What's in your Bay, rapper/chef Lyrics Born?
Berkeley-based rapper and chef Lyrics Born on the set of his web-based cooking series, Dinner In Place. (Courtesy of Dinner in Place)

What's in your Bay, rapper/chef Lyrics Born?


For three decades, Lyrics Born, aka Tsutomu "Tom" Shimura, has been serving up beats in the hip hop world. His 2003 album Later That Day has even been hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the genre's greatest albums of all time.

But these days, the Berkeley rapper and producer doesn't just bring the heat on stage; he brings it to the kitchen.

For the last few years, Lyrics Born's web-based cooking series Dinner in Place has brought joyful multicultural and Asian-influenced recipes like everything bagel sushi rolls and locrio Japonese to an ever growing audience. Recent collaborations and pop-up events with local chefs like Gil Payumo of Senor Sisig and Nelson German of alaMar and Sobre Mesa are expanding his culinary footprint even further in the Bay Area and beyond.

We caught up with Lyrics Born at the start of his fourth season of Dinner in Place to find out what's in his Bay, from his go to splurge restaurant to his favorite neighborhood for a night out.

At Angeline's in Berkeley, "I'll order everything on the menu plus a few dranks," says Lyrics Born.(Courtesy of @eating.with.jenjen)

What restaurant is your favorite splurge?

Angeline's in Berkeley (2261 Shattuck Ave.). I'll order everything on the menu plus a few dranks. Sooooo satisfying, and relieves my hunger and memory pangs for New Orleans.

What restaurant or bar that you haven’t been to yet are you excited to check out?

I REALLLLLLY want to peep Oeste (722 Clay St.) and Viridian (2216 Broadway) in Oakland for dinner and dranks. CAN NOT WAIT.

What’s your preferred place for brunch or coffee?

I love either Delah (1807 Euclid Ave.) or Cafenated (2085 Vine St.) in Berkeley. Both are beautiful inside and out, have really high quality drinks and desserts, and are packed with creatives. I love that energy.

"When it's packed for a Lyrics Born show, there is no better vibe [than The Independent]," says the rapper-chef.(Courtesy of @theindependentsf)

What is your favorite Bay Area venue for live music?

My favorite Bay Area venue to play is The Independent (628 Divisadero St., NoPa). Staff and sound is top notch, and when it's packed for a Lyrics Born show, there is no better vibe.

What’s your favorite Bay Area park for hiking?

Hiking in Tilden Park (2501 Grizzly Peak Blvd., Orinda) is unmatched. So many little adventures to be had. I'll take some edibles with the homies, get lost AF, and love every minute of it.

What Bay Area-made item can you not live without?

I can not live without Papalote salsa. The absolute fucking best on erf. I give it as gifts to outta towners for Hanukkah.

"I really developed my fashion identity with finds from [Mars on Telegraph and Held Over/Mars on Haight]," says Lyrics Born.(Courtesy of @heldovervintage)

What Bay Area shop do you love to visit?

Mars on Telegraph (2398 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley) and Held Over/Mars on Haight (1543 Haight St., Haight Ashbury) are incredible used clothing stores. I've been shopping there since I was a teen, and really developed my fashion identity with finds from those spots.

What’s your favorite SF or Oakland neighborhood for a day or night out?

Recently I kicks it in DT Oakland tough. DT Oak is like a tapas bar for nite life. You can bar, restaurant, and club hop to no end, hear any kind of music, and eat any kind of food you want. Just don't drive. You don't want that deductible when your Yaris gets bipped.

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