Savory Morsels

The Culinary Adventures of a California Girl

Monday, June 05, 2006

***June 05, 2006: O'Chame***

1830 4th Street
Berkeley, CA
I really wasn’t planning on using this blog to write about anything besides restaurants, but my lunch today was just too good to leave unmentioned. Everyone seemed to be busy today so I was on my own for lunch and I decided to check out the bento boxes from my favorite Japanese restaurant O’Chame on 4th Street. I called ahead to check out today’s options (salmon and stripped bass) and reserved myself a salmon box since I’d heard that they’re often sold out by noon.
Maybe it was the blue sky or the warm weather, but everyone on 4th Street seemed ridiculously happy and relaxed. Every one of the little tables outside of the Pasta Shop and Peet’s Coffee was packed. I finally managed to get a table and settled down to check out my bento box. In addition to the salmon (with the skin on) there was a little blanched spinach salad with sesame dressing, a few grilled shitake mushrooms, white rice, and a round slice of tofu dumpling. I wish I’d had my camera with me so I could show you how perfect of a lunch it was! I’m not a fan of fish with the skin on it, but it was easy to remove and the salmon was perfectly flakey and moist. The spinach and mushrooms are actually two of my favorite menu items, so I was thrilled to find them in the box. Both dishes are so light and fresh tasting that I just feel good eating them. I only wish that they’d included the lotus root that comes with the appetizer portion – it’s so tasty and I rarely find it anywhere else! I’d never tried the tofu dumpling before and while I felt like it was out of tune with the rest of the meal to have something fried, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Midway through lunch I was stopped by some guy a couple of tables away who asked if I had an O’Chame bento box and upon confirmation gave me a thumbs-up and told me that was the way to go. Obviously I’m not the only one who appreciates them! After lunch I stopped by Sketch just across the street to sample their ice creams (the toasted almond is out of this world!) and pick up a chocolate dipped frozen banana. All I can say is- it’s good to be home!
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