During my last day of spring break, I went on a little expedition over
the hills to Berkeley. I like to do that every so often, just to see
what's going on there. 

     I found Berkeley still being Berkeley, with a few small changes: The
Mediterranean Café' on Telegraph Avenue, where I had breakfast, was all
but deserted (I remember it as always bustling), and Shambhala Books,
had closed their store across the street after 35 years. (They continue on as
a publisher.) No one has yet rented the former UC Repertory movie house
on University, which went out of business a couple years ago.      I had a pleasant walk through town, including passing the residence on Channing Way whose basement once housed Meherstan, the first (I think) Baba Center in the area.      Well, I finally got in my car to drive home, but decided to go "the back way", taking not the freeway but seeking out a picturesque route I dimly remember from years ago. To do this I headed north on San Pablo, through Albany toward El Cerrito (where the Northern California Baba group has its current storefront center) and Richmond.      On the way, I started getting a little hungry. I'd had a cup of chai and some naan (bread) from an Indian restaurant on Shattuck Boulevard that was playing such loud heavy metal music that I hadn't wanted to avail myself of their buffet, even though it was sumptuous looking and only $4.99!      But we'd eaten at an Indian buffet the day before, and I really couldn't justify stopping at a restaurant. Besides, I'd passed "little India" in Berkeley, near San Pablo and University, and the pickings were fairly slim for Indian buffets north of there.      I thought to Baba, "I don't really have the time to stop,either, unless I pass...hmmm..." a picture was forming in my head... " a fast food Indian restaurant! Then and only then, will I stop, Baba."      I had these thoughts as I turned onto San Pablo Dam Road in El Sobrante, an out-of-the-way, "Main Street America" little suburb if there ever was one. There IS a beautiful, gold-domed Hindu, or perhaps Sikh, temple in that area that you can see coming south on Highway 80. It seemed impossible, though, as I drove through the little central business district full of atavistic shops and seemingly nothing more cosmopolitan than a couple Mexican restaurants, that the fanciful condition I'd given for stopping would be fulfilled.      And then I came upon it...a huge neon, sign stretched the length of a parking lot on the right side of the road, all in red, white, and blue letters: TANDOORI CHICKEN USA!! The sign straddled a small,
'50-ish fast food shack.     Well, I'd put myself out there, and now I had to stop! I read the menu while waiting in a small line to order. Now I remembered--the proprietor of a little place in our area had mentioned once that they had another store in El Sobrante. He hadn't said, though, that it was a re-fashioned '50s fast food joint!      I left with a little box lunch consisting of a tandoori thigh and a drumstick that turned out to be a little under-sized, and some more naan and chai. I ate while driving and searching for the spectacularly scenic back road I remembered.* The food wasn't so great, but the reverberations of my chuckles kept me on a wave of amusement all the way home! ____ *It's called Wildcat Canyon Road. Back on our side of the hills I finally passed where it intersects San Pablo Dam Road. I'll know for next

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