Chez Panisse / @chezpanisse in Berkeley, CA.

Chez Panisse is Alice Waters. Alice Waters still may or may not be Ruth Bourdain. One way or the next, Alice Waters can cook up a mean slow food movement meal. I just wish that it would have been made more clear to us that the mandatory 17% service charge added to the bill was for The Edible Schoolyard Project and not at all for the servers. Which means you should add in a 20% tip for the staff. Trust me, you probably won't walk out of this place, even at lunch, without dropping a bill. 

We walked in on New Year's Eve afternoon sans reservations + managed to score a last-minute seating.

1 Cozy bungalow style restaurant blends right into the Berkeley aesthetic in the Gourmet Ghetto.
2 The daily menu.
3 House-made bread + branded glassware.
4 Muscadet has easily become one of my most beloved white wines: Amphibolite Nature 2010 ($34).
5+6 Side of mixed olives ($4) and anchovies ($4).
7 Fresh from the garden lettuce salad ($8).
8 The winner of the lunch: Curried carrot soup with seared ginger raita ($9).
9 House made bucatini with cauliflower, pine nuts, currants, saffron, marjoram, and pecorino ($18).
10 Hog island clams and gulf shrimp cooked in the wood oven with tomato, leeks, and aioli ($24).

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