June 14 – 17
After returning to the apartment, I cleaned up and then Kris, James and I drove up to Berkeley to visit one of our favorite breweries, Jupiter. By a stroke of luck, we found on street parking directly behind the place and after entering, were seated outside on the back patio, the best place to be.
While waiting for the girls to join us, we ordered beers (for me the ever-tasty Quasar) and the Artichoke and Spinach Dip, which we’d nearly demolished when Jessica arrived to help us finish it off, Joanna finishing up at the spa. We continued to enjoy good beer, ordering a pizza of the day, while we waited for her to arrive. About the time I ordered my second beer, an Original Pattern Dubbel, Joanna joined us to finish off the food.
Back at the apartment we began preparations for the fried pie fest, which kicked up a notch when our two fry masters, Chase and Andrew, arrived. She owns her own handicrafts shop and he works in IT like Kris and they’ve all hung out for some time now. We fell into preparing the pies, one set of cheeseburger and one set of broccoli, potato and cheddar cheese.
Andrew manned the fry pot and produced a prodigious number of pies, perfectly cooked and tasty and all washed down with an assortment of beverages too numerous to mention. After cleaning up the mess and storing the left-over pies for lunches and snacks, we conversed until late and bade this friendly couple a fond adieu.
Joanna and I arose the next morning and took off on our bikes for one of our shorter favorite rides, essentially duplicating the first half of my ride the day before, but then turning left at Gilman and heading west. As we’ve done a few times in the past, we stopped at the Seabreeze Market and Deli for a coffee and a snack before returning on the bike path along the bay where we turned inland at Emeryville and worked our way back down to the apartment.
Back by late morning, the four of us then rode over to Drake’s Dealership for a snack to hold us over until later that day and my scheduled Father’s Day dinner at The Wolf. This would be a typical outing at Drake’s; drink a beer or two and share a couple of small plates.
The beer here is sublimely good and the food just as nice. We split a Frito Pie (Frito Lays, steack chili, bacon fondue, cheddar, onion, and pickled peppers), Fish and Chips, and to keep it sweet, an order of Bread Pudding (house made bread pudding with pecan, caramel, and cinnamon caramel ice cream) served hot in a small cast iron skillet.
The afternoon passed quickly in a food induced coma and we came up for air long enough to climb in the car to head out at 7pm for our reservation at the Wolf. Similar in style and concept to Rivoli, it opened in 2017 in an old house and has garnered positive reviews, not only from Jessica and Kris but Lydia and Walter as well.
We started with some cocktails at the bar while we waited for our table and while there Jessica recognized one of the bartenders, Ron, who she had met not long after arriving in Berkeley and began working part time at Nick’s, a classic lounge that featured live music at the time. He was a bartender there as well and schooled Jessica in the basic elements of tending bar.
Shown to our table, we perused the menu and after some thought, ordered the Fried Brussel Sprouts to start and for entrees, Ora King Salmon for Jessica, Spanish Octopus for Joanna, Egg Fettuccini Carbonara for Kris, and the Petaluma Chicken Roulade for me. Everything we received was delicious, some a bit more than others but for me the clear winner was the Brussel Sprouts appetizer.
Contrary to current trends, Brussel Sprouts, although edible, are not at the top of my list of must order food items. But this version may have changed my way of thinking forever. Fried in the pan to a light char, leaving a sticky residue on the bottom that combined with sweet Calabrian chili sauce, lemon and parmesan, proved to be irresistible, sweet yet savory, leaving one wanting more.
I ended up taking half my chicken home as I’d made the regrettable error of consuming too much of the complimentary bread brought to the table early in the meal. Having lived on the west coast the bulk of my adult life, I can’t get enough of the sourdough it is famous for.
We grew up eating the Pioneer Bakery version, baked on Rose Avenue in Venice and after a long bike ride with our club, if the finish involved coming back in that direction, I’d stop at the retail counter and buy a 1-1/2-pound sour round, and after sneaking one of the end pieces out of the bag, stick it under my cycling jersey and pedal it home. Often it would still be warm when I arrived and Joanna and I would attack it with vigor, forcing ourselves to leave some for later.
We returned to the apartment and watched a few episodes of a show that Joanna and I got hooked on at home, People of Earth, and introduced it to Jessica and Kris. Starring Wyatt Cenac, formerly of the Daily Show and featuring a colorful cast, its offbeat humor strikes us as particularly funny. As we finished up another typical weekend in Oakland, each one different than the last and yet with elements of familiarity, we looked forward to the next three days and camping at Morro Bay before returning to Oakland. This is the best part of our routine, knowing we’d be back shortly to see Jessica and Kris soon again, a luxury when we live so far apart.
Original Pattern Brewing: https://www.originalpatternbeer.com/
Seabreeze Market and Deli: https://www.yelp.com/biz/sea-breeze-market-and-deli-berkeley
The Wolf: http://www.thewolfoakland.com/
Pioneer Bakery: http://www.lamag.com/longform/the-sons-also-rise/
People of Earth: https://www.tbs.com/shows/people-of-earth