminded that our friend Kelcey had opened her take-out lunchery a few months ago and that we hadn't yet had a chance to try it. What a find! We had a marvelous chickpea purée, with house-made crackers and pickled carrots; an albacore confit sandwich involving shaved radishes, cucumbers, raw lemon, arugula, and aïoli, on a foccaccia-like bread also made in house; and a very nice escarole and frisée salad with cherry tomatoes and an anchovy vinaigrette.
All this was made on the spot at the moment, packed neatly and attractively, and eaten on a bench in front of the place, on a rare sunny August day in Berkeley. Standard Fare offers take-home dinners, too; we'll certainly be trying them out before long.
• Standard Fare, 2701 Eighth Street No. 118 (Carleton), Berkeley; 510.356.2261
AND THEN IT WAS time to drive to San Francisco, where I had a nicely made Four Barrel macchiato and we bought a loaf of dense chewy Josey Baker Bread at The Mill (736 Divisadero Street, San Francisco; 415.345.1953), and then went on to an early supper at Zuni.
Here we began with the plate you see above: Shaved parmesan, sliced celery, little niçoise olives, and anchovies, dressed with black pepper and oil. This is uniquely satisfying combination never fails to remind us of our late friend Judy Rodgers, whose impeccable taste it represents; and like the rest of the menu it was faithfully executed by a team responding to another friend, Kathi Riley, who has taken on Judy's kitchen (sharing it with another chef) to continue its traditions into a new decade.
We continued, for example, with her marvelous eggplant soup tasting of roasted eggplant, black pepper, spices, and good olive oil; and then this plate of merguez, chickpeas, and purslane, another fine combination.
We couldn't escape dessert: nicely made nectarine sorbet with blackberries, and as light, ethereal a Gâteau Victoire as I've had anywhere. Perfect.
Martini; house Pinot noir• Zuni, 1658 Market Street, San Francisco; 415-552-2522