30 thoughts on “Comments and Feedback

  1. Great little snapshot of berkeley history. Gives one a good idea of the early town. More pictures would be nice of street scapes to give a sense of what a small town we had once. Thank you.

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    1. BHS has quite a few menus, mostly from the last 30 years but some earlier. Some are on display now in the History Center, viewable by appointment: 510-848-0181.

      I suspect there were Chinese and Irish cooks and various other ethnicities.

      An amazing compilation of food history can be found at foodtimeline.org.

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  2. Two points: The recent Gourmet Ghetto presentation ignored one product–or institution–that preceded the foodie revolution .. Italian cafes, particularly the Med. Anyone raised on the typical American boiled mess who then finds the real thing knows that further tasty wonders await. Who says that the one didn’t lead to the other?
    Second: A saunter down Durant, from Bowditch to Telly, places three of my very favorite memories from ’69-70 .. Top Dog, The Great Shanghai Iron and Steel Works and Jerry’s Grossburgers ..

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    1. Yes, espresso coffee was available in Berkeley before Peet’s came along. I’ve been saying all along that “coffee isn’t food,” but we couldn’t ignore Peet’s entirely. Was there particularly good food at the Med? It’s mentioned on the Counterculture page.

      ’69-70 . . . what a year.

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      1. The Med’s food wasn’t bad when I et there. I went for omelet breakfast fare, preceded by a tall fresh oj (!!!) and taken with a latte, and waddled out. Once, I tried a wonderfully proletarian ‘spaghett privavera; it was the strings, topped with something I’d been raised on but had forgotten in adulthood: stewed tomatoes. So easy, and right out of the can at home. Delish ..
        But, for some reason, besides the chawklit layer cake they only offered Neldam’s danish pastries at the counter, and refused! to sell wedges of Italian panforte they sold in boxes arrayed above the ‘bar’.
        When I make the now very occasional trip to Telegraph, I see the Med space still readying to become another soulless haunt for laptoppers. How can we smash the state in joints like this? ..

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  3. This Exhibit is outstanding in all ways, esp. for its content, scope and the research supporting them!!! I especially applaud the fact that the Exhibit is available in this on-line in digital format. It sets a new standard—BRAVO!!!!!!

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  4. I am surprised that there is no mention of the food conspiracies of the 1970’s. They were named for their locations, such as Fulton Fish and Holy Hill. Neighbors got together and took turns going to the Oakland or San Francisco Farmer’s Market on Saturday and distributed the fruits and vegetables in their front yard. Later there was a cheese conspiracy and when it was your turn, you went to someone’s house and cut cheese orders at The Big Cheese, took your orders home and distributed them to your coconspirator neighbors. There was later poultry and eggs that came from Magnani’s. The idea was to save money while getting to know your neighbors, sort of like the co-ops. The Berkeley Co-op stores also have a place in history. Laury Capitelli and Florence McDonald, two people active in politics, were part of our conspiracy in the neighborhood around Sonoma and Colusa.

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  5. In the mid to late 1960’s there was Pizza Haven, a hole-in-the-wall joint off Durant which featured Ladies’ Night discounts on Tuesday. That became family night for us for years.

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  6. I noticed you have the exact same newspaper ad for La Val’s in 2 places; the second time, cited as a year later, you mention that it’s the first to have pizza delivery advertised (but it’s not mentioned, only eat there or take out). Perhaps there was a later ad that got misplaced?

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  7. My first date with John Lafler in the early 1950s (we married in 1955) was at a Chinese restaurant on the north side of University Avenue, just below Shattuck. He ordered dishes that I had never heard of when I was growing up in Chicago. Many of the dishes were stir-fries listed in the menu as “chow yuk,” with different vegetables. I was blown away (but that’s not the only reason I married him). The restaurant may have been called the Canton Cafe. Does that ring any bells? I assume that you will have a section on Chinese restaurants in Berkeley.

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  8. In the 1950s, when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley, the Black Sheep was the restaurant where your family took you when they came for a visit. A very special treat, and I miss it. I also miss Potluck, which was run by friends of my parents. Does anyone remember Cruchon’s, Hank Rubin’s first restaurant in Berkeley? Excellent and affordable food for those of us who were students and poor married couples.

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    1. La Fiesta (1959-2011) should definitely be on the list. Walker’s was just over the line in Albany. Warszawa was on North Shattuck only from 1972 to 1979 (where Agrodolce is now).

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  9. A few years ago, permits to basically rebuild–down to replacing the original 1910 framing timbers–Jack’s Market at the NW corner of Cedar and Sixth St. led me to undertake a survey and history of Berkeley’s corner and neighborhood markets since oh 1878 (as well as liquor and book stores). I made it through to WWI in the old city directories before Covid. Does anyone have (anecdotal) information on any of them? Should the Cedar Market, as a standing example (since that time) be landmarked? And, where can I find mince pie? ..

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