So Andrew ("Please call me Andy") Samwick and I struck up a conversation and he found out I was a film journalist and I found out he was a food blogger—inspired by the film Julie & Julia, no less—and, well, that's when the 7x7 guardians started grinning ear to ear because in no time flat Andy had become a plus one at my press screenings and he began turning me on to eateries and breweries around town. His blog You Want a Knuckle Samwick! is not only a fount of hand-to-mouth recommendations; but, a sensual diary of a young man embracing his discovery of himself in San Francisco. And that's really one of my favorite stories: the youthful faces change but the old story never ends.
For those who sport with phone apps, Andy has mastered Foursquare and currently reigns as Mayor in several fine establishments around the Bay Area. So who else to turn to when curious about where to eat by which particular movie theater? In a first of guest columns, Andy takes us to Berkeley to point out where to eat and drink near the Pacific Film Archive while catching their current film program Joseph Losey: Pictures of Provocation.
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There is definitely plenty of provocative food to eat while visiting Berkeley for PFA's Joseph Losey: Pictures of Provocation. I am partial to a good sausage. And if you don't have a lot of time or money, Top Dog is quite satisfying. With three locations in Berkeley and one in Oakland, there are plenty of options. I have had every dog on the menu since I moved to California in 1996.
Another place I love, probably more so for the beer, is Jupiter located at 2181 Shattuck Avenue (at Center Street). I was there in February to celebrate Strong Beer Month on a rainy evening. I got some snacks while I drank through the beer menu. Their BBQ Rib Tips are smoked pork rib tips wood-fired with the choice of mild or spice BBQ sauce and are served with their house slaw. And you can't go wrong with their pizza selections.
If you are looking for some healthy food options, there is a Café Gratitude at 1730 Shattuck. I love the "I Am Luscious" Smoothie. It's a raw chocolate smoothie that has hazelnut milk, figs, dates, raw cacao and vanilla. It is mighty good. The "I Am Cool Milkshake" certainly makes anyone feel confident. Otherwise known as the "Minty Chocolate Chip Shake", it has hazelnut milk, vanilla bean, raw cacao nibs and mint. When it comes to food, I always get their macrobiotic bowl called "I Am Whole." Basically, it is shredded kale, sea vegetables, quinoa, house-made kim chee and sprouts with garlic-tahini sauce and teriyaki almonds.
Now, if price is not an option, and you are looking for a legendary California cuisine experience, then run—don't walk—to Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue. Alice Waters opened her doors in 1971 and it is still one of the strongest restaurants we have going in the Bay Area. I have eaten in both the Café and the Restaurant. Most recently, last year, I had the experience of eating in the Restaurant with two of my girlfriends. The staff were so kind and inviting. They allowed us to tour the kitchen and see what goes on behind-the-scenes. The Café is also a great option and doesn't require reservations weeks in advance. I would suggest anything that highlights their access to local produce. Bob's beets, grapefruit and oranges and their current pizzetta are stunning. I should know, I spoil myself every time I go there.
The Pictures of Provocation series runs through April 16th. So, there is plenty of time to take advantage of some rare film gems and make it a great night with some suggested fare in the neighborhood.