Thursday, August 14, 2008

La Farine

Berkeley is blessed with no shortage of artisan food stores and markets. We have boutique wine shops on every corner of the city (not that we're winos mind you, we just happen to enjoy the stuff) which provide excellent drink to go with cheeses stocked by stores like cheeseboard and of course wine and cheese go excellent with meat from the neighborhood butcher shop, but for a proper meal we would need vegetables which is where our farmers markets, held three times weekly, come in handy. Yet even with all of this we would be forgetting something that would be a sin to forget; bread. No need to fret however, all we have to do is pop over to the bakery and pick up a baguette or two. Although this often proves more difficult than it seems given the plethora of delicious local bakeries: Semifreddi's, the Bread Garden, Cheeseboard, Nabolom, Masse's not to mention Acme which can be found in any grocery store in the area. With all of these quality bakeries how does one choose?

For me, I find that a rotation works well. This is especially true when it comes to baguettes because I generally choose them based on mood and what kind of meal I'm planning, meaning that there is no one clear winner. However, this is not always the case. As diplomatic as I would like to be, when it comes to particular baked goods I often find myself favoring some bakeries over others. In the case of morning buns, La Farine takes the cake.

Two morning buns up at the top by the bag, along with a bunch of other goodies.

If you've never had a morning bun then you are missing out! La Farine's own description of them is "Croissant dough rolled thin, spread with brown sugar and cinnamon, rolled into a log, then cut and baked in muffin pans...nothing short of decadent." Mine would simply be "Mmmmmm." They are truly one of the best ways to start your day. If you don't start your day with breakfast, no worries, they're equally good for lunch, brunch, a snack, before or after dinner or before bed with a warm glass of milk. If you can't sleep after that last one then be sure to buy two on your next visit because a morning bun snuck in the truly early hours of the morning is guaranteed to ensure a good nights rest.

La Farine
6323 College Ave.
Oakland, CA 94618-1331
Telephone: 510-654-0338
Fax: 510-654-1025

3411 Fruitvale Ave.
Oakland, CA 94602
Telephone: 510-531-7750

Solano/Thousand Oaks
1820 Solano Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94702
Telephone: 510-528-2208

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Gone (are the days of) Fishin'

I finished Felten's How's Your Drink the other day and must say that it was thoroughly satisfying. A really fun read with delightfully tasty accompaniments. One of my personal favorites of the cocktails that I've tried so far is the Florodora. Though I won't spoil it's unique history I will divulge the recipe. That way if you find yourself bored while sipping away you can do a bit of research to keep you occupied.

1 1/2 oz gin
3/4 oz framboise (raspberry liquer)
1/2 oz lime juice
3-4 oz ginger ale

Build in a tall glass with plenty of ice. Garnish with a slice of lime and enjoy!

I finished Hows Your Drink thirsty for more foodie literature and have started reading a book dealing with a topic that I've been meaning to inform myself upon for a while now. The real push came after I heard that the salmon season in California would be closed this year due to record low numbers. Eating in a sustainable manner and still finding ways to enjoy foods that one loves can be tricky and seafood is a particularly difficult topic to navigate. In hopes of gaining a better understanding of the problems that exist on a topic that is dear to my heart and stomach I have turned to Taras Grescoe's Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood. I'm only two chapters in so far but it's a terribly intriguing read. I promise to keep you all updated with any interesting insight that I glean along the way. If you want more information right away I suggest that you pick up your own copy of the book and for a great source of free information on the web you can visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium website.