If you love the Berkeley food scene but are balling on a budget, don’t worry. You might not want to eat out every day, but some of your favorite dishes from Berkeley restaurants are still always within reach. How? Make them at home! Here are four meals you can make at home that’ll fill the restaurant-shaped hole in your life.
Salad from Mezzo
Instead of spending $13 on a Veggie Delight, use fresh veggies from your fridge to make it yourself. Just combine romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, avocado, croutons and a hard-boiled egg in a salad bowl. If you’re feeling fancy, make your own croutons! Toss cubed fresh bread with olive oil, salt and pepper, and let it bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Dress your salad with whatever you’ve got in your fridge. I usually resort to olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.
Pizza from Sliver
To me, the best part of Sliver pizza is the sourdough crust. Pick up some pre-made sourdough pizza dough at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, and top with your favorite Sliver-esque toppings. You know mine’s going to have potato slices and corn on it. Top with cilantro, lime and olive oil to get the essence of Sliver’s famous sauce. The best part of making “Sliver” pizza at home is that you end up with a whole pie. Box up your leftovers and eat them throughout the week!
Noodle bowl from Toss
Do you have a jar of soy sauce just sitting in your kitchen, begging to be used? How about sweet chili sauce? Put them to work in a homemade noodle bowl that’ll cost you approximately $8 less than going to Toss Noodle Bar. At home, saute leftover veggies and your choice of protein over the stove. Add an egg into the pan and toss (ha, ha) with some rice noodles and sauce, and voila, you’ve got a “Toss” noodle bowl.
Fettuccini Alfredo from Gypsy’s
Fettuccini Alfredo is one of the simplest and cheapest meals you can make from scratch. To make a delicious Alfredo sauce, just simmer some cream and (a ton of) butter in a saucepan. Then, whisk in some minced garlic, salt and pepper, and let simmer for a few minutes. Finally, add a handful of parmesan cheese. Let it melt and fully incorporate into the sauce, and that’s literally it. If you’re really trying to channel Gypsy’s, add some sauteed mushrooms to the sauce before pouring it over the fettuccini noodles.
Next time you’re hankering for a meal from your favorite Berkeley restaurant, remember it might be just as easy to make in your own kitchen. Usually, choosing to cook at home saves you time and money. Plus, you’ll be able to impress your friends with your seemingly professional cooking skills. Someone call Alice Waters! We’ve got a chef in the building.