A slow day in Berkeley

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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I intended to go to San Francisco today. I didn't want to drive. I haven't taken the public transportation here yet and I don't know much about their system. My computer at home had been down for a few days and just came up last night so I got sidetracked for a while catching up on e-mail now that it's running again. By the time checked on the internet and figured out how to take public transit to get where I wanted to go in San Francisco it was too late to bother going so I spent the rest of the day researching some of my options in San Francisco for the rest of my time here.

I had a reservation at Chez Panisse in Berkeley this evening. Or at least I thought I had a reservation at Chez Panisse this evening. When I got there I was told I had a reservation at Chez Panisse Cafe, which is the restaurant upstairs. Oops. Luckily, they had had a cancellation so I was able to get into Chez Panisse.

Chez Panisse was 69th on Restaurant Magazine's World's Best Restaurants list for 2010. It is run by the well-known chef, author and food activist Alice Waters who is known for using local, organic foods and is credited as the inspiration for the style of cooking known as California cuisine.

They have two four-course tasting menus, a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian. I got three of the courses from the vegetarian tasting menu but the fourth course didn't sound that interesting so I got one course from the non-vegetarian menu.

The restaurant is small, busy and noisy. You can look back into the kitchen from the dining room. While it has a great reputation and has been very influential, it's not trying to be a Michelin three-star restaurant. The food was good and looked good on the plate but there was a big difference in style between Chez Panisse and my dinner last night at The French Laundry. There also is a big difference in price with The French Laundry costing $270, service included, and Chez Panisse costing just $93.60, service included. While Chez Panisse seemed like a relative bargain, The French Laundry is a much better restaurant, in my opinion.
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