Friday, December 7, 2012


Eastside Road, December 7, 2012—
DEDICATED VISITORS HERE may be surprised that we don't actually eat all that much meat. I mean, I was raised in a meat-and-potatoes family, and my constant companion's family ate their share of flesh too: but in the last fifteen years or so our diet has moved away from the basic American Carnivore in the direction of the Mediterranean. For a number of months, years ago, we avoided meat almost entirely; these days, we restrict meat consumption largely to meals taken out — except for what I think of as meat-as-flavoring.

Tonight we ate out, down the hill, guests of our neighbors, who had invited another couple as well, among whom is a non-participant in the flesh-eating community. Our principle course was a delicious stand-in: polenta grilled in the fireplace, covered with soft cheese and sautéed mushrooms. The polenta was white, not yellow; the cheese was Bellwether Crescenza, a soft cheese midway between Mozzarella and Teleme. The whole thing was really delicious, with its side of sautéed Swiss chard. Before, my guacamole, made with superb avocados brought up a couple of weeks ago from a friend's orchard in Ojai; afterward, a blackberry fool. It doesn't get much better.

Chardonnay, Williamson (Dry Creek), 2009; Château St. Jean, 2011; Cabernet sauvignon, Château Souverain, Stuhlmuller Vineyard, 2005 (mature, balanced, elegant); Cinsault, Preston of Dry Creek, 2009 (spicy, edgy yet smooth)

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