Crisp late autumn nights are the perfect time to sit between a warm heater and a cold canal for some early supper.
Like any college town, Berkeley is beset with pizza joints. Almost all of them offer a delicious slice, but a lot of those slices are, well, not really pizza. Deep dish so thick and dense that knife and fork are mandatory? All-organic cheese detonation without sauce? Pizza bagel? All of these can be mouth-watering under the right conditions, but quintessential crispy-yet-foldable slice of (New-York-inspired) pizza is found at Arinell’s in downtown Berkeley. The venue matches the food.
Aki is a tiny Japanese restaurant just north of the University of California’s campus, and it was my regular Friday lunch spot with my Decaseconds co-author, Brendan. That corner booth in the back (the one drenched in noontime sunshine) was the very place that the idea and name for Decaseconds were born. Over a steaming dish of katsudon, we hashed out the idea. When I began photography, I captured moments very much in the present, but in looking back to this image (and giving it a processing tweak here and there), I’m exploring my new ability to travel back through time to places and experiences past. That warm corner is one of contemplative nostalgia.
Spending the past decade in urban environs, easy access to cuisine from outside the European canon was always a given. When I arrived in the North Country, I was ready for the snow—but perhaps not for the near-total absence of food from Asian cuisines. Just up the road from Dave’s II (which I’ve photographed previously) is No. A-1 Oriental Kitchen, which seems to satisfy every preconception of what a Chinese food restaurant in New York might be (according to twentieth-century American cinema.)
The experience of a hot dog stand: the cascading sizzles, the protein-heavy meat smells, the… decades of libertarian literature taped to the walls? Top Dog is a Berkeley institution known as much for their politics as their delicious food. I particularly enjoyed lunch here during the time that the staff was working their way through the entirety of Star Trek on DVD as they cooked.