We drove over to Berkeley. The last time I had taken the BART under the Bay so it was fun to see all the gorgeous views from the bridge. We were early and knew it but we checked in at Chez Panisse anyway and they were able to seat us in 5 minutes. Chez Panisse has a large reputation in this country and our food was very good. I could nit-pick at it but I don’t think there is much point. Everyone’s experience is so different.
I will say the lamb and duck were sublime. My wife said the oysters were fabulous as was the almond cake. My artichoke salad got better as I ate it, which was a rather strange experience. The chardonnay I drank very good. The servers, 2 out of 3, very nice. An enjoyable meal, with a laid back Berkeley vibe, craftsman decor.
I took quite a bit of time to process my experience and try to separate it from hype. I realized I would rather eat at Travail or Piccolo. I was surprised, that wasn’t what I was expecting but it was true. The next time I am in the Bay Area I’ll be trying other places before I make another reservation there. It just didn’t wow me into “I can’t wait to go back there”. I am glad though that I went once to such an iconic eatery. .
The next day was wonderful. We saw family in the city for coffee and then drove north to Muir Woods and spent hours with the redwoods. The cafe on site serves local organic food handy for lunch. Then more time at Muir beach, then quick fish tacos at Joe's in Mill Valley before heading south to Montara and dinner with some family on the shore. Caught the red eye home and managed to nap on the nearly empty plane.
It was 4 very busy, wonderful days. We enjoyed it but it certainly did make us tired. At least my energy is returning to pre chicken pox levels so that is great. We left spring in northern CA in time for real spring in MN, at last!