Thursday, January 1, 2009
Food and Wine
M riding on Daddy's shoulders
Golden Gate Park Carousel
Bodega Bay in the vanagon
Birthday at Japanese Gardens in Golden Gate Park
Birthday Dinner at Mamacita
I love California. Even the nightmarish I-80 corridor drive to the bay area makes me happy. This week has been filled with one great adventure after another. We drove down to SF the day after Christmas. We were stir crazy. On our way down we stopped at In-N-Out Burger. Minus the crazy crowds, In-N-Out is fabulous. It is my humble opinion that they could put McDonalds and Burger King out of business if they spread out of CA. within 6 months. In the book Fast Food Nation I learned about the wonderful workings of this family owned "fast food" burger place that in California is like a national treasure.
In San Francisco, there was shopping and restaurants. I finally went to SPQR. Honestly though, it did not live up to the hype. Although the deep fried brussel sprouts with caper and lemon did impress, I might not go back. D and I went to Bar Tartine for my pre-birthday celebration, and although they were not on top of their game, I am loyal for life until something crazy happens and I cannot justify French bistro food in an amazing atmosphere any longer. I am on a Pinot Noir kick right now. I like the lower alcohol content than other wines, so I can drink a glass and not be ready for bed. I have spent the last 9 years dedicated to Oregon Pinot Noirs, but this year I broke out of that funk and am now liking California Pinot Noirs. A bit more fruity and jammy than Oregon style pinots I have been drinking. So, I drank California Pinot Noir at Bar Tartine and it went great with the Liberty Farms duck breast I had as an entree.
Camping was really fun. I love fog and cold weather, so was right at home. Our little hotel on wheels, the vanagon is superb. With the solar panel on the popup we never have to worry about electricity or running down the battery. Our second night we ate at a new restaurant in Bodega Bay called Terrapin Creek. A slow food style place that a young couple from SF opened 6 months ago. Seared scallops on parsnip puree with a warm bacon vinaigrette was my favorite. Two days into camping I am pretty dirty, and opted not to use the showers at the campground due to the potential grossness factor, so I looked a little worse for wear eating at this very sweet place!
Last night we went to our friend's house back at home for New Year's dinner. They are organic farmers who we buy our CSA subscription from, and had all their "foodie" friends from Santa Cruz up for the holiday. It was the last night of glutton and boy was it worth it. Homemade Pinot Noir from their vineyards, smoked salmon with cream fraiche roasted beets, dill and lemon zest. Hand harvested porcini mushrooms baked on puff pastry. The stand out was one dish I was floored by. Burrata cheese with artisinal olive oil, coarse salt, rosemary, and lemon zest. Crusty sourdough bread to smear the cheese on. I had never eaten Burrata cheese, and likened it to a creamier version of fresh mozzarella. These folks cook and grow food for a living. There was homemade limoncello and quince paste that blew me away. Very inspiring food night to end the week of eating. Ok! Enough! Back to work! I have a house to clean, a tree to take down and a big trip to the east coast to prepare for. Oh Joy.