I like to drink. I like beer and wine equally. I like cocktails less. When I’m dating someone, I tend to be easily steered toward their drink of choice should they be opinionated about such things (pretty much all men). P liked IPAs so now I have favorites (Pliny the Elder and West Coast). N was an alcoholic so he preferred beer with a low ABV. Summertime is session time. J likes wine, which is good because one glass of wine per social event is allowed on the Tiffany Diet.
Downtown lost its only wine bar in March. It’s been replaced by another Berkeley beer place. I’m not sure why we need a Half Moon Bay Brewery taproom but they are moving in. Where else can one drink wine in downtown Berkeley? B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar opened recently but J has already commented, “meh” on their wine list. Something about only drinking organic wines. The wine at Revival is good and sure you could hang out at Chez Panisse drinking wine but could you really? Also, the Gourmet Ghetto is not Downtown Berkeley. Beer wins.
I’m writing this story at The Punchdown in downtown Oakland. My $10 glass of Pipeño Pais (Do I sound like I know what a Pais is?) is reasonably priced but I still feel a bit pinched. I could save at least $3 if I was drinking a beer. I like to think of myself as slightly wealthier than a college student so I won’t count on such a schmancy establishment opening near Cal anytime soon.
In Downtown Berkeley late night booze runs are tricky. You either head down to MLK and do your beer buying at the Valero gas station or you go up to Shattuck and hit up KP Deli. The former is closer to my apartment but KP Deli is the closest thing to a big city bodega we have in downtown Berkeley.
What you’re not expecting to find at a liquor store is delicious Indian food. In addition to liquor, KP Deli has Mexican ice cream, TP, Hot Cheetos, and an Indian food buffet. The food is no joke and the Aggarwal family is not just running a mom and pop operation. Deepak Aggarwal also owns Khana Peena in Rockridge, Mint Leaf turned Tigerlily in the Gourmet Ghetto, and East Bay Spice Company in downtown Berkeley.
I tried the aloo phali, which is for some reason spelled “Aloo Falee” at the counter. It’s curry potatoes and green beans. Delicious. Yelpers rave that the samosas are crispy and the chicken tikka masala is juicy.
In my opinion, the customer service is shoddy. When I get 6 cans of soda at Valero, the proprietor carries them up to the counter for me (how does he hold 6 cans at once, he’s magic?) and gives me a six-pack price. Speaking of prices, KP Deli is more fucking expensive than you can imagine. It’s a tradeoff because zilch is open late in downtown Berkeley and boy do they know it. Gouge gouge.