Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Monday, June 27, 2016
First, though, I started with a very nice salad, described by our waitress as "compressed watermelon" with cucumber and feta cheese. The chunks of watermelon had probably been set under a weighted plate for a while, to drain them of superfluous fluid; it's a nice way to deal with what can be a recalcitrant ingredient.
The lemon cucumbers were firm and meaty, no compression needed. The salad was strewn with sprouts of some kind — after all, this is a restaurant whose roots are in the 1960s. (It's owned by Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead). Thankfully not too many sprouts, and just the right sprinkle of feta crumbs. And a few Padrones, my first of the year…
My temptress was steak-frites. The fine print: "12 ounces." It was grilled just to my specification — rare, not slimy — and needed only a bit of salt. The asparagus was also perfectly grilled, still crisp but definitely cooked; and the fries were tasty as well. But three quarters of a pound of rich beef is too much for me these days…
Which didn't keep me from driving the nail home with dessert: "doughnuts" — lacking the central holes, they were in fact crullers, I say — with an excellent texture and very cleanly fried, and accompanied by chocolate sauce, caramel, and a fine pastry cream. As I say, we like this restaurant.
•Terrapin Crossroads, 100 Yacht Club Drive, San Rafael, California; (415) 524-2773
Enough. Cook turned those berries into a shortcake today, but complained that they were too dry. Well, it was one hundred degrees today, and not a trace of moisture in the air; you can forgive strawberries drying out a bit in this weather.
Renee's strawberries were a variety new to us, Tribute, nice-looking but tasting, I thought, like the commercial strawberries I never really appreciated — they taste like mostly citric acid to me, though better palates than mine respond much more positively. Lou had some Mara des bois, the go-to strawberry these days, but Cook had bought another variety whose name I don't recall.
I noticed we all managed to eat our shortcake. Earlier, we'd enjoyed Franco Dunn's sweet Italian sausages, grilled over rosemary and grape and rose wood on the patio, and green beans cooked with onions and shallots, and the obligatory green salad.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
AFTER LAST NIGHT, I told Cook, I want to eat light. And what, she reasonably asked, would "light" be? Well, I said, nothing rich, nothing heavy, just a little bit to tide us over.
Eggs, she said, brightly. So she peeled and cut up a couple of potatoes and boiled them and mashed them with some garlic and some dill, and she got a jar of her tomato confit down from the pantry.
The confit went into the bottom of baking dishes, and a couple of eggs got broken over the confit, and the dishes went into the toaster-oven for a short while. Well, actually, I don't know how long a while. I was busying myself with the Martini shaker.
Green salad afterward, you can be sure, and ice cream, with caramel sauce… nice to have a pastry chef in the house…
JUST A COINCIDENCE, but tonight's supper might have been a nod to the looming British vote: banger and mash.
The banger, though, is one of Franco Dunn's Toscana sausages, a far remove from your typical British sausage. Cook mashed the potatoes with a bit of milk, I believe, and a couple of cloves of garlic. Green salad afterward, and Bob's your uncle.
LUNCH IN TOWN with a friend on tour from Japan, and why not meet in the café? And you know I cannot resist brandade in any form.
Here it was on the menu, disguised as a delicious pizzetta, with a perfect balance of brandade and tomato sauce and a fine sprinkling of marjoram. You can't do a lot better.
Especially if you follow it up with a galette. Apricots are in full season, and an apricot galette is not to be declined. A complementary sherbet doesn't hurt!
☛RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016  2015