I've been dissing Berkeley for a long time. Julie always said she could live in the East Bay and I would counter that "I couldn't take all of the armpit hair" or "the Patchouli would suffocate me" or "I'd probably drive off the Bay Bridge if I had to use it to commute". Well, I must be going nuts, because I am starting to soften.
Last night we decided to step outside our norm and hit the Berkeley Farmer's Market. Years ago, I had been to the Center Street @ MLK location and was pretty impressed. I went with my friend CSP, who is a Queen Bee in the world of the East Bay food elite. I was a little intimidated back then. This time we hit the Shattuck @ Rose location. The vibe was decidedly East Bay, but free from armpit hair and patchouli. Kids were running around. People were chatting casually. Live musicians were playing. Everyone was friendly.
Like most Bay Area markets, the produce was exceptional. I picked up some little gems, pasture-raised eggs, a flat of strawberries, spring onions and some very healthy looking spinach. Judah grabbed an ice cream cone with his pal Caroline and they raced up and down the well-protected street (homemade cones! what a great idea). Our friend Greg snapped photos (seen here, thanks!) as the light was terrific and the colors of the wares were vibrant.
Afterward we walked a block away to a playground across for the kids to play. I surprised Julie by saying that I could actually consider this sort of country living (two of my favorite people live right across the street from that park). We ate dinner at Breads of India, which I remember being a lot better than it was. Tonight the sauces weren't complex enough with far too little salt. At least the breads were still great.
Then it was time to head back across the bridge. I only cursed at four or six people on the way home, as opposed to my usual ten. Berkeley definitely had an effect on me.