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Eating Out & About
By Denny Stein
Lately I've had some wonderful meals at outlying neighborhoods. That is, not in the Tri-City Area, but in Berkeley and San Jose. So just a note, in case you're traveling those byways.
In Berkeley, Angeline's Louisiana Bistro is as close to authentic New Orleans food as I've found since leaving that amazing city. I shared a dinner of fried catfish, hush puppies, Brussels sprouts, potato salad and beignets with a good friend. We each had a glass of Syrah, and the bill was $33. It was delicious in that NOLA sweet/spicy kind of way, not too greasy for fried food, and certainly worth the trip. We'll go back.
2661 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA (510) 548-6900
Also in Berkeley, Fat Apples is a venerable small eatery on Martin Luther King Blvd. Their food is fresh, hot and cold in all the right places, and served quickly. We always share a Santa Fe Salad (lettuce, avocado, corn, beans, chicken), and a hamburger (half with cheese) on a whole wheat roll. It's always delicious and we keep going back each week. Maybe that's why they now remember our order . . .
1346 Martin Luther King Junior Way Berkeley, CA (510) 526-2260
South of here, in San Jose, is Blue Mango, a Thai restaurant that is a definite must if you are in the area. Young coconut juice is served in a fresh, young coconut; drink first than scoop the white meat to clean it up. Our Stir Fried Vegetables, and Green Curry (eggplant, peppers, bamboo soaked in coconut with a bit of basil), were satisfying and definitely tasty, especially the curry, which has a note: “Cannot be mild”! It's one of the few Thai restaurants where you can get brown rice. Blue Mango gets crowded at lunch time, so go early.
4996 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Santa Clara - (408) 248-7191
Finally, for a really special occasion, try Chez Panisse, Berkeley’s famous and almost-old-enough-to-be-venerable organic gourmet restaurant. I could afford lunch, and it was my roommate’s birthday (roommate from 9th grade, so 50 years of friendship!). We ordered only appetizers in order to taste as much as possible, but it was a hummingly miraculous meal. From the King Crab Legs, Beef Tartar, and Lentil Soup to the Espresso Cake and Panna Cotta. Impossible to describe, you have to go and soak in the whole experience through your tastebuds.
1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA (510) 548-5049