Da Lian extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

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BERKELEY Restaurants

Da Lian  1674 Shattuck Ave./Virginia St.; Gourmet Ghetto.  Named for a coastal city in northeast China, this spot inside a colorful tiled moon-gate entry provides a serene atmosphere in which to enjoy tasty Chinese fare.  Seafood is a specialty, and garlic is used liberally.  Menu favorites include traditional dishes prepared exceptionally:  crispy fried won tons; spicy hot-and-sour soup; a sautéed version of General’s chicken; spicy kung pao chicken; delicate Sichuan prawns; braised eggplant in garlic sauce; terrific chow fun (favorite versions are vegetable and beef).  Brown rice is an option.  Lunch specials are a bargain and include salad and soup. 

Here since 1925, Virginia Bakery (1690 Shattuck Ave./Virginia St.) made Huey Newton’s wedding cake.  It also produces excellent breads and pastries—don’t miss the applesauce cake, mini Holland coffee cake, and fruit-topped Danish—and a killer fruitcake at Christmas.

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travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers