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December 1-7 , 2006
December 7, 2006
It was insanely congested on Berkeley’s Fourth Street today. Holiday shoppers were getting a jump on boosting the economy by snapping up goods at The Gardener and Sur la Table. Little did they know that the best stocking stuffers are tucked away across the street at Sketch. No, I am not suggesting that hosiery filled with melting crème anglaise is a pleasant Christmas greeting, but their little bags of candies are perfect for horning into Hanes.
Candied popcorn, chocolate caramels and house made, choco-dipped marshmallows:
... are lined up in little packets. You really can’t go wrong.
But whatever you do, do not exit this establishment without a bag of their delicate, crisp, buttery, salty, chocolaty, pecan toffee ($5.50):
They spread this enriched brittle ultra-thin
so it snaps apart like a glass ampule filled
with the antidote to culinary boredom. A veneer of dark chocolate is showered with enough
sodium to alchemize this over-the-counter sounding item into a prescription
strength anti-depressant. This
is the best candy ever.
Sketch Ice Cream
Pink is the new lunch
If a cosmo were a lunch plate, this would be it - definitely not the most macho dish that I have ever ordered at the Slow Club. While my table mates ordered the always delish S.C. burgers, I got the seared tuna and beet risotto ($13.50):
The fish was respectfully left in its most tasty state of rawness (after being shown a photo of some flame to seal the exterior) and served with a dollop of aioli. The girly-colored rice was creamy and punctuated with capers to keep it perky and some rocket to add a leafy-relief. Although it was all tasty, I needed more caloric reinforcement than this dish could offer. Another reason to go with the top-o-the-grail burger next time.
The Slow Club
I ordered the meatloaf sandwich ($11.50):
...which took for-freaking-ever to arrive. I don’t know if it was meat and human loafing in the kitchen, but I received an unsolicited apology for the wait, “they are scampering around getting it ready.” Scampering? Maybe they should try cooking. Luckily, my internal monologue remained just that and my loaf materialized.
At first I wondered why there was a limp bacon strip adorning the side of the plate, but I realized that it must have been draped over the oat filled beef loaf as it cooked. It’s fatty contribution had been completed in the kitchen and it did not succeed as a garnish. On more appetizing notes, the BBQ sauce was fine with it’s balance of sweet and tang and the levain held up well as a foundation for this open faced sandwich.
I should have requested my fries extra crispy. They were a little too blonde and soft for my taste.
I thought that the single slice of tomato, pickle and lettuce had a hambugerizing influence that didn’t fit (especially in those quantities.) It was fine, but sort of a half idea. The meat loaf would have been better without the bread and with a pile of mashed spuds since they already have a burger on the menu.
Service has improved since my last visit when
I was yelled at from across the room, “How did you
say you wanted your meat cooked?!!”
The Lark Creek Inn
The Southen Star ($8.25):
...is a good choice for when you can’t decide between beef and pig.
Both sandwich sides were loaded into a hollowed roll to create a good ratio of bread to meat. You adorn it with your choice of the house made sauces on the table.
Texas Brisket was a beefy sleeping pill torpedo. This nap inducing lunch was worth it’s weight in Ambien.
I was concerned that the pig portion of the meal would fit the first word of it’s descriptionThe “sweet smoked pork sandwich” didn’t overdo the sucrose. The juicy chunks of pig were both smoky and sweet in the best senses of the words.
I selected coleslaw for my side which is my
default order among the mac and cheese, baked beans and other choices.
Our stomachs started rumbling after the brunch crowds have gone home. Luckily for us, Bubba’s doesn’t close between conventional meal times so we headed to our favorite San Anselmo diner to fill our bellies.
Chubby got some flapjacks ($7.95):
... which hit his carbo spot. The scoop of whipped butter melted into these golden brown disks and streaked the maple syrup with blonde, fatty highlights. Chubby was toying with the idea of getting sausage, but opted for a slice of ham ($1.95) which melded with the maple runoff in a more complimentary fashion than the meat tube would have.
I went with the BBQ chicken ($15.95):
The house-made pies looked good today, but we were too full to find out.
Bubba’s is a solid, local diner. It had a great neighborhood vibe with nice people with simple, honest chow (and they use Elle’s rice oil.) It’s not destination dining; it’s casual comfort food refueling.
Going to our neighbors for din is always a
treat. They cooked up a storm with a homemade pate with a peck of
pickled peppers, duck confit and pomegranate salad with a pinot, butternut squash soup paired
with a sherry, perfectly grilled steak with a potato cake complimented
with a cabernet, and a decadent chocolate hazelnut cake with home made
marmalade over vanilla ice cream tamped down with a glass of
My spinach masala dosa ($8.49):
... was a equilaterally tasty. They spread this thin Indian crepe with a spinach mixture and tucked it around a nicely seasoned potato filling. The light and crispy edges feathered into the moist center of this fermented-battered pancake. A tomato-ginger and a coconut chutney came in little ramekins next to a lentil sambar. I ate every last mustard seed of this tasty lunch.
The service was friendly and efficient. I’m glad I came back (after my previous, under-spiced visit) to have such a satisfying meal. I will have to return to triangulate my experience further…
Om South Indian Cuisine
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