Restaurant Glimpses

posted by rich

2013-09-10 06_56_19 (1)Eating at one of our better restaurants, facing the street, with a view partially obscured by frosted glass, I could see clearly only through the bottom part of the pane. Outside I could only see the shoes of a couple who were standing motionless in front of the restaurant door. The man’s shoes were very well polished, more so than most people’s shoes. I wondered who could be so eager to put his best foot forward. And why were they pausing so long before taking action? After this pause, the man opened the door, striding confidently, with his lady at his side, entering the stage with his best presentation of self. He was tall and appeared to be Hispanic, young, perhaps just recently dating the young lady. He walked past me and out of sight, with his girlfriend held close to his side. They had arrived.

Neighborhood Glimpses

posted by Eve

Chez Panisse
Chez Panisse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Berkeley, we’re lucky to live where special food purveyors, that have become part of travel writers’ recommended must-sees, still exist. Many assume the air of venerated institutions (Chez Panisse and Acme Bread for example). Down the hill from us, just outside the Claremont Hotel is a small street with a few boutique-y shops that include a seller of oils and vinegars, a wine and cheese shop, and a wonderful new bakery called Fournée. Fournée is a gift to those of us who so love good, robust bread that we sometimes make it the main “dish” and serve it with nothing but butter and just a side of vegetables.

Peets Coffee and Fournée Bakery (right)
Peets Coffee and Fournée Bakery (right)
Raisin Walnut Levain
Raisin Walnut Levain
Fournée has croissants, sweet breads, and beautiful single-serving desert pastries and cakes. But it is the levain we keep going back for, either plain or with raisins and walnuts. The croissants are the sort you can find in bakeries in Paris. Did you know that in France, croissants made only with butter are straight? That is by law. If the baker uses shortening, partly or totally, in place of butter, the croissant must be crescent-shaped where the pointed ends almost meet.

Fournée is the closest you could get to an authentic French boulangerie/patisserie in the East Bay.


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3 Responses

  1. You both are a fresh breath of many lovely things in this world! Love your writing – don’t always find the time for the lengthy ones, but if I do read them, I am always taken away into a/my more creative existence.
    Thank you dear friends! Best, Renate.

  2. I like your idea about glimpses in the neighborhood. First, of the young couple seen first only at shoe level, then walking smartly and briskly by the observer. And you’re glimpses of the new bakery recalling your best experiences of bread in Paris.

I love a dialogue. Tell me what you're thinking.