The Sunny Side Cafe, a choka (長歌) - Berkeley, CA

(Pictures for this restaurant review taken with my Apple iPhone 3Gs.

For fun, I wrote this restaurant review of the Sunny Side Cafe as a choka (長歌). See the section below the review for more details.)

Up at 6:00am,
Sleep-fogged mind barely working.
Strange bed, no wife - Huh?
Disorientation and
confusion. Panic.
Relief when I realize
that I'm on a business trip.

Running for the BART.
Caffeine and adrenaline.
surging through my veins.
This irritation is too
familiar to me.
A nostalgia that I'd
rather do without.

Hello Berkeley,
I AM IN YOU!!! At some point,
this meme will get old.
But, that day is not today.
Sorry, Twitter friends.
Thanks for putting up with my
abuse of the CAPSLOCK key.

Hungry. I have time
before I need to reach the
office. Breakfast calls!
I have no idea where to eat.
First, I follow Yelp.
Then, I follow the students.
CAL is around the corner.

Sunny Side Cafe.
Navigation achievement
unlocked for teh win!
Only 30 minutes left
until I need to
get my ass to a meeting.
I can has tasty fuds now?

Fried Egg Sandwiches!!!
To Go only? *whimper* Sadness...
Time for Plan B.
The Raspberry Hanger Steak
Benedict special
looks interesting. Maybe
scary. You only live once.

Waitress super nice.
Open kitchen with counter.
How do the chefs not
feel like they are on display?
Students, locals, and
academics everywhere.
A real neighborhood joint.

Benny dished up fast.
Cloud-like eggs on pedestals
of toasted muffins
and caramelized meat, wreathed
in a buttery
shroud of luxurious, rich
Hollandaise. Be still my heart.

Cut into the egg.
Anticipation becomes
disappointment. Yolk,
an overcooked hockey puck.
Does not coat other
ingredients on the plate.
Was the special a mistake?

Citrus in sauce adds
way too much acidity.
Steak is drowned out by
raspberry, overpowers.
Potatoes are nice.
Laced with rosemary, lemon.
Crispy and fluffy.

The Sunny Side Cafe - Service is awesome, the portions are big, and the food is a decent value for Berkeley. They probably overreached on the special. The flavors clashed, but the overall dish was still tasty. However, Eggs Benedict is supposed to be one of the Sunny Side Cafe's signature items and my order was only one the two line cooks were working on. In addition to the hard boiled eggs, the muffins were under toasted and soggy because the eggs weren't drained properly. I'm not sure that was their best effort.


Raspberry Hanger Steak Benedict - 12.50

Flavor: C-
Ambience: A
Service: A

Overall: B

The Sunny Side Cafe
2136 Oxford St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Restaurant website

Original Location:

1499 Solano Ave.
Albany, CA 94706

What is a Choka (長歌)?

A choka is a form of waka (和歌) or Japanese poetry. Like the more commonly known haiku, choka are composed lines with 5 or 7 syllables (onji) arranged in a pattern. Each stanza has two couplets with a first line of 5 onji and a second line of 7 onji. The stanza is completed with a katuata of three lines. The first line in the katuata must be 5 onji and the second line must be 7. However the third line can be either 5 or 7 onji. So, each seven line stanza of a choka can have a series of 5-7-5-7-5-7-5 onji, or a series of 5-7-5-7-5-7-7 onji.

For example, this stanza from my choka is in the 5-7-5-7-5-7-7 onji pattern.

Sunny Side Cafe. - 5 onji
Navigation achievement - 7 onji
unlocked for teh win! - 5 onji
Only 30 minutes left - 7 onji
until I need to - 5 onji
get my ass to a meeting. - 7 onji
I can has tasty fuds now? - 7 onji

This stanza in the choka is in the 5-7-5-7-5-7-5 onji pattern.

Citrus in sauce adds - 5 onji
way too much acidity. - 7 onji
Steak is drowned out by - 5 onji
raspberry, overpowers. - 7 onji
Potatoes are nice. - 5 onji
Laced with rosemary, lemon. - 7 onji
Crispy and fluffy. - 5 onji

Cat's the poet, not me. However, I think choka are a lot of fun, even if you end up looking a bit silly counting out syllables on your fingers. I cheated a bit and used How Many Syllables.com. There's also a project called Choka On It dedicated to writing the world's longest choka by crowdsourcing it. Try contributing a couplet!

A real waka expert would probably have a field day with my choka, to which I reply with this haiku:
You pretentious prick.
Giving you the finger while
thunder roars outside.


Wow beautiful! Really awesome to see you posting again CP. I'm a sucker for great ambiance, and personal nostalgia inducing spots even more. Too bad the benny wasn't better.

Liking the choka! It's great to see you posting; even if it's occasional your posts are fun to read!

Also agree about seeing your posts again, check in every month or so and glad to see another post!

CP, you are so freakin' creative! Busting out of the doldrums with a choka? I'm not worthy.

Hey...to echo what everyone else is saying; it's great to have you back!

Hi guys. Thanks for all the comments. I'm really happy to be back. Working on the next blog post now!

"I AM IN YOU!!!"
Very entertaining post! It's too bad about the hard boiled eggs. That's not eggs benedict, come on!

I saw your comment on my blog and I got "choka'ed" up and immediately ran over to your site to see if you have been active. Next time you come to the Bay Area, we need to meet up again! Also, I agree with the comments and your reaction about COMPLETELY cooked egg! An eggs benedict without an oozing yolk is like the food blog world without Chubbypanda!


Oh my... :)


Erm... I was in our Berkeley office today and will be in our Pleasanton office tomorrow. I'm up here a few days each month. (^_^);;;

- CP

That looks amazing! Nice pics.