Leena Eats: The Big Cheese Penis, Day One(Chez Panisse Cafe Photo Essay)

By on Sep 22, 2010 in Berkeley, California, Leena Eats | 2 comments

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My goat cheese salad at Chez Panisse Cafe. The cheese was breaded and baked, which helped it stay ethereally light.

Chez Panisse. The big Cheese Penis in Berkeley. Run by one of the America’s culinary greats, Alice Waters, this place has been on my radar ever since I picked up a Ruth Reichl book (my food writing idol,Ruth Reichl, worked at Chez Panisse in the 70s when it first opened). Chez Panisse, and it’s slightly cheaper but equally tasty counterpart, the upstairs cafe, pride themselves on serving simple, local, seasonal food.

The concept is almost overdone in restaurants today, but for good reason—it tastes great, and Chez Panisse was certainly one of the first to cook by such a credo in the U.S. But the Cheese Penis, it don’t come cheap, so it had to be saved for a special occasion.

So. Much. Food Pron. And yes, I mean food pron. After the jump!

Corn bisque with red pepper. Really fresh, naturally sweet.

A pizzette with oysters, bacon and greens. Super tasty.

Our opening drink, a lightly sparkling pear cider. Not too sweet, not to dry. I like.

A white fish (maybe sea bass?) with corn and cilantro. Nice and fresh, and the fish was perfectly cooked.

Calamari with aioli and roasted tomato. I am usually not a calamari person, but pair it with a super garlicky aioli, and I'm all over it. This rocked.,

Quail with greens. Maybe a pesto? A delicious little dish!

Our second drink, a nice Syrah.

Dessert #1 was a cobbler with I believe berries and plums.

Dessert #2: Mint ice cream with dark chocolate sauce. Personally not a mint fan, but my husband raved about this.

Dessert #3 and my favorite of the evening: a pluot tart with whipped cream. The crust was light and yet caramelized with a bit of sugar, making the whole thing incredibly tasty.

The perfect meal with some great friends. Only Ruth Reichl herself would make it better!



Chez Panisse Cafe

1517 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709-1598
(510) 548-5049
Chez Panisse Cafe Website
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    • Leena

      19 Feb ’11

      Thanks, Greg. No wonder it tasted so light!

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