Friday, April 01, 2005

A stroll to Fourth Street

Yesterday's weather was marvelous, finally. Is it March that's supposed to go out like a lamb? It did, a very gentle, Mediterranean sort of lamb. I had to buy cat food, and figuring Justin wouldn't mind a couple of hours to play on the Internet uninhibited, I went the scenic route.

The pet store I've been frequenting is one of those chain PetSmartSuppliesPlusExpress kind of places, so they are probably evil corporate whores, although they do support shelter adoptions. I decided to go to a different store I hadn't visited before, because I wanted to see if they had wild bird feeders (we need a window hummingbird feeder). They didn't, but they did have an aggressively friendly cat, and the brand of pet food I was looking for, and they even sold it to me for less than the marked price, though I'm not sure why. I also discovered a little Mexican grocer nearby.

With only five pounds of cat food and a liter of water in my backpack, I decided to continue to Fourth Street, which has a two-block boutique shopping area. It's oddly placed near the marina and train tracks in the light-industrial section of Berkeley; on neighborhood street corners, Latino men congregate, perhaps in wait for a day's work.

My favorite store there on Fourth Street is Sur la Table, which, like other good things, started in Seattle's Pike Place Market (brag!). They have cooking classes I'd like to try sometime, and plenty of Le Creuset and Emile Henry to ogle, even if we have way too many expensive toys crammed into our teeny kitchen already. I also went to a pasteria/gourmet food store and sampled so many things that I felt I ought to buy something, and the luscious olive oil I tried, at $20 a bottle, was a little steep, so I bought pomegranate molasses, which I'd like to try and would rather buy than make.

There's also a bookstore just for home building, renovation, and decorating, which is an expensive habit in Berkeley, but it's fun to browse. I paged through (and at $5, should have bought) a book of walking tours through Berkeley. I noticed a number of buildings that date from the late nineteenth century. The East Bay in a way is older than San Francisco, because it didn't have the devastating fires that followed the earthquake of 1906 over in the city. I like old things. So I walked back along Channing to catch a glance at a block of bungalows a century old.

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