Rich's Berkeley Blog

A blog about Berkeley and beyond. Social commentary, upcoming events, bargains, local restaurants, and more will be discussed. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Le Petit Cheval - Good, affordable, food!

I've been eating at Le Petit Cheval for quite a while now. Yum!

They're owned by the same people that run the other Le Cheval restaurants. All Le Cheval's feature vietnamese cuisine. The other two Le Cheval's are well reviewed sit down restaraunts that feature superb cuisine. In an attempt to cater to students they opened Le Petit Cheval in Berkeley.

At Le Petit Cheval, for $5.50 you can chose 3 items from within a hot tray as well as white rice or chow mein. You will be very filled with this $5 plate - no doubt about it! The great thing is that it is not your standard one dollar chinese - not even close! Instead they feature food that's several notches up from the standard dollar chinese fair. They cater quite well to all the Berkeley vegetarians as they usually have a half dozen vegetarian dishes. Some of the other foods they feautre include a delicious curry chicken, lemon grass chicken, beef stew, beef black bean sauce, and great garlic green beans.

They also feature a very nice a la carte menu with various soups, salads, vietnamese sandwiches, hot plates, etc.

I don't always have a lot of money to spend on meals so I've been eating at this place on and off for years. I haven't grown tired of it. I'm going to be eating there in just a few minutes. Yum!

You can find Le Petit Cheval at the corner of Bancroft and Bowditch. Hope to see you there!

Yerba Buena Gardens Labor Day

Over Labor Day weekend Yerba Buena gardes is hosting Pachanga in the Gardens.

This year my good friend Hadley Louden from Music to Celebrate Life will be there with his relatively new band Los Bros.

Los Bros has been around playing a bit. It's a larger band with some of the best latin musicians in the Bay Area. They played a recent, well sold out, show at Ashkenaz and everybody was raving about it for weeks to come.

I haven't seen Los Bros .. I do intend to go with a bunch of friends to check them out on Labor Day though. I'm really looking forward to it!

Wine Tasting at Kermit Lynch

Four times a year Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant has a wine tasting.

This Saturday, August 27th, they're having the next one featuring wines of Provence. They usually have 5 or 6 different wines at the tastings and they're all quite tasty.

They offer free small tasters. Then, most people go ahead and purchase a glass of wine - usually $4-6. They also have food that they're offering. The food is a bit on the higher end - last year was an albacore sandwich that rang in around $14.

I really recommend siging up for the Kermit Lynch newsletter mailing list. Kermit still writes a great deal of the newsletter himself.

I'll be there this year and I know it's going to be a great event. They always have a lot of people come out for it. I'm really looking forward to this one. Afterwords, my friends and I will be BBQ'ing up a storm.. yum!

A little history.

Kermit Lynch started going to France in the 60-70's. He was one of the first pioneers to bring non-filtered french wines in to America. He was one of the first to refrigerate the wine as it was brought through the Panama Canal (prior to this, it the wine would be cooked by the temp. at the equator).

Prior to the vision of these pioneers wine was filtered and wasn't the greatest tasting. Thank you to Kermit Lynch for bringing us in to an era of very tasty and full wines.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Bear's Lair

I remember the Bear's Lair of years past. You could walk in there and buy a 24 oz. Coca Cola cup full of Budweiser/Coors for about $3. Given they served it in an opaque soda pop cup, just ask and a lid/straw was yours, people would drink them all over lower sproul plaza and have a jolly good time. I remember times when the whole plaza was full of people. The gated area behind the Bear's Lair, now a food area, was fully available for hanging out as well.

Things have changed. The brothers that started Jupiter and Triple Rock bought the Bear's Lair and created a pub with pizza and various bar foods. No more opaque cups. No more drinking anywhere you like - it's all in an enclosed area.

This is okay though. I like the new Bear's Lair. You can still sit outside in the Sun. You can watch it set behind Zellerbach hall.

They still have some of the best beer deals in this town. A pint of a Jupiter microbrew is $3, quarts are $5, and pitchers are $10 - you don't find deals like this very often.

On Friday's they have a great deal - from 4-5 pitchers are $5, from 5-6 pitchers are $6, from 6-7 - $7, and from 7 until close they're $8. You won't find this pricing anywhere else (of course a convenience store and an alley, or home if you're not a risk taker, will beat any pricing).

I drink the Golden Ale quite a bit. A nice crisp beer with a light golden hue. It's only 5% so you won't be crawling home at the end of the night.

They have a web site here.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Really good sausages

I love to Barbeque. My friends love to Barbeque. We love to get together eat a lot of meat, drink wine/beer, and talk in to the evening. Their is really nothing better then this in life.

One of my favorite contributions has been sausages from Swan's Marketplace ( in Old Oakland (1 block off Broadway at 9th and Washington). Inside of this market, also called The Housewive's Market, is a store called Taylor's Sausages. Their are also a number of other very affordable meat markets within the Housewive's market.

Taylor's Sausages sells freshly made sausages at very good prices. Try 3.75 a pound!

So far, my our favorite sausages from Taylor's are the Boudin. A Boudin is a Portuguese/Brazillian style sausage made from Pork and white rice. The white rice has the wonderful effect of lightening up the normal heaviness of a 100% pork sausage. The result is a very light, fluffy and extremely delicious sausage. I like both the hot and mild versions of this sausage. The mild version has a more delicate spicing that is very good. The hot version seems to be slightly overwhelmed by the Cayenne but is also quite delicious.

Taylor's also makes Cajun turkey sausages that are also quite delicious. They have a breakfast sausage that I can't wait to try (philipino style).

Honestly, every thing I've tried from Taylor's I love and everyone at the BBQ's gives them two thumbs up - the fact they disappear in moments is the best review ;-). I intend to shop their again this weekend for an upcoming Barbeque.

We've mostly been Q'ing on Mesquite charcoal and Apple wood. We have just enough mesquite to add some of that delicious flavor and quite a bit of apple wood. Talk about a delicious cooking fire! YUM!!!!

Artemis Fowl

About a year ago I was listening to the West Coast Live ( and I heard Eoin Colfer speaking on the radio. His newest book, Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception, had just been releasd. He read and few pages and I was very impressed.

About a month ago I finally purchased the first book Artemis Fowl and I really enjoyed it. These books are very suited to kids and adults alike. They're all New York Time's Best Sellers.

What makes these books interesting is that Artemis Fowl is a master mind criminal, ultra wealthy, extremely intelligent (highest IQ in the EU), has the best body guard in the world, and he's only 12 years old.

In the first book, Artemis Fowl, Artemis steals a fairy book and uses it to contact the fairy's. He is hoping to pull off another scheme in order to increase the family wealth. Little does he realize what the fairy's are going to be to deal with.

In the second book, Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incedent, Artemis has heard a signal from his long lost father. On his way to contact his father he's contacted by a familiar fairy friend. Next thing he knows he's joining forces with the fairy world. This was a very good book.

In the third book, Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, Artemis has created a super computer from stolen fairy technology. In an attempt to make a lot of money from the technology it is stolen from him. In a race against time he works with the fairy people in an attempt to stop this hidden technology from getting out.

I really enjoyed these books. I've recommended them to a few friends. I've read the first 3 books in the series and intend to read the newest one as soon as possible. I read each book within a day or two - once you get started they are very difficult to put down.

I really recommend these books for any readers. Read the reviews at Amazon (their linked to in this post) and decide for yourself. Every one of these was a NY Time's Best Seller for a very good reason!