Day three was another nice mini road trip, this time to Oakland and Berkeley. I much prefer Berkeley to San Francisco, and I sure do like Chez Panisse.
Even though we had no reservation, we were able to grab a quick lunch at the upstairs café, and the service was excellent, as to be expected. I believe the lunch is very affordable for the quality and experience, with a tab for three (including wine and desserts) coming to $150 with an included 17% gratuity.
I wanted to continue riding on the meat wave, so I had the roasted lamb shoulder, roasted to perfection. The portions at Chez Panisse are just right, even though my serving of lamb shoulder was over-generous (I won’t complain about that). The lamb was served with extremely fresh and clean ingredients like asparagus at its prime. The resultant broth was rich but zesty, and the lamb itself was so tender that the serrated knife was totally unnecessary (I cringe at the phrase “fork-tender”).
I had to have dessert when I found out my favorite kind of dessert was available: a Rhubarb and strawberry cobbler with Muscat Beaumes de Venise cream. When I think of dessert, this is what I imagine: fresh, tart fruit with simple ice cream (no blue gummi dinosaurs, please), and a flaky cobbler or shortbread. Let’s just say this was amazing. The tart fruit mixing with the cold ice cream and warm cobbler is a trio of inescapable success, and you want to win, don’t you?