Minestrone soup; braised chicken with carrots and potatoes
Camino: 3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland CA; tel 510.547.5035
Dinner tonight at a new restaurant in Oakland: Camino, open only a few days. The owners are ex Chez Panisse: Russell Moore, who was co-Cafe Chef there, and Allison Hopelain. The building is capacious, beautifully appointed in a sort of loft postIndustrial Craftsman, with long tables. The menu is restricted to four or five each of appetizers and main courses and three desserts, and the wine list is similarly short but extremely well balanced and thought out.
I ate without my Lindsey, which is quite unusual, but with a couple of friends, at the end of a tiring day driving up highway 5 through winds and dust-storms.
No matter: a Martini (sans olives, but with a drop of Fernet from my flask) set things right. The bread was that delicious epi from Acme. The minestrone was rich, deep, and resonant, with cavalonero and borlotti and white beans in a fine stock suggesting beef and marrow.
The chicken was meaty and juicy, beautifully cooked, flavored with celery and carrot and its own juices, and accompanied by diagonal-cut slices of rather large carrot and nicely done small potatoes.
Desserts: since there were three of us we had them all: a cherry tart, a nice apricot clafoutis, and a marvelous nougat with shortbread cookies on the side. I'll be back, next time with Lindsey.
Cotes du Rhone