Sunday, September 25, 2011

update on move*

The new blog subscription service is much better than the old so if you could all take a minute to re-subscribe that would be fab!

Head on over to the new blog and on the right hand side look for "follow"... you just have to enter your email address and then approve the confirmation email that will be sent.

Thank you! Thank you!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I've moved!*

I am now the proud owner of!  I will forever more be blogging from over there... come see!

I've gone for a cleaner look, one where there's more focus on the content and less on all the trinkets you can add to a blog.  I hope you like it!

Any email subscribtions should transfer... just let me know if you have any problems and are no longer receiving post updates.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

mj comes to visit, part 2*

Since my brother and I both went to Cal, there's no way he could come up without a day-trip to Bezerkeley.  After a quick Bart trip to the Downtown Berkeley stop, we walked up Shattuck towards North Berkeley, stopping in at Guerilla Cafe for a couple of lattes.

it's a fun spot, with an artsy feel & an eclectic clientele

they use Blue Bottle coffee too, which is my favorite

sign for the bathroom... cute

two nonfat lattes

Chez Panisse is across the road where you see all those trees.  How lucky were we that we had Alice Water's world renowned restaurant at our doorstep during college?  I've only eaten at the Restaurant once, but have been to the Cafe loads of times... I actually prefer the cafe as the menu is not set like the restaurant downstairs so you can order what you want, plus it changes daily so you'll be surprised every time you go.

Our main reason for being on the north side of campus was so we could go to The Cheeseboard for some pizza.  I haven't been since I was in college, so let me tell you quite a few years have passed since I last tasted this amazing pizza!

Their menu changes daily and the pizza and salad are always vegetarian.  In true Bay Area foodie fashion the ingredients are locally grown and seasonal, and most likely you'll never get the same pizza topping combination twice!

They've expanded the restaurant and they now have tables inside and out, with a live jazz band playing music in the corner... it used to have just a tiny counter and a couple of wooden chairs out front.

The pizza was just as good as we remembered... ours had caramelized onions, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella, sharp cheddar & loads of fresh herbs on top.  Those mini slices are leftovers from previous pizzas... they want every slice served to be as fresh as possible and therefore they'll slice up any remaining slices and give them to you as extras, so the next person's pizza will be straight out of the oven.  Love.

Next door is their cheese shop.  This is how they began... back in 1967 they opened a small store around the corner from where the shop is now, and then they started experimenting with bread some time in the 70's.  It was also in the early 70's that they switched from being privately owned and became a collective... 100% worker owned where each employee has a voice in how the business will be run. I imagine this was quite a novel concept back then and it obviously worked out well for them in the long run... the pizzeria and cheese shop are really well run.

look at how many cheeses they sell!

as well as a full selection of freshly baked breads and pastries

After our delicious lunch we started walking through the North Berkeley neighborhood towards campus.  I always get so happy when I walk through campus... our buildings don't match, and you'll encounter a fair number of questionable characters but that's what makes it so unique and special... plus it's really beautiful with all the grassy areas and old trees.

My brother always liked this bench outside the Campanile which serves as a memorial to the soldiers who served in World War One.  The bears are sad.

Yup, we're going to the top!

That's our future football stadium.  All our games this year are at Pac Bell Park in SF since they were finally able to get the tree-sitters out of the trees (after a 649 day standoff, wahoo hippies) and start the renovation.  

the Big C

hey SF!  you look foggy

So, here's a cool Berkeley fact that I did not know until my brother informed me... supposedly they used the roof of South Hall as inspiration for the rooftop scene in Mary Poppins!!  Plus, it's the oldest building on campus.  Neat-o!

My friends, Ayesha & Matt, were married over there underneath the big Oak tree.

my mum would describe this as a fairy tree

That's the I-House at the top of the street... the main place of residence for any of our international students, plus it had a small cafe which was my favorite study spot during college.

Here's Sather Gate which separates Sproul Plaza from the Strawberry Creek bridge.  It originally was the South Gate to campus before the University expanded further.  Sproul is where most of the student protests are held, starting in the 60's with the Free Speech Movement.

Our last stop before heading back to the City was Telegraph Avenue.  Lots of street vendors.  Lots of tie dye.  Lots of obnoxious homeless teenagers who should just go home to their parents.  

an old newspaper blown up in the window at Rasputin Music

crazy street vendor selling patches

Despite all the crazy, Telegraph actually has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to the food.  My favorite spot is Cafe Intermezzo which serves massive salads, soups, and sandwiches.  

I always go with a chef's salad, served with a huge hunk of homemade whole wheat bread.

Lot's of salad fixings... the chef's salad comes with your choice of meat, kidney & garbanzo beans, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, avocado, egg, crouton, & sprouts. The poppyseed dressing is the only way to go in my opinion, it makes the salad. I've tried making it at home but it's never as good as the real deal. I ended up grabbing a salad to-go so I could eat it later that weekend.

Once back in SF look what we saw outside the apartment... the Cal Car!  This Car is always parked somewhere in my neighborhood, but how fitting that it was right outside when we returned from our Berkeley adventure!

Originally we had planned on heading to Magnolia Pub for a burger but we were tired and didn't want to venture too far for dinner that night so we decided on Roam instead.   I actually prefer Roam to Magnolia's... it feels a bit healthier (if a burger can be described as that!) and I love how many options you have in creating your burger.  I always go for a bison burger with white cheddar cheese, D did the classic beef with cheddar, and MJ was the most adventurous of the three of us ordering the Sunny Side with an organic free-range egg, white cheddar, caramelized onions & a sweet chili sauce.  He said it was amazing. Actually, I think "awesome" was the word of choice.

the haystack... a delicious heap of shredded onion & zucchini

classic russet fries


They also have amazing milkshakes made with organic Straus Family ice cream.

we tried the chocolate & salted caramel

You can get the shake topped with a toasted marshmallow.  But not just any marshmallow... a homemade marshmallow placed on top of a homemade graham cracker.    Yum.

On Saturday we headed down to the Ferry Building to walk around the Farmer's Market.

Sadly Primavera's menu selection wasn't that great, so we ended up back at Sidekick for a sandwich.  D ordered the salami & mozzarella served on an ACME twinkle loaf, and I couldn't decide so MJ and I ended up sharing a salami sandi as well as the roast turkey & fromage blanc served on the ACME herb slab.  Good decision, both were really tasty.

I'm still not sure which one I liked best... 

the salami was savory & salty with the yummy chewy bread,

and then the turkey was light and fresh tasting, 
with the herbs from the bread coming through in each bite.

It was MJ's last night and our plan was to order some our favorites from Delfina Pizza, so we stopped by the Miette counter to pick up a couple of sweets for afterwards.

They have the cutest store.  I love the pink & green color combo.

like a true old-fashioned sweet shop

our goodies

MJ's first trip to Pizzeria Delfina!

We ordered all of our favorites... fresh stretched mozzarella, the insalata tricolore, arancini (they don't always have these since they change the fried items daily), neopolitan meatballs in sugo, a margherita pizza & a salsiccia pizza. Ordering Delfina Pizza for takeout is a good way to go, especially on a weekend night when the crowds there are insane and you know you at least an hour to wait for dinner.

yum, yum, yum & yum

It's my favorite pizza in the city... for my 30th birthday D threw a party for me and ordered 15 pizzas from here!  5 margheritas, 5 salsiccias, and 5 broccoli raabs.  My mum ordered a Miette Scharffen Berger cake & a Lime Meringue Tart, plus a selection of other sweets.  So cool.  Delfina & Miette are the perfect way to celebrate any occasion!

Our Miette selection... lime meringue tart, raspberry mousse cake, the chocolate layer cake, and a spoonful of pot de creme each!  

On MJ's last morning sniffle we ended the trip where it all began... Rose's Cafe.

tea, coffee & freshly squeezed orange juice

they make their own jam... this one was strawberry

soft scrambled eggs w spinach & prosciutto

grilled chicken susage, organic poached eggs, polenta & spicy tomato sauce

fried potatoes for the table

toast and jam for me

with a side of bacon for sharing

It was a fantastic trip, and we can't wait for MJ to come up again soon!

See part 1 of his trip here!
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