Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cafe Intermezzo (renamed Cafe Mattina)

Cafe Intermezzo is the best evidence I have to offer you that hippie vegan food can in fact be amazingly, outstandingly delicious. On my trip home to the SF bay area for the holidays, my list of must-eats mostly consisted of tons of vegetables, salads, and of course, burritos. A Tokyo salad usually consists of exactly 3 bites of greens, usually drenched in sesame-soy-mayonnaise dressing. For the most part, a typical Japanese diet consists of rice, mayonnaise-covered boiled potatoes, rice, deep fried nuggets of some sort, rice, over-boiled vegetables or meat stewed or braised in the same sweet soy sauce reduction, rice, raw fish, rice, rice and more rice. My body was screaming for vegetables.

There are salads, and then there's Intermezzo's salad. A gigantic bowl heaped to overflowing with chopped romaine lettuce, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, croutons and avocado. There are a variety of dressings but their homemade poppyseed is their signature and hands down the best. The salads are served with a thick wedge of their homemade honey wheat bread, a dense, chewy, hearty bread, the likes of which you will not be able to find anywhere else.

Their sandwiches range from veggie versions including Tofu Madness (highly recommended) to PB, banana and honey to various versions that include meat. I usually switch between the Tofu Madness or Hummus, but this time a friend and I got both and decided that the Tofu Madness is definitely the winner. The portions are big enough that sharing one sandwich and one salad will be more then enough for two.

Rabbit food never tasted so delicious.

As a very minor sidenote, Cafe Intermezzo has changed their name to Cafe Mattina but the menu, interior, concept and food is exactly as I remembered.

Tofu madness sandwich - thick marinated tofu patties with tomatoes, lettuce and alfalfa sprouts on Intermezzo's homemade honey wheat bread

Intermezzo salad tossed in signature poppyseed dressing - a humongous bowl of delicious green goodness

Food rating: ****
Bang for buck rating: 5 (you're not gonna get better than this - even Telegraph Ave's homeless people can afford it!)

The essentials:
No website
Location: Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, California
Average price of meal for two: $20

1 comment:

  1. Now that Intermezzo has burned down, it's so sad that we can't get this Poppy Seed Dressing recipe. I've been searching for it for ages, and I think I finally figured out how to make it!