Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good haul

I went bowling for produce and scored big! It's been almost a year since I last (and first) visited Berkeley Bowl Marketplace. Though the weather was fine and sunny in both the Bay Area and Denver, it's still winter, so a little fresh produce therapy seemed like a good idea.

This is just a representative sample of the citrus and artichokes I picked up, along with spring ginger, mangos, papayas, feijoa, fennel bulbs and celeriac, all of which are either nonexistent or way pricey in Denver. I also got a few snacky treats at Trader Joe's.

No, I probably didn't need to get all that, but I was having fun shopping, and I had room in my bag, especially with the addition of a sturdy Berkeley Bowl shopping tote (available at the checkout for 99 cents).

The place was a bit of a madhouse, maybe because it was a holiday. Though if some people are to be believed, it's always that way. (Hence the nickname Berkeley Brawl.) Certainly, there was an assertiveness of cart- and stroller-maneuvering that spoke of priorities more important than my own little foodie-tour.

The pet parrots parked outside in the "no pet parking" zone are a pretty good symbol of the ethos.

Then we went to Moe's Books and I didn't buy a thing.
I was not remotely tempted by the Alinea and elBulli coookbooks, unlike the rest of the food-blogging world. Seriously, I do not understand their attraction. Maybe one of you can explain it to me?

I was tempted by a signed copy of Marilynne Robinson's latest novel, "Home." She's only my all-time favorite author, but I don't need to be spending $20+ on another book. A more affordable copy will come my way eventually and I'll read it then.

Yes, I've come a long way in the self-restraint department. At least when it comes to books.


  1. What a great food haul!

    I've been a lot more self-restrained in the book dept. lately. I have plenty of unread material at home already. Not that it isn't hard to resist, but I'm getting better at it.

    I'm with you on Alinea. I don't get the attraction.

  2. Books are my crack and I have a bad addiction with no willpower. I try to stay out of bookstores.

    I can't wait to see what yummy things you whip up with all your produce.

  3. You are a brave lady to go to the Berkeley Brawl. My Beloved and I were nearly killed for slow shopping there once! Good veggies, crazy vibe! Glad you scored!

  4. I think you have to think of the El Bulli and Alinea things the same way you do those miniature rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. Wildy impractical to have around but every now and then you just want to see something so detailed and unlikely...but also still pretty.

  5. I have the Alinea cookbook, which I desired because several years ago we ate at Trio, where Grant Achatz was chef before opening Alinea. The food, the staff, the whole experience, were absolutely splendid. So for me, it's fun to have the book, learn a bit about his process, and be reminded of an extraordinary dinner. It's a bit like having a museum catalog from a great show.

  6. so, i don't know if the berkeley bowl is always like that, because i can't go there since that's how it was the few times i made it (if you can follow that). sheer insanity, though things were mellower in the produce section than in the rest of the place. you are a braver soul than me!