With a wedding to attend this past Saturday in Livermore and the daunting thought of driving north in Memorial Day Weekend traffic weighing on my mind, I thought brunch at Chez Panisse Café would be the perfect way to bait myself for an extremely early morning start to my drive. Arriving in Berkeley with plenty of time to spare, my boyfriend and I inadvertently wandered into the restaurant kitchen prior to its official opening (oops!) then sat enjoying the upstairs café’s pleasant view of treetops and gray sky before settling into a corner booth with a Calicraft “Chez Panisse” Farmhouse Ale. Having last savored the tasting menu at the more formal downstairs Chez Panisse dining room during my own attendance at UC Berkeley nearly a decade ago, I was excited to sample the beautiful, refined a la carte food offered at the café. Embodying co-founder Alice Waters’ emphasis on utilizing organic, seasonal foods from local and environmentally conscious farms, ranches, and dairies, the café’s menu showcases Californian cuisine – which Waters is effectively co-credited with inventing – at its finest. The dishes are elegantly simple, focusing on the quality of the ingredients utilized and the harmony of flavors developed on each plate. Locally caught halibut is served as tartare with Little Gem lettuce, avocado, and citrus vinaigrette. Stemple Creek Ranch sirloin is served with creamy polenta and grilled zucchini with chimichurri sauce. A perfectly velvety lemon-buttermilk panna cotta is paired with enormous and juicy roasted blueberries and candied Meyer lemon. After enjoying this graceful and delicious meal, we re-parked and strolled across the UC Berkeley campus before finishing with an easy 45-minute drive back down to Livermore for our wedding revelry – all in all, my game plan was executed absolutely perfectly!
Dress: Laura Byrnes Lana Cocktail Dress in Red (sold out)
Lips: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in American Doll
Brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW® Pomade in Soft Brown
Glasses: Bonlook Keiko frames in Tessa Tort
Purse: Kate Spade New York