Jan 31, 2007

A Pig at Gregoire and No, I'm Not Referring To Us

Realizing that today would be the last day of Gregoire's delectable January menu, The Unbalanced One, The Calm One, and The Crazy said "Forget learning and satisfying our brain! We shall satisfy our stomachs!" With that thought in mind, they ventured to the tranquil Gourmet Ghetto in northside to visit their good friend once again.

The layout of Gregoire is pretty cool. There are bar stools with a counter placed in front of the cooking area, and an open window to the right of the cooking ranges and drawers full of ingredients (!!!) so that the chef can call out the names on orders and hand them through the window to the people sitting at tables outside or waiting for their food to go. We, of course, sat right in the middle of things, on the stools, staring down the chef and generally looking like crazies with our frantic picture-taking.

There we paid a visit to our brethen.

The Calm One getting mentally prepared...

Behind that smile is a beast ready to unleash itself on some unfortunate sammiches...That tasty morsel waited in line for 5 hours to go on this delicious ride.

Unadulterated potato mush, ready to be transformed into the celebrated potato puffs

From the specially shaped boxes to the adorable checkered tissue paper, everything is tip-top perfect

He, too, was transfixed by the scene before him

Three beautifully created sandwiches. All with a lot of potential. BUT ONLY ONE SHALL become America's Next Top sammich.

If we had to, we would have eaten him to get to those sandwiches.
The tempura-battered butternut squash with onion chutney sandwich- up close and oh so personal.

Jan 30, 2007

The mother of all sandwiches. The Gregoire Experience.

Gregoire, a tiny French takeout place in Northside, houses many delights. Gregoire and his little hats are only the first. The menu changes monthly, with some staples sticking around for most of the year, perhaps with slight seasonal variations. Most hyped about are the potato puffs - golden, crispy pillows of starchy goodness, served with a yummy aioli for dipping. Each dish is prepared with exceptional ingredients, and each month's menu never fails to make us DROOL.

Ready to attack!

Layers of warm, comforting cheesy potato goodness! Do not attempt, as the creatures did, to scale the hills of Berkeley directly following this particular genre of food event. You will only be rewarded with pain, cruel pain. But then someday you'll get back to your dorm and rub your little painful tummy and think "Damn, those were some good potatoes."

From the September menu: Smoked shrimp in a creamy sauce. This was the first visit of the year at Gregoire. Twould be the beginning of a passionate, life-long relationship.

The Calm One took a leap of faith (despite the warnings of the Unbalanced One) and ordered the lamb patty on pantofolina. She especially loved the crunchy-on-the-outside-mushy-on-the-inside bread.

The Unbalanced One and the Calm One had to use every last ounce of their strength (not upper body of course, who are we kidding??) to resist dipping their paws into this boiling vat of heahhh-ven!

From the January menu, this was tempura-fried butternut squash and caramelized onion chutney in pantofolina. ($6.50). Crunchy, sweet, and creamy--It was as good as it sounds. This is the reason we will live in Berkeley's northside next year.

Would you dare resist it's powers?

Also from the January menu: Thinly sliced "fra'mani" Toscano salami with melted Manchego on open face ciabatta ($7.25). Delicious, just a tad messy. BTW. under that avalanche of meat is indeed, a colony of loose tomatoes.

The Crazy One shows us the half of her salami sandwich before she devours the other half. As you can tell, she's not such a fan of the tomatoes.

This rice pilaf side was a pleasant, but not memorable side for our rich sandwiches. Unfortunately it contained a special nut that the Crazy One did not appreciate.


2109 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA

(510) 883-1893

Jan 29, 2007

Smart Alec's. Aka: the frantic run towards telegraph for between-classes cornbread.

Smart Alec's, on Telegraph Ave., famous for its healthy, fast, and affordable food, is a favorite of Southside students. The service is insanely fast, hipsters abound, and you occasionally have to scream at your friend in conversation over the bustle. But we think it's worth it. The food is fresh and full of flavor. Jenn favors the salads and especially the homemade corn bread (each thick golden slice is $1!!), I'm a lover of the hummus sandwich, and I believe I heard Lindsay voice a little lovin' for the fries, piled high and topped with fresh garlic and herbs.

Priya's eggplant melt from Smart Alec's. She was a lucky wench.

Maybe it was the fresh tomatoes that hadn't been stored in the dining common refrigerator for two weeks or the edamame that didn't contain essence of corn, tofu, and all of its dining common neighbors, but this salad would make foothill "chef" Conrad cry.

Le Bistro Elephant

One evening, the two Jennifers went on an adventure with members of a certain committee of a certain food-related club. Their mission was to convince the unsuspecting head chef to open up his newborn restaurant to public scrutiny and hungry club members. But it just didn't work out that way. Le Bistro Elephant was meant to gain recognition quietly, attracting curious customers on their way out of a performance at Zellerbach Hall or after doing some shopping.
The atmosphere of the tiny space is very cozy, with a few suprises thrown in (an enormous elephant-deity mounted on the wall is inevitably thrown into dinner conversation at some point during the evening). The seeming non sequiturs in the decor and aromas are mostly attributable to the fact that Elephant is attached by not much more than a fabric wall to another restaurant, Khana Peena. Still, it's a pretty classy, quiet little place.

There was quite the tussle over the way in which we would tackle the appetizers. Some club members declared "Fries! Fries for everyone!," one lone fellow vouched for olives, and we wondered why we needed to prolong dinner any longer than was necessary. Finally the choice was made to order the pommes frites and the herbed goat cheese with crostini. The olive fan was left to fend for himself in that department. It was declared that the expenses would be shared by all. The Jennifers fretted over the impact this decision would have on their piggy banks, then said what the heck and ate some fries.
The pommes frites weren't anything special. You could do the same thing at home with some potatoes and a crapload of garlic salt. The ketchup claimed to be special, with chipotle or something. But honestly, it just tasted like ketchup. The goat cheese, however, was amazing - creamy and full of fresh herb flavor. This is only according to me- Jenn refrains from eating things or stuff from things that go "baaaa" or "bleeeaatt" or "hey don't eat me k". Regardless, again, we were left thinking, why are we forking over our precious monies for cheese and potatoes, when they could be made or even better, combined, so much more deliciously?

I wasn't very hungry that night, so I decided to order something light and basic, in the hopes that the quality of the ingredients in the dish would show through in place of its lack of complexity. So, the heirloom tomato salad with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and smoked sea salt it was. And I have to admit, though it was pretty yummy and clearly fresh, I was a fool for paying so much for it. Lesson learned.
As the Unbalanced One was craving something toasty and satisfying, she decided to through all sophistication out the door and to order a panini. In addition to being pleasantly surprised by the generous portions, she was glad to see that the sandwich was piping hot--literally, the top layer of her mouth was still recovering after the meal. However, once the awesomeness of the heat went away, the sandwich--which consisted of a mild cheese and various roasted peppers--had a flavor that could be best described as "meh."

Conquering the world, one calorie at a time.

In retrospect, I don't think that particular club was prepared for the level of food love we exhibited that night. After thoroughly wierding out everyone present in the restaurant and in our party with our pouncing upon everyone's dishes for photos (which didn't turn out so well, sorry), we all ordered dessert. We got the quince crème brûlée, which was kind of a disappointment, as it was very, very sweet, owing largely to the layer of quince preserves in the bottom of the ramekin. The highlight of crème brûlée in my opinion is that rich, cool, creamy custard, and this was just not satisfying enough in that respect. The waferlike cookies were tasty and light; probably the best part of what could have been a much yummier dessert.

Apple crumble. Always a yummy choice, but this time, not so memorable, either.

This, however, was suprisingly delicious! Durian's huckleberry cake, a little, dense, rustic cake filled with dried huckleberries and covered in whipped cream and fresh huckleberries. The bites were satisfying and so dense as to be ever-so-slightly chewy.

Le Bistro Elephant
2136 Oxford StBerkeley, CA 94704
(510) 849-1423

Italian MSG?

The fantastic reputation of Trattoria La Siciliana left us completely unprepared for the experience that was about to unfold. After consuming a towersome heap of warm, fresh, hearty bread (a carb lovers dream, which was served with a simple, yet delicious herbed olive oil dip) the main dish was brought to the table; handmade ravioli, served in a tantalizing mushroom cream sauce. The contrast of savory and sweet was enhanced by the mouthwatering taste of a soft, fresh pasta filled with equally fresh mushrooms and ricotta cheese.

Ok, so this photo doesn't even begin to do this dish justice. But seriously, a plate of mushroom ravioli, several orders of bread (I think we made it to at least Round 4), and the garlicky olive oil, and you'll have all you'll ever need.

The lovely finale to our hearty meal.

This is why we decided to go to Cal

After an arduous journey through the dark streets of Oakland, we finally saw the light...the light shining out of Fenton's Creamery, that is. Would this be the last time that we would risk our lives in the name of good eats? Hells. No.

Strawberry cheesecake and some kind of toffee crunch ice cream sundae. Bananas, fudge, caramel, and almonds included, biotches.

"why have you not posted my chocolate sundae. it was the most amazing thing i have ever had. it is not posted yet. every chocolatey bite was incredible and it is not posted"

apparently many different versions of cheesecake can be put into ice cream form. this is an amazing fact.


Regular Contributors:

This is the Unbalanced One. Be forewarned: between searching for a major and looking for the next Foothill creature, this one is ready to eat anything resembling ice cream, hummus, or foccacia.

This is the Calm One. Always the diplomatic one, this creature has a not-so-secret weakspot for kittens and yummy and fresh delectables. She particularly favors boys that know how to take care of their umbrellas.

And finally, this is the Crazy One. Ready to combat a giant two brownie scoop sundae at Fenton's, this one's stomach is as mighty as her glare. Her only weaknesses? Peaches and shoes.


Be careful where you step! If you accidentally blink, you may miss this little creature. Try to catch it, boiled and topped with butter, its considered a delicacy in China.

Also, this is a marquee that The Crazy made.

Hi All!!! Welcome to the Two Hungry Bears and a Lazy Tapir! I hope you enjoy our food adventures through Berkeley as much as we did!!!