We have a tradition since moving to Berkeley. On Friday night, to celebrate the end of the week we go out to dinner. Not usually a fancy affair.....though we usually spend more on food than most families I imagine, we pay for quality and support good, local ingredients. Neighborhood places, owned by hardworking people who are really focused on the food. But I digress.
The second part of the weekend food celebration comes on Sunday am, after the Saturday filled with taking the train to the City and spending the better part of the day foraging the best ingredients for my job at Seneca Center, elbowing through the amazing mix of locals and enthusiastic tourists at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. I love my job, I love the market and all the farmers and local producers that I have built a relationship with over the years working in the food business....but.....I also really love the chance to relax on Sunday mornings with my sweet Husband and daughter, over a meal that I had to do absolutely nothing for, except drag my hiney out of bed!
Berkeley is an amazing town. Full of wonderful opinionated folks, a well educated bunch, passionate about their place in society. It is one of the many reasons that we sought to make this our home. Certainly, one of the most enjoyable things about Berkeley (Oakland and SF too for that matter!) is the availability of local, sustainably produced food and the hardworking folks that bring it to us everyday. I am so grateful that on Sundays, I am not one of those people, but a benefactor.
So on Sunday am we get up and without much thought as to where we will go, we head out the door to partake. Sometimes I do a little internet research ahead of time, looking at reviews from other folk and Michael Bauer. Sometimes I have a bee in my bonnet about places that I have had in que and wanted to try. Most times, Troy and I have a brief discussion and we just go!
Lucia sometimes has something to say about what she wants to eat, but if we gave her a choice about where to go...she most certainly chooses Cafe Fanny. Cafe Fanny is one of our old standbys. The people are so wonderful, always greeting us by name and taking joy in seeing Lucia run around, petting doggies that come with their parents, and sipping on her big girl warm chocolate from a bowl. Her she has two favorite breakfast selections at Cafe Fanny. The warm and nutty steel cut oats, served with lovely melting butter and maple syrup. But most often, she chooses a soft boiled egg with Acme toast. My go-getter, not afraid of anything daughter turns into a real little lady at Cafe Fanny, with her napkin on her lap and her tiny little egg spoon, daintily scooping warm, slightly runny egg from the light green shell. She usually leaves her toast for last, eating it with cream cheese and their homemade jam.
Troy and I really like a little and popular French place on Shattuck, I am sure that you will already know of it, it is one of the most popular places for breakfast, it is called La Note. I always order the same thing. Softly scrambled eggs with goat cheese and herbs. It comes with a side of the most delicious oven roasted tomatoes and I suggest that you splurge and get the buttery, crusty croissant or the huge half a baguette instead of the toast. Leave the butter that it comes with alone, and spread it with the lovely not too sweet raspberry jam that is a house specialty here. Pure breakfast heaven!!
We also really like 900 Grayson. However, we dont get to go here as often as we would because they are not open on Sundays. We usually choose this tiny little heaven of slow food if we suddenly get a wild hair and go out on Saturday morning instead, but as I said before, my Saturdays are usually packed full with the market...so the opportunity does not happen often.
We really like walking to Bette's on 4th Street. Consistently great food but sometimes the wait is just too much for hungry parents with a five year old. I have a special place in my heart though for the folks at Bette's because my niece Brittany used to wait tables here.
Meal Ticket, Cafe M and Leilas are all pretty good but for me uneven.
Recently on a Sunday am when we decided to venture into the city for a meal, we took a chance and went to the really hipster, upscale Slow Club. We had to wait more than an hour for a table, and had to really work to keep Lucia occupied for that huge amount of time (thank God for color books and washable pens!) but when we finally got to a table, we had an amazing meal. Lucia was happy with the oatmeal and I ordered a warm flat bread with wilted wild rocket, pecorino and a fried egg. And...they serve Blue Bottle Coffee. Can you say YUM? Fabulous is the best word that I can think of. This place is on our short list for further ventures.
After our meal, we find a nice place to walk some of it off. Coming prepared with LuLu's pink skitter helps to make it more fun for her, and we get a leisurely start to the end of our weekend.
I love my job. I love everything about it. But I must say, at the end of a busy week being up at 5am, a wife, a mother, a chef and nutritional manager, a housekeeper, gardener, laundress and dog owner....I am most grateful on Sunday morning meals out with my family!