LUNCH IN THE CAFÉ: grilled duck confit with chicory salad, delicata squash, and roasted fig toast: a fine plate for a cold autumn day. Such squash is not my favorite item, but this was cooked crisp and made a fine companion to the salad, which was slightly wilted from the heat of the duck. Sage and rosemary with the duck: delicious.
At home, when figs are in season, I often rub a halved ripe fig on toast. This was a much more sophisticated version of that idea, the figs roasted and divested of peel, spread on that fine toasted Acme bread.
Dessert: Pear upside-down cake, huckleberry sauce, crème Chantilly
•Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510-548-5525
Later in the day, before catching a play in San Francisco, we fortified ourselves at an Oakland restaurant we hadn't been in for a few years. I'm not sure it's as good as it's been, but perhaps a pizza Margherita isn't the best test, especially so soon after eating one in Rome…
•Marzano, 4214 Park Boulevard, Oakland; 510-479-1448