The title is a bit misleading since I moved to my new apartment almost 7 months ago. I’ve been meaning to wax poetic about my new digs for months, but I was lazy and haven’t gotten around to taking the pictures that I wanted to take, etc. Excuses, excuses! A recent visit to Gioia Pizzeria gave me reason to finally write something up.
Before we start on all of the great food places within a 5-minute walk from my apartment (including Gioia), a few words on moving to a new place. It’s crazy because I only moved about half a mile northwest, but my entire perspective changed. Suddenly, the market that was a 7-minute walk up a steep hill was now on my way to and from work. I got a bike basket and started picking up groceries on my way home, which is something I seriously recommend if you can swing it. It’s good for the environment and for the soul. Also, now that I live in an apartment complex and across the street from a delightful park, I feel so much more a part of my community than when I lived in a quiet studio behind a house (and with a crazy neighbor no less… ugh).
I don’t always welcome change, but this one was refreshing. I loved getting rid of stuff I’ve been meaning to discard for years and changing the pictures on my walls, things I was too lazy to do before the move. Actually having a bedroom instead of sleeping in a studio was a significant upgrade, as was the bed I bought to replace the futon that I slept on for 5 long years. My favorite things about the apartment are the slanted ceilings with white-washed slats. It gives my room a Cape Cod cottage feel, which is so relaxing. Sasha the cat loves the new place too. Lots of carpet to lay on (and tear up), more spaces to hide, and wide ledges for observing the neighborhood wildlife.
As I was saying, there are a plethora of great food places nearby. First and foremost, Monterey Market is my favorite for fresh produce. Think Berkeley Bowl but a lot cheaper and smaller. They have a wide variety of choices, from conventionally to organically grown, and their fresh herbs are less than 99 cents/bag. When I went to buy cucumbers recently, I was confronted with an abundance of options: regular, English, Persian, Japanese, and Mediterranean. It’s not unusual to walk out with a bag full of produce for $5. It’s amazing, and now that they’re open on Sundays, my life is complete.
One thing the Monterey Market does not have is fresh meat. For that, I walk across the street to Magnani Poultry. I’ve only bought chicken there, but they are expanding to beef and pork too. In the same block as Magnani’s, there is a bakery, cheese shop, fish shop, liquor store, and pizzeria. Nearby is Espresso Roma, which serves excellent espresso and breakfast plates and has a nice outdoor dining area to boot.
So, back to the pizza. I’ve gotten slices from Gioia’s off and on since I moved to Berkeley. They specialize in New York style thin slice, while also integrating California food politics of local, sustainable, organic. Most importantly, their pizza is delicious. On this particular evening, we opted for 2 slices of pizza each.
TC got the tomato and basil, I got the anchovy, and we both got a slice of the mushroom. The anchovy slice was amazing — very salty anchovies offset by the spice of Calabrian chiles. Best of all, it was a great feeling to walk to a local pizzeria, get some slices to go, and stroll home with the hot pizza in hand.