Saturday, August 4, 2007

cesar numero deux

Here in Francophone Berkeley, we already have a Panisse, a Fanny and a Cesar. Names plucked from the delicious movies by French director Pagnol who with simple stories told the emotional lives of these characters in the Provence of the 30's. After the great success of The first Cesar, another, bigger one opened in Oakland a year ago. Sad to say, but we only managed to pay it a visit last night.Snatching the last table at 7 on a Friday was a coup, the space was filled to the brim with happy customers ,their voices resonating loudly over the Latin beat. wood tables set simply with a silverware bucket, a free dish of marinated olives arrived quickly.They were herby,with a touch of fire, soaking the spicy olive oil.:perfect ! rosé for me,cosmo for him.We ordered from the tapas menu and gave them all a 10. The food is lusty to the point of embarrassement.The flavors are intense, the food is rich and moist, my lips were burning from the pimented tomato sauce and the garlic aioli that went with the thick fries, but were cooled down, and refreshed by the orange and parsley piccata that pooled around the O of baby calamari.The salt cod and potato cazuela didn't disappoint: bubbling hot, garlicky and smooth. Better than Cesar 1 ! Another shock to the senses was the perilous pairing of escarole( divinely and robustly dressed) with ambrosia melons and smoked worry, it was truly phenomenal. Can I mention dessert ? we were in moaning zone with the Cesar sundae: dark and deep chocolate cinnamon ice cream, chocolate sauce with almonds and speared by two home made churros ( I could eat those all day: crunchy and sugared, with a soft center).
This Sunday, they are celebrating their 1st anniversary.Shall we go to the paella on the patio in the afternoon 0r the flamenco performance at night? I could easily go to both. Such fun. and so satisfying !

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