A group of friends and I set out to create a Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto Foodie Tour of our own on the last Sunday in April. The Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto was created by the merchants along Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, California. I had seen the description for the Edible Excursions tour and decided to try it.

We started at the original Peet’s Coffee. They say that Mr. Peet started a new trend in coffee when he opened his store in 1966. He was unusual as he made his coffee in small batches, using fresh, superior quality beans. We bought some coffee and started our food adventure. It was 10:30 am.

Vintage Berkeley has a nice collection of limited productions wines from around the world that are under $25. We didn’t get a chance to do any wine tasting as they were just opening up. It was pretty early for wine.

The Juice Bar Collective is closed on Sunday, so we didn’t get a chance to sample their organic smoothies. This is one of two collectives on our tour. The store is owned by its workers and was started in 1967, about the same time as Peet’s and the Cheeseboard.

Saul’s Delicatessen is a Jewish Deli known for their bagels and pastrami, but I don’t know if I would call it typical. We tried some bagels with a couple of different toppings. The bagels were chewy and delicious as advertised. We also grabbed some unique and very good macaroons.

Masse’s Pastries are beautiful, as pretty european-style cakes often are, and they are also delicious. Not in a “hmm. That is pretty good way,” but in a “wow, how did they get some many wonderful flavors and textures into one little cake” kind of way. We agreed that if we were going to survive this food paradise we would need to pace ourselves, so we bought four different pastries and split them up between us. My favorite was the Bella Torta, a lovely little cake with raspberry, lemon, and white chocolate.

The Cheeseboard was also closed on Sundays so we walked on by. On my previous visit, we stood in the lengthy line to buy some speciality cheeses and freshly baked bread to take home. They have a marvelous selection of cheese, and their pizza must be good, as the line for a piece was even longer.

The Local Butcher Shop offers sustainably raised, local meat and make their own sausages, pates, stocks, and sauces. We bought some sausage to take home and some pate and crackers to try. The pate was rich and tasty. We cooked up the sausage later that week, and it was very good too. The herbs and spices were fresh and provided a unique flavor combo.

The Café Gratitude serves vegan, organic, and quirky food. We ordered some vegan Nachos. While we were skeptical at first, we ended up being pleasantly surprised; they were spicy and delicious. Nothing like “normal” nachos, but very good.

Tiny Gregoire’s has 3 bar stools and a long wait for their Crispy Potato Puffs. We put in our order and went to the next stop, then sent my brother back to pick them up 45 minutes later. They were very much worth the wait.

Chef, author, and food activist Alice Waters’ restaurant Chez Panisse was still closed from their March fire. They start taking reservations again on Monday, May 27th.

Lush Gelato serves Gelato and Sorbetto in many interesting flavors including Orange with Cayenne Pepper Chocolate Chunks. They continuously add new flavors. I tried the Caramel Balsamic, but ended up with a delicious chocolate.

We didn’t sample any soup at SOOP in Epicurious Garden as we had just finished Gelato and needed to save room for a cupcake. Their wide variety of soups looked good.

Love at First Bite is cute little cupcake shop upstairs in the Epicurious Garden. Luckily they serve cupcake “bites” so we were able squeeze one last sample in. It was the perfect little end for a perfectly delicious day.

Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto Walking Tour Map


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