The Real Best of Berkeley


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Last week the Daily Cal published its annual "Best of Berkeley" issue, the results of which are based on student votes. Honestly, you guys did all right -great call on Berkeley Bowl-but you didn't get a perfect score probably more like a C+/B- (yeah, we're giving grades now like Josh, the Friday columnist). By the way, who got their entire building to vote for Bobby G's?

Furthermore, we might have given you guys slightly different categories. Either way, we decided to create our own Best of Berkeley. Maybe you will disagree completely, which is totally fine by us. We would love a bunch of passionate, angry e-mails, each containing a different version of this list. It would certainly open our eyes to some of the area's eateries, and it might even force us to reconsider our choices. For now, though, here it is

BEST BAKERY: Cheeseboard

There is absolutely no question about this one. Cheeseboard's bakery is not just the best of Berkeley-we have never had better bread. Ever. That is a bold statement, but it is absolutely true. Most people know Cheeseboard for the pizza, which is completely understandable as it is also Berkeley's best-sorry Bobby G's, but we don't even know where you are.

Fantastic pizza aside, this Berkeley stalwart was a bakery long before it was a pizzeria. The cooperative's ability to consistently bake near-perfect ciabatta, focaccia, scones and shortbread is nothing short of a miracle. Stop in after early morning class for a warm cheese or pecan roll. And grab a baguette while you're at it.

BEST SANDWICH: Bakesale Betty

This sandwich stop is not actually in the city of Berkeley, but it's really close and we don't mind bending the rules a little bit. Borrow your roommate's car or use that Class Pass for the first time-head down Telegraph Avenue to 51st Street, and look for the little bakery on the corner. Inside, you will find trays of baked goods, from oatmeal cookies to strawberry shortcakes. You will also find a bunch of rolling pins hanging from the ceiling and the best fried chicken sandwiches the world has ever seen.

At Bakesale Betty's, delicious, juicy chicken is paired with a simple coleslaw and placed inside a roll of light, crusty bread. These beautiful sandwiches are served on a baking sheet, usually accompanied by some sort of baked good or frozen lemonade. One time, they even gave us an entire loaf of pumpkin bread! As if this couldn't get any better, occasionally Betty herself will come and say hi, often with her new baby in tow. You can't miss her, she has blue hair.


There is no question about this one-Ici rules the kingdom of ice cream shops. And how lucky are we that it's just down the street? Just a short walk along College Avenue brings you to this adorable ice creamery. If you have any trouble finding it, the line of people snaking out the door is a dead giveaway. Everyone loves to go out for an ice cream date, especially when there are new and interesting flavors to choose from. At Ici, the flavor options change every day and reflect the ripest produce of the season. Occasionally, an unexpected combination of ingredients, like Earl Grey-milk chocolate, appears on the menu. The crazier the flavor, the better it might be. For the less adventurous, vanilla or classic chocolate ice cream graces Ici's menu year-round. When you go, don't forget to ask for your scoop in a cone. Made in-house, these crispy, buttery confections are the best we've ever had. The dollop of chocolate fudge piped into the tip of the cone serves two purposes; it prevents drips of melted ice cream from running out the bottom and it provides the perfect surprise ending to an already delicious treat.

BEST HOT CHOCOLATE: Free Speech Movement

Sometimes in the middle of a long day of classes or between back-to-back midterm exams, you need a little pick-me-up. You need something warm to sip on that will give you the strength to attend two more hours of lecture. That perfect something is closer than you might think. Located conveniently next to Moffitt Library, Free Speech Movement Cafe serves up hearty salads and piping-hot paninis to the masses of starving students who pass through every day. What FSM does best though, is the art of hot chocolate. And it truly is an art. Coffee aficionados can agree that some hot beverages are just plain duds. No one wants a tepid mug of water poured over a package of instant coffee or sugary chocolate powder, for that matter. You won't find anything instant at FSM-each cup of hot cocoa is carefully made to order and topped with a crown of frothed milk. If you're looking for an extra kick, try sprinkling some ground cinnamon on top of your toasty drink. It might just put you in the right frame of mind for that upcoming Spanish midterm.


Sneak a feast of FSM food into the Main Stacks with Maria and Graham at [email protected]

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