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The Foodie’s Valentine’s Day – Chez Panisse

By. Edward Mack

Let Valentine’s Day be your excuse. No, let Valentine’s Day be your motivation. You’ve always wanted to go, but you’ve never had the chance. Now’s the perfect time for the perfect dinner. This year celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one you love by dining at Chez Panisse.

Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA is more than a restaurant; it’s an institution and a landmark of cuisine. The restaurant’s founder, Alice Waters, has become one of America’s most influential people of the last 50 years. She was a pioneer of the farm-to-table idea of dining, using only the freshest local product for her dishes, well before the Slow Food Movement (of which she is also a part). If you’ve eaten organic food in the last 40 years, you probably have Alice Waters to thank.

Waters brings her seasonal, fresh, and sustainable idea to her world-famous restaurant and consistently creates menus that critics drool over. On Valentine’s Day, Chez Panisse will offer a special menu in the café and restaurant. There will be music and dancing. The restaurant will be emblazoned with flowers. And there will be food. Oh, will there be food.

Admittedly, it is extremely difficult to make a reservation at Chez Panisse. They begin accepting reservations 28 days in advance. The week before Valentine’s Day also features a special menu: it’s Beer Week at Chez Panisse. A special beer list will be added and dishes will be inspired by beer. This is a fun alternative to Valentine’s Day.

After a world-class meal at Chez Panisse, you may wish to walk off your meal at Berkeley’s Regional Parks Botanical Gardens or visit one of its museums. Alternatively, you could head into San Francisco or to Fort Point, where the Golden Gate Bridge soars above you. For foodies that prefer to cook their own meals, The City Kitchen is a romantic retreat.

No matter what else you do, a Valentine’s Day dinner at Chez Panisse is a meal you, and your partner, will never forget.