I woke up to pounding rain, and groaned. “Henry,” I elbowed my sleeping husband.“I’m pretty sure no one’s going to come to my book signing today.” I’d scheduled an appearance at the new Whole Foods Market on Gilman Street in Berkeley on the first rainy Sunday of the year.
One glance out the window,and even my own children refused to come to my signing. “We’ll just hang with Po-Po and Gung-Gung,” my seven-year-old told me. “Po-Po might make us RICE NOODLES.” The glee in his voice was unmistakable.
After making breakfast and prepping a fresh pot of bone broth in my electric pressure cooker, Henry and I took a slow, drizzly drive up to Berkeley. To our surprise, an enthusiastic line of
beaming faces was already forming at the store when we pulled in. I’m always
grateful when readers take the time to come meet me in person, but I was
especially appreciative of today’s crowd of rain-soaked real food
enthusiasts—one of whom had actually biked across town in the rain from her dorm. (She’s
hardcore. Or maybe I’m just soft. I remember living in the dorms at Berkeley,
and complaining about walking to class—in
Henry and I had a fantastic
time hearing about everyone’s kitchen adventures and Paleo successes. The store was stocked with Nom Nom Paleo picks, and even featured my Slow Cooker Kalua Pig in the hot bar. Plus, I got to meet folks from some of my favorite Paleo-friendly food companies like Fork in the Road, Muffin Revolution, Epic Bars, and Chameleon Cold Brew. Before I
knew it, three-and-a-half hours had flown by.
And I was starving.
But you know what
they say: When in Berkeley, eat at Mission Heirloom.
I had visited Bobby
and Yrmis—the owners of Mission Heirloom—when their Paleo-, Bulletproof-, and AIP-friendly café
first opened a few months ago in Berkeley’s famed Gourmet Ghetto. (Useless trivia:
This is the same neighborhood where you’ll find the world-famous Chez Panisse,
and where Henry and I lived twenty years ago, when we were in college.)
Somehow, Mission Heirloom’s space manages to be at once sleekly, gorgeously cool and incredibly warm and inviting. Walk in, and you’ll be drawn to the open shelves lined with jars of prepared foods, the lush outdoor
seating area, and a charming, friendly staff. It’s the kind of place where you just want to sit and gab forever over
real, wholesome food with Yrmis and Bobby (and their super-cool daughter Moya).
And that’s what we
We enjoyed octopus
confit, meatballs with Mickey Trescott’s delicious “no-mato” sauce and carrot “pasta,” minced cauliflower with
oyster mushrooms, Yucan Crunch and coconut oil “mousse,” an assortment of ice creams (made with
just Pacotized fruit!), house-made iced turmeric tonic, Revive Gold kombucha, and a small
but super-satisfying cup of hot CaCoCo—the most insanely-delicious drinking chocolate I’ve ever tasted.
It was like sipping an 80% cacao dark chocolate bar.
We lingered well
after the restaurant was closed, but I made sure to buy a bag of CaCoCo and an
armload of prepared foods from Mission Heirloom before we made our getaway.
Mission Heirloom is
at the bleeding edge of the real food lifestyle movement, melding design,
health, and real food into a sustainable, welcoming package—and I can’t wait to
go back. What I love most about this place is that anyone can (and will) eat well here, no matter what their dietary restrictions. Okay—maaaaybe junk food lovers who insist on eating nothing but gluten, soy, and processed GMO foods might be out of luck—but I think even they might change their minds after a meal at Mission Heirloom.