In honor of my brother’s graduation from UC Berkeley, my family ate at the Chez Panisse Café on Saturday night. Sweet merciful Jesus, what a marvelous restaurant. The food is fantastic, completely unpretentious, made with incredibly fresh seasonal and locally grown ingredients. And the Arts and Crafts furnishings are perfectly in keeping with the food–understated and beautifully made.
My brother let me sample his first course, a plate of baby squid baked in a wood oven with hot pepper sauce and rosemary. It may well have been the best squid I have ever tasted. For the entree, I ordered the duck leg with pork crépinette and fava bean toast; the earthiness of the fava beans went brilliantly with the duck. My dessert was three tiny scoops of an utterly revelatory Meyer lemon sherbet that I intend to make this summer as soon as possible (happily, the recipe appears in Chez Panisse Fruit).
Oh, and there were other starters and entrees, and a delightful Pinot Gris from Oregon, and these tiny olives the likes of which I had never seen before, and delicious artisanal breads, and possibly centaur musk.
Have I mentioned how happy I am to be moving to Berkeley?