The Best Entertainment, Restaurants, and Shopping at the University of California, Berkeley

Posts tagged “berkeley

Best Late Night Food: Top Dog

It’s 1 a.m. and you’re aimlessly wandering around Berkeley with your friends. Whether you’re drained from tirelessly working on a project or stumbling around in a post-party daze, you might find yourself drawn to the grilled, greasy goodness of Top Dog. With dogs ranging from the classic Top Dog Frankfurter to the smokey Linguica, Top Dog will satisfy any case of the late night munchies.

You want meaty? The hearty Bockwurst will fill your midnight munchies with its succulent combination of pork, veal, milk and egg. Feeling spicy? The Hot Link’s four different peppers will jolt your senses with a fiery pain that is still somehow pleasing. Hell, even nocturnal vegetarians can munch on the Wienie (note: it’s a veggie dog).

With a warm, toasted French bun encasing the juicy dogs like a crunchy blanket, its easy to see why Top Dog has become a staple favorite of Berkeley. Students have eloquently described the dog stand as “an adventurous treat for my mouth!” and “the perfect midnight calorie-fest.” Conveniently located at three spots around campus, Top Dog’s savory grub will please anyone in need of an after-hours indulgence.

-Ian Birnam

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Best Burger: Bongo Burger

Bongo Burger has three locations, so you’re never too far of a walk away regardless of which part of campus you frequent.

The menu – stocked with everything from breakfast options to fresh-squeezed juices to Mediterranean plates – doesn’t stick to In-N-Out-style minimalism, but the burger doesn’t really suffer for it. From the first bite, you can tell that this is something that was put together with a certain level of attention and care.

The patty – Niman Ranch, which purports to be “the finest tasting meat in the world” – is thick without being too absurdly large for your mouth. Shredded lettuce is an underrated feature that mixes in well with the standard mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup. If you decided to get the mushroom burger, you find that the each little slice pops with juicy, smoky flavor. Toss in tomatoes and grilled onions, then sandwich it all between thick, toasty sesame seed buns.

For around $6 for the burger alone, there’s really no contest – at least within walking distance.

-Jack Wang


Best Class: Political Economy 100

In his course, political economy professor Alan Karras transforms himself from a Machiavellian Prince into a Hobbesian dictator and a pragmatist in the vein of Rousseau. He embodies Adam Smith, Hegel and Marx in turn, each with the command of a brilliant orator, all in attire that would convince any aesthetics aficionado that he’s stepped straight from the pages of The Sartorialist.

Professor Karras masterfully guides students through the canon of political and economic theories of the last five centuries. He challenges students to explore how the writings of this host of thinkers – largely dead, white, bearded men – have shaped the way we and our governments deal with the world and individuals.

Karras is a professor in the old school dealing with old schools of thought, but he will not accept old thinking. Your questions will be deflected back toward you. You’ll gain more than a repository of information – and bragging rights for conquering Hegel. Instead, students will question the assumptions and -isms that make up the modern world, and create their own.

-Noor Al-Samarrai


Best Place to Use Your Meal Points: Qualcomm CyberCafe

When you think of Qualcomm Cyber Cafe, you usually think of wraps. Custom-made wraps. Spinach, whole wheat, flour – the choice of flatbread is yours. Tucked away in a corner on the north side of campus in Sutardja Dai Hall, Qualcomm is one of the few cafes in or around the immediate area that offers quality wraps.

Most Qualcomm customers are en-“wrap”-tured by the wrap combo, which includes a drink and bag of chips to your liking. The food options don’t stop there, though. Have your pick of gourmet salads, mac & cheese, soup – or if you wanna go wild, try a breakfast wrap.

It even gets better than that: There’s a Peet’s Coffee inside Qualcomm, too! It’s the closest Peet’s you’ll find if you live right off of North Gate, and it’s one of three Peet’s locations in Berkeley that takes meal points.

You can leave Qualcomm with a pumpkin spice latte in one hand and a whole-wheat turkey wrap in the other. Bonus to spending meal points and time in Qualcomm: Every once in a while they’ll play Shakira’s Laundry Service album (ya know, the “Whenever, Whatever” one). What a deal.

-Dominique Brillon


Best Place to Use Your Meal Points: Golden Bear Cafe

The smell of fried food wafts over Sproul Plaza as students walk by, tempting them to stop at the Golden Bear Cafe. It has all the works to satiate hungry college students with meal points at the ready, and is conveniently situated for a quick bite between classes.

Whether you need to pick up a bag of chips or want to go all-out with a smoothie, burger, salad and soup, the cafe offers tons of options. Check out the grill, which provides fish tacos and samosas if you’re feeling fancy, or chicken strips (if you need some comfort food). The breakfast also merits praise.

You’ll definitely wait in line during lunchtime rush hour, but the lightning speed with which the cashiers ring up the food is nothing short of miraculous. Though outdoor seating is limited, the tables offer a great people-watching spot to observe the eccentricities of Sproul. When hunger strikes at 3 after class, the GBC stands as a reliable source of food when the dining halls are closed.

Also make sure to check out the new frozen yogurt station, complete with delicious toppings. As warm weather arrives, don’t be surprised to see meal points disappearing from your account.

-Alisha Azevedo


Best Professor: Robert Reich

Robert Reich It’s easy to see why Professor Reich, of the Goldman School of Public Policy, would scoop this distinction. There are so many things to love about him. He’s an old-fashioned storyteller, and his lectures are always something of a performance. Often he will take on a devil’s advocate character and shout at an unsuspecting student, arms flailing, eyes wide. He can draw a laugh making fun of himself, his students and public figures. His voice is that of an old-timey radio host. It’s comforting, which is a benefit when he’s teaching you about the myriad ways that the future of the American economy (our future) is doomed. But maybe the best thing about Reich is that he’s totally freaking famous. He served on the administrations of Presidents Ford, Carter and Clinton, and was an economic transition advisor to Obama. (That’s still something to be impressed by, right?) Seeing him on campus or at a cafe is always an Event. Truly, no other Berkeley professor packs more charm into so little a frame – I thought I could avoid a height reference in 200 words, but damnit, this man is fabulously small, and we love him all the more for it. -Hannah Jewell


Best Place to People-Watch: Sproul Plaza

On a beautiful day in Berkeley, you’ll see Sproul Plaza artfully splashed with the eclectics of the afternoon. There’s Yoshua, handing out his doomsday propaganda. There’s the countless brigade of students handing out their own faceless fliers. Sproul Plaza is a place to meet, a place to greet; a place made famous by Mario Savio, by Barack Obama’s televised inauguration speech, and by the plethora of protests, marches and demonstrations that pass through. It defines Berkeley and its history, and serves as the beating heart to a teeming, growing city.

Sproul is considered the best place to people-watch in Berkeley because it seamlessly combines the community with the campus. For this reason, Sproul is one of my favorite places; it’s the quintessential intersection between Telegraph Avenue and Sather Gate, the place that attracts activity daily. It is a place to revel in Berkeley’s characters, and essentially, in Berkeley’s spirit. The city is known as “Berzerkeley” for its characters, its creeps, its combined insanity and its integral place alongside San Francisco in a progressive-thinking world. Come sit at Sproul. You never know who – or what – you’ll find.

-Summer Dunsmore