The woodsy-meets-industrial exterior of the new Berkeley Bowl West fits its warehouse neighborhood well.
EatingLA tagged along with faithful taster Kathy to pick up her son at UC Santa Cruz, and we decided to try to fit in some good eating along the way. I'm always squeezing a lot of eating into just a few days when I'm up there, and this time was no exception. The first night we were staying in Berkeley, so my sister suggested dinner at Luka's Tap Room, a casual gastropub with an excellent menu and not all that many tables. The scene at popular Luka's in Oakland.
We passed the long wait tasting various Belgian and other beers and chatting with my sister Joan's next door neighbor Alice, who is justifiably known as the queen of chocolate. I tried a creamy Old Speckled Hen on nitrogen, and we also tried an Avery Collaboration not Litigation ale from Russian River Brewing, Dogfish Head IPA and Blue Star Hefweizen. We shared a garlicky and rich selection of mussels bouillabaisse style, chorizo and corn fritters, fried green tomato salad, crispy steelhead trout with foraged mushrooms and terrific Belgian fries with chipotle aioli. The next morning, we stopped by the brand-new Berkeley Bowl West. I used to live near the original Berkeley Bowl when it was still in a converted bowling alley, so I wanted to see the huge new branch of one of the world's great supermarkets. It's a beautiful airy space with a vast produce department and really good prices for lots of unusual products and unfortunately there's nothing really like it in L.A. I picked up strawberry rhubarb marmalade, well-priced farro, some of their house brand vinegars and a whole grain berry scone.
Next stop: San Francisco.
Excellent prices on local berries at the Berkeley Bowl