Monday, March 15, 2010

Eating in Berkeley, CA

Yesterday we decided to take a mini road trip up to the Oakland-Berkeley area (about an hour north of where we live). We started the mid morning by taking a yoga class with our favorite instructor, Sean Michael Hall, at Namaste Yoga located in the quaint Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland.

We built up quite an appetite after that so after a brief stop at the Hudson Bay Cafe where I quenched my thirst with coconut water, and my husband with the best cappuccino he said he'd had in a very long time, we headed a few miles up the road to Berkeley to lunch at La Note.

We lucked out on having nice weather so La Note opened their lovely patio for outdoor seating, but after a 45 minute wait, we gave up and settled with a nice window seat.

I ordered the Salade Niçoise with grilled tuna which was very satisfying - I especially loved the dijon vinaigrette. Usually dressings are more of a background flavor but in this case, it definitely was one of the stars of the dish.

My main complaint is that there was a bit too much of the red beets, 1/2 the amount would have been great. Also the deep bowl made it difficult to eat out of. It made it difficult to cut the large pieces of lettuce underneath and I didn't like having to search for the olives in the deep bowl.

The restaurant ran out of bread so they warned us as we were eating the bread (prior to the meals arriving) that there would be no more coming and if we wanted to have bread with our meal that we should hold off. It was strange timing to tell us as we were just finishing the bread.

While we probably would not have ordered more of the delicious bread, I don't think it's right for a restaurant to run out of bread. There are many bakeries nearby and if I were the restaurant manager, I would have run out to get a few fresh loaves.

Anyway, Hubby ordered the Ratatouille avec Merguez - their traditional southern France vegetable stew, served with Merguez sausage (lamb). He was very satisfied with his meal and had no complaints.
I had to taste the Merguez sausage because I'd never had it before and it was quite tasty.

We were too full to order dessert right after our meal so we took a nice walk around Berkeley - up Shattuck and then down the beautiful Walnut Street which was like walking through a botanical garden in early spring, and then along the streets bordering the edge of UC Berkeley campus. Along the way we found a bakery (don't remember the name) where we came across some fresh looking cupcakes.

We ordered the Green Tea Matcha and Bunny Love (carrot) cupcakes to go and found another quaint coffee shop near the university where we sat by the window and enjoyed our tasty desserts.

All in all it was a lovely spring day - we've had a very wet winter so it was nice to get a break - full of sunshine, colorful flowers in bloom and good food.

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