Cheese Board Bakery & Cheese
1504 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
For starters, why not go to the source? This shop is the emporium of cheese and all things cheesy. This charming venue, part yuppie, part Parisian and pure Berkeley in ambiance, is just about everything cheese. It offers over 400 types of cheeses, both local artisan cheeses and classic cheeses from around the world. In addition to its staggering selection of cheeses, it also operates a bakery with a wide selection of espresso drinks and runs a pizzeria specializing in incredible pizzas of the day, all dripping with fantastic gourmet cheeses.
Triple Rock Brewery
1920 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
If you love cheese and boutique beers, then the Triple Rock Brewery and its legendary cheese fries will be right up your alley. Just imagine perfect fries drenched in melted cheese and sporting an indiscreet amount of garlic. Triple Rock’s selection of cheese-drenched nachos aren’t half bad either. Cheese and fine handcrafted beers are a match made in heaven at Triple Rock.
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Cheese Steak Shop
1054 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94710
Now, for a sinfully delectable dish that is synonymous with cheese, you can’t go wrong with a good Philly cheese steak and the best in the Bay Area is at the original Cheese Steak Shop. This spot uses only 100-percent pure lean beef loin, chopped on the grill. If you prefer chicken, it’s 100-percent breast meat, also chopped fresh on the grill. Grilled to perfection with onions and sweet or hot peppers and placed on a soft French roll, it’s heaven on a bun. The “King of the Philly” is 10 inches of joy with 50 percent more meat. And be sure to check out the “Premium Cheese Steak” for seven, 10 or 15 inches of perfection. Now, if you’re of a more adventuresome nature, add sautéed mushrooms, roasted garlic cloves, pizza sauce, roasted chilies, pepperoni and more.
Homeroom Mac & Cheese
400 40th St.
Oakland, CA 94609
How about a restaurant that is dedicated to the comfort food of all comfort foods, mac ‘n cheese? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll fine at The Homeroom in Oakland. It makes amazing macaroni and cheese and it just doesn’t get much cheesier than that. Consider mac ‘n cheese made with gorgonzola, caramelized pears, sautéed onions and topped with toasted walnuts. How about the Gilroy Mac that uses creamy gouda and roasted garlic, or Mac the Goat, one of the top choices at the restaurant. Want to take your taste buds one step beyond? Try the Mexican Mac with a few ingredients like Niman Ranch chorizo and chipotle peppers.
Ristorante Due Rose
1596 Fitzgerald Drive
Pinole, CA 94564
If looking for something a tad more refined with the comfort of cheese combined with a touch of urbanity, you can’t go wrong by visiting Ristorante Due Rose in Pinole. This lovely little better-than-expected-from-the-outside Italian restaurant offers some truly elegant dining. The gnocchi alla gorgonzola is a must try. The traditional homemade potato gnocchi with mushrooms and chicken breasts in a gorgonzola sauce is absolutely divine. And the cheesy risotto and fettuccine alfredo aren’t to be sniffed at either.
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Geraldine Duncann is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.