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Aug 13, 2003 12:20 PM

your Favorite things from Cheeseboard?

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I'll be near that area in Northwest Berkeley for a few months, so I am planning on visiting Cheeseboard quite often (yeay!). Anyway, since I can't afford to eat EVERYTHING there (money-wise AND diet-wise), I'd like some trustworthy recommendations.

Recs for good places to eat (and what to order) from around that area, too, please. (on a student budget)Thanks so much!

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  1. Um, cheese? They'll let you taste any and all, so I'd explore the types of cheese that interest you. They're great about recomending something if you give them some guidlines.

    While not cheap, for value I can recommend Phoenix Pastaficio which feature it's housemade pasta from it's adjoining past shop. ~$10 for a nice plate of pasta with a glass of wine included. Gregoire is take out only, but offers great food at reasonable prices. Guys running the place are characters too. Barney's is good for burger/hot sandwich and fry type fare.

    1. My absolute favorite is their "chocolate thing." My husband loves their cheese rolls.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ca_grown

        I LOVE the chocolate things--I eat one from Arizmendi almost every weekend! I am also a huge fan of the Cheeseboard (and Arizmendi's) baguettes. They're the best that I've tried in the Bay Area. The berry scones are very good. Also, the English muffins are delicious when they fresh (you have to eat them same day or they get quite hard. And pizza!

        Unfortunately, I haven't been to the Cheeseboard in a few months, but I usually enjoy their selection of artisinal French goat cheeses (le lingot and the like). Just tell them what you like and they'll give a few kinds to try.

      2. As someone already suggested, you can taste any of the cheeses you want and then decide. The staff there is very friendly and knowledgeable, and once someone is waiting on you (which can take a while, but usually not as long as you think it will, and you can browse the baked goods while you're waiting), you have their complete attention for as long as you want to try cheese. Unlike most cheese shops they post a list of what they have and the prices on a big chalk board, so you can use that as a starting point. Prices are more reasonable than most cheese specialty shops, and since they cut it to order you can also buy very small quantities.

        The baked goods are self-serve, quite reasonably priced and mostly sold by the pound, so it's very easy to sample everything, since you can just buy one of several things. I second the recommendations for the cheese rolls and the English muffins, but I particularly like the short breads, especially the ginger.

        The last time I was there I found out they also make their own crackers, which are really good and also very reasonably priced, especially for the quality. Since I don't eat crackers often I put them in a tin, which I then forgot about, but when I found them three months later I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were still quite good.

        1. I moved to Chicago 3 years ago, but I used to live around the corner from the Cheeseboard and later near Arizmendi in Oakland. I STILL crave chocolate things (especially when they are fresh out of the oven in the morning and the chocolate is still a little gooey) and Cheeseboard pizza (all the different variations I've had over the years have been good, but the corn ones were a special favorite). Whenever I have the chance to return to the area for a visit, one of the first stops I make is to the Cheeseboard. That place is amazing.

          1. The Cheeseboard's Cheese Bread is absolutely essential. I know some people have mentioned the cheese rolls, which are also very good, but the cheese bread is so good that we have to take bags of it with us when we fly to the East Coast to satisfy the longings of transplanted Berkeleyites. They have several kinds, from a simple one to one with onions and curry in it, and they are all delicious. I don't really eat cheese bread from any other bakery now because I've been spoiled by those soft, savory loaves.
            A nice place in that area that isn't too pricey and is good for a healthy-fix is the little take-out place on Vine next to the shoe store (towards Shattuck on the same block as Peet's). The name escapes me right now - Good Earth? - but it is really good, homey food. For super-budget eating, ask them what day-old sandwiches they have. Those are half price and tasty in a squishy way, but they keep them hidden behind the counter.
            Enjoy your stay in the "gourmet ghetto"!

            14 Replies
            1. re: Mariposa Bat

              The Juice Bar. That's what the little place on Vine is called. I just saw it in another post.
              I don't know if it's kosher to post anti-recommendations here, but I wanted to caution you to stay away from Saul's Deli. At least for a full meal. Way overpriced, underportioned... It seems like such a good idea but I've been watching it go downhill for 15 years or so.

              1. re: Mariposa Bat

                Thanks for the warning - I've actually been eyeing Saul's Deli for a few years (never got a chance to actually go in) and wondering if it's any good.

                By the way, Cha'am Thai is pretty good (somehow it tastes less strong than other Thai places, which I like). I'm wondering about the one next door, I think it's called Daria or something?

                1. re: anne

                  I think it's actually Dara. I know Cha Am is popular, but I've never seen the appeal.

                  Another interesting and reasonably priced option in that neighborhood is Cafe de la Paz, on Shattuck just south of Cedar. Nuevo Latino small plates; live music; brunch.

                2. re: Mariposa Bat

                  I ate at Saul's about a year ago and the food was excellent -- if you love Sephardic spices. They had a new-ish chef who is Sephardi and her touch was delicate.

                  But I didn't try things like pastrami or chicken liver.

                3. re: Mariposa Bat

                  The place referred to for take out is The Juice Bar Collective..I think part of the cheeseboard collective as well.

                  1. re: roxie

                    Oh, you lucky thing! I lived in that neighborhood for three months once, house-sitting, and fell in love! I will add to the suggestions my favorite bread from Cheeseboard, although I cannot remember the name: it is similar to an English muffin, but dusted with, I think, cheese and a red pepper mixture. I used to buy a bag of them and dip them in Tzatziki (available next door at Andronico's) to tame the heat. Bon app├ętit, fellow Berkleyite!

                    1. re: Jess

                      zampano is the name, i believe.

                      1. re: wally

                        The zampano are delicious, and so are their English muffins. The English muffins are totally different from Thomas' or one of those thin store-bought muffins, they are extremely tasty with great texture. I like them for sandwiches as much as with butter and jam.

                  2. re: Mariposa Bat

                    oops just noticed this is a discussion from 2003 not 2013.

                    1. re: escargot3

                      Yeah, didn't have a little dot next to it, so I thought it was new...until I saw a reference to Cafe de la Paz.

                      1. re: Glencora

                        I miss Cafe de la Paz. They had those whole-corn-fritter appetizers - Cachapes or something? - anyone know another source?

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          If it is indeed a cachapa you want, Coupa Cafe makes them during fresh corn season which would be now.