Based on some insider’s advice from Elise‘s husband, Evan and I made our way to Berkeley on Saturday. On the drive over, we listened to TAL where David Sedaris spoke about his life in Paris and how it is infinitely more interesting to find the place that sells hand-painted organ replicas than to visit famous landmarks. While we didn’t find a place that sells wooden backbones or hearts, it was a nice framework for the day.
We began our visit to Berkeley with a trip to Top Dog on Durant to partake in some “of the world’s best sausages.” It began with orders to “get inside and stop clogging up the sidewalk.” We obliged and were rewarded with a tasty treat.
After “breakfast”, we headed over to check out Berkeley’s campus. I visited Berkeley in 2000 as a prospective graduate student and was surprised by how much I remembered. During the drive over, I had read about how Berkeley has the largest triceratops skull on record as well as a full T-rex skeleton. We made our way over to the Life Sciences building to check it out.
Once inside the building, we discovered that the Paleontology museum is no longer open to the public. They put a clam shell as big as a man’s torso just inside the window stating this fact to taunt us and the other dinosaur seeking public. We were also able to peak through the library window (closed on the weekend during summer sessions) and take a distant gander at the triceratops skull. I think it was pretty big.
Luckily, in the lobby of the building they had these on display.
After grabbing a slice of pizza at Blondie’s (super simple pizza, super yummy), and headed over the Berkeley Bowl. For those of you that haven’t been to the Berkeley Bowl, it has a HUGE amount of organic produce and a million sources/varieties of the produce items. While I admit that I am not completely acclimated to city-life, I think most people would be amazed by the number of people aggressively seeking produce on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I planned to take photos of the vast array of produce (like whole aisles of tomatoes, a million kinds of sweet potatoes, the juicy 99 cent baskets of organic strawberries), but I was afraid of getting in the way of the masses.
Next on our tour was The Cheeseboard. I had read that this is the place to go if you need friendly advice on cheese buying. The also have a rule that you have to try (and be happy with) any cheese before you buy it. Since returning from France three years ago I have been desperate to replicate our cheese experience from our honeymoon. The staff did not disappoint as I was sent on my merry way with two rounds of Le chatelain and a couple of baguettes.
After a few more stops, including the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory (arrived too late for the tour, but checked out the gift shop) and a fairly new (I think) shopping area on fourth street to check out the new home of Cody’s books (it had a kind of Powell’s vibe, but no used books and way smaller), we ended our day at the Berkeley Rose Garden.
While the roses are at the end of their season, it was a lovely site. I had hoped to stay until sunset, but since it was still nearly two hours away, we headed home, alongside the fog (I swear the fog here is a living, breathing being), where we re-created our favorite honeymoon meal: Camembert baguette sandwiches, red wine, and le petit ecolier cookies. It was a wonderful reminder of our time in France and a delicious day in Berkeley.