Advocate and ICI night

I have driven by the Advocate Berkeley (http://www.theadvocateberkeley.com/) on Ashby Avenue for days now and have been waiting for a chance to check it out.  That chance came last night, as my friend and I headed there for a Sunday night dinner.  The space was open and warm with a full bar, open kitchen, and tables with booths to make everyone feel nice and cozy.

I got things started with the Calle Ocho cocktail, which is a mix of mezcal, St. Germain, lime, mint, ginger, sparkling wine:

image  This was sweet but STRONG!  As a light weight, I was pretty drunk a third of the way through. 😛

We started off with some wood roasted oysters with seaweed butter and breadcrumbs:

imageimage

I didn’t taste much of the seaweed and overall the compound butter tasted more like a salty butter.  My friend was not a fan, so I ate most of this myself. 🙂

We also shared their chickpea and clam fritters with grilled celery heart salsa verde, aioli and crunchy chickpeas:

image  This tasted very much like the chickpea fries at other tapas restaurants I have been to.  I guess I was expecting something different and the whole dish was just “meh”.  Textures were ok and flavors were fine, but nothing I would get excited about or order again.

We then shared two main dishes, starting with their handmade spaetzle like pasta with spinach and carbonara sauce:

image  My first thought when I saw this was “WHAT??”  It’s so little food and $22!!  And the flavors were just ok – the bacon was out of place and the pasta was really hard.  I would NOT recommend this.

And then their white sea bass with spicy braised escarole and white beans, Morrocan olives and cara cara oranges:

image  This, at least was cooked properly with good flavor.  But even though I just had this last night, I don’t really remember the flavors all that well…

Dissappointed by dinner overall, we decided to get dessert around the corner at Ici (http://www.ici-icecream.com/), one of my favorite ice cream shops and in my runny list, “scoops”.

They make all their ice cream by hand in the shop and have so many creative flavors to choose from:

image   My favorite part about coming here is taking time to sample flavors before ordering.  I tried two of their sorbets – lime hibiscus (tart and fresh) and their TCHO chocolate mint (weird as a sorbet – I prefer my chocolate with cream).  I also tried their vanilla creme brulee, which had bits of the fired up sugar mixed in for a nice sweet crunch.  But after thinking long and hard, I got a cup of 3 scoops:

image  Earl Grey (my absolute favorite here – so bright and floral), passionfruit with candied orange (not too sour and the candied orange really popped in the ice cream), and their vanilla coconut toffee salted almond (a mouthful, but a great mixture of all my favorite flavors).  Even on a rainy day, you’ve got to wait in line for a bit but well worth it!  And a great end to my evening!

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