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Two of my friends asked me recently when I would blog about food again. I guess it has been a couple of months since I did that--and I've had some good meals recently, too.

For instance, this weekend, I was in Berkeley visiting friends and doing research. Saturday night I had dinner at Zatar with Ben and Gigi. I told them I would cry if we didn't order hummus, so we did; the waitress teased us for licking the plate clean. We also shared the summer vegetable tagine which was out of this world and a chicken special in phyllo. Both main dishes contained the unexpected taste of cinnamon.

Then, yesterday morning I went with Jonathan to Brown Sugar Kitchen, a soul food restaurant in Oakland. I refused to have the unnatural combination of chicken and waffles. I'm sorry, there are some things that just shouldn't touch on a plate. The egg pie with veggies and mushrooms was delicious, though. I also liked their t-shirt with a waffle on it (though at first glance it could have been brains).

Both restaurants feature local, organic food--both have attractive interiors, both were packed, and in both I was in the company of good conversationalists.

I think I'm collecting restaurants I love in the Bay area . . . and I just added two more to the list. Happily, I'll be returning in a couple of weeks to attend the wedding of Steve and Rex. This time I'll try to remember to take pictures.

Zatar Restaurant
1981 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, California

Brown Sugar Kitchen
2534 Mandela Parkway
Oakland, California
510-839-SOUL (7685)