poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


Market Report: Monterey Market

Disclaimer: This is the first time I’m blogging using my iPhone, so apologies in advance for weird spellings, missing links, etc.

I wanted to title this post,”Look at what I got at Monterey Market for less than $10!” but I thought that was too braggy. But really, this is what I got for less than $10:


Clockwise, from top left:
Bananas, organic
Shittake mushrooms
Carrots, organic and local
Murcott tangerines, local and organic
Fuji apples, local and organic
Green onions, local and organic
Napa cabbage, local

Ok, so I’m bragging a little but I really love this market. I also love that it’s within walking distance. Monterey Market is definitely one of the gems of Berkeley!


Second Rock From the Sun

Last month, JF and I treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at Venus, one of my favorite restaurants in Berkeley. Previously, I blogged about lunch at Venus but this was the first time I ate dinner there. Both JF and I were tempted by the entrée special: butterfish with seasonal vegetables over a bed of Japanese rice. The butterfish was exactly what it sounded like: buttery, flaky, and delicious.

Mmmm, butterfish...

We also shared dessert, which I can’t remember exactly what it was, only that it was surprisingly good. Don’t get me wrong; I was definitely ready to be impressed, especially since our server adamantly recommended it. But I don’t think I was expecting it to be this good. Some sort of toffee bread pudding with nuts, I believe it was, topped with a mound of whipped cream.

A great end to a fabulous meal.

It’s an understatement to say that I’m looking forward to trying their 3-course dinner menu in the near future, for an incredibly reasonable $29. Stay tuned!


Let’s Chaat

It’s funny sometimes to reflect on your personal food evolution.  For instance, it still amazes me to think about how I never had Indian food until grad school, or that I never really had Korean food until I moved to Berkeley.  It’s amazing, in part, because I have now integrated these once exotic cuisines into my everyday diet.

When I moved to Berkeley, I heard through the grapevine that Vik’s Chaat Corner was THE place for good and cheap Indian food.  It took me four years, but I finally made it to Vik’s.  Part of the delay was that they have slightly odd hours: closed Mondays, open from 11-6 Tuesday-Thursday, and 11-8 on the weekend.  (I seem to recall that they weren’t open on weekends for a while, but I could be wrong.)  The other issue is that Vik’s is in West Berkeley, which is mostly industrial/commercial, and not an area I usually think about for food.

Sign outside Vik's... otherwise, it's impossible to think that there's a restaurant in what looks like a huge garage.

Sign outside Vik's... good thing that it's there. Otherwise,the space blends into the industrial park.

Anyway, so I finally got around to going to Vik’s because I happened to have my car handy at lunchtime.  The boytoy and I beat the lunch crowd by mere minutes, which he swears is a special talent of his.  Like a sixth sense, except for food ordering.

I wanted to try everything on their menu (don’t follow the link unless you’re ready to drool), but since it was just the two of us, we decided to temper our appetites and avoid food coma by ordering only 2 items.  We shared the masala dosa and the chicken korma.

The menu at Vik's

The menu at Vik's

A dosa is an Indian pancake/crepe made with rice and lentil flour.  It’s usually stuffed with curried vegetables and sometimes with meat.  Our dosa had potatoes in it, and it was served with a side of lentil soup, which I often use as a dipping sauce.  The dosa at Vik’s tastes really fresh, mostly because the dosa “shell” has great texture.

What's in that dosa?  Yummy goodness, that's what!

What's in that dosa? Yummy goodness, that's what!

We also ordered the chicken korma, which I expected to be like every other chicken korma I had eaten: chicken cubes in creamy korma sauce, served over rice.  Vik’s shakes things up a bit by serving a bit of the expected chicken korma, but also throwing in some chicken curry (my favorite part of the tray), along with some vegetable slaw, rice, and papadum (thin Indian wafers).

Chicken curry. So good.

Chicken curry. Might not look so special but it was.

The only thing I didn't like: the SUPER salty mystery pickled thing.

The only thing I didn't like: the SUPER salty mystery pickled thing.

It was unfortunate that we had no room for dessert because Vik’s has not just one, but two large glass cases of desserts.  I need to kidnap an Indian friend with me next time to tell me what’s what.

Dessert case #1

Dessert case #1

Dessert case #2

Dessert case #2

I know for sure that it won’t be another 4 years before I return to Vik’s!