WE DECIDED TO TRY to ignore the most public events of the day, at least while they actually transpired, and met a friend for lunch instead. In sadness, to the table. What a fine festive meal!
We began with a half dozen Miyagi oysters on the half shell. They come with a mignonette, but I rarely go there: I prefer oysters as fresh and forward as these nature, just their own sweet selves.
I turned next to this imnperfectly photographed salad: sliced beets and fennel in a bagna cauda vinaigrette with perfectly hard-cooked egg and some miner's lettuce leaves, with just the right addition of chopped black truffle.
This was, by agreement with the Contessa, the principle meal of the day, so I finished with duck breast with Ojibwe wild rice, rapini, and "salsa di dragoncello." This wild rice is not your usual one: it seems shorter-grained, nuttier, less processed somehow. A good match to the duck, which always seems to me too meaty to go with rice — but then, I'm a potato-eater, it's in my genes.
In any case, the duck was nicely cooked, just enough, and the long-cooked rapini made a fine side dish.
Dessert: an apple galette with a few sour cherries to give added texture and flavor, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Can't ask for more than that!
•Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510-548-5049