7:02 p.m. Thursday: Best Reason to Drive to Pinole Hungry 

Outback Steakhouse

In certain East Bay liberal circles, just exhibiting too friendly a reaction to chain restaurant TV commercials is akin to packing your Berkeley Bowl groceries in a National Review tote bag: pure social suicide. Thus we're thankful we have to drive, but not too far, to get our Australian steakhouse fix. You might as well have traveled to the Midwest for the likelihood of your friends finding you here. Belly up to the bar with the alien tracking device that flashes and vibrates when your table is ready. Start weighing the concern for your arteries versus the need to satisfy the steak fairies within. Is nine ounces of cow enough, or will you pull out all the stops and get the sixteen-ounce prime rib? No decision needs to be made about the baked potato with all the fixins. Wash it all down with a tall Foster's and say g'day, mate.

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