Tigerlily, Foxglove, Celtic Inheritance New to Gourmet Ghetto

Get the scoop on what's new in dining, shopping, and relaxing on Berkley's Shattuck Avenue.


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Kitchen on Fire

Photos by Megan Small

If the Bay Area ever has a lampoon of Portlandia proportions, it should be centered in Berkeley, where political debate can still be heard between people sorting carrots at a farmers’ market and where there are more electrical outlets to keep vehicles going than gas stations. The Gourmet Ghetto, on Shattuck Avenue between Hearst and Vine streets, a venerable district that has churned out top-notch cuisine and artisan wares with laid-back charm for nearly 50 years, could provide plenty of funny fodder for this imagined satire. But instead of looking back, look ahead to the newcomers keeping the neighborhood edgy.

EAT

Yes, the Gourmet Ghetto still stars Chez Panisse, the Cheese Board Collective, and Saul’s Deli, but consider these new destinations.

Tigerlily, which took over the Mint Leaf space in early January, puts a California spin on Indo-Asian cuisine to create dishes like the “Oh No You Didn’t!” fried chicken served in a rich tikka masala sauce with collard greens. The small staff loves experimenting in the back, resulting in a constantly changing menu. Spot playful décor like the succulent display behind the rustic bar, or garden gnomes hanging out up in the rafters, as you sip cocktails like the Guns N’ Roses made with Seattle’s Gun Club Gin. 1513 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-540-7900, www.TigerLilyBerkeley.com

Nearby on Vine, followers of the Paleo Diet can indulge in dining out at Mission: Heirloom Café without asking the pesky menu questions that might have even made our food-foraging ancestors give an eye roll. Hearty meat-centric dishes like the shepherd’s pie and veggie-packed bowls are the big hits on the rotating menu. The space is airy and inviting with a heated patio that resembles a converted greenhouse. 2085 Vine St., Berkeley, 510-859-4501, www.MissionHeirloom.com

SHOP

Besides fine and fun dining, the Gourmet Ghetto is recognized for the spunky indie spirit of its mom-and-pop shops. At Celtic Inheritance, find MacManus and Sons handmade jewelry. Owner Wilfy MacManus brings years of experience crafting gorgeous silver and gold pendants, rings, brooches, and cuff links, among other designs, inspired by the Celtic knots and carvings he studied growing up in Northern and western Ireland. Along with the exclusive jewelry line, which comes with a lifetime guarantee, you’ll find other Irish-inspired gifts including stained glass, Celtic crosses, and flasks. 1778 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-841-8702, www.CelticJewelers.com

A little farther up the street, look for the bright orange storefront of Foxglove. The cozy boutique is chock-full of fair trade and organic clothing and shoes for both women and men. Dainty dresses by Mata Traders can be worn under long hoodies and wool coats to combat the early spring chill in the air. Alternatively, get cheeky with T-shirts printed with the faces of Shakespeare, Mark Twain, or Elvis. 1476 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-841-1626, www.Foxglove.BigCartel.com

PLAY

Work up an appetite in a hands-on cooking class for all experience levels at Kitchen on Fire, located on the top floor of the Epicurious Garden building. The academy celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a slew of monthly classes that range from cooking with kids to how to make the perfect breakfast in bed. You can even bring your own wine or beer to the class; call ahead to get a recommendation on the best bottles to bring. 1509 Shattuck Ave., Suite A, 510-548-2665, www.KitchenOnFire.com

Alternatively, head a few blocks up the road for some peace and quiet amidst gnarled oak trees and blooming flowers at Live Oak Park. The 5.52-acre park is home to gardens, creeks, and picnic areas that set the scene for the annual June festival Live Oak Park Fair. 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, www.Ci.Berkeley.Ca.USwww.LiveOakParkFair

 

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