Sunday, July 16, 2006

Berkeley Bowl

This morning, I paid a visit to the Berkeley Bowl Marketplace, one of the most popular grocery stores in the Bay Area. Being a South Bay guy, I rarely make the 50 mile trek to Berkeley, but since I was already there to drop off my girlfriend for a class today, I decided to pay a visit.

I arrived at 9:30, a half-hour before the store opened and there was already a group of eager shoppers gathered around the front doors. As I sipped some Peet's coffee and caught up with a couple of friends on the phone, I saw the crowd amassed out front growing bigger and bigger. By the time the doors slid open, the waiting crowd, numbering at least 100 by my estimate, streamed in, filling the store within minutes.

My first stop today was the produce section. Berkeley Bowl boasts one of the largest produce sections in the area. Since I didn't bring a cooler, I only wanted to get produce that could last in the back of the car for the couple of hours before I made it back home. (The temps were in the 80's and 90's today.) I zeroed in on the heirloom tomatoes. Usually I look for brandywines and cherokee purples, but unfortunately I didn't find any that looked particularly good. I ended up getting three small tomatoes - all of the same varietal, though since I'm not a tomato expert, I don't know what kind they are. Hopefully, they'll work in a caprese salad. I also picked up a few ears of corn. Compared to the ones that you get at the local megamart, these ears were much heavier and had much larger kernels.

Having no way to keep food cool, I just did a quick fly-by of the meat and fish department. Ditto for the dairy section. In fact, since I really didn't have a lot of needs in the dry goods department, it was becoming evident that this wasn't going to be a big shopping trip, but that wasn't a big deal. It was fun just looking around. I ended up picking up a few random items that I needed, like red wine vinegar and capers. I also found a good deal on quinoa in the bulk food section. I made quinoa for the first time a couple of nights ago and it paired nicely with the brined pork chops that we had for dinner. The bulk version was about a third of the price of the stuff that I bought for dinner the previous evening and plus it was organically grown.

The find of the day was a tin of ventresca tuna. Ventresca comes from the belly of the tuna, where it is very fatty and, therefore, very tasty. I fell in love with tuna belly after sampling some utterly decadent o-toro nigiri at Sushi Ran last summer. When I heard that ventresca comes from the same part of the tuna, I knew that I had to give it a try. I found a place down in the South Bay that carries ventresca, but at a jaw-dropping price of $15 for a 4 ounce can. I was extremely pleased to find that Berkeley Bowl carried a similar sized tin for less than half the price. Score!

While this was only my second trip to Berkeley Bowl (and this really wasn't much of a trip, given that I wasn't able to buy a wide range of food), I'll definitely be back, especially if the ventresca is anything like the o-toro of last summer.

3 comments:

tesha said...

I know this is a late comment, but, Loren, you are making me homesick for Berkeley. I dream of the Berkeley Bowl as I am shopping in the local stores in Germany. Check out this link if you want to feel good about your local quick-stop grocer.

http://service.speigel.de/cache/international/0,1518,411681,00.html

tesha said...

for some reason the link doesn't work. anyway, it is on the English edition of Spiegel.de. Under the shopping section of the 'Germany Survival Bible'

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店經紀,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店工作,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,

,酒店,