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Berkeley breakfast and lunch on a Friday

It's been a couple of years since I have been in Berkeley but I have the opportunity to go there again for a meeting. I'm going to have breakfast before my meeting. Is Meal Ticket still there and a good breakfast option? Or do you have other favorites for breakfast?

How about lunch? I'm looking for inexpensive meals either in Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, El Cerrito or points east. All suggestions welcome. Thanks fellow hounds!

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  1. I would definitely go to Jimmy Beans before your mentioned choice. Fresh, friendly, no one is going to yell, and the food is delicious.

    1. I'm 90% sure meal ticket is in business. Yelp says they are (go for the listings, avoid the reviews), and when I've driven by later in the day they seem alive.

      You didn't mention how early you need, or how much you want to linger.

      Consider Rick and Ann's (by the claremont) on a weekday. It's been a while since I've been, but I like the place. A mobscene/zoo on weekends, it seemed very civil on weekdays. I don't know what cheap is for breakfast - R&A would be more than Meal Ticket but still pretty reasonable.

      Sunny Side on solano gets thumbs up from my friends, I've only been for lunch.

      I like Jimmy Bean's OK, but their coffee's a bit sad.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bbulkow

        Sunnyside is a a great place for breakfast. "The Alameda" is unbelievable.

        Jimmy Bean's food is good, but portions are way too much on the small side, imo (I don't like putting down $12 for breakfast and leaving hungry). Coffee might not be great, but they do serve the best OJ I've had in all the East Bay.

        1. re: J T

          Leave hungry? I'm a big eater and hate when that happens, but it never happens to me there. Maybe cuz I just can't get past the corned beef hash. I must get that 3 times out of 4 there. One of my favorite hashes anywhere.

          1. re: BernalKC

            If you've had the hash at Bette's and/or Cafe M (both in Berkeley, 4th St area), can you tell how it compares? My husband *loves* the hash at those two places, but if there's one that's better (or at least equally as good), I'd like to take him there.

            1. re: chemchef

              Good question. It had been a while since I tried Bette's so I just had to go research my answer. ( I have never tried Cafe M. I'll save that for another day. )

              Bottom line: they are both excellent. Bette's is a bit cleaner, lighter, healthier -- words not normally associated with hash. Jimmy Bean's has a heartier, more developed flavor from, I assume, spending more time crisping up on the grill.

              Bette's is chunkier with fewer ingredients. The corned beef chunks are more distinct and toothsome, encased in a steamy blanket of nice white potatoes. There is no hint of grease -- and no onions that I can taste. The eggs on top are poached, which lowers the grease levels even further -- and they had the good sense to ask if I wanted them runny or not and sure enough the yolks were just like I wanted -- running all over the place. Minor irk: not enough salt or pepper. But that was easy enough to fix. Tabasco is the only hot option. So old school of them.

              At Jimmy Bean's the hash is definitely heavier both with grease and with flavor. The ingredients are chopped a bit smaller, blended together more, and better seasoned. Where I was savoring the individual ingredients at Bette's, here the hash is more the sum of the parts. I like my hash with the eggs sunny side up and I've never had a problem with over cooked yolks. I like the condiments they serve with most dishes and their cilantro pesto and salsa cruda work well with the hash -- even if that sounds as incongrous as calling Bette's 'light' ad 'healthy'.

              I will say that the coffee at Bette's -- and the service -- is a lot better. It never really bothered me about JB's, but when I put them side by side the difference is stark. Serving size? Cost? Abot the same.

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              Bette's Oceanview Diner
              1807 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

              Jimmy Bean's
              1290 6th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

      2. Buttercream is cozy for coffee and pastries. They only offer two eggs or a toasted bagel, but their lunch panini sandwiches are substantial and garnished with a hearty side salad.

        I was just at Sushi Solano and had a very reasonable $10.50 lunch combination. Choice of two (shrimp tempura, grilled sea bass or mackerel, chicken teri or karraage, mixed sashimi and more) and comes with rice and salad. Beautiful presentation, fresh food, service was accomodating. My previous visit I thought the California roll was premade and the rice too wet.

        I also enjoy the rotisserie chicken at Zaki Kebob and I crave the naan and curry at Indus. The Yellow Brick Cafe Cambodian BBQ is run by very sweet folks and the skewer plate is worth every penny. The spring rolls sell out early. It is a donut shop with few tables and a small outdoor patio.

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        Sushi Solano
        1373 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

        Indus Village Restaurant
        1920 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

        Buttercream Bakery & Cafe
        841 San Pablo Ave, Albany 94706

        Yellow Brick Cafe (Formerly All Star Donut)
        1255 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

        Zaki Kabob House
        1101 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

        1. We like the Gilman Grill at Fourth Street - right off the freeway and open early.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sydthekyd

            Nice people, decent food, nothing fancy at all, and the price is right.

          2. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I don't need to arrive at my meeting until about 10:00 although I'm worried about finding parking near the Cal campus. I plan to leave for Berkeley around 7:00 or 7:30 and it will take me an hour and fifteen minutes to get there (that's not taking into consideration morning traffic) but I should be there no later than 9:00. It would be fun to try someplace new so I will definitely give one of your suggestions a try.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dimsumgirl

              Consider 900 Grayson either coming or going.

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              900 Grayson
              900 Grayson St, Berkeley, CA 94710

              1. re: wolfe

                Grayson 900 has my favorite breakfast meal in the Berkeley area. Their "Demon Plate" (chicken and waffles). Remember the name "DEMON PLATE". It will posess you!

                1. re: J T

                  I used to love Grayson. But went there 3 weeks ago and was greatly disappointed:

                  -lackadaisical service --yet the place was mostly empty
                  -extremely greasy hash browns

                  hopefully it was just an "off" day. I'd give 'em another chance. But...