Kimar spent the Summer of 1981 in Italy studying with Marcella Hazan, managed the Buttercup for fifteen years, and was in food service at the University of California, Berkeley for twelve years. More here.






Foods of Berkeley

the Finds

The Past

the Recipes




the Finds



Tomaso's is my all time favorite Italian pizza restaurant, mostly because it's oak-fired oven pizza is like the kind I have in Italy. A few weeks ago I went to there with my old friends Velma, and Sylvia. Now run by Augustino and Carmen, it's a family owned place I've gone to since the '60s. Tomaso's is long and narrow with booths along either wall and a long table between, and is real comfortable. Velma, Sylvia and I got there early on a week night--Tomaso's is always crowded--and sat in one of the booths. We looked forward to an evening of talk and food. But before our pizza we had another of my favorites, a plate of assorted vegetables--lightly blanched broccoli, green beans, asparagus and roasted red and yellow bell peppers marinated in lemon, garlic and olive oil--a delicious and gorgeous dish. As we finished our pizza arrived. It was a large, with roasted garlic and fresh clams on one half and Italian sausage and mushrooms on the other, beautifully presented with clams in their shells placed around the outer border. I had a house Chablis--filled almost to the top of the glass for only $4.50. Talking between bites and sips we had a fun evening. Finally, full and caught up on current-events, we left. By then there was a line out the door and up the steps--people waiting and talking, often as not with a glass of wine in hand. Kimar

Oh,. . . our pizza was $18.00 and Tomaso's is in San Francisco, down Kearny from Broadway.



Appropriately, Fellini has a interior out of a Fellini movie. Just a touch fifties-funky, it's crisp and clean and done in pure-black and bright-red with the dining space cut up into small areas in a wonderfully Byzantine fashion. (I think this creative division also keeps the noise down in a place with concrete floors.) But during our lunch, Fellini's sound system did not deliver Nino Rota's soundtrack from Amarcord, instead, it delivered tasteful post-bop jazz. More than background music, this set a hip tone, complimenting the decor. The service is good, friendly, and fairly fast. Fellini is basically a Pizza, Pasta place with a few sandwiches. I ordered the Margherita pizza*, usually just tomato and cheese, I added chicken sausage. It arrived hot, with good quality mozzarella melted and stringy. Instead of the usual tomato sauce it had pieces of small diced fresh tomatoes and a sprinkling of fresh basil with a few thin slices of fresh garlic scattered about. The crust was thin, and crisp on the bottom. (But the sides were not puffy and bread-like the way I like). Over all, it was a very good pizza and cost $8.50 with the added sausage. (I use Tomassos as the measure for pizza in the States.) Ron ordered a barbecue chicken sandwich which was served on an Acme bakery bun. (Why he ordered barbecued chicken in an Italian restaurant is beyond me.) The grilled chicken was shredded much like a barbecue pork sandwich and was mixed with caramelized onions--very, very sweet. The sauce was just too smoky, over powering any other flavor. But it was nicely presented and of a generous portion. The accompanying Caesar salad was good sized, crisp, with just the right amount of dressing. The dressing itself was was lemony and garlicky, with a lot of grated Parmesan and croutons on top. Very nice. The sandwich and small Caesar salad cost $6.50. Over all, Fellini is a good place for Italian lunch and we would return to try other things. Kimar But I wouldn't order the sandwich again. Ron

Fellini is located at 1401 University Avenue and it's phone number is 510-841-5200. It's open from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM all days but Tuesday. Tuesday it's closed.

*The Margherita is the classic tomato pizza with mozzarella and basil and is a Neapolitan specialty.
Italians use seeded ripe tomatoes in the sauce and often add garlic, olive oil-just a bit, and salt and pepper. In tomato season they don't cook the sauce, it really is a topping rather than what we think of as sauce. Kimar





We hadn't had a proper lunch together for years, maybe decades, but finding the Sante Fe Bistro was an accident. After roaming downtown Berkeley for over an hour, we found ourselves next to Campus on a block of Center Street lined with restaurants. We simply picked the one filled with adults. The Sante Fe is just what it says it is, a bistro--smallish setting, tiled floor, tiny bar along the wall, small tables, and French food, the sophisticated menu offering a good mix of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. But, you order at the counter--though once seated you are offered polite service with refined touches like a good basket of country bread, water in goblets, and white linen napkins. I had a salad of baby Roquette with blood oranges, toasted hazelnuts, shaved Asiago cheese, and house balsamic dressing--it was terrific. The salad was lightly dressed and I could fully taste all its ingredients. A nice European touch were the toasted hazelnuts. I also ordered the seared scallops appetizer served with a drizzled balsamic reduction. Seared to perfection, were these the sweetest, best scallops ever? Ron had the whole rainbow trout, perfectly grilled, served on a bed of saffron rice, and accompanied by a portion of tasty oven-roasted root vegetables. Atop the trout was a dollop of house-made, Meyer lemon Aioli--very nice! For the atmosphere, quality, and sophistication of menu, the cost was a reasonable $30.00 for two without wine. The Sante Fe Bistro is at 2147 Center Street, Berkeley California, 94704. Their phone number is 510-841-4047. Kimar




Although not quite in Berkeley's Potter Creek, the cafeteria at IKEA is still worth a visit. (It's a short bicycle ride or a long walk from here.) The cafeteria itself is remarkably large but pleasantly quiet and offers a panoramic view of the Bay and its bridges. And all-in-all, it provides a clean, orderly setting for a meal. I had the Swedish meatballs with potatoes and salad, and the dessert-pastry sampler. My meatballs were baked and nicely browned, their sauce creamy with a hint of spice. The small red potatoes took on a quiet zip in the sour-cream gravy and the green salad was made of tender, fresh baby greens. Of the three pastries in the sampler, my favorite was a tiny green log, coated with dark chocolate at the ends, and filled with rum-soaked chopped nuts. The cost for the meatballs, potatoes, and salad was about $6.00. (A smaller portion of meatballs and potatoes, without soup or salad is available for $4.00. ) The pastry sampler was $2.00. Altogether a classy cafeteria lunch.Ron




The Past

The Buttercup and The California Breakfast

And just what is The California Breakfast that Richards and Mike Haley invented? Well, it's most likely the eggs-breakfast that you now have when you eat out. (But, as breakfast is the lowly meal, you probably haven't even thought about that.)

Yet, it's important to remember that Richards and Mike Haley not only developed The California Breakfast but they made breakfast a proper and respectable meal out.

Mike, as long as I can remember, loved his morning meal best. When we lived together on Carl Street in San Francisco in the '50s, Mike would sometimes make breakfast for both of us, and I too came to love this meal.

Years later, when Mike and Richards lived together, Richards would make Mike's favorite, adding her own Georgian touch. An excellent cook from the South, Richards was well aware of the hearty country breakfast.

So in the '70s, when they bought the Buttercup Bakery and Coffee Shop on College Avenue and made it into a bakery and restaurant, it was only natural for them to make it into a breakfast-restaurant. (Understand, at that time there were coffee-shops and diners but not proper breakfast restaurants.) Simply, Richards knew about the Southern country breakfast and Mike loved breakfast best. This was the start.

If there was an exact moment when The California Breakfast Out came into being I suppose it was when Richard's started making Michael's favorites for the restaurant: Fresh-eggs, quality meats, home-fries with onions and sour cream, and a good toasted-bread were part of Michael's morning meal at home. (Occasionally I was at their house at breakfast time and it was always a treat.)

Then, I suppose if you own a bakery-restaurant it's natural to offer fresh baked-goods with the meal: And early-on you could substitute a pastry for toast. Bagels and croissants were also offered, but bagels and croissants were still popularly thought of as foreign food and breakfast is a very American meal. Also, it is important to remember that at this time breakfast out was pretty much a meal you had--often rushed--before your day's work. It was not so much a special meal--and social event--as it was just a way to get food before working. Kruse Plumbing was then down the street, and I remember some of the original customers were plumbers having breakfast before going to a job. There were also truck drivers who stopped before their run as well as milkmen taking their break.

(Perhaps the fruit garnish was added when it became apparent to all that breakfast was now social, even special.)

So there you have it; The California Breakfast Out. Was this just a variation of the country breakfast that, through good-timing, people found pleasure in eating in a restaurant? Is California Cuisine just fish and under-cooked vegetables?

Of course not.

Many people, other than Mike and Richards, were involved in making the Buttercup. Moe Moskowitz lent money and support, Mary Guenther provided heart and soul, Karl Mullis provided color and was a hard worker, Suze Orman found-herself and brought loyal customers, and Nancy Lawrence at Wells Fargo Elmwood was simply indispensable. She was always there. (Oh, Nick Victor, with failing health and eyesight, and preoccupied with his business and building two large warehouses, took time to give sound, solid business advice. ) Me? It was a place to hang out.




German restaurant, on 14th St. in New York City was, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a gathering place for musicians, artists, writers and not a few business men and politicians. They gathered for a little good food, good talk and companionship. Here the likes of Rachmaninoff, O. Henry, Helen Traubel, Toscanini, Mack Sennett, Lillian Gish, Theodore Roosevelt and others exchanged ideas, socialized and ate. William Steinway and his senior staff were regulars at the noon lunch. Gus Kahn wrote "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" there, on a table cloth, in 1912. There, in 1914, Victor Herbert and some friends founded "The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers," and J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie held dinners at Lüchow's that made culinary history. Sigmund Romberg, the composer of the light operas Desert Song and The Student Prince was also a regular at Lüchow's German Restaurant. Here is the recipe for his favorite dinner:




4 or 5 pounds venison shoulder
Vinegar and red wine to cover
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
6 pepper corns
1 tablespoon salt
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons beef suet or lard
1 cup red wine
2 or 3 tablespoons flour

Wipe venison with wet cloth. Cut in 1 1/2 in. cubes. Place in enameled kettle or large crock; cover with a mixture of equal amounts of red wine and vinegar. Add onions, carrots, peppercorns, salt and bay leaves. Cover and let stand in refrigerator 1 week.
When ready to cook, drain meat. Melt suet or lard in very hot heavy roasting pan. Place venison in pan and brown quickly in very hot oven (475F to 500F) 20 to 30 minutes. Add onions and carrots from the marinade (do not use marinade liquid). Add 1 cup red wine and sufficient water to cover venison. Lower oven heat to moderate (350F), or just hot enough to simmer liquid in pan. Cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove any excess fat.
Place venison on hot serving dish. Stir enough flour into pan to make a smooth gravy; bring to a boil on top of range, stir, then strain over venison. Serves 8.

Mr. Romberg liked Würzburger beer with his venison. The recipe is from Lüchow's German Cookbook, Jan Mitchell (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1958).




the recipes



Uncooked Pasta Sauce

This is best made at the peak of the season when the tomatoes are juicy and ripe.

6 medium tomatoes(preferably heirloom)
2 cloves garlic crushed
10 or 12 basil leaves finely sliced or torn
10 T good quality olive oil (extra virgin) 1/4 C plus 2 T
Place tomatoes in a bowl.  Boil a few cups of water and pour over.  Let sit for 2 min or so.  Pour off and fill bowl with cold water.  (This makes it easier to peel the tomatoes.)
Peel tomatoes, slice in half horizontally and squeeze out the seeds.  Place tomatoes on a cutting board and dice.
Place diced tomatoes into a glass bowl.
Press garlic into bowl with tomatoes
Heat olive oil in microwave for 1 minute
Pour over tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and let sit on counter for 1 or 2 hours.
Boil 1 pound of vermicelli pasta.
Drain and place in pasta bowls or 1 big bowl.
Put basil in sauce and pour sauce over vermicelli.
(For a spicy sauce as served in southern Italy and Sicily add chili flakes.)

Another way to savor the tomato flavor out of season is to roast and freeze them. Kimar


Roasted Tomatoes

Makes about 24 slices

These tomatoes make wonderful additions to sandwiches and pasta sauces, or can be
served on their own as a side dish with fsh or chicken.

8 large tomatoes 4 tablespoons coarse or sea salt 3 tablespoons freshly ground black Pepper 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, chervil, sage (optional)

1. Heat oven to 250°. Slice tomatoes thickly, to yield about three slices per tomato. Eat or discard the ends. Place silces on a parchment-covered baking sheet.

2. Mix together salt, pepper, and sugar. Brush tomatoes with olive oil, and sprinkle a large pinch of salt mixture on each tomato. Sprinkle on herbs, if using.

3. Roast the tomatoes for 3 hours. Or roast for 2 hours, turn off oven, and leave overnight.

From Martha "Nelson Mandela went to jail too, you know" Stewart Kimar



A reader from Mexico City offers her

Isabel's Strawberries

1 pound of fresh strawberries
1/2-cup of sugar
2-cups of white dry wine
1/4-cup of freshly chopped basil

After washing the strawberries, put them on a large bowl and cover them
with the sugar, wine, and basil. Mix everything with your hands, being
Cover them and leave them a couple of hours--mix them
from time to time.

(I'm not very good at writing these kind of things in English, I
usually do it in Spanish.) Isabel



Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 1/4 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. Dutch cocoa powder
2 t. bkg powder
1/4 t. salt
8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/3 C. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/3 C. milk
1C. confectioners sugar, plus more for rolling

1. Heat oven to 350 Chop chocolate and melt in doubleboiler. Set aside to cool. sift flour, cocoa, bkg powder and salt together.

2. In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. Divide dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 2 hrs.

3. On a clean countertop roll each portion of dough into a log about 16"long and about 1" in diameter. Wrap logs in plastic wrap and chill for 30 min. Cut each log into 1"pieces and toss in confectioners sugar a few at a time. Shape into balls in your hand and re-roll in conf. sugar. Place 2' apart on a parchment lined baking pan. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits on the top, 12 to 15 min.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. These cookies will keep for a week in an airtight tin, they also ship well.

This is a Martha Stewart recipe from her TV show. Kimar




Winter Salad of Fig and Stilton with Port Wine Dressing

3/4 C. Ruby Port
1/4 C. dry red wine
1/4 C. oil can be olive or vegetable
3 T. balsamic vinegar
2T. walnut or hazelnut oil
3 T. sugar
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 9 oz. package dried black Mission figs stemmed and cut in half lengthwise
1 5 oz. bag mixed baby greens or about 8 cups
4 oz. crumbled stilton cheese, about 1 1/4 C.

Whisk first 7 ingredients together in med bowl, to blend
pour in sauce pan with the figs and simmer until slightly syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 8 min.
cool slightly, season with salt and freshly ground pepper
Divide greens among 6 plates
sprinkle cheese over greens. Ladle warm dressing and figs over salads and serve
from Gourmet Magazine and prepared by Kimar


Beef Bourguignon (This is not your Mom's beef stew, unless she was a gourmet.)

Recipe Summary

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours

Yield: 6 servings

1 tablespoon good olive oil 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks 2 yellow onions, sliced 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves) 1/2 cup Cognac 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir 1 can (2 cups) beef broth 1/2 can tomato paste 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 tablespoon dried) 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 pound frozen whole onions 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving: Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprikle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to bum off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Ina Garten recipe prepared by Kimar




Cassata Gelato

500ml-- vanilla ice cream slightly softened (2C equal 475ml)
125ml-- chocolate ice cream slightly softened (1/2 C equals 120ml)
250ml--double cream (1C equals 240ml)
3 tbs powdered sugar
0.25lb mixed crystallized fruits cut up very small

Line a 1.5litre mould--with the vanilla ice cream. Freeze until solid. (1 1/2 Qt is about 1.5 litre) Layer the chocolate ice cream over the vanilla. Freeze until solid. Whip the cream until it stands in soft peaks and stir in the crystallized fruits. Sweeten to taste with powdered sugar folding it in carefully. Spoon this mixture into the centre of the frozen chocolate ice cream. Cover with foil and freeze for several hours until solid. To serve, dip bowl into hot water and then turn the Cassata out onto a serving plate.

To celebrate early Summer, here's an Italian dessert via Susan Tjhi of Taipei, changed slightly reflecting metric and language differences.


Susan Tjhi




from the kutchen of Richards baked by Kimar

Cream Cheese Brownies

Brownie Layer
4 oz semi sweet chocolate (Scharffen Berger 62%)
1/4 C. butter
3/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
1t. vanilla
1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. chopped pecans (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate and butter together either in a microwave or in a double boiler. Cool slightly
Stir sugar into melted chocolate mixture. Stir in eggs and vanilla until completely mixed. Stir in flour until well blended and stir in the nuts. Spread in a greased 8x8 inch pan.

Cream Cheese layer
4 oz cream cheese softened
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg
1T. flour
In a small bowl mix with an electric mixer, cream cheese, sugar, egg, and flour until smooth.
Spoon over brownie mixture, swirl with a knife to marbelize.
Bake in the middle of preheated oven for 35 min. (DO NOT OVERBAKE)
Cool and cut into squares.
You can double this recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan.




from Kimar's kitchen

Malt Brownies

3/4 C. all purpose flour
1 C. Malted powder
1t. bkg powder
1t. salt
1/2 lb unsalted butter plus additional for the pan at room temp
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 C. sugar
3 large eggs
1t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
Butter and flour a 9x13 pan.
In medium bowl combine flour, malt, bkg powder and salt, mix till combined.
Place butter and both kinds of chocolate in double boiler and stir until half melted, remove from heat and stir until completely malted. Transfer ot large bowl and allow to cool for 5 min.
Beat sugar into choc mixture or with an electric mixer at med speed continue beating until smooth and uniform. About 3 min with a mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time, incorporate before adding the next egg. After beating in the 3rd egg for 1 minute add the vanilla.
With a wooden spoon stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Do Not Beat. Spoon into prepared pan
Bake 35 min or until tester comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Cool on wire rack cut into 24 squares.
Will stay fresh for 4 days if covered properly.

from the Ultimate Brownie book by Bruce Weinstein

(These brownies have a fairly complicated taste with the malt accenting, contrasting and mixing with the chocolate.)