One of my favorite things to do…

…in Berkeley

Grocery shop.

That’s because of Berkeley Bowl, which opened in 1977 in a building that previously was home to Berkeley’s bowling alley. Berkely Bowl West, which is a short walk from my son’s house, is on Heinz Street in a building that housed a ketchup factory.

My first trip to Berkeley, our son and his girlfriend took us to see their favorite grocery store and to have lunch in the cafe. Now when I visit, I have to go to Berkeley Bowl. How often is a grocery store an attraction where you take your guests? At the airbnb I’m staying in, the owners list Berkeley Bowl as a must in “things to do.”

I’m hit with a wave of anxiety each time I enter, due to the abundance. There are so many varieties of everything that it can be overwhelming. Then, I settle down and enjoy the experience. Wandering through produce, seafood, meats, snacks, sushi and hot foods — with so many ethnic cuisines — there’s too much and I want to try everything. It’s an experience you should not miss, if you’re in Berkeley.

Outside Berkeley Bowl West with watermelons and fruit on display.
Outside the entrance to Berkeley Bowl West, one of two Berkeley Bowls.
Fruits at Berkeley Bowl.
A photo of a tiny bit of produce.
Wide variety of mushrooms at Berkeley Bowl.
Mushrooms. Have you ever seen so many types in one store?
I never knew there were so many varieties of chanterelle mushrooms — which are my favorite. I used to go chanterelle hunting with my mom in Washington state.
potatoes on display at Berkeley Bowl
Potatoes. My cousins have a potato farm. I wonder what they’d think of the varieties.

sushi grade fish at Berkeley Bowl
Sushi grade fish display. Also, I counted more than 10 types of salmon in the regular seafood section.
Deli sandwiches and caviar at Berkeley Bowl.
Deli sandwiches and caviar anyone?
Produce at Berkeley Bowl
Non organic produce as opposed to their organic produce section.

I miss the cafe which is closed due to COVID. I think there is take out, but I loved sitting inside with my kids having a bowl of chowder or something else amazing. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in the area — and there are lots of amazing places to eat. I told my kids I could have breakfast or lunch there every day.

What’s your favorite place to shop and why? Do you have a place like Berkeley Bowl that you take guests to see? Are you seeing empty shelves? I haven’t seen any in Berkeley.

The shelves are bare

empty produce shelves at big name grocery store
Empty shelves at the chain grocery store.

The shelves were bare in our pantry and fridge because I packed up a ton of stuff and hauled it to California for Christmas week. I made a trip this morning to the Farmer’s Market and a grocery store only to be disappointed.

At the Farmer’s Market there were only two stands. One for prickly pear jellies and the other for power greens. I wanted my chips and dips plus the veggie guy who also sells homemade tortillas. I’m sure it was because it’s New Year’s Eve, plus it’s supposed to rain.

On to a locally-owned grocery store where they were out of lots of stuff on my list. I backed out without a purchase and drove down the street to a major chain-owned store. I thought to myself, this store is huge and always has everything in stock.

Nope. Not today. I managed to grab the last spinach. Then I found myself not quite in a panic, but feeling this need to buy more than what I had intended. I think this is what is causing the shelves to be bare.

When you see empty shelves, you think you better buy NOW or you’ll be out of some much needed TP. allergy meds, or milk. Also, with inflation raging, I told myself I had better buy now because it will be more expensive next week.

Happy New Year! That’s my tale for New Year’s Eve. Now I’m ready to watch the Rose Bowl.

GO UTES!!!

What are your New Year’s plans? Have you made resolutions? What are they?

Empty grape case at grocery store
Grapes anyone?