The back patio at La Note Restaurant Provencal is the kind of the place you were hoping to find when you came to Berkeley. Surrounded by trees and potted plants and adorned with wooden tables and chairs, La Note’s back patio is the best place in Berkeley for a sunny Saturday brunch in what will feel like a French garden.
Though a La Note brunch will definitely run you more than a morning (or midafternoon) spent on Cafe Durant’s deck or at Bleecker Bistro’s long, diner-style tables, it’s worth it. Come for the patio but stay for the French restaurant’s gourmet cheese omelettes, lemon gingerbread pancakes and lattes served in ceramic bowls and accompanied by chunked brown sugar. Located on Shattuck Avenue between Durant Avenue and Channing Way, be warned that the line tends to be long on the weekends. But no problem: just be ready to peruse nearby Pegasus Books for a while after putting your name in.
Pho K & K
Not only is pho (rhymes with “duh,” not “foe”) the national dish of Vietnam, but it’s also the national dish of hungry college students. And where better to slurp on a large bowl of beef noodle soup than at Berkeley’s best, Pho K & K? Located on Telegraph Avenue and Dwight Way, Pho K & K has all that a good pho restaurant should — and then some. The meat is fresh, the noodles are perfectly cooked and the broth is neither too thick nor too watery. Pho K & K also has a variety of Vietnamese dishes that are all just as excellent as the next. Its menu is vegetarian friendly — most meat dishes can be replaced with tofu — and its spring rolls are by far the best in the area. Pho K & K opens at 11:00 a.m.— just in time for you to roll out of bed and replace weekend brunch bacon and pancakes with weekend brunch beef and noodle soup!
Personal recommendation: tofu spring rolls with a large raw beef pho. Pro tip: Add tofu and vegetables to your soup.
Best Sweet Treat
Warm, doughy bread smothered in cinnamon and gooey frosting, covered in pie crumble, cookie dough, chocolate chips and fresh fruit. It hardly sounds like breakfast, but I’ll gladly make excuses to start my day with a fresh roll from Cinnaholic. Plus, everything served is 100 percent vegan, so that makes it healthy, right?
Customers start with a basic roll and then choose from dozens of fruits, toppings and frosting flavors (from fruity ones to others such as macadamia nut and cream soda). Piling your roll high with toppings can get pricey, but you can save a few bucks by ordering one of their daily specials: premade flavor combinations created by the experts with tons of toppings for about $5.
With new specials daily and hundreds of combinations, this sweet shop’s name is no lie; one visit, and you’ll be a cinnaholic too.
Best Mediterranean Food
The student body has spoken, and its choice is clear: For delicious Mediterranean cuisine at an affordable price, La Mediterranee reigns supreme. Located less than a mile away from campus in the Elmwood area, the Zagat-rated restaurant serves up authentic Greek fare such as dolmas, cheese filo pastries and levant sandwiches.
Owners Levon Der Bedrossian and Garbis Baghdassarian, both from Lebanon, claim many of the dishes have been passed down through families for generations. To this day, they stay true to the original recipes by incorporating fresh ingredients and traditional Mediterranean cooking styles. With large portion sizes, vaguely healthy options and finger-food style, this joint is a hot spot for Berkeley foodies. Diners can choose to sit inside among hanging plants and eclectic decor or enjoy their meal outside at the mosaic sidewalk tables. Visit Cafe La Med on College for a date-night dinner, lazy afternoon lunch or weekend brunch.
Best Italian Food
Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana
The walls say it all. Gypsy’s Italian Trattoria is the heavyweight champion that has dominated the “best Italian food” category for years.
Located in arguably the most prime spot in the Asian Ghetto on Southside, Gypsy’s has for decades been serving delicious calzones and pastas without breaking students’ banks. If you want something creamy and rich in flavor, get the Crazy Alfredo. If you want something more traditional and cleaner in taste, get the spaghetti alla primavera. There’s much more in between for every Italian craving.
Although there are more high-end establishments of Italian cuisine in Berkeley, no restaurant has been the odds-on favorite for so many generations of Berkeley students. It’s because Gypsy’s offers the perfect combination of three aspects all students look for, which few other restaurants in Berkeley have figured out: convenient location, good taste and cheap prices.
Best Ice Cream
Upon coming to Berkeley, I was promptly shepherded by an upperclassmen friend to Ici Ice Cream. I had heard about the store from various sources, each telling me that it is certainly the best ice cream place in Berkeley. Both the rumors and the long line surrounding the shop fueled my anticipation, and surprisingly, my high expectations were not only met, but exceeded.
Located in the Elmwood neighborhood, Ici is run by Mary Canales, the former pastry chef of Chez Panisse, and Mattea Soreng, and boasts an ice cream selection with great range, as they offer different flavors almost every day. The constant additions to their repertoire of flavors, from darjeeling-sour cherry and Earl Grey to the classic chocolate and vanilla, and the restaurant’s policy to make batches just big enough to be consumed within a couple days guarantees that anything bought from Ici will be as fresh as possible.
Brewing at Philz — located on Shattuck Avenue in Gourmet Ghetto — is an atmosphere and culture unique among Berkeley coffee shops. Here, you won’t find espresso, lattes or blended drinks. Instead, you’re faced with a menu board overflowing with choices ranging from specialty drinks such as the popular “Ecstatic” iced coffee to single origin bean options such as “Aromatic Arabic.” Baristas, each armed with a small pot of mint leaves, work behind a counter that’s more akin to a bar, where they use pour-over techniques to craft each cup of coffee. A “Mocha Tesora” on Monday will taste slightly different than the same drink Tuesday. At Philz, you’ll never find standardized recipes. It is perhaps this gesture to an older, simpler, more delicious time that draws in eager customers, usually lined up out the door. But if you can wait for your beverage to be “Philled” up — sip, don’t gulp. These are drinks to be savored.
It’s impossible to walk a few blocks in Berkeley without seeing a place that sells sweet little balls. But in this mecca of filled cups and fat straws lies an oasis on the edge of Asian Ghetto — Sweetheart Cafe. Its overwhelmingly large menu offers everything from the classic bubble milk tea to more regal selections such as the pineapple royal smoothie. The affordable prices — no drink is more than $5 — and college-friendly hours — open til 2 a.m. on weekends — make it the go-to spot to satisfy any squishy, spherical cravings. Hidden gems include their sago drinks, in which the classic black boba is replaced with white, caviar-sized balls. And if you’re experiencing a case of the late-night drunchies, or just feel like treating yourself to little pieces of heaven from a grease-coated paper bag, get an order of the popcorn chicken. Those golden nuggets of magic are the best things you’ll regret eating all week.
Fellow Berkeley beer enthusiasts, unite! Jupiter, a classy late-night establishment in Downtown Berkeley, is the best place to meet up with friends after a long week and enjoy a few brews. Although unfriendly to those with a thirst for spirits, Jupiter’s generous beer menu and wine list more than make up for its lack of hard alcohol and additionally provides the locale with a more demure, classy drinking environment than you’ll find at places such as Thalassa or Kip’s Bar. If you’re just looking to drink, I’d recommend any of their house brews, which, in addition to being delicious (I’m a fan of their IPA and Honey Wheat), are local and close to many of the bartenders’ hearts. After grabbing a beer, beeline for the outdoor patio, which is perfect on most spring evenings and features live music from Wednesday to Saturday nights. So next time you’re looking for a low-key place to enjoy friends, great food and even better drinks, walk down Shattuck to Jupiter, where you’re sure to have a good time.
Joshu-Ya Brasserie serves the best sushi to be found within walking distance of campus. It’s pretty enough inside and offers professional service that will make the prices seem way too low. Get the Lion King Roll or the Cherry Blossom to satisfy your sushi cravings or splurge on the unforgettable Kobe burger. Sample the expertly cut sashimi, and if you’re not sure what you like, the chef can choose for you. Joshu-Ya is also a safe bet for a mixed group, serving everything from an upgraded burger and duck-fat fries to economical bento-type assortments for lunch — and it even serves a few options for the vegetarians and vegans among you. Not to be missed is its tapas menu, which includes crisp pork belly tacos and unique kimchi-bacon sliders. Add to that its full bar and convenient location, and Joshu-Ya is the clear winner.
An affordable, reliable, honest burger is a cornerstone in American college life. This is a fact. Bongo Burger is exactly that — nothing more, nothing less. It is no-frills meat, cheese, bun. There are certainly better-quality burgers in Berkeley. But the difference between a solid Bongo Burger and a $12 gourmet burger with a knife stuck through it is marginal and certainly not worth it. Quarter pound for quarter pound, Bongo is your champion And it earns it: Its burgers are 100 percent Angus beef from Niman Ranch, so their cows are fed an all-vegetarian diet. Bongo has killer buns. And since this is Berkeley, it also has an amazing bean burger and hummus options. Bongo has been in Berkeley since 1968, and it sports three shops conveniently located to the north, south and west of campus. Enjoy.
Brazil Cafe is an eclectic shack a block away from campus on University Avenue, and if you walk by to catch a whiff of the rich and delectable meat, you might just be offered a sample of Pedro’s yummy tri-tip, topped with mouthwatering garlic-cilantro sauce.
It is no surprise that Brazil Cafe’s tender, juicy tri-tip sandwiches have been voted the best in Berkeley for several years in a row. Meat lovers, rejoice! Topped with delicious grilled onions and made with scrumptious, freshly baked bread, this savory sandwich is guaranteed to intoxicate your tastebuds.
If tri-tip isn’t your thing, you can always go with “Obama’s favorite” — the pulled-pork carnitas sandwich or hot plate. Brazil Cafe also offers salads, rice bowls and, of course, their delicious and refreshing mango smoothies.
Brazil Cafe opened a new location further down University Avenue to ensure West Berkeley residents aren’t deprived of the best sandwiches in town.
Best Late Night Food
With a very sparse collection of late-night food options available in Berkeley, Top Dog dominates the market. Top Dog is synonymous with late night food; its juicy, flavorful hot dogs are an integral part of any late-night adventure. Whether it’s just for a midnight snack or to satisfy the munchies, Top Dog is a popular destination for the college crowd. One of the reasons for its popularity is its multiple locations. With one location on Durant Avenue in the heart of Southside Berkeley and another on Center Street in Downtown Berkeley, Top Dog is accessible for a large number of people. While Top Dog’s brand of food is limited to hot dogs, it still manages to provide variety through diverse menu items that include its signature “Top Dog,” the Kielbasa, the Bratwurst and the Hot Link. Its apple juice is also a favorite, especially among its more-fervent fanbase.
Best Thai Food
Thai Basil humbly occupies the northwest corner of Durant’s Asian Ghetto. But don’t let its appearance fool you — what it lacks in size, it makes up for in cuisine. Despite being located in the midst of numerous other restaurants, Thai Basil consistently draws a crowd. Its diverse menu consists of popular favorites such as pad thai, pad see ew and pineapple fried rice. Its Thai iced tea is a fitting complement to any meal.
One factor that contributes significantly to the restaurant’s popularity is its generous serving sizes. At reasonable prices, a single dish leaves enough for multiple meals. Despite the fact that Thai Basil is one of the few restaurants to remain cash-only in recent years, customers have not been discouraged. With long hours and its proximity to the campus, Thai Basil makes a trip to the ATM worthwhile for both the campus and community.
There is a wealth of Mexican options in Berkeley, and each one has its own qualities to recommend itself. El Burro Picante’s steak fries and tacos are top-notch; La Burrita offers low prices and quick service. But if you’re looking for all-around excellence in your Mexican patronage, Gordo Taqueria is your answer.
Location-wise, it can’t be beat. Perched in the heart of student life on Telegraph Avenue and Channing Way, it’s there for a quick burrito fix between classes. It stays open later than most Southside locales, fulfilling the needs of those craving a late-night snack. And food-wise, the diversity of its menu is unmatched. Other places may offer both carnitas quesadillas and beef tacos, but the quality of Gordo’s offerings can’t be touched. Also, the guacamole is really good. Mexican food is everywhere in Berkeley, but if you’re looking for the best of the bunch, then Gordo is the place to go.
There’s a reason that the Cheese Board Collective has been voted best pizza in the past: It’s a savory experience unmatched in Berkeley. As a pizza lover, the restaurant will always hold a place in my heart for its eclectic pizza offerings and commitment to quality food, using locally sourced ingredients.
There is something magical about the distinctly Berkeley atmosphere that Cheese Board provides: the consistently amazing live music, topping combinations unlike any I’ve ever had anywhere else (potatoes, roasted cauliflower, caramelized onions, oh my!) and the people-watching opportunities that you get while standing in line. As well, it is easily the least expensive food option in the area, with single slices at $2.50 and whole pies at $20.
Living on Northside, some of my favorite moments in college happened while with friends at Cheese Board, sharing the delicious pizza and welcoming environment that make it a Berkeley tradition.
Best Vegan Option
If you’re looking for a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly eatery that’s delicious but won’t break the bank, look no further than Saturn Cafe on Oxford Street and Allston Way. Saturn’s theme, a classic diner with an urban-galactic twist, is imbued in its food, decor and service — which makes Saturn not only a great restaurant, but a Berkeley experience that parents, visiting friends and significant others would love. If it’s your first time, try one of Saturn’s burgers, which have in-house vegan patties, fresh veggies and your choice of regular or vegan cheese. My favorite is the Diablo for its classic burger style with a spicy kick. After your meal, don’t forget to check out the dessert menu, which features vegan milkshakes, hot fudge sundaes and a seasonal selection of pies and cakes. From the time you step into Saturn, your dining experience is bound to be truly out of this world.
Best Chinese Food
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Great China reopened its doors in December after a disastrous fire burned down the original restaurant. Now at a new location, on Bancroft Way and Fulton Street, Great China provides the same hearty dishes but in a strikingly different decor. The light ambience counters the heavy flavors central in Great China’s cooking. Open with Double Skin, a refreshing noodle salad tossed in an airy mustard sauce. Order the steamed black bass, a whole, tender fish sitting on a bed of green onion and soy sauce. The chef then whips up a complimentary soup using the fish bones to complete the meal.
Whether it’s for a quick lunch or a dinner date, Great China effectively takes an upscale approach to Chinese cuisine. Although waiting for a table may take up to an hour on the weekends, Great China’s service, food and decor are all worth the wait. Welcome back, Great China.
Best Hangover Food
It’s Saturday morning, and you wake up feeling dead. Slowly rising from your slumber, you reach for your phone to check all the drunk messages you sent and pictures you took, attempting to recollect everything you were up to the night before. You quickly realize that your zombie-like brain just isn’t functioning like it should be, and there’s only one thing that can bring you back to the living: a huge plate of blueberry pancakes at Cafe Durant.
Overlooking Asian Ghetto and the never-ending scene of people walking up and down Durant Avenue, Cafe Durant is essential to any Berkeley student’s food excursions. With a huge menu of relatively cheap burgers, breakfasts, burritos and so much more, there’s no better way to cure the hangover blues than with a few friends and good food that hits the spot.
Best Indian Food
House of Curries
Is there a better Indian restaurant in Berkeley than House of Curries? Naan. I never even thought I liked Indian food — especially after my sister experienced abdominal hell postcurry a few years ago — until my roommates brought me along to House of Curries at the beginning of freshman year. Its most popular dish, chicken tikka masala, and the warm, doughy naan that was handmade to order won me over, and it is now one of my Berkeley food staples. They offer a variety of goodies that please the appetites of both noncurry eaters and “I want my food to burn my mouth into fiery oblivion” spice-junkies alike. My other favorite part of the restaurant is the delightful, free tea with sugar you are able to serve yourself endlessly. In a laid-back atmosphere, House of Curries is perfect for a chill, yet quality, meal out with friends.
Best Korean Food
It’s not mom’s Korean home cooking, but considering the close, convenient location to campus and the wide array of Korean cuisine, Kimchi Garden is the closest thing to home in Berkeley.
Although a dollar or two more expensive on average than its East Asian counterparts nearby in Lotus House and in Asian Ghetto, Kimchi Garden compensates with its enormous serving sizes and side dishes. Its generosity with food will surely test the stomachs of many hungry students. (And the people there are more than happy to give you a second bowl of rice if you ask nicely.)
Kimchi Garden has menu items for everyone, ranging from vegetarians (get a hot pot bibimbap with no meat) to carnivores (bulgogi plate all the way). My personal favorite is its spicy seafood soft tofu soup — the perfect response to a cold, wintry day in Berkeley.
Best Frozen Yogurt
You are done with classes and are heading back home on Southside. (Sorry Northsiders, please find consolation with Menchie’s.) You are at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way by the 51B stop and want something cheap and sweet to reward yourself for a hard day’s work. You look up, tilt your head slightly to the left only to see Yogurtland’s hanging sign. Bingo.
You walk over to Yogurtland, being almost pulled in by a siren’s call. You grab a paper bowl and start pulling down on the levers for yogurt. You are hitting 777s on every yogurt slot machine you play — plain tart, pistachio, red velvet. Then you walk down the assembly line, now splashing your yogurt masterpiece with colorful accoutrements like Jackson Pollock on a blank canvas.
You weigh the bowl, pay the cashier and walk out; today you will eat on the wooden bench outside the store. You take a first bite, and it’s hard to describe the hodgepodge taste that you’ve concocted. But whatever it is, you know it’s damn worth the money.
Next Category: City
Best place to get a tattoo
Industrial Tattoo and Piercing
What better way to commemorate your years at Berkeley than a tattoo? The votes are in, and Industrial Tattoo is the choice in town. Conveniently located near campus with long hours of operation and good prices, Industrial is the best place to take your hard-earned financial aid money. The space is clean and engenders trust, unlike many dark and scary tattoo shops in the Bay Area. The shop hosts artists who specialize in text, tribal, color, black-and-white and portrait work. Choose your image or poetry or affirmation and put it in the hands of a qualified Industrial artist. Make an appointment and put down a deposit, and your dreams can become a permanent part of your body. Customer feedback for both their tattooing and piercing services is overwhelmingly positive — and word of mouth is the best endorsement of a place where you’re going to hand over your skin to a near-stranger.
If you’re a bookworm who’s constantly looking for new reads, Moe’s Books will charm your heart and become your second home. Located on the vibrant street of Telegraph, Moe’s is a magical place — a four-story castle full of books. The moment you pass the red-and-white striped banner and enter the store, you’ll notice the pleasant, welcoming smell of books. When you start embarking on your book adventure, you’ll notice there is a wide variety of books at Moe’s — everything from novels to textbooks to hobby guides. My personal favorite spot is the third floor, where you can find everything from graphic novels to books on politics and philosophy. Because the used books are relatively inexpensive, it’s hard to leave the store empty-handed — I always leave with two or three books. Still, if you have time to spare, nothing beats curling up with a good book in one of the store’s few seats.
Best Place to Take a Date
If you’ve ever fallen asleep on the 51B, you know how unexpectedly beautiful the Berkeley Marina looks after a long semester of being cooped up in the Stacks. Don’t let that beauty go to waste! Text that person you’ve been crushing on and tell him or her to dress warm and meet you at the bus stop. Show up there with coffee or hot chocolate in a sealed container and announce that you’re going on an adventure. Tell funny stories for the 25 minutes it will take for the bus to arrive, then wink at the end of the line. Take your date’s hand in yours and say, “I have something to show you.” Walk along the gorgeous water line, and don’t say anything. Wait until the sun starts to set and the whole coast lights up gold, and don’t say anything. Watch your date turn into something much more, even though you hardly spent anything. Best date night ever.
Best place to thrift shop
Crossroads Trading Company
Feel like popping tags? Only got $20 in your pocket? It’s OK, because thrift stores are cool again. Maybe they always were. Crossroads Trading Co. doesn’t seem to be worried about the trend. That’s probably because whatever is trendy is always there, gently used and a lot cheaper than it was new. Its selection is curated more carefully than that of most other thrift stores, yet still very cheap. If you’re on the selling end, it offers a better rate than Buffalo Exchange. If you’re buying, Crossroads is selling everyday pieces, as well as those once-in-a-lifetime finds that may help you define your own signature style. Very focused on name brands, Crossroads can help you aspire to your postgraduation wardrobe before you have that graduate salary. Here’s the secret: The Shattuck location is really popular, so it can get pretty picked over. Bus over to the Rockridge location for a better shot at a fabulous find.
Best Movie Theater
Shattuck Cinemas is the goldilocks of Berkeley's movie theaters. The towering California Theatre around the corner certainly has more raw cinematic gravitas but with just three screens, its offerings are seriously limited. The United Artists Berkeley 7 has a great quirky vibe with its old-school arcade games and killer lineup of Thursday night $5 cult movies. But go on any other day and all you will find are 3-D blockbusters and other forgettables. The theater in Elmwood is a solid neighborhood theater, but it’s a boring yuppie-neighborhood theater: Expect soccer parents and their offspring or wine-sipping quasi academics. The Shattuck's indie vibe can feel a bit forced — especially with its weird bar and couch seating — but at the end of the day, it offers the best of Berkeley. At 10 screens, its offers a great mix of hard-to-find indies and top-notch studio films. The popcorn is good, the audience is lively, and the films take over.
Best place to hike
Berkeley Fire Trail
A long ways down Centennial Drive, past Memorial Stadium, Witter Rugby Field and Strawberry Canyon Pool, lies the entrance to the fire trails. It’s a little hard to find, but it’s well worth it.
If you’ve never been before, now is the perfect time to go. The recent rain has made the surroundings lush and green, and the soil is soft, without being muddy. The environment is full of life, with the chirping of birds, the rippling of the creek and — when the wind is just right — the echoes of the city below.
It’s not a difficult hike, with only one short section that is particularly steep. But it is a long one that can last a couple hours depending on your pace. But it won’t feel long. Bring a companion or don’t, just make sure you leave your headphones at home and your cellphone in your pocket to enjoy the uninterrupted sights and sounds of the Earth.
Best place to get a haircut
Looking for a stylish and affordable haircut plus a fun-sized candy bar on the way out? Then Edge Salon, located on Channing Way and Telegraph Avenue, is the place for you. It’s quick and staffed by stylists who are not only excellent at what they do but also really enjoyable to talk to. Be sure to make an appointment far ahead of time if you want to get cut by Jeannie (my personal recommendation) as she is often booked up early — especially before school vacations. The entire staff is great and friendly, and walk-ins are always welcome — although do expect a wait if you haven’t made an appointment. The earlier in the day you get there, the better, as Edge is quickly becoming the most popular spot for students to get a haircut. And why shouldn’t it? You can get killer haircuts there at great prices.
Best Grocery Store
To the aspiring Rachael Rays, as well as those who proudly proclaim, “Cereal is my forte,” fear not. This is a grocery store that emphasizes variety, with hard-to-find items as well as commonplace goods plentifully stocked to satisfy any culinary dream.
A mecca of all things natural and tasty, Berkeley Bowl boasts an absolutely massive produce section sourcing the essentials — breakfast bananas, herbs and greens, and avocados, if you’re feeling fancy — as well as exotic selections like dragon fruit. Although the meat and seafood are a bit pricey, all the selections are high quality and fresh.
International delicacies, homemade sauces and spreads line the perimeter; bulk bins house an array of grains, spices, dried fruits and granola. A hot-food section displaying sandwiches and Chinese dishes in all their pre-prepared glory awaits your empty stomach.
Last but not least: free cheese samples. ’Twas a well-deserved win, Berkeley Bowl.
Best clothing shop
With Berkeley as one of the hipster capitals of the country, it’s not surprising that there is an Urban Outfitters right across the street from campus. With its large assortment of graphic tees and expansive vinyl collection, it ranks among the likes of Anthropologie and Free People as one of the trendiest stores to shop at.
Although the appeal of Urban Outfitters is often called into question when looking at the price compared to quality, one of its redeeming factors is its constant sales. Through resources such as Facebook and Groupon, Urban Outfitters ensures that all prospective buyers will be alerted of a price drop in any of the store’s selections.
Urban Outfitter’s extensive selection of eye-catching products, from moustache-decorated shot glasses to Polaroid cameras, sets itself apart from clothing stores of similar quality and pricing and makes it the go-to shop for last-minute gift ideas.
Best local artist
Lil B, a Berkeley native, is the hyphyest rapper in the Yay Area. He has created his own subculture of sacramental rituals. He is worshipped across the Internet as Based God, presiding over all that is swag with his more than 155 MySpace accounts. He is prolific, having released more than 1,500 songs. He’ll have you turnt up, cooking at his shows with the utensils you’ll inevitably bestow in his presence. When he isn’t onstage preaching inspirational speeches about rescuing cats, fans questionably offer up their girlfriends to him. Lil B has recorded both solo and with The Pack, a hip-hop group known for skateboard raps. He spits in an uncoordinated rapping style dubbed “based” in reference to the vulgarity of his subject matter. The eclecticism of his music is exemplified by the indie rock jam to rival Katy Perry’s “California Boy.”
Next Category: Campus
Best strategy to avoid flyers on Sproul
Getting across Sproul during campaigns or welcome week can feel a little bit like a dangerous run. If you’re too nice, you’ll end up with an armload of fliers, an obligation to CalPIRG and a new religion. Headphones don’t work, acting like you’re on the phone makes you feel like a failure and pretending to be deaf can result in an unfortunate incident with someone who actually knows sign language. The answer is bitchface. Simply arrange your features into a kind of resting scowl — a face that says “NO” before the question can even be asked. Practice in the mirror until even you want to avoid yourself. Like condoms, bitchface is not 100 percent effective, but it works best in combination with at least one other prevention method. Try adding bitchface to your usual brisk walk and full-hands routine. Of course, some lucky individuals were born with bitchface. The rest of us will just have to learn.
Game of Thrones — Alliances, Power and Strategies
Maybe I’m just biased — after all, I am a political science major, and A Song of Ice and Fire is my all-time favorite book series — but is there any possible way the Game of Thrones DeCal isn’t the best DeCal that Cal has to offer?
By utilizing a political science approach to understanding George RR Martin’s first book in the series, the class instructors ensure that those who take the DeCal will walk away understanding the important aspects of the book. Even those who don’t read the books and strictly watch the show know that “Game of Thrones” is about more than just sword fighting and beheadings. Instead, the thrill lies in the political maneuvering — how the main players all have their own agendas and will stop at nothing to reach their end goal.
By the end of the course, students will realize that when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. Sorry, all other DeCals, you just died.
Best Male Athlete
By the time Justin Cobbs’ career came to a close in the National Invitational Tournament, there weren’t many fans paying attention. It’s a shame though, because Cobbs, once again, proved why the Cal men’s basketball team will find it nearly impossible to replace him.
Against Southern Methodist University, the senior buried a contested 3-pointer to give his Bears a one-point lead with 15 seconds left. Of course, SMU would respond with a 3 of its own, and Cobbs’ last shot of his Cal career clanged off the iron as time expired. Yet, when Cobbs hoisted his last shot, I couldn’t have been the only one expecting it to go in, no matter the degree of difficulty the shot required.
Cobbs is the player who executed then-No. 1 and then-undefeated Arizona with his fall-away dagger, not that anyone has forgotten or ever will. That’s most likely why he came out on top of the Best of Berkeley voting.
The Bears may have faltered down the stretch and missed out on March Madness, but it would be a mistake to forget about Cobbs’ season.
Best place to nap on campus
While UC Berkeley offers many suitable spots for tired students to lie down and rest their midterm-wearied bones, Memorial Glade is undoubtedly the fairest of them all. Both convenient and iconic, the Glade’s location right outside of Doe Memorial Library gives it the perfect combination of availability and comfort that is essential for a good nap spot. Now that spring is here, you can expect the Glade to blossom with ukuleles, beach balls and plenty of Buzzfeed-worthy dogs, so you can be entertained while you drift off to sleep.
There is also more history to the Glade than most students realize. Memorial Glade didn’t exist until the 1940s (Where did people sleep before then? In their beds?), when a group of alumni commissioned its more than $1 million dollar construction in order to honor the student, staff and faculty who served in World War II. Sleep on that!
Best on-campus performance group
UC Men’s Octet
“We’re sons of California … a loyal company … all shout for California, while we strive for victory!” The tenor and bass voices of eight men blend together, creating seamless harmonies. The music evokes images of a 1920s barbershop quartet. The UC Men’s Octet is not only a timeless symbol of the University of California but also a favorite of the campus and community.
The UC Men’s Octet is a 65-year-old campus tradition. Since its founding in 1948, the octet has represented the university at campus events, at Cal football games, at intercollegiate a cappella competitions and even overseas on international tours. As a member of a vastly diverse a cappella scene on campus, the UC Men’s Octet distinguishes itself by blending the traditional style of Cal fight songs with covers of more modern works. Its hilarious — and, not to mention, fully choreographed — rendition of the California Drinking Song will bring any audience to its feet.
Best Place to Use Your Meal Points
Golden Bear Cafe
The Golden Bear Cafe is like a pimped-out gas station. On top of your usual grab-and-go foods, you have options from the very best of Cal Dining — the Den’s mini Peets Coffee & Tea and Freshens counters, wraps similar to Qualcomm Cafe and almost every item found in Bear Market. It lives up to its name in that it has something to appeal to every Golden Bear from fried-food lovers to kombucha fanatics — and you can sit down and run into almost every Golden Bear you’ve ever met.
Because of its endless selection of foods all purchasable en route to class, it’s safe to say GBC sits not only in the heart of campus but also in the hearts of its students, earning its title as the best place to use your meal points. Why call it “GBC” when we can call it heaven?
Best Female Athlete
Of course Missy Franklin would take home the title of best female athlete in the Daily Cal’s Best of Berkeley survey. Who else could it have been? In fact, just go ahead and pencil her in for next year right now. If you missed out, here are some of Franklin’s accolades from this season: Laureus Sportswoman of the Year. Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year. Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month twice. National Swimmer of the Week twice. Oh, and that prestigious Laureus award? At 18, she’s the youngest to ever win it. If you aren’t questioning what you were doing as an 18-year-old, then you probably haven’t fully grasped the magnitude of Franklin’s accomplishments. Just remember: Before this season even began, she had five Olympic medals sitting in a closet somewhere. So yes, Missy Franklin is good. She swims fast. Chances are you didn’t need a 150-word blurb to tell you that, but now you have an idea just how fast.
The students have spoken: For the second year in a row, public policy professor Robert Reich has been chosen as the best professor on the UC Berkeley campus.
Though he might be small in stature — due to a childhood disability, Reich is only 4-foot-11 in height — in character, the professor is larger than life. Reich teaches the popular “Wealth and Poverty” class this semester, in which his students know him for his engaging lectures, his dry, self-deprecating sense of humor and his willingness to divulge stories from his political and personal life, including a time when he dated Hillary Clinton.
Outside of the classroom, Reich offers a dazzling resume that justifies his academic stardom. In addition to serving as the secretary of labor during the Clinton administration, the professor has published 13 books and recently starred in the 2013 documentary “Inequality for All.”
Best place to meet squirrels
They’re furry and fat; they’re swift and sassy.
Berkeley’s squirrel population is vast but mysterious. No one knows where they come from or where they go at night, but for those on a mission to befriend these friendly critters, look no further than the Dwinelle benches. The ample sun, lush plants and abandoned food particles littering the ground create a veritable squirrel heaven. Squirrels drift from the bushy fringes of Strawberry Creek, sniffing for crumpled GBC wrappers and pawing at the ground in plentiful herds.
All you need to do is stake out a bench, make eye contact, rub your fingers together and pretend you have food. The closest squirrel will gaze longingly in your direction, perhaps hesitating before wiggling over to greet you. His eyes will shine with gratitude as you recline in comfort, basking in the glory and ease of your success. There’s really nuttin’ to it.