It was our final night in the Bay Area and we had saved the best for last. With giddy Catherine and Alan in tow, we made our way to Berkeley to dine at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse.
Let’s be clear: this was not a spur of the moment Yelp find. We had made reservations for this meal over a month beforehand. In the late 1970’s, Alice Waters inspired the slow food movement and in the past few years, her writing and advocacy work undoubtedly inspired us to shop at farmer’s markets, eat seasonally fresh produce, and embrace cooking as a fun way to spend time with family and friends.
We love trying new restaurants and we really, really love eating good food, so Chez Panisse was a no brainer for our northern California trip with the Gueberts. The only thing missing was Paul suggesting we all go to Chipotle instead.
Sorry, Paul. Here’s what we feasted on:
- Celery root remoulade with mustard, marinated beets, and house-made prosciutto
- Grilled albacore tuna, olive, and lemon cucumber salad with heirloom tomato vinaigrette
- Baked andante dairy goat cheese with garden lettuce
- Riverdog farm chicken alla diavola with zucchini gratin and romano beans
- Fried petrale sole with fennel salad, anise hyssop, and aioli
- Llano seco ranch pork meatballs with sweet and spicy peppers and salsa verde
Dinner was… just okay.
Then we topped the last supper off with a pear, candied orange, and chartreuse ice cream bombe with a “langue de chat.” None of us knew what dessert was technically, but we thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless.
And just when we thought the night couldn’t get any better, Catherine and Gracie scored autographed cookbooks by the grand dame herself.
We were as happy and well-fed as sustainably farm-raised chickens.
Bon appetit fo sho!