This weekend my girlfriend had a milestone birthday, so I took her to world famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley.
The restaurant is a curious sight along Shattuck Avenue.
We were a tad early, so we relaxed upstairs in the cafe with a couple glasses of vino.
Hands off, she's mine.
Bread and almonds to whet the appetite.
The menu is different every night. First course = leek salad with farm egg, prosciutto, and mustard vinaigrette. Really fantastic.
Second course = local fish and shellfish soup with rouille and croutons. Decent, but my least favorite of the night (although the rouille tasted delicious).
Main course = grilled Wolfe Farm quail with grapes and Banyuls sauce, potato gnocchi, and greens. The largest quail I've ever had, and truly a delectable dish.
It's only every so often that we get all dolled up.
Kudos to our waiter, Gianni, who took us into the kitchen for my girl's big day.
Gianni points out the organized chalkboard (I was too busy taking photos to catch its importance).
The kitchen was closing for the night; before I forget, Alice Waters herself was in the house (as were a few other famous people, according to the cafe staff upstairs - never caught the names).
The pastry chef, about to serve us our dessert.
They really let us take photos wherever we wanted.
"Isn't she lovely?"
Dessert = red and white wine poached pear galette with zabaglione.
Yes, I probably come off as a dork for taking photos of the meal - but I was just following orders. :-) Not every day you get a meal like this (or a price tag to match - oomph!).