Recently my family and I trekked the 6 hour trip up to San Fransisco to visit some relatives. Famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, its large population of Cantonese and some of the coldest summers you’ll experience in California, its got a calm, cool and collected vibe that can’t be found anywhere else.
My dad used to go to UC Berkeley, so he took us to some spots he remembered going to when he was going to college.
Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers
The restaurant is a bit smallish with a moderately sized outdoor seating area. A couple cooks are flipping patties on a long open range that dominates the space. Menus are laminated pieces of paper with long lists of burgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs, apps, sandwiches and salads. We order a Mediterranean plate, pita bread and hummus to share.
The hummus is thick and grainy, topped with a scoop of crumbly feta cheese. The pita bread is grilled and tastes like its just been baked, thick and fluffy. My dad orders a Cheese Lover burger
Of which I take a small bite of. The cheese is thick and very good. The cheeses aren’t too sharp and a bit on the creamy side. The patty is a medium rare and grilled, a satisfying smoky flavor without the char. The bun is average, nothing to write home about but was thick and moist enough. The sauce is some mix of thousand island and mayo I’m guessing, and the toppings are crisp and fresh.
My sister and I split a Portabello Mushroom Burger
A huge Portabello mushroom cap, sun dried tomato paste, roasted tomatoes, spinach leaves and Swiss cheese sandwiched between two slices of wheat bun. I personally liked this much more than the Cheese Lover’s Burger. It had more distinct flavors, the juices from the mushroom were dripping all over and that mixed with the tomato paste tasted simply amazing.
Afterwards we hit Masse’s Pastries a few blocks down.
I remember visiting this place on previous holiday visits, where we’d always order the same selection of cakes and bring it to family dinners. The interior is decorated in a matte black and cream white striped furnishings, with a small table in the front window.
Large cakes are around $30 and the individual ones are around $4. We got a couple cakes to bring with us back to where we were staying. Just as good as I remembered J
Last but not least, we stopped by a candy shop in Fisherman’s wharf. They had buckets and buckets of taffy, and then a small corner of jumbo sized classics.
Good stuff. Touristy, but hey, its got its own kind of charm.
Barney’s Gourmet Hamburger
1469 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709-1410