Telegraph For Foodies
by Steed Dropout
Dec. 10, 2013
NOT FAR FROM GOURMET GHETTO
Less than a mile from the lower North side Gourmet Ghetto squats Telegraph Avenue’s thrift-strip, a student ghetto food fairway preying on the nascent taste buds of teenagers.
Teley food and prices are not far from weird. You can get the only Ramen-burger outside of Manhattan (the bun is constructed of Ramen) and a $5 (plus) paper cup of fried rice.
A cup of soup in a paper cup is also $5. But you can get a toasted cheese with that for $7.99.
You can get a $5 slice at a new Manhattan Pizzeria. Two upcoming slice-spots are preparing to open; four slice choices.
Blondie’s slice is $ 3.50.
You can select from dollar a scoop ice-cream or pay morMu than three dollars. Five ice-cream spots.
There are many table-restaurants with reasonable prices and two superior fast Chinese.
GOURMET GHETTO EXPOSED
The world-famous Gourmet Ghetto applies mainly to Chez Panisse, frequented mostly by tourists. Berkeleyans can now–thanks to Chez Panisse–buy the same ingredients at a neighborhood farmer’s market.
The North side is also known for its Cheese Board Collective, Beverly-Hills’-like jewelry store, art galleries–and it’s soups (the Juice-Bar Collective goes back to the Seventies).
The North side food scene is touted by the Berkeley Visitor’s bureau; Berkeley, once referred to as “funky,” is now a food destination.
WHAT ABOUT DOWNTOWN?
Downtown restaurants have gone up-scale, with all that brings–including escalated prices. Some of these places have linen tablecloths and clean glasses. Customers wear designer clothes.
Near downtown…one of Berkeley’s oldest Italian restaurants, probably Berkeley’s oldest restaurant (completely restored to its original appearance–a light-show illuminating Italianate murals)–Giovanni’s.
What was once upscale Berkeley (Giovanni’s) contrasts with the architect-designed new food ashrams, which are the hope of Berkeley tax-collector’s (facing budget shortfalls).
Downtown wins the pizza slice war with its crispy-crust, N.Y. style, may have the best Bagel (Chinese), and for sure the best Gelato. Skip the linen and eat on the go, a perk to downing downtown.
THE HOMELESS GET A TASTE
All this food trickles down to the homeless, often as left-overs, or hand-outs. Church groups compete to see who will give away the best food. Cal Berkeley students drop-off catered food they didn’t use.
Hate Man, Berkeley’s oldest homeless person (age 77) no longer need trash-can dive any farther, usually, than his own nearby dumpster and plenteous food drops.
Every homeless person I meet loves the food here.
FUNKY NO MORE
These views do not reflect those of publications in which my work appears.