Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, feeding squirrels + sad teddy bears.
Berkeley is known as the home of ‘California Cuisine’, largely due to the pioneering of the Slow Food Movement in the USA by Alice Waters, who has run Chez Panisse in downtown’s ‘Gourmet Ghetto’ since 1971. Read about and watch my experience at Chez Panisse here.
Berkeley is full of community spirit and art – the University of California is the centre of the city, so it runs like a typical Uni town – full of people, creativity and life.
One of my favourite reasons to visit Berkeley: the University campus is full of squirrels. People feed them peanuts behind California hall, near the river, so they congregate there and are very bold. They will come right up and eat out of your hand!
The local area around ‘Gourmet Ghetto’ is known as such because of the high concentration of cafes and food establishments dedicated to using local, high-quality, organic ingredients and food products. Frieda DeLackner interviewed a number of businesses in the area and said that ‘[they] were all working together to build a community, and it’s that camaraderie that is one of the factors making the area special.’
Saul’s Deli was one of the highlights of our dining experiences in Berkeley: watch my video here.
Even though we were full, when we walked past Cream: Cookies Rule Everything Around Me on Telegraph Ave and saw the line winding out the door I couldn’t help myself – I jumped on the end. Then I found out a large scoop of icecream sandwiched between two freshly baked cookies was US$2. Gourmet ice cream sandwiches at $2 each! Ridiculous. I was happy. Two melty choc chip cookies encasing a scoop of banana walnut fudge. Bliss.
We saw a lot of forlorn looking animals. I am going to say they were contemplative.
This teddy was just downright miserable.
We had some great coffee down at Artis Coffee Roasters on Fourth Ave. While still not strong enough for my Melbourne tastes, the house made vanilla syrup was toasty and delicious.
My mum was super excited to hit up the Bone Room, a ‘Natural Science’ shop that was filled with skeletons, springbok horns, human teeth, spiderwebs trapped in glass, pinned butterflies… There was so much to see, and my mum has been internet-stalking the store since before she moved to the USA.
And so my Mother/Daughter roadtrip around the California coast draws to a close. We had an incredible trip full of amazing food, beautiful sights, and laughter. We walked along boardwalks on ocean cliffs shouting SQUIRREL at the top of our lungs, Mum burnt part of her shoe off on a radiator in a cafe in Mendocino, and I fell off the hood of the car while we had an oceanside picnic. Here is our trip, summarised: