Wednesday, August 20, 2008


THIS IS ONE OF my favorite sandwiches: Mortadella, galantina, lettuce, butter, white bread. I first tasted it at Ratto's Delicatessen, Washington and 9th St., Oakland, probably thirty years ago, maybe more.

Today, my 73d birthday, I had it for lunch, same place. Galantina is not an easy lunchmeat to find, and for a number of years it seemed to have dropped out of sight altogether. Today we intended to have a sandwich at Caffe 817, next door to Ratto's, but we got there a few minutes too late. I remembered Ratto, and there Elena was, just like the old days (well, almost), they had galantina, wonder of wonders, No, she said, I don't have any butter, shall I put olive oil on instead?

Of course, I said, and there the sandwich was, just like the old days
Later we had dinner, at Ca' Bianca in Santa Rosa, an Italian restaurant-in-a-house I'd wanted to try for a long time but hadn't got round to. Caesar salad, not bad, anchovy, egg, lemon juice, Romaine. Then a steak with black truffle sauce (after all, it is my birthday). Vernaccia di San Gimigniano; Cannonau di Sardegna.

A good restaurant, as good a traditional as there is up this way. We'll be back.

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