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Mar 26, 2009 04:17 AM

Sodas at Saul's: celery! cardamom! meyer lemon!

Saul's in Berkeley, otherwise notable for absurdly priced food that's not absurdly good, has started making their own sodas--celery, cardamom, meyer lemon, blood orange, cream, and tamarind. I've had only the first three so far, and they're wonderful--intense and not too sweet. $2.25 each. I rarely hit cheeseboard these days without having one.

I learned of their existence when David Boyk and I stopped by a few weeks ago so he could introduce me to Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray, which they no longer sell FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. I finally had one this week in LA--and it was a huge disappointment after Saul's. Cloying by comparison.

(Saul's is 1475 Shattuck, at Vine.)

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  1. Great tip.

    BTW, this is in no defense of Saul's in general, but they do a few things well. Unfortunately they do many more things wrong.Really looking forward to trying that celery soda.

    Saul's Deli
    1475 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

    1. Ooh thanks for the heads up!

      1. Wow, that celery is wonderful. Great, fresh celery taste and as you mentioned not too sweet. Who would think celery and sugar would work.

        I've always been intrigued by the mystique of Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray. When I tried it a few years back I just figured it was an aquired taste. It didn't taste like much. After Saul's soda I see the point to celery. Looking forward to cream soda next.

        5 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          RW: what are the few things Saul's does well? I did like their matzo ball soup when I had it yrs ago.

          1. re: hhc

            Beet horseradish ... probably the best outside of my grandmothers

            Great sour cream herring. Hoever, avoid the herring in wine.

            Very good, but very pricey smoked whitefish

            The best rye bread. Acme does a special bake for them.

            Great Thanksgiving take out. I usually eat out or at relatives. However, I need my next day leftovers. Saul's is expensive, but I have never been disappointed. The turkey is great and they sell by the piece so you can buy a leg or some breast. Really good cranberry sauce, that makes me forget my juvenile passion for Oceanspray. Great ... great gravy. There's two kinds, I forget which I like more. Nice sides.

            Nice one a year latke and donut stand outside ... it is not the same as the latkes served inside.

            I liked the pastrami sandwich a while ago, then my next wasn't great. I'd give them a try again since they seem to be turning things around lately. Even the service ... which was horrid on that last pastrami run ... is great lately.

            I hope I remember to , but the poster looking for chocolate cake ... they use Sweet Things bakery for it. They also has a pretty good looking NY cheese cake. They seem to have done a little tweaking on the menu. They offer drinks now like lemon drops. If they are using their Meyer lemon soda, that might be something.

            I tried the cream soda the other day. It was better than most, but my heart still belongs to that celery soda.

            1. re: rworange

              I've now had them all as well (except the new strawberry), and as good as they each are, while drinking them it's hard not to wish I were drinking the celery instead. I think if celery didn't exist, I'd have thought that I was waiting my whole life for the cardamom. Now, I don't think I can drink any soda besides their celery and masala Thums Up.

              1. re: David Farris

                Do you make your town masala thums up after buying those masala packets
                or do you get them at the stands? The problem at the stands is their idea of
                cold is more like slightly chilled rather than ice cold. And often they are room

                1. re: psb

                  Pardon, Partha, I hadn't noticed your follow-up until now.

                  I get masala sodas at stands and usually they're as cold enough for me. I also had a really satisfying premade soda (a local brand from a soda shop opposite the Sharda cinema in Bandra. The shop had nothing else besides these sodas and I've never seen them elsewhere.)

                  But what are these packets of which you speak? I haven't gotten around to figuring out how to make them myself.

        2. The blood orange is gone to be replaced by strawberry and strawberry cream.

          Gee, that fresh strawberry soda is swell. I didn't like the strawberry cream as much ... selzer, milk, strawberry syrup, but it may be I just got a bad soda. There was only the thinest layer of strawberry syrup on the bottom so not so flavorful.

          They are also making cocktails out of these syrups such as a Meyer lemondrop

          For Passover dinner they will have

          The red sea parted: rhubarb, orange juice and vodka
          Passover: Cardomum soda with vodka and lime with house celery soda

          1. Today at Saul's I tried a fresh lime pomegranate soda. i have to say it was delicious.