berkeley bowl love

I could write an essay on my love for Berkeley Bowl, the produce market with some other stuff attached. Sure, I loved it more when it was in the old building, the bowling alley that became the market, but I love it now, too.

I could write about my strategies for maneuvering down the aisles with a overfilled hand basket because even first thing in the morning, even on a midweek afternoon, it was an obstacle course to get a cart through the store.

I could tell you of my discovery of zucchini flowers and purple taro root and habañero peppers and microgreens and fresh water chestnuts and garlic chives, each with their own funny story and delicious memory.

I could wax poetic about the cheap, plump, gorgeous vegetables I had the good fortune to be able to purchase in the poorest salad days as a college student, when I would regularly dine on okra and Brussells sprouts sautéed and added to my ramen noodles.

Indeed, I could yammer on about any number of dinner parties and my best memories of the Bay Area, my formative years of my 20s and the pleasures I was somehow lucky enough to have for so many years.

And I could, of course, write about the “other stuff attached,” like the entire grocery store with a full-service fish, meat, bulk foods, hot foods, olive counters and everything in between. I could tell you of expansion and the crowds and the zen of parking.

And any emigrant to Berkeley with even a single blood cell of Foodie in her would be able to tell you a story like this.

But I can’t find the words to describe how I feel when I visit Berkeley Bowl each I come back to town and still find new discoveries. This time, it was Palestinian limes and elderflower syrup and immature almonds and impossibly beautiful black plum tomatoes (in April? Oh yeah, mine used to grow now, too) and plump cactus fruit just begging to be made into liqueur.

And it was being a shameless tourist with a camera — no one kicked me out of the store!

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