Friday, January 12, 2018

Barley; Standard Fare

Eastside Road, January 12, 2018—
YESTERDAY WE DINED at home — the second consecutive evening we dined at home, just the two of us, for the first time in weeks. A pleasure.

And we dined simply: first a bowl of romanesco, cooked slow and long in the Italian style, with garlic; then a bowl of barley pilaf, buttery and enlivened with chopped scallions. This dish always reminds us of the beautiful, intelligent, good-humored Marion Cunningham, a brilliant cook and author and good friend; it was her recipe, and we have it often and remember her generosity and gratitude.

     🍷Aglianico, Epicuro, Beneventano (Calabria), 1915: cheap, tannic, black, a little dull but serviceable

TODAY WE WERE in Berkeley at lunchtime, so stopped by a favorite spot for a sandwich and a plate of hummus. The scents of the kitchen took me right back to Portland, where we spent the previous week or so — specifically, the Portland of meat: bacons, grilled steaks, but sharply scented side-dishes as well.

You can't do better than this place. The menu changes daily, I think, and includes soups and salads, sandwiches and stews, with delicious pickles on the side. Today I had a roast beef sandwich on focaccia bread: grass-fed beef, long braised and tender, in a herb sauce, with pickled beets, roasted nappa cabbage, aioli, and ruby streaks — I had to look this last item up: a kind of mustard green lending bite and body to the sandwich.

The hummus plate came with endive, radish, fennel, green olives, and the sweetest, most flavorful carrots I've had in a long time — from Capay, of course, where there must be some pretty special soil.

We love this place, not only for the food which is clean and nourishing as well as immensely tasty, but also for the marvelous sense of purpose, style, and sheer enjoyment expressed by the whole busy staff. You can look at the menu online, call ahead, and pick up your order to go, if you like; I'd rather sit in the sun outside, or better yet at the counter inside where I can feast my eyes on this kitchen. What a pleasure.

Standard Fare Kitchen & Pantry, 2701 8th Street, Berkeley; 📞510-356-2261

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

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