{510} Family Faves with Kirsten of Revolution Foods

Kirsten Saenz Tobey is a Berkeley mom and one of the brains behind Revolution Foods. Last week, she answered my questions about her favorite aspects of family life in the East Bay.

kirsten-revolution

What ‘hood do you claim in the East Bay?

We live on Grizzly Peak, so we’re right at the top of the Berkeley Hills. A lot of people are freaked out by driving up or down Marin, but we just love living with a view. Tilden almost feels like our backyard – I can be on a trail run in just 5 minutes after jogging out my front door. It’s fun on a weekend to walk around and explore all the secret stairways – my 3 year old still naps on my back in the Ergo carrier, so sometimes on a weekend I just walk around exploring the neighborhood, and inevitably I find a pathway or stairway I didn’t know was there.

At what playground are we most likely to find you and your girls? 

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to disclose the location of this one! We call it the “secret park”, and it’s in the Park Hills neighborhood. It has awesome swings, a nice play structure, and a grassy area. And it’s always pretty quiet. There is also a picnic table in the shade for snack time and dinner picnics. We love it because it’s one of the few parks that we can walk to from home.

What’s your favorite family dinner spot in the East Bay?

My kids absolutely love Bowl’d on Solano. It’s a Korean bowl restaurant with a great lively atmosphere. My kids especially love the enormous, oversized fork, spoon, and spatula hanging on the wall. They have a kids’ bowl which includes white or brown rice, along with a variety of different veggies, choice of meat/tofu, and korean pickled vegetables (which my 6 year old adores). Another good spot is Gecko Gecko – Thai restaurant in downtown Berkeley. The kids love their chicken satay, spring rolls and brown rice, and it’s fun to introduce the kids to new flavors. And if you go early-ish (6 or 6:30), usually not too crowded.

Where do you and your husband like to go without the kids?

Our best dates are the ones when we actually have time to exercise together – going for a trail run in Tilden – followed by a great meal. We don’t get to do this very often, but when we do, it’s super special. As for restaurants, we love going out to Ethiopian food in Oakland when it’s just the two of us. Enssaro is great, and there are several great places along Telegraph too. When we want a really special food experience for a special occasion, Gather is another great spot.

What’s your favorite local treat-yourself activity?

Hanging out and having a drink with my mom friends at Comal.

Can you tell us about a class or program your kids have loved?

I was really impressed with Sarah’s Science this summer. My 6-year old loved it and came home with such cool projects every day. It just seemed like a great way to spend the summer days, hanging out outside, singing songs (she came home singing songs like Blue Suede Shoes and Proud Mary!), and learning about science.

Tell us about your weekend morning rituals.

First, getting out for a long run in Tilden Park with my good friend (and local mom) Molly. That clears my head and prevents me from getting antsy the rest of the day. Then coming home, showering, and lazing around in PJ’s with the kids for the rest of the morning. Our kids (ages 6 and 3) have recently gotten into a few board and card games – Qwirkle, Bird Bingo (my husband Ben is an avid birder so this is a fun way to introduce the kids to birds like the “splendid fairy wren” and “crested guineafowl”.

How Berkeley can you be? Or how Oaklandish?

Interestingly, I started my business because I saw a vast difference (this was 9 years ago) between the kinds of foods that kids in Oakland had access to versus the kinds of food kids in Berkeley had access to. There were a lot of resources being put into ensuring that Berkeley kids were exposed to high quality, healthy food in schools and in their neighborhoods, but many kids in Oakland were growing up in neighborhoods where there were far more liquor stores than farmers’ markets. I wanted to change that and make sure that all kids – particularly those who qualify for free lunch at school – could have access to healthy food at school.

Thanks for hanging with us today, Kirsten! We love what you’re doing with food. {See what Revolution has just launched — Meal Kits – now available locally in Safeway, Whole Foods and Andronico’s — and Target in October}