Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A food trip to San Francisco and Berkeley CA

I know this is about Naperville, but sometimes describing paradise is more important than telling people why they live in a wasteland of food.

My wife had to go out for business and her son lives in Berkeley. So this is a great opportunity to see SF as well as spend a little time with Son 1.0 and of course eat. Through a friend who seemed to like to eat, we found a place the first full day we were there. This for me was after a very long day of walking all over Northern San Francisco. I've never seen a place where every hill is up, except when you have to go to the top of the up, and there are two or three downs and ups. We ate at a small place called "Swell". It was a modern seafood type place with a slightly Asian flair. Featuring both raw and cooked seafood, and of course I tried as much as I could. Nothing bad. See the menu at

The next night was also in San Francisco and I wanted to try Chinatown. I'm not sure where Son 1.0 found it, but it was different. We tried Lucky Creation. This is a little different than most in that it is a vegetarian restaurant. We tried "chicken" in curry sauce (very very good), Sliced "Pork" with vegetables and a clay pot vegetable dish. A little funky in the decor, but frankly we ate a lot and spent about $50 for three with two beers, pot stickers and another appetizer.

The next night we moved to Berkeley and were now off the company dime for one person. Friday night was a treat. The Cheese Board Collective was to be closed on Saturday (May Day!) and tonight's pizza was corn, mozzarella and feta cheese, cilantro and red onions. Because of the occasion, we invited the starving student/friends of Son 1.0 to come out. They brought beer (they know good beer here) and ate on the Do Not Use The Meridian area between the two halves of the street. When we arrived there were 20-40 people in line, when we left there were 40 to 50 people in line and it was moving. If you don't know about the Cheese Board, it is a collective (no bosses, everyone is a part owner) that has been doing bread and pizza for 40 years. They have the best (I mean the best) cheese case I've ever seen both in quantity and quality of cheeses. A food trip to Berkeley requires a trip to the Cheese Board. Here is a link.

The next night was on our own and so we went to "Bistro Liaison", just on the edge of the "Gourmet Ghetto". It is crowded, with great decor. Yelpers (who I read and make fun of them) seemed to think it was ok. I liked it as did my wife. We had no reservations, but we got into a small table in the corner quickly. We were asked to free up the table by 7:30 and although we did, there was no one waiting. The food was quite good. I had Trout Almandine, while Joette had the fish special which was Ling Cod. Again all very good, a bit expensive, but we were there to enjoy. A link to Bistro Liaison is here.

Our final day started at "La Note", which is my favorite place. Excellent breakfast food on a superb back patio. Light and fluffy eggs. Perfect. If I could steal a restaurant and move it to Naperville, this is my first choice. Here is its link.

Our final restaurant was also an old favorite, The restaurant is an Indian restaurant named Ajanta. It is listed as Alice Water's favorite places and I can see why. We love Indian cooking and are spoiled by the wonderful and underused Indian places in Naperville. But every time we go to the Bay area, we like to stop in here. Very good food with the right amount of oil and heat. If you are interested, follow this link.

Overall, the food in San Francisco and Berkeley area is outstanding. Everything from Alice Water's Chez Panisse to Thai takeaway hole in the wall.