The Elmwood neighborhood in Berkeley has always been bustling with wonderful restaurants and adorable shops, and it seems to have only improved with time. Recently I lunched with an old friend and she introduced me to Summer Kitchen & Bake Shop, a welcomed new addition to both my tummy and the hood.
The food is delicious and the adorable space is perfectly styled and appropriately simple so for good reason there is usually a line out the door. Zoned primarily as a to-go eatery, there is limited seating which can feel tight at times (especially when you are dealing with strollers) but if you are a smaller party, the counter is often available and a comfortable option. I asked about their menu (which changes monthly and showcases seasonal/local ingredients) and generally includes meat entrees, pasta, pizza, salads, sandwiches, sweets and side dishes.
As an environmentally responsible business, not only do they go to great lengths to source the best ingredients and cook what's in season, all of their meats are grown in a humane manner and are free of hormones and antibiotics, the menu is free of trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup, they serve Blue Bottle Coffee that is fair-trade and roasted locally in Oakland, and all to-go packaging is 100% compostable (AMEN).
The way I look at it, it's basically the best place you can go to indulge in a kale caesar salad with fried chicken and not feel too guilty (while also saving room for the lemon meringue cupcake, of course :). I love this place and can't wait to go back!
I came across this site and had to share because it's totally brilliant and although I am not using it (because I go to bed at 8:30pm - let's be honest) I do plan to chat with KL about it, to see if he would be down.
How About We is a membership site (although you can use it as a visitor, it's just costs a little more) that designs dates/experiences for a party of two. Hand-picked for quality and originality, dates include special menus at the best restaurants, private lessons from top chefs, weekend getaways, behind the scenes tours of wineries, galleries and museums, and are generally designed to be unforgettable (and all unique to your city)...Sounds fun and super easy and what a fab engagement or wedding gift!
Berkeley Bowl is an independent, full-service supermarket committed to bringing the highest quality groceries at the lowest possible prices. I realize that a grocery store might not be so exciting for everyone, but I promise you it's AMAZING and totally worth a family outing (at the very least). Their specialty has always been produce and the selection is a beautiful variety of every fruit and vegetable under the sun. Since tasting is encouraged, you can snack your way through the produce department and fill up your cart with the freshest, sweetest and healthiest of treats. Even though HML is a good eater (knock on wood) this could be a great way to get little ones to try new fruits and veggies if that is something you are up against :).
The rest of the store carries a wide array of organic and natural foods, speciality items, international foods, beautiful meat/seafood/dairy departments, a gourmet kitchen (which includes hot meals, sushi, sandwiches, salads, etc) a huge bulk food section that will blow your mind, conventional groceries, a fresh bakery, and other everyday items.
I like going to the grocery store, but this was beyond my wildest dreams. Where else can you try four different types of pineapple before making a selection, have the best tangerine you have ever had in your entire life (I bought 10), find treats you haven't had in years cause you could only find them abroad, sip your favorite Japanese soda, and then get a deli sandwich to bring home for lunch. The downside is the crowds (although they do have wide aisles, which really helps) and parking might also be hard - so plan your trip accordingly and happy shopping!
As someone who makes jewelry and occasionally sells it for real cash money, I used to find it hard to treat myself to a new jewels. Should I spend my hard earned paycheck on something I could make? It took me a while to get there, but the answer is an obvious YES. Unless you are a professional crafter, no one has that much free time and at a certain point you have to draw the line (after all, we can kinda make everything if you think about it). Ultimately, it becomes a question of time management and pride. What do you want to spend your time on and how much time are you willing to invest?
I will always make time for something that seems fun, but if I'm being honest, I prefer to make things that I know will turn out nice and that don't look like I made them.