Spring break uncovered ... Berkeley

by Apple Peterson in , , , , , ,

Culturally, Berkeley is like another world! Here you shall find a lot of yoga loving, health conscious, tree-hugging, all-about-sustainability hippies! Berkeley is well known to be the home to the University of California flagship campus. University of California Berkeley or CAL is a premier level public university full of intelligent over-achievers.  Berkeley is a dream school for one of my younger kids; so getting to know the area is always a great idea!

If you're interested in fresh air, open space and some wonderful views -- head on out to Berkeley Marina. There is an adventure park for the kids, you can stroll to see the city skyline, The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz from the other side of the bay. If you are feeling hungry then head out to Fourth Street where you'll find Bette's Oceanview Diner, they serve farm-style breakfasts to soups, salads, sandwiches, blue-plate specials, pastries and pies. They also pursued their business further and created Bette's Diner products like pancake and cupcake mixes that you'll find in your local grocery store.

If your main interest is to check out CAL, then your best bet is to check out College Avenue. Elmwood Shopping District is located on College Avenue in Berkeley just a few blocks South of the university. You will find a special shopping experience featuring fine gourmet food, outdoor cafes, and shops that feature unique clothing, jewelry, gift items and quality personal services from local merchants. My younger sibling who attended CAL introduced us to Ici, a somewhat unusual but interesting take on ice cream. Here you will find flavors like chicory coffee, caramel rose, orange brandied currant and the list goes on. They serve about 11 flavors a day and they are made fresh every morning at a limited amount.

The Cheeseboard Collective is a worker-owned cheese store when it opened in 1971. Over time they have added to their products and now sell breads, pastries and pizzas. The pizzas are made from scratch with the freshest ingredients and they only serve one type of vegetarian pizza and salad every day. It's always interesting to see ingredients like cilantro and limes on a pizza. Despite the unusual combinations, the pizzas are great and it's worth waiting the line.

Masse's Pastries is another great find and after trying macarons at Ladurée, Payard and Pierre Hermé -- nothing beats Masse's salted caramel.

This list barely scratched the surface of what Berkeley offers. The list goes on for all the food places that I am looking to try! Chez Panisse is on the top of that list as well as a few other places likes Rivoli and Trattoria Corso located at the edge of Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto.

A few notable places that I make an effort to visit are A.G. Ferrari for some fresh pasta and pasta sauce to go as well as the Berkeley Bowl for the most interesting selection flowers, fruits and vegetables.