Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pizza

IMG 5539
Eastside Road, February 6, 2016—

IT'S A MISTAKE, I said to no one in particular, to eat here and not order sausage. So though what spoke to me immediately was the Margarita pizza, I accepted the waitress's suggestion to add some crumbled Italian sausage to it.

It was a delicious pizza. The tomato sauce is deep and highly flavored, and the basil, which was almost stewed in the juices, equally assertive. The thin crust was perhaps a tiny bit underdone, but nothing to complain about.

Dessert: an affogato, with Marsala ice cream instead of vanilla, and a couple of spicy biscotti. Yes yes.

Montepulciano, Orsi, 2014

•Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria, 21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, California; (707) 814-0111

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016
(2015 restaurants)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Roast chicken

IMG 5532
Eastside Road, February 5, 2016—

NOT A CAPON, alas; the one we had on Christmas Eve will have to do us for the foreseeable future. But this was truly a fine bird, this chicken: free-range, firm-textured, smooth, sweet-fleshed.

Cook roasted it Judy Rodgers's way, in a very hot oven, but we did something new this time: slipped a slice or two of superannuated baguette underneath the bird while it cooked. This made a delicious morsel; you see it at the lower left corner of the plate.

Also with it, buttery mashed potatoes, cooked with a bit of parsley. Green salad afterward, and the last of that delicious Key lime pie.

Cheap Barbera d'Asti

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016   2015

Piazza D'Angelo

Mill Valley, February 4, 2015—

LUNCH FORTY MILES south today at an Italian local in this Berkeley of Marin County — a birthday lunch for an old friend, organized by another; nine at table, and we ordered individually from the menu. I had a Caesarish salad to start, never a really good idea in an Italian restaurant, though in the event it was perfectly acceptable.

Afterward, these cappellati di zucco, because I plan to make some for dinner tomorrow, and wanted to get an idea of how I might proceed. The hat-shapped pasta is filled with pumpkin purée, and I think I will flavor mine a little more, with nutmeg and perhaps a bit of lemon zest. The sage leaves were a good idea, though, and the tomato sauce brought needed acidic point to the dish. 

Prosecco
•Piazza D'Angelo Ristorante, 22 Miller avenue, Mill Valley, California; 415-388-2000

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016
(2015 restaurants)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Back to Campo Fina

Eastside Road, February 3, 2015—

BROUGHT ONE DAUGHTER here to lunch the other day; seemed only right to bring the other here today. She and the Contessa had small plates: those delicious tuna-stuffed sweet peppers; chick peas; devilled eggs…

I had this sandwich, called a North End: finocchiona, coppa, mortadella, and provolone, with chopped lettuce, pepperoncini, and pickled onions, on ciabatta, with a slice of delicious dill pickle on the side. A serious sandwich, washed down with a glass of red wine:
Zinfandel blend, "Chiarito" (Mendocino), nv

In the evening, to the neighbors down the hill for roast chicken and a gratin involving squash, kale, and potatoes.
Syrah, Preston of Dry Creek

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pork chop

Porkchop
Eastside Road, February 2, 2016—
AH, THOSE DELICIOUS pork chops ma façon, as I call them, though Cook assures me the recipe is from Elizabeth David, though she can't recall which book…

You grind up some fennel seeds with some sea salt and a clove of garlic, add some grated lemon zest, and put them on the chops, and so on. The way I do it, I fry the chops in a black iron skillet. I rub edges of the chops on the surface of the cold pan, then sear the chops on one side on high heat. Then I turn them and spread half the fennel-garlic mixture on the glazed, browned surface. When the second side is seared, I turn them again, and put the remaining mixture on that side. I forgot: I drizzle a little olive oil on each side while the chops cook at high heat.

I half-cover the pan with a lid after turning the heat down, and cook until done. Delicious.

With them, as you see, green beans, and some slices of baguette. And dessert! Keylimepie

Cook made a Key lime pie! Graham cracker crust, of course; beautiful little Key limes, a nice soft whipped cream…

Rosé, Château Guilhem (pays d'Hérault), 2014

NEW! All restaurants visited since January 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants, with ratings of sorts

Campo Fina

Stromboli

Eastside Road, February 1, 2016—
LUNCH IN TOWN today with the neighbor down the hill, something we try to do every month. I was hungry, for some reason, and decided on a spot I've come to think of as reliable.

It's a nice place. Even on a cold day, you can sit outside under a pergola with efficient heating. The pizza oven does a good job and the cooks know how to use it.

I started out with sweet red peppers stuffed with tuna, served on a bed of arugula — a very happy alternative to an insalata caprese, keeping the Italian tricolor but adding point and substance.

Next, a daily special: "Stromboli." I don't know if this is a staple or a local invention. It's a little odd, I think, particularly for its texture, but it made a nice lunch. A pair of palm-sized calzone, I guess, stuffed with ricotta, chopped salami, red onion, and spinach; served, again, on a bed of arugula. The ricotta was a little runny, almost like a crème fraîche; the result was an Italian stuffed savory pastry with Alsatian overtones.

No dessert: and tonight, just a plate of store-bought ravioli, a carrot, some celery, and a tangerine…

Pinot bianco
•Campo Fina, 330 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg; 707-395-4640
NEW! All Restaurants visited since January 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants, with a simple set of ratings.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

“Stamppot”

Eastside Road, January 31, 2016—

I SET IT in quotes, because it isn't really Stamppot, it isn't Dutch, there's no kale in it. Potatoes, chard, leeks, pancetta, stewed on top of the stove with olive oil. No garlic, no onions. A little chili, by way of red-pepper flakes. A one-dish meal, after an afternoon of garden chores …
Laya: Garnacha tintonera 70%, Monastrell 30%, old vines (Almansa), 2013.

We've been keeping this wine in its cardboard box out on the north side of the house, and it's been cold — under 50°. This cold, the wine takes on a quite new quality: the Garnache is more assertive, berrylike. Delicious. I'm going to miss this wine when it's gone.