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Totally Twisted

Soft, salty pretzels have made the journey from ballpark concessions to high-end restaurant menus, and we can’t get enough. Try one paired with your favorite beer.


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Corners Tavern

All photos by LeeAnne Jones

Corners Tavern

Dough: Eschewing the traditional twist for three soft, puffy pretzel sticks, this appetizer is easy to share.
Dip: Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen, on tap at Corners Tavern, lends a touch of sweet to a very spicy whole-grain mustard sauce.
Digs: Enjoy with a salad in the bright, airy dining room, or head for one of the plush couches tucked between walls of quirky dioramas.

1342 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, (925) 948-8711, cornerstavern.com.
 

Freehouse

Dough: A giant golden pretzel arrives piping hot and smiling up at you, with two dips nestled into the twists like eyes.
Dip: A cheddar pilsner sauce is surprisingly light and totally addictive: I want to slather it on my entrée, too. Stone-ground mustard dip is thick and flavorful.
Digs: Take your pretzel and beer over to the pool table. Or admire the fireplace and leaded glass in the dining room, the former great hall of Westminster House, built in 1926.

2700 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, (510) 647-2300, berkeleyfreehouse.com.
 

(Left) Freehouse, (Right) Five

Five

Dough: Two thin hand-twisted pretzels, lightly buttered, with delicate flakes of fleur de sel—just the right amount of saltiness.
Dip: A creamy, mild smoked gouda fondue is tempered with a bit of cheddar. The Dijon mustard is spicy, with a hint of sweetness.
Digs: Enjoy this quick anytime snack (it’s on the bar menu) in the funky Hotel Shattuck lounge—red chandeliers, black-and-white decor—alongside conference attendees.

2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, (510) 225-6055, five-berkeley.com.
 

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