Pedro wants you to love his tri-tip. The larger-than-life owner of Berkeley staple Brazil Cafe comes from around the corner of his colorful shack, introducing himself to you and your friends who are still fighting over where to eat lunch. He’s sporting his long gray hair and shades, doling out free samples of juicy meat dipped in his famous green garlic-cilantro sauce. The thing is, you don’t even need that free sample — one smell of the surrounding air, and you’re hooked. The obvious choice on the menu is “Pedro’s Favorite Tri-Tip Sandwich,” complete with the aromatic meat, lettuce, tomato, onions, pineapple, cheese, olives, jalapenos and that incredible garlic-cilantro sauce. There’s no better sandwich in Berkeley, and Pedro knows it.
Even at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, we can’t turn down a breather involving pizza and beer. There’s an adage that claims, “Sex is like pizza: Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good,” and judging from the cacophony of Natty Ice being shotgunned on frat row, the same can be said for beer. Jupiter, on the other hand, does both pretty damn well.
Its pizzas come out piping-hot from its wood-burning brick ovens with just the right amount of crisp in the crust. The restaurant offers beer that’s made in-house as well as guest brews that change monthly. Day drinkers rejoice — the garden is your haven. When the sun goes down, there’s a heated patio with live music being played each day from Wednesday to Saturday. With its prime location on Shattuck, it’s in stumbling distance of movie theaters, restaurants and several other bars (when beer isn’t adequate).
No matter how many frat boys extol the virtues of Chipotle, Berkeley knows better: Gordo Taqueria truly does serve up the best burrito.
A burrito is a well-balanced yet portable meal. You’ve got beans (that’s protein), then meat (and cheese if you so choose), then pico de gallo and guacamole for your veggie intake. And your parents worry about you getting enough to eat.
You know what else you can get? Refried. Beans. Why do people get black beans when refried is an option? You go to Gordo for the authenticity, after all. Odds are you’re also reaching for the agua fresca. Refried beans are the glue that holds the rice and meat and tomatoes inside your burrito; they’re your insurance policy to a mess-free ride.
You don’t even need to use hands, people. Gordo burritos are so sturdy that, if you’re really lazy, you can just plop the foil-wrapped goodness on the table and graze like a cow. No judging here.
Best Place to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth (non-frozen)
If addiction is a disease, I don’t want to be cured. Cinnaholic’s gourmet cinnamon rolls are indeed habit-forming. After a bite of one of the bun shop’s perfectly puffy and liberally iced pastry pinwheels, you may find yourself frequenting the Oxford Street storefront with astonishing regularity.
With a staggering selection of toppings — ranging from healthy fruit to sinful specialties like cookie dough and oatmeal pie crumble — and the even more impressive icing offerings — root beer and irish cream — how could you possibly stay away?
Even better: Everything on the menu is entirely vegan. So go ahead — indulge in that Oreo explosion roll. Cover that bun in brownie bits. You’ll be a cinnaholic in no time.
Best Italian Food
For years, Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana has been a staple for UC Berkeley students, offering hearty Italian food with relatively little strain on one’s time or wallet. The eatery boasts calzones comparable in size to human heads and rich pastas that can fill you for days. Fan favorites include the Crazy Alfredo: fettuccine packed with sausage, chicken and red peppers and doused in a generous helping of alfredo sauce. With every order comes a piece of garlic bread, which is quite literally roasted garlic on bread — customers either love or hate this Gypsy’s trademark. Much like other comfort foods, Gypsy’s flavors are not overdone: balanced combinations of cheese, tomato, garlic and various meats. And that is what makes Gypsy’s the best of Berkeley. It is the ultimate comfort food.
Pho K & K
For a chilly, windy day in Berkeley — and God knows we have plenty of those — the perfect solution to your gloomy weather depression is a large, steaming bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup, for the culturally ignorant). Pho K&K, located on Telegraph in between Dwight and Parker, offers some pretty speedy service when it comes to the pho industry (if such an industry exists). If you know how you like your pho and what you want, Pho K&K makes things efficient for you — enter, sit down, order and within the next five to 10 minutes, you’re already eating. Plus, unlike some restaurants, these folks are never stingy when it comes to heaping on extra bean sprouts and lime. Pho yes.
Best Ice Cream
As most food-lovers will tell you, homemade is where the heart is. Ici, the artisanal ice cream parlor located in Berkeley’s upscale Elmwood neighborhood, is no exception. With flavors made on the premises and delicious hand-rolled cones, Ici (which gives off a Laduree vibe minus the Parisian snobbery) puts a gourmet twist on your classic frozen dessert shop.
Owner Mary Canales, who previously worked as Chez Panisse’s pastry chef, ensures all ingredients are bought from local producers, putting special emphasis on organic dairy and seasonal bounty.
This attention to quality ice cream yields a menu that is as diverse as it is unexpected. Flavors include Earl Grey and honey thyme, but for those who are more traditional ice cream lovers, classic chocolate and vanilla are also offered.
Though the line often extends down College Avenue, these frozen indulgences are worth the wait. Ici provides Berkeley residents with the most tasteful answer to, “What’s the scoop?”
Best Japanese Food
Joshu-ya Brasserie offers a trifold eating experience unmatched by other Japanese (and really most) restaurants in Berkeley: great-tasting food, high-quality ingredients and entirely appropriate pricing. The restaurant gives our town a glimmer of hope that we can uphold the Bay Area’s reputation for exceptional food while still remaining accessible to our hungry but stingy college demographic.
Situated just off Telegraph, the brasserie is centrally located but removed from the street’s divey eateries. Its menu — which changes seasonally — boasts unique Japanese-style tapas and standard sushi/sashimi selections, emphasizing freshness while forming a delicious fusion between traditional Asia and nontraditional California. And Joshu-ya’s subdued, comfortable atmosphere easily allows for scholarly conversation over good sake. Did I mention the fudge-brownie tempura ice cream? Have it.
Best Vegan Option
Finding delicious vegan options when dining out can be tough. Most restaurants offer only a modest vegetarian menu, with maybe one option that can be made completely vegan. Enter Saturn Cafe. With its retro decor, lively music and an array of classic American comfort dishes, it’s sometimes hard to believe that its 100% vegetarian. Almost all of their fare can be made vegan, from vegan cheese burgers complete with soy cheese, to delicious mint chocolate chip vegan shakes. Saturn also boasts a growing soy-free and gluten-free menu, which makes it the perfect spot for friends of all dietary guidelines. Even if you eat meat and dairy, delve into Saturn’s large menu and experiment with foods you’ve never thought could be made vegan.
Best Late Night Food
When you have a severe case of the drunchies or munchies (or both) and are stuck on frat row a couple of hours past midnight, a nice, sizzling-hot juicy sausage or hot dog can pretty much solve all of life’s problems. Featuring a wide selection of franks, there is something to please everyone, even vegetarians.
Each dog is served on a perfectly toasted french roll, and there’s always enough mustard, onions and sauerkraut to fit your condiment needs. Prices round to the nearest dollar, so there’s never change to deal with. And at only $3 a dog, you won’t find a huge dent in your wallet when you wake up the next morning wondering what happened. Top Dog closes at 3 a.m., and in my experience, if the line is too long, that just means you came too early.
Best Grocery Store
In this food fight, Berkeley Bowl emerged victorious. Its bulk section is unrivaled. Its produce offerings are second to none. And if you’re savvy, you just might snatch up a bag of 10 slightly bruised but perfectly edible champagne mangos for a dollar.
Into the Food Movement? Berkeley Bowl is into you. Its regional, organic options are enough to make any locavore swoon. It’s a community affair, after all — you won’t find a Berkeley Bowl outside of city limits. When you want to provide the best, you keep close to home.
The Bowl provides food proudly but humbly. For consistently good ingredients, Berkeley Bowl takes the cake — and the bulk, produce, meat and dairy sections to boot.
Best Indian Food
House of Curries
There’s a dearth of choices when it comes to Indian cuisine in Berkeley, but House of Curries remains at the top, and for good reason. Its menu is varied, and everything on it — from the spiciest of curries to the mildest options — is flavorful, well-seasoned and affordable. A student favorite is the chicken tikka masala, which is rich and one of the least spicy dishes. The freshly baked naan is a must-have to go along with the entree, especially to dip in the sauces. Also popular is the mango lassi, a cold drink made from yogurt, mango and spices. It’s sweet and refreshing, and it complements the flavorful dishes perfectly. The restaurant itself is informal but inviting, perfect for busy students who want a quick yet quality meal with friends.
Fancy yourself a fervent falafel-o-phile? Frightened you’ll faint should you forfeit your feast of fava bean fritters? Fear not, friend, for you can feasibly find a falafel fix at Sunrise Deli.
Forsooth, I may be almost out of F-words, but I’m not faking when I say the sandwiches here are fantastic.
Served either in a lavash wrap or pita bread, the crispy falafel rounds are complemented by lettuce, tomatoes, pickled cabbage and the most perfect hummus I’ve ever tasted. If you’re feeling fancy, treat yo’self to the avocado sandwich. It’s my go-to.
Suffice it to say my fervor is so far from finite, I’ve fallen into a falafel fantasy.
Sometimes, I try to quit drinking coffee, but then I remember that Philz exists, and I stop my nonsense. A cup of Philz coffee is more than just a morning pick-me-up; it’s a coffee-lover’s dream. Since 2003, Philz Coffee has been serving up its one-of-a-kind brew to the Bay Area, starting in San Francisco and coming to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto in 2010. With brews like “Tantalizing Turkish” and “Ambrosia Coffee of God,” deciding on a cup can be just as much fun as the joe itself. If the overabundance of choice stresses you out, don’t worry. The baristas offer a personalized experience, helping customers pick the perfect roast and flavor and adding cream and sugar until the drink is just right.
Customer favorites include the Tesora, the Ginger Snap and the Iced Mint Mojito, which blends coffee, cream and fresh mint leaves into an indulgent coffee cocktail that puts Starbucks to shame.
The lines tend to be long, and a single cup of coffee will cost you $3 or more, but if you bring your own mug, Philz will fill it up for the price of a small coffee. For students, the tables in the back of the shop make for a great study and workspace.
From almond to peach, taro to mango, honeydew to strawberry, Sweetheart Cafe’s milk teas delight your taste buds.
There are over 130 varieties of tea to appease every sweet craving. Plus, the service is quick. At $1.79, boba milk tea is also quite affordable. If you are not up for the plump, firm and super chewy texture of boba pearl, the avocado shake is one of their more popular selections and will satisfy your non-boba craving.
Besides tea, the shop also has light snacks. For the daring, there is deep-fried squid to satisfy the salt fix. Adding a hint of chili powder makes it a slightly spicy treat. Also, the two for $1 eggroll can be shared with a sweetheart (or a friend).
Best Korean Food
To call Steve’s BBQ the best Korean restaurant in Berkeley is like calling Taco Bell the best Mexican restaurant in the United States, but we’ll allow it. Despite selling pseudo-Korean food in its comfy corner of Asian Ghetto, Steve’s does have perks that carved out a specific niche among the Berkeley community.
What Steve’s BBQ truly should be getting a Best of Berkeley for is “Best Post-Workout Food.” Ask for one of its grilled chicken, beef or spicy pork plates, and you shall receive a smorgasbord of meat, rice and pickled vegetables. Despite the restaurant’s imitation kimchi, the cornucopia of meat compensates for Steve’s botched attempt at the sacred food of the Korean people.
That’s where the charm of Steve’s lies: However much you may bemoan its quality and authenticity, it will win you over with its quantity.
A good burger can be a lot of things. For some, it’s the most worthwhile way to cheat after trying out a strict diet. For others, it’s the perfect sponge for absorbing all of the Bacardi sitting in their stomachs after a Friday night. And to the rest, it can be a meal in itself, containing all of the essential food groups: meat, dairy, produce, grains and ... mayonnaise. So it’s no surprise that Bongo Burger, with its generous helpings of meat and cheese served on a crnium-sized bun speckled with constellations of sesame seeds, won this year’s Best Burger. This well-known Berkeley eatery is also a delicious way to meet up with friends, hang out and people-watch through the giant storefront windows. With three mouthwatering locations — Dwight Way, Center Street and Euclid Avenue — no matter what side of campus you’re on, there’s always a Bongo Burger grilling nearby.
Best Chinese Food
The unassuming decor at Lotus House maintains focus on the food and lots of it. Although Szechuan cooking is synonymous with mouth-searing flavor, don't fear the house favorite, Szechuan beef noodle soup. It is a perfect amount of spice tempered in a savory broth with bok choy and green onion. The liberal amount of rich sauces used in most other dishes, like the Hong Kong-style chicken pan-fried noodle, will fill up your tummy and leave leftovers for later.
A separate menu had to be made just to highlight the various after-dinner dessert drinks. The regular milk tea with boba is a great introduction before one explores the many different cold and iced drinks. In the end, Lotus House is all about convenience. Fast service and inexpensive dishes make this location great for a quick bite after class or in between study sessions.
Best Thai Food
Pad thai, pineapple fried rice, pad see ew. Like most Thai restaurants, Thai Basil offers dishes typical to that country’s cuisine. Part of its success is probably due to the popularity of Thai dishes themselves. If you’re looking for that distinct flavor of chili with basil or coconut-milk curry, Thai Basil will satisfy your craving. Its quantities help make it readers’ favorite: One order lasts two meals, and the cooks don’t skimp on ingredients. Unlike places that heap on starches to make up for a lack of meat or seafood, Thai Basil heaps on everything! Be warned, however: Due to its Asian Ghetto location, seating is often difficult to find. Moreover, Thai Basil only accepts cash. Still, people looking for large amounts of quality Thai food on a lower budget continue to frequent the restaurant.
Right in the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto, Cheese Board has become a Berkeley staple. Featuring a different kind of pizza every day (always vegetarian), Cheese Board provides pies that are fresh, unique and refined. At $20 for a whole pie, it is incredibly cheap for the quality delivered, and it is easily the most affordable restaurant in the Gourmet Ghetto. Never fear the long lines that seems to crowd the place; your order is usually ready within a couple of minutes.
The atmosphere captures the essence of Berkeley in one little store. Worker-owned and -operated, Cheese Board boasts cashiers who are always friendly, a diverse crowd and live music. The collective takes every perception of pizza as cheap, sloppy food and throws it out the window and, in turn, becomes a gateway for great food in Berkeley. Even with Sliver, opened by Cheeseboard alumni on Center, replicating the Cheese Board experience, our readers have shown that nothing can beat the original. What ultimately makes Cheese Board so great is neither the incredible pizza nor the lively atmosphere. It’s the only pizza place that feels embedded in Berkeley’s history, and that’s something none of the other nominees can quite achieve.
Best Hangover Food
In my house, brunch is synonymous with Ann’s Kitchen. On the corner of Dwight and Telegraph, Ann’s Kitchen, serving breakfast all day at a reasonable price, is hands-down the best hangover meal.
As you wait in the line that tends to go out the door during prime brunch hour, you have time to decide between cinnamon French toast, a three-egg omelet, grilled cheese, salad or a burger. Or you can get what my friend Kate tends to get: eggs, toast, homefries and pancakes. Three pancakes.
Central to the hangover brunch is sharing last night’s stories, discovering pictures on your phone and having an awkward “Did I meet you last night?” moment with someone across the restaurant. The fast and energetic pace of Ann’s Kitchen creates the perfect environment to laugh about all the wrong decisions you have made, including the three banana-chocolate-chip pancakes sitting in front of you.
Next Category: City
Best Place to Watch a Movie
You can watch a movie any ol’ place — on your computer, in your bed, alone, with tears that contain the same amount of salt as butter so you can at least pretend you’re in a cinema. But if you opt out of that option, Shattuck Cinemas isn’t half bad. Situated in the midst of what I like to call the Shire of the Silver Screens, Shattuck Cinemas offers a tip-top film-going experience complete with lush chairs that don’t chafe, comfy bean bags, cupholders wide enough for an entire trough of boba and an Egyptian-themed theater straight out of that one scene from that one movie with the prince who was from Egypt.
Best Place to Stargaze
“Ambition,” a poem by Walt Whitman, said it best: "’At night, go view the solemn stars / Those wheeling worlds through time the same.’”
Rekindle your celestial ambition with a walk atop Charter Hill. The breathtaking view is enough to inspire camaraderie among UC Berkeley students. In the past, the sophomore class rolled freshmen down the hill as initiation, but this tradition ended when the Big C was built.
Instead of the usual rush, the classes of 1907 and 1908 created the hillside symbol that marks the California spirit. At significant campus events like Homecoming, the “C” is lit up or painted blue and gold. Still, what makes it brighter than the brightest star is the Cal student’s desire to reach a lifelong ambition. When he or she gazes at the cosmos, the amateur astronomer can’t help but to be inspired, ready to take on any challenge.
If nothing else, go to Moe’s because it was in “The Graduate” and you want to commemorate Benjamin Braddock’s road trip to Berkeley.
That said, Moe’s’ eclectic window display epitomizes what awaits inside: the utter mix of high and low, hit and miss. Moe’s most likely has every book ever written. And since the majority of the stock is used books, you can show up two days in a row and find a new selection each time. (Sometimes you even can find a used version of a book they’re selling full-price in the “new” section downstairs.)
There are the obvious classics: the Tolstoys, the Hemingways. They have poetry, travel guides and every branch of psychology.
Then there are the mavericks, such as “Knit Your Own Cat” — undoubtedly a well-worn classic in the making.
Best Place to Break a Sweat
From busy schedules to tight budgets, the average student’s life simply does not seem compatible with exercise. It is something of a miracle that many Berkeley students do manage to get their sweat on at least a few days a week. This is in part thanks to the RSF, which offers memberships at $10 per semester for Cal students and provides facilities right on campus.
Monotonous jogs on the treadmill, however, can quickly get boring, and lifting in the weight room next to frat boys and gym buffs loses its appeal pretty fast. Mix it up and try some yoga, kickboxing, aqua exercise, spinning or Zumba. Access to a plethora of group exercise classes is included in your membership, and it’s a deal that’s tough to beat: That $10 gets you unlimited classes for the entire semester.
There are many reasons that readers picked trivia night at Pappy’s to be the Best of Berkeley, but the main one has to be Geeks Who Drink, the absolutely ridiculous group that runs the competition. Imagine a mix of self-deprecating stand-up, bizarre pop culture banter and the occasional public shaming of those not quite geeky enough to hold their own, and you get Geeks Who Drink. While Pappy’s is certainly the better deal when it comes to bar trivia in Berkeley — we are talking $12 for a nice beer, burger and fries versus $20 for the same thing at Henry’s — it is really the geek factor that puts Pappy’s over the top. It isn’t uncommon for the MC, Chris, to pontificate on the music of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony or Patrick Swayze’s greatest films between rounds. The trivia is a fun challenge, the beer is cheap and because there are almost no graduate students around, you just might win. What’s not to like?
Best Place to Take a Date
Berkeley Marina is a place with many things that may tickle your fancy. You can woo your, or will-be-your, significant other with a nice romantic morning brunch at HS Lordships, take-out Cheeseboard in the car parked near the dock, classy drinks at Skates On The Bay or thrilling late evening walks on the dock. The Marina is perfect from day to night. You get a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco with that great ocean breeze. No car? No problem. Take the 51B bus and it will bring you straight to the marina. No money? Just take a stroll near the docks. No date? Seagulls are everywhere. No matter what your situation is, this place is all around one of the most romantic places in Berkeley.
Best Place to Get a Tattoo
Zebra Tattoo and Body Piercing
For many, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of getting tatted or pierced — especially here in Berzerkeley where people are all about self expression in every way. Thankfully, conveniently located only three blocks from campus on Telegraph Avenue, is our very own Zebra Tattoo and Body Piercing. With reasonable prices, a crazy wide array of body jewelry and personable body art professionals who will answer your every question on the spot, it’s no wonder that Zebra is the place everyone flocks to for all their body alteration needs — and the tattoo shop has been at it for over two decades now! While there are many other places nearby that can accommodate the same services, there’s something comforting and personal about the Zebra experience that makes it the best of Berkeley.
Next Category: Campus
Best Place on Campus to Hook Up
Main Stacks between bookshelves
Let’s face it, UC Berkeley students: We are all nerds. After all, we do act like it’s the Olympic trials when the FSM doors open on Sunday afternoon, and we are caught selling our spots in the libraries on Craigslist to the next poor soul. It’s no surprise that the best place to hook up on campus is between shelves in Main Stacks.
Hooking up is no longer romantic: It’s efficient. Here at Cal, hookups rely on whether or not one has homework, menstrual period or class. College sex is just about a good bang, which is why hooking up in Main Stacks epitomizes the efficient nature of college sex. As dead week approaches, sleeping bags and pillows will begin to appear in the underground basements of Main Stacks. When students are literally sleeping during study breaks, it is especially important to make time for some good ol’ fucking around.
From the dusty and musty ancient Roman histories to the underlined and dog-eared Shakespearean anthologies, books are definitely a turn-on. It’s much better than doing the dirty on the pissed-on floors of the bathrooms in the Stacks — ew! If you are planning on getting your groove on in the Stacks, make sure to clean up your mess and respect the Best of Berkeley’s choice for Best Place to Hook Up.
UC Berkeley is known for its student-run DeCal program, offering classes on everything from Organic Gardening and Belly-dancing to Star Trek and Kanye West. Originally called “the Orgasm Class” when it first started in 1994, the Female Sexuality DeCal stands out not for its cult subject matter but because of the empowering nature of the class, which aims to build a safe space where female-identified individuals can expand their understanding of women’s bodies, sexuality and diversity. The facilitators expand their exploration of gender by incorporating intersectional issues to create an inclusive and respectful environment. Students are instructed to be open-minded in class discussions, which range from attitudes towards sex work and pornography to methods of self-love and masturbation.
Best Place to Relieve Yourself
Doe Library, near east entrance
When you sense the sudden pressure to leave your lower half far fresher, there can be a dreaded feeling — one that leaves you kneeling and squealing — for a place to vacate waste. Fear you not, young whipper snapper, such a place is called the crapper. All throughout the vaulted halls of our stunning campus mall, you will find these bathroom walls that help erase our nature’s call. But, if you find you’re in a bind somewhere near the rear of Doe, shout, “Hooray!” and give a cheer, for you have found a john so dear. In the entrance of the east, is a toilet fit for a priest. Tiled walkways, clean sinks so keen — welcome to the best latrine.
Best Place to Chill Between Classes
Berkeley isn’t known for its bikini-worthy weather, but if you walk past Memorial Glade on most sunlit days, you might think you’re in sunny SoCal. First, there are the obligatory sporty folks, throwing footballs and frisbees and ignoring the fact that it’s 2 o’clock on a Monday afternoon. Look toward the hill, and you’ll see plenty of beach blankets and bare skin as students soak in a few rays while reading or enjoying a quick lunch. All year long, Memorial Glade is Cal’s most popular sunny spot, and it’s sure to be packed any time the weather reaches 70 degrees. Its large grassy area and proximity to all parts of campus make it the perfect place to spend the precious moments between classes, work and extracurriculars. So grab a blanket and some sunglasses, and enjoy the best “chill spot” on the Berkeley campus.
Best Place to Print
Moffitt, first Floor
We’ve all been there. Your assignment is due this morning. You procrastinated, once again, but wrapped up your conclusion with a half-hour to spare. But then, the unthinkable happens: that cartridge of black ink you’ve been nursing for a year finally dies, and your ten page research paper now has no way of transforming from a Word document to a hard copy.
Fear not, the Moffitt Library Copy Center is there for you. Conveniently located on the first floor and very easy to find, the Copy Center features dozens of computers free for your use, with student workers on hand for any help you may need. Pricing is adjusted for UC students too, so you can get that 10 page paper printed for just a dollar!
Best Female Athlete
Layshia Clarendon, women’s basketball
Four years ago, Layshia Clarendon arrived at Berkeley, slightly overshadowed as the sixth-best player in the top recruiting class in the country. Clarendon leaves Cal as one of the best female basketball players to ever grace the Haas Pavilion hardwood.
Clarendon, a combo guard, led the Bears to their first 30-win season in program history and first Final Four berth. She was the primary scoring threat for the Cal offense ranked first in the Pac-12 with 71.8 points per game. Not only was Clarendon’s ability to create her own shot heavily relied upon — her leadership was indispensable to the team’s deep run in the NCAA tourney.
In her senior campaign, Clarendon averaged 16.4 ppg, earning her an AP All-American Honorable Mention as well as a unanimous All-Pac-12 selection. With 1,820 career points, fourth all-time at Cal, Clarendon has cemented her legacy in her last season.
Best Place to Study
Doe Library — North Reading Room
"There is no way to make studying enjoyable. All the snacks and music in the world only soften the blow. You’re pent up in your room completely sleep-deprived and Tyler Durden begins appearing, telling you, “This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.” Time for a change of scenery before you completely lose your mind.
With its high ceilings, gigantic windows and oak furniture, there is a feeling of history the moment you step into the Doe Library’s North Reading Room. It is worth paying a visit during the day when it isn’t exam season to see the sun illuminate the room. Might as well be somewhere beautiful for an ugly situation. It’s almost completely silent at all times — the acoustics of the room amplify any sound that is made, and the frenzied eyes of multiple Cal students will deter any sustained sonance."
Best Male Athlete
Keenan Allen, football
Amidst a sea of penalties, sacks and embarrassing losses, Keenan Allen stood out as one of the lone bright spots of the 3-9 Cal football team.
The 6'2" wide receiver took a statistical step back in the 2012 season after a record-breaking sophomore campaign, but the diminished production was more a result of poor quarterback play than Allen's play.
Despite missing three games, Allen compiled 61 catches for 737 yards and six touchdowns. He almost single-handedly dominated the Washington State game, catching 11 of the 14 passes quarterback Zach Maynard completed for 166 yards.
Allen projects as a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft, likely to represent the Bears in the pros for years to come.
Best Place to Use Your Meal Points
Qualcomm Cyber Cafe
Frankly, we haven’t got the best selection when it comes to places that will accept meal points. Most upperclassmen have Crossroads-induced nightmares from time to time. Qualcomm happens to be the oasis in a barren wasteland. The downside is the long line, but there’s a good reason for the wait.
Not only is it the tastiest option, it is generally the healthier option. Still, the size of the wraps does not warrant a small appetite. There are plenty of sofas and tables for those who are feeling a bit more studious. Personally, I’m all for getting meal points if it means I can customize a spinach wrap with chicken and sun-dried tomato aioli, walk a couple steps and lounge on Memorial Glade.
Best View of SF Skyline and Golden Gate Bridge
Where else can you see 360 degree panoramic views of the entire Bay Area? Built in 1914 and standing at 307 feet, this campus landmark has supplied students with incredible vistas that are perfect for sightseeing, postcard-esque photos and relaxing after finals. From this vantage point, it’s easy to enjoy a little omnipresence as you see all of your classmates and professors below scurrying around like ants. To anyone that says they prefer the Big C, remind them that where the Big C has a half-mile uphill hike, the Campanile has an elevator. While you’re up there catching the view, just try to not think of the myth that in the event of an earthquake, the whole tower would slide down to the sea.
Robert Reich, public policy
He’s only four-foot-ten, but on the Berkeley campus, this liberal lion is larger than life.
In his undergraduate Wealth and Poverty class, Reich lays out the causes and consequences of exploding income inequality for more than 700 starstruck students and dozens of Berkeley residents who come to Wheeler auditorium to hear the charismatic former labor secretary. Lectures are enlivened by Reich’s colorful anecdotes about his dazzling career in public service — from his gaffes while arguing before the Supreme Court in the ’70s to his disputes with other cabinet members during the economic boom of the mid- ’90s (which he playfully refers to as the “Reich Recovery” throughout the course).
As an intellectual leader of the Democratic party and the Berkeley faculty’s most prominent political figure, Reich’s influence extends far beyond his Wheeler lecture hall. He’s a familiar face on national television — from the Colbert Report to Good Morning America — where he can usually be found earnestly explaining the perils of austerity and the need to raise taxes on the rich. He’s seldom missing from campus panels on politics and the economy. And earlier this year, a feature-length movie based on Reich’s course, “Inequality for All,” was met with critical acclaim at its Sundance Film Festival premiere. Superstar Professors like Reich are, to say the least, in short supply.