Berkeley: Keeping off the Median Since 1969

A definition of Berkeley from the dictionary of Megan: an eclectic mix of youthful revelry, socio-political activism, simple abundance, and bohemian irreverence.

Speaking of (any of the above), this sign’s snuggie is the the work of a group of guerrilla knitters who beautify the city under cover of darkness.

We experienced a bit of culture shock traveling directly from Big Sur to Berkeley. Accustomed to the slower pace of nature, the wafts of various international cuisines and the maze of drunken college students was disorienting, at first. Then it occurred to me: Berkeley loves being disorienting.

Exhibit A: Look closely at the lamps in our hotel room. Suspicious.

Although I’m not much of a fan of being disoriented, I’m a huge fan of feeling transported by fresh experiences. I’m talking about food.

We came to Berkeley to experience the cuisine (as well as take maternity photos for Jean + Chris, but that’s another post), and experience the cuisine we did. Our first stop was a bakery and cheese shop that has been championed by Bay Area locals for decades: The Cheese Board. The nugget of goodness in the photo below is called “The Chocolate Thing”.

Pretty much the best thing Daniel and I have ever tasted.

But if chocolate is not your thing (really? Who are you people?) you won’t be disappointed by the Cheese Board’s savory offerings. Such as this roasted morsel of garlic, blue cheese and sesame straight from the bakery’s oven.

Or the Cheese Board’s pizzeria. Every day they serve one (and only one) type of pizza based on what’s in season. The day we were there they were serving a peach pizza with mild blue cheese, cilantro, and lemon oil.

Note to readers: Look down. Make sure you haven’t drooled on your keyboard.

Here’s the best non-edible thing about the Cheese Board: they are a worker-owned collective.

Check out this sign. Anyone wanna move with me to Berkeley when we turn 100? Or maybe they could open a Monrovia branch..

Alice Waters has said that she chose to place Chez Panisse across the street from the Cheese Board back in the day because she appreciated their culinary values: exquisite, delicious, and fresh food as a gift for all people.  I love that!

The Cheese Board isn’t shy about sharing their philosophy: all you have to do is look at their brown paper bags…

I appreciate that the Cheeseboard has so much personality. For instance, customers draw ordered playing cards as a way of ‘taking a number’ for service – but if you draw the Joker, you get to be next in line!

So, to summarize: during your next trip to the Bay Area, do not miss the Cheese Board.

And go ahead and embrace the wild design, intellectual air, and local flavors. Berkeley does nothing half-way.

P.S. – I am very excited about a blog post to be featured later this week. Stay tuned!

Donovan - August 11, 2010 - 10:43 pm

Dang, I was walking through Berkeley this afternoon and I feel like these vicarious moments are a tad more magical. I love the closeups. Hope we get to catch you next time you’re in the area!

Crystal - August 11, 2010 - 10:45 pm

Your posts have the nasty habit of making me crave carbs, then go into the kitchen and proceed to empty it of all things sourdough. :o) The first picture is my favorite!

megan - August 12, 2010 - 10:44 am

Mmmm….Mission accomplished. Crystal, you have no idea what you’re in for today on the blog!

megan - August 12, 2010 - 10:50 am

Hey Donovan! Daniel and I are Berkeley fans for life due to the success of our culinary adventure. Not all moments in Berkeley are magical, but pretty much all the food we ate was! Give Eva (and Emily) and extra snuggle for me.

Colby Elizabeth - August 19, 2010 - 11:20 am

Beautiful photos guys, and loving the new blog and website! Keep up the good work!

daniel - August 19, 2010 - 4:29 pm

Thanks Colby! I was just on your site the other day. I’m liking what I’m seeing over there! Look us up if you come out to LA.

Lisa Pileggi - March 10, 2011 - 5:00 pm

Wow! I haven’t been to Berkley in over 15 years, and back then I wasn’t so into the culinary aspect. I adore your pictures and commentaries.

daniel + megan - March 10, 2011 - 10:50 pm

Thanks Lisa! Berkeley, so far, is my favorite place in the U.S. for food. Let us know when you go back!

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