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concord calif questions pls

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  • stephen kaye Sep 16, 2000 08:30 PM
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how long a drive is it from s.f to concord?? are there any interesting places to stop, along the way?? any good eats in concord?? thx in adv/ciao

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  1. I can't help you with what's in Concord, but I can get you there, and some interesting stops in between.

    I would allow at least an hour from downtown SF-Concord, and half an hour more. depending on traffic, From the Bay Bridge, take 580 E toward downtown Oakland, then 24 E toward Berkeley and Walnut Creek, then 680 N toward Concord and Sacramento.

    The stops that come to mind are mostly chow-related, but I'll mention a couple of other things, too.

    North Berkeley: Land of Chez Panisse and other pleasures. Follow previous directions, except stay on 24 and exit at University Ave. Drive straight up University to Shattuck, and turn left on Shattuck. Drive on until you hit Rose, with Andronico's supermarket on your left. You're in Chez Panisse territory. Up the street is the Cheese Board (see earlier thread on this board). There is also an excellent independent bookstore, Black Oak Books, and some nice shops and a Peet's Coffee store near Vine between Shattuck and Cedar. Another idea not far away is the UC Berkeley campus and surrounds. Use previous directions, but drive to the end of University Ave., make a right on Oxford, and an immediate left on Bancroft. Stroll, go up in the Campinile for the view, visit the University Art Museum. Good chow at some of the street carts on Bancroft near the main entrance to the campus, or check out the recent discussion of the Asian food court on Durant. Most straightforward way on to Concord is to retrace your steps down University, get back on 24 the other direction, and merge to 680 N.

    Rockridge: This is the least out of the way. Take 580 E to 24 E and exit at Claremont Ave. (note: this is the second exit). Turn left on Claremont, then right on Forrest, then left on Keith. You will be between the BART station and Rockridge Market Hall. The latter contains verious food shops, mostly pretty good (I'm not a big fan of Grace Baking, though, except for their soudough walnut bread). More important, this is also the home of Oliveto, Paul Bertolli's wonderful restaurant. Also nice and just up the block is Citron, but for dinner only. For a different kind of treat, head back under the overpass and past Lucky's to Zachary's, home of by far the best deep-dish (double crust) pizza in the Bay Area. I highly recommend the special spinach and mushroom combo. There are also some nice shops in this area. To get back on your way, drive straight up Keith and follow the signs for getting on the freeway and onto 680 N.

    A slight detour from this area is to drive straight up Claremont to Ashby, make a right on Ashby and an immediate left on Domingo for a meal at Rick and Ann's, good stuff from the Bread Garden Bakery--their cinnamon swirl bread makes amazing french toast--and a visit to Peet's Coffee. (Full disclosure: I am related to the person who does all the Bread Garden's electrical work, who is also friends with the owner.) To proceed to Concord, conrinue on Ashby (now called Tunnel Road), and follow signs to get to 24 E and 680.

    Downtown Oakland: Jack London Square or the Oakland Museum, for sightseeing, and Chinatown for chow. I'm not the one to ask about Chinatown, but if you're interested, I know there are some Bay Area posters who know it well. After exiting th Bay Bridge, take 580E toward downtown Oakland, and exit at 12th St. I'll leave the fine tuning up to others who know better than I.

    I'm wondering if the trip to Concord is for visiting people, business, or for a show at t he Concord Pavillion, because if the last, the trip can be done without a car, complete with a stop in Rockridge, provided vyou can get on the train back to SF before midnight. Take BART SF-Rockridge, then Rockridge-Concord, then the shuttle bus from BART to the Pavillion.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Caitlin

      wow, fabulous post, much thx indeed. yes its for a concert at chronicle pavillion concord. mille grazie

      1. re: stehen kaye

        You're welcome. I meant to mention that parking can be a bitch in the neighborhoods I mentioned for stop-offs.

        Also, re public transportation, BART from SF through to Concord would be an hour or less, and there is usually a free shuttle to the Pavillion when there's a concert.

        If you choose to take BART, and want a good, if early, dinner pre-concert, you couldn't do better than Oliveto or Citron (need reservations, about $40 or so for three courses w/o wine, tax, or tip). For a more casual meal, you can't beat a Zachary's deep dish and some beer. You could also make a downtown Oakland stop if using BART, but again, you'd need to get help from others who know the area better. Any other questions, please feel free to ask.

        1. re: Caitlin

          mille grazie

        2. re: stehen kaye

          Caitlin's given you the best of the area and excellent logistics recommendations. I'd add a caution to allow enough time for Zachary's, as the line snakes outside and around the corner at peak times.

          Was talking to a friend yesterday who was about to make a special trip to get coffee beans at Diego's (sp?) run by an African, also in the Rockridge area. He said the coffee is fantastic, and especially because the beans hold up well at home. He also likes Peet's and Torrefazione (and doesn't like Starbucks) if that helps you calibrate. I've got an appointment in the area next weekend and am anxious to check it out myself.

          I noticed your vinous interests in the International section and have a few recommendations for wine shopping in the neighborhoods Caitlin described. In the Rockridge Market Hall a couple doors down from Oliveto (Paul Bertolli is my hero!) is Paul Marcus Wines. One of the best spots in the Bay Area for its diverse selection of drink me now wines to take home for dinner tonight. Lots of Italian, Rhone, Loire and Languedoc country wines as well as cellar candidates --- look for stuff from Beaune Imports and Oliver McCrum wines for microwineries, and the staff are pretty good here to help make your choices. There's a second store in Berkeley's Fourth St. area (Sur La Table, Bette's Diner, Mo's Books, etc.) that's a little further away from your route but fun shopping too.

          Across the street from the Cheese Board is North Berkeley Wines. Under new ownership now and showing more mainstream commercial tastes, this is still a good place for finding small production import wines. The Burgundy, Languedoc, Loire and Alsace producers carried are the strongest niche, some under their own label. Also support up and coming Calif. producers that you won't find anywhere else. This is one of the few retailers that carries Mendocino's Navarro wines (best Riesling and Gewurztraminer this side of Alsace).

          My favorite wine retail shop is the area is Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant on San Pablo Ave which sells its direct imports. Shares a parking lot with Acme Breads and Alice Waters' Café Fanny. You can buy a bottle of wine from KLWM, ask them to uncork it, and they'll give you a glass at the Café to enjoy it with your lunch. I often do this when I need to make an instant decision about whether to buy something in quantity. I've been buying wine from Kermit since I hit 21 as an undergrad at Cal, and he has shaped my life-long wine preferences.

          Some really fabulous world-class wines but unfortunately they sell out quickly. Country wines and fine wines from Burgundy, Alsace, Savoie, Champagne, Rhone, Loire, Languedoc/Roussillon, Rhone, and Irouléguy/Jurançon. The Italian selections are the weakest niche, although I really like the Moscato d'Asti they've got. If you want suggestions for specific producers, let me know. Also sell Kermit's autographed book, Adventures on the Wine Road, and books from Richard Olney and Patricia Wells and some food stuffs from Provence (great anchovies and olives).

          I've heard some complaints about attitude at KLWM or that they ignore newcomers in favor of old customers. Just ask for either Steve or Michael and use my name, hopefully this won't happen to you. Recommendations from either of them are gold.

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            b
            Barry Kaufman

            Melanie - I write a monthly food column for the Rockridge News ----- would love to connect with you on some ideas we might do together. Send me your e-mail address so I can send you some of my recent articles. I live on the block off College Avenue where Zachary's is located ------ hope we can connect. Barry Kaufman