Best Salad: Cafe Intermezzo
Dressing on the side. If those words don’t exit your mouth when you’re standing before the counter at Cafe Intermezzo, you’ve made a terrible mistake.
The chef’s salad – which is what you should be ordering – is huge. Think two-meals huge. Think plastic-takeout-box-filled-to-the-brim huge. If you have your dressing mixed in, your leftovers will be left a soggy mess by the time you get around to it. And no one likes soggy salads.
But what’s actually in the chef’s salad, you ask? First you have your standard veggie fare: lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and so on – normal salad stuff. But then you hit clusters of kidney beans and alfalfa sprouts, topped off with a sliced boiled egg and a generous sprinkle of croutons. Half an avocado is buried somewhere in the pile. Pick any sandwich meat and dressing, and your order is complete. (I prefer turkey and poppy seed.)
You’ll be greeted by a thick slice of honey wheat bread and a pineapple wedge on the side as well – if that doesn’t make you happy, then no salad will.
Best Sandwich: Cafe Intermezzo
There are a lot of mighty fine sandwich establishments in Berkeley. We are very lucky in that sense. Like, you could be the biggest sandwich Goldilocks ever and you would still always be able to find one in Berkeley that is just right.
Now, this isn’t to say that a sandwich from Cafe Intermezzo is always going to be the one, what with competition from Gregoire, Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen and the Coffee Spot running around. But Gregoire and Saul’s are sometimes a little on the steep side (both financially and geographically). Conversely, the Coffee Spot occasionally feels a bit quotidian.
Which means that a sandwich from Intermezzo will frequently be the perfect choice. Just right. Especially if you get the chicken salad sandwich. Oh god, the Intermezzo chicken salad.
I’m sorry if you’re a vegetarian (Intermezzo also makes a mean tofu sandwich, incidentally), but there actually might be crack in that chicken salad. I really don’t understand it. Plus, the honey wheat bread over there is seriously habit-forming. And, of course, the price is better than right for massive meals that are loaded up with everything that makes a sandwich delicious.