Travel Eats: tastes of Berkeley, San Francisco, and Sonoma Valley

Travel Eats documents my food adventures outside of Chicago.

Sweeping vineyard views in Sonoma wine country
Sweeping vineyard views in Sonoma wine country

I originally planned this trip around Saturday’s football game – my alma mater Northwestern was playing Cal in Berkeley, and two of my friends from college live there, so it was the perfect excuse for a whole group of us to reunite over the long holiday weekend. The trip also happened to correspond with my birthday on Sunday, so I knew there would need to be some especially good eating and drinking involved. After recovering from an exciting NU victory on Saturday, we spent a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in the Sonoma Valley, with tastings at three different wineries (I couldn’t resist bringing home a bottle from each). For my birthday dinner, I feasted on an incredible whole spit-roasted chicken, which I split with another just-as-excited-and-hungry friend, and later lounged with house-brewed beer on an idyllic patio at Jupiter, the Berkeley equivalent of Chicago’s Piece. The next day, in San Francisco, we ate mostly in the Mission, from a killer brunch platter featuring a green onion biscuit and veggie gravy packed with sage, to legendary Bi-Rite ice cream (roasted banana and cinnamon-snickerdoodle flavors, anyone?) for dessert. And I had to cap off the trip with a mint mojito iced coffee from Philz, which I’d been dreaming about ever since trying it two years ago. The barista turns virtually an entire mint plant into creamy, frothy goodness that you just can’t leave the Bay Area without tasting.

Loved the tasting notes at Ravenswood Winery, our first stop
Loved the tasting notes at Ravenswood Winery, our first stop
Grapes on the vine at Arrowood Winery
Grapes on the vine at Arrowood Winery
Arrowood Winery tasting, complete with a little leftover Northwestern spirit
Arrowood Winery tasting, complete with a little leftover Northwestern spirit
More wine tasting at Imagery Winery
More wine tasting at Imagery Estate Winery
Imagery Winery's backyard, with space for bocce ball and other games
Imagery Estate Winery’s backyard, with space for bocce ball and other games
Whole spit-roasted Fulton Valley chicken, served with fire-roasted fingerling potatoes, black beans, achiote rice, and tortillas at Comal
Whole spit-roasted Fulton Valley chicken, served with fire-roasted fingerling potatoes, black beans, achiote rice, and tortillas at Comal
Bougainvillea cocktail at Boogaloos, with champagne, orange juice, and cranberry juice
Bougainvillea cocktail at Boogaloos, with champagne, orange juice, and cranberry juice
The Boogaloo Classic, with home fries, eggs over easy, and a biscuit with veggie herb-cream gravy and green onion
The Boogaloo Classic, with home fries, eggs over easy, and a biscuit with veggie herb-cream gravy and green onion
Beer flight at 21st Amendment Brewery, including the well-garnished Hell or High Watermelon
Beer flight at 21st Amendment Brewery, including the well-garnished Hell or High Watermelon
The sundae special at Bi-Rite Creamery, with scoops of roasted banana and ricanelas, plus brownie bits, caramel sauce, and toasted coconut flakes
The Ricachu sundae special at Bi-Rite Creamery, with scoops of roasted banana and ricanelas (snickerdoodle), plus brownie bits, caramel sauce, and toasted coconut flakes
Mint mojito iced coffee from Philz Coffee
Mint mojito iced coffee from Philz Coffee
Exterior of Philz Coffee in Berkeley
Exterior of Philz Coffee in Berkeley

The details: Ravenswood Winery, 18701 Gehricke Rd., Sonoma; Arrowood Vineyards & Winery, 14347 Sonoma Hwy., Glen Ellen; Imagery Estate Winery, 14335 Sonoma Hwy., Glen Ellen; Comal, 2020 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; Boogaloos, 3296 22nd St., San Francisco; 21st Amendment Brewery, 563 2nd St., San Francisco; Bi-Rite Creamery, 3692 18th St., San Francisco; Philz Coffee, 1600 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.

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