Summer seasonal food bucket list

Omil Xia/Staff
Omil Xia/Staff

Before you bust out those cardigans and wait in line for pumpkin spice lattes, take advantage of the last few weeks of the summer growing season to treat yourself. Instead of stocking up on frozen dinners or gorging on campus dining food, extend your summer glow by hitting up all the restaurants, cafes and bars you haven’t had the chance to explore. We at the Clog have compiled a list of summer-appropriate foods you should eat before autumn arrives.

Poke bowl

A Hawaiian classic, the basic poke bowl pictured above consists of rice topped with raw fish, like tuna or salmon, and soy sauce. Today, the poke bowl has been modernized with add-ons and substitutions such as avocado, mango, tofu, kale and quinoa. The clean, fresh taste of raw fish combined with easy packaging makes poke bowls a refreshing meal on a hot, summer day. The spicy ahi poke bowl from Simply Bowl on University Avenue is a must-try.

Cajun-style seafood 

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Billy Brown/Creative Commons

A perfect addition to a picnic by the Berkeley Marina would be a bag of piping hot crawfish covered in spicy Cajun seasonings. Crawfish season in California lasts until the end of September, so this is the perfect time to order yourself a three pound bag of boiled crawfish, corn, potatoes and shrimp. 938 Crawfish in Albany serves up a variety of boiled shellfish in addition to crawfish: dungeness crab, king crab, clams and mussels. With the option of lemon pepper or garlic butter perfecting the palette, your taste buds will thank you for indulging in this dish.

Sushi burrito

sushi burrito cover

Abigail Balingit/Staff

The durability of a burrito and the light taste of sushi is a fusion that will knock your socks off and have you begging for more. You should try one of the many sushi burritos from Sushinista or Sushi Secrets in downtown Berkeley. Unlike poke bowls, sushi burritos are not exclusively made with raw fish and can consist of cooked pieces of meat, such as beef or chicken teriyaki. Wrapped in seaweed and rice instead of tortillas and beans, sushi burritos may get soggy at the bottom, but the messiness is part of the fun. The biggest perk? They’re even better for on-the-go meals than a poke bowl, so perfect for your hour-long break between classes.

Korean BBQ

It’s not a true American summer without barbecued meat and hearty side dishes. But instead of your typical smoked steaks, buttered corn and crunchy coleslaw, try something new for your back-to-school meal. All-you-can-eat Korean barbecue, or K-BBQ, will leave you feeling beyond full. Various cuts of raw meat and seafood is brought to you to cook on top of a grill at your table. Served with various Korean side dishes, known as banchan, the contrast between the marinated meat and pickled vegetables is a euphoric tasting experience. We at the Clog recommend stopping by Gogi Time in Oakland and sampling their wide variety of meat along with a pitcher of yogurt soju.

Açaí bowl

smoothie bowl

Allison David/Staff

Trade in your typical ice cream or frozen yogurt for an açaí bowl. This non-dairy option is for those looking for a cold dessert to beat the oncoming September heat wave. Frozen açaí berries are blended into a consistency similar to frozen yogurt and can be topped with fruits, granola or seeds. The secret to a good açaí bowl is a creamy açaí base, fresh bananas and berries, crisp granola, dried coconut and just enough honey to counter the tart flavor. And this dessert is even good for you — açaí bowls have specific health benefits because of their antioxidant properties.

Starbucks rainbow drinks

Starbucks drinks

Sasha Ashall/Staff

The (in)famous pastel drinks that have blowing up the social media sphere are still going strong in stores. Before Starbucks introduces this season’s line of holiday drinks, take this chance to go to one of the two locations in downtown Berkeley and buy yourself one of these pretty drinks. The color-based names don’t hint at what’s in them, but they’re essentially refreshers and teas made with coconut milk instead of water. These pastel drinks are similar to the Berkeley-favorite milk teas, but with a strong fruity essence. Just remember to ask the barista the specific drink components instead of saying “pink drink” or “purple drink” when ordering to avoid potential passive-aggressive confrontation.

Contact Angeline Nguyen at [email protected].