Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chez Panisse @ Berkeley

First of all, I have to say my paternal grandmother is probably rolling in her grave.  If she was alive and knew I visited Berkeley, California today; no doubt,  I would be disowned.  The woman was the definition of conservative and the liberal-thinking Berkeley scene probably represented the bowels of hell for her.  I think it is marvelous.  University of California Berkeley students lounging in the shade, wildly painted buildings, signs of free-thinking everywhere and wonderful restaurants including the world-famous Chez Panisse restaurant.

IMG_0679For years, we owned a Chez Panisse poster celebrating its fourth birthday which hung in our little office at home.  I always wondered if we would go there.  And we did!

The Café at Chez Panisse, located upstairs, opened in 1980 offering an alternative to the set menu served in the Restaurant downstairs. The Café serves a moderately priced à la carte menu for both lunch and dinner. It has an open kitchen along one side of the room with a charcoal grill and a wood-burning oven. The cafe decor is a cozy, craftsman style with stunning Frank Lloyd Wright inspired skylights.  Now, I do have to say that our waiter was very impressed with himself and put on an air which we found a little comical.  Seriously, was his upper class New England with a British overlay (Katherine Hepburn –ish) accent for real—I am not sure.  The service was good, and that is all we ask for.

BUT, the traffic getting there today was HORRENDOUS—the freeways (note multiple) from Napa to Berkeley criss-cross like spaghetti and bumper to bumper traffic—incredibly fast to a screeching stop.  After just getting back to our quiet little RV and re-visiting the day, I am still not sure it was worth it.   The GPS for navigating the roads just went to the top of our list for best technology.

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