Monday, January 30, 2012


Eastside Road, January 30, 2012—
IF THE CONCEPT is to have any meaning at all, then the Hundred Plates has to include the taco. Certainly the taco we had for dinner tonight: corn tortillas heaped with red beans and chili; chopped avocado, cilantro, and raw onion, grated cheddar cheese; a splash of (gulp) commercial salsa verde. Somos californios aqui, ¿no es verdad? ¡Comemos asi!
Cheap Nero d'Avola

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Eastside Road, January 29, 2012—
LORD KNOWS WE HAVE BOTH made dozens of risottos. We agree almost completely on the method: soffritto of onions in oil with maybe a little butter; a one-kernel depth of rice grains next, moved around, until just beginning to soften; chicken stock which has been kept just under a simmer; a splash of white wine; more stock; stir stir stir;
ed e subito finito.
Where we differ is on the mechanics of the white wine: I throw it in before the stock, to cook it off quickly; she argues that this kills the cooking of the rice. The truth cannot lie in between; it must somehow transcend both points of view. But we get by.

Tonight it was her turn. Odd, how long it's been since we had a risotto here. There was one slip-up: she'd intended a classic risotto Milanese, with peas; the "peas" turned out to be soybeans, and of course were not used. Well, it's too early for peas anyhow.

The cooking wine is important. For years we had a dwindling case of superannuated Chablis, I think it was. Normally we might use Cheap Pinot grigio. But just now we have an old vintage of Joseph Swan Chardonnay, too oxidized for drinking, but fine for this purpose.

Green salad, of course; and the last of those Bosc pears in Marsala. Yes.
Cheap Pinot grigio


Salade Lyonnaise, Mendocino style
Ukiah, Mendocino county, California, January 28, 2012—
THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT in this rural county to the north of ours, Ukiah seems on very little direct knowledge an interesting jumble of blue-collar, agricultural, administrative, and student populations. Of course today's experience is confined to a two-block radius around the court house, where we're attending "mock trials" of a murder case, prosecuted and defended by teams of high-school students learning about both law and theater (as if there were that much distinction in real life).

But this site, as I've said before, is about food, not law and order. Lunch involved that classic, ham and cheese on a baguette, with a glass of orange juice; cappuccino and Danish to follow. Except that the cheese was cheddar rather than some kind of Swiss, everything was all I could ask.

Courthouse Bakery, 113 West Perkins St., Ukiah; (707)462-1670

Dinner? We didn't want to hang around too late, so it was more of a very late lunch, seven of us at table. After a decent Martini I ordered a Lyonnaise salad — as some readers know by now, a favorite here — and a side of french fries. The salad, as you see in this theatrical photo, boasted two eggs, steamed rather than poached I'd guess, and lots of tasty lardons: tasty and healthful. Afterward, a chocolate-walnut tart that was more like a marquise in a pastry shell, dense and delicious.
Patrona, 130 W. Standley, Ukiah; (707) 462-9181

Friday, January 27, 2012


Eastside Road, January 27, 2012—
HAPPY MOZART'S BIRTHDAY to you! We celebrated with a quick trip to MacWorld Expo and an ailing friend, dinner out with a couple of friends, and some agitprop theater based on the Occupy movement. Much to think about: but at this site I focus on the dinner.

(I run into people from time to time — at MacWorld Expo, for example — who think my entire consciousness is narrowly focussed on dinner. That's not really true. I guess I should spend a little more time on the other blog from time to time.)

The theater was in nearby Sebastopol, and so is the K&L Bistro, one of the dependable local eateries. There I had a Friday Fish dinner: grilled sardines with roasted peppers and frisée; then grilled salmon on a bed of wilted lettuces, as you see, themselves on a bed of nicely flavored lentils in a sort of agrodolce. That's horseradish cream you see settling into the salmon. Not perhaps authentically bistro fare, but no complaints from me.
White Bordeaux in carafe
K&L Bistro, 119 South Main Street, Sebastopol; 707-823-6614


Eastside Road, January 26, 2012—
MY FATHER KNEW HOW to make it; so did Mom. My mother-in-law could turn out a pretty good version. Lindsey knows how, too. But I bet I'd have to go to a cook book. Pathetic: chili, one of the great American dishes and certainly one of the Hundred Plates, should be something that writes itself.

I guess you start with chopped onions, frying them up in some kind of fat, then adding ground beef and flavor. The beans you've cooked ahead of time. Tomato is clearly involved somehow — canned? paste? sauce? Oh: and chili powder, no doubt about that.

Tonight's edition involved chili powder from Rancho de Chimayo, accessioned who knows how many years ago but never, it seems, losing either its heat or its unique smoky peppery flavor. Then too, Lindsey likes to set bowls of chopped raw onion, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, and grated cheese on the table; and I like a tortilla or two. Green salad. Oh: tonight, a dessert: a strange but tasty corn-flour cake which tasted, as Eric said, very old-fashioned, and Southern. If there's any left tomorrow night I'll tell you how she made it.
Zinfandel, Peterson (Dry Creek Valley), 2008

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Steak, beans, guacamole

Eastside Road, January 25, 2012—
THIS WAS A DAY for a simple dinner, and that's what we had. Lindsey had found maybe a quarter pound of leftover grilled steak in the freezer. I made guacamole the usual way while she heated up a can or two of black beans. Tortilla, guacamole, sliced steak, raw onions, a little more guacamole, lime juice, bottled salsa verde. Delicious. (A little steamed broccoli afterward, to keep us healthy.)

(Yesterday, being Tuesday, was a fast day.)
Cheap Nero d'Avola

Monday, January 23, 2012

Grilled ham and cheese

Eastside Road, January 23, 2012—
LET'S JUST KEEP IT simple, shall we? Good Como bread from Downtown; thin slices of Black Forest ham; ditto of Gruyère. Butter on the outside of the sandwiches, just a little. Grill in the black iron skillet. A good green salad afterward, and then, just to keep it from being too simple,
Pears Baked in Marsala
Pour a cup of dry Marsala over six large firm unpeeled pears in a baking dish, sprinkle them with a cup of sugar, pour a scant cup of water into the dish, add a cinnamon stick, and bake, basting them every twenty minutes, for a couple of hours at 325° or until the pears are soft.

The recipe is from Milan's Restaurant Peck, as set out by Robert Freson in his book Savoring Italy (HarperCollins, 1992).
Ribolla Gialla, La Viarte (Colli oriental del Friuli), 2009: a perfect match to the dinner.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ancora all'italiana

Eastside Road, January 22, 2012—
lambshank.jpgOUT TO DINNER again, you won't be surprised to hear, with a couple of new friends: francophiles and market gardeners whose lettuces we depend on through spring and summer. They'd been to this Healdsburg restaurant before; we had not, and were glad to give it a try.

Burt and I split a "Caesar" salad, in quotes for chopped Romaine and the lack of raw egg, otherwise not a bad salad at all, and thankfully with a liberal number of anchovies decorating it. I went on to Stinco d'agnello al forno, a braised lamb shank in its reduced drippings, on a bed of soft polenta, with the demi-glace and wild mushrooms and mixed vegetables on the side. Good hearty fare for a squally, rainy evening.
Rosso di Montalcino, Tenemente Angelini, 2004 (thanks, Burt and Mary: it was mature and sober and fruity and delicious); "Regale," Bordeaux blend, Ramazzotti (Alexander Valley), 2007 (oaky at first, quickly correcting itself into a nicely balanced wine)
Baci Café and Wine Bar, 336 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg; (707) 433.8111

Party party

Eastside Road, January 21, 2012—
AN UNUSUALLY BUSY Saturday, even for us: a memorial service for a friend at one o'clock; a birthday party for another at four; then a dinner party for our playgoing group, the Ashlanders, at seven. Food all along the way, of course.

We eyed the table of cheeses, pastries, cocktail sandwiches and such in the church on our way out of the memorial service. I felt guilty about reaching toward it and grabbing one little canapé, which turned out to be egg salad on crustless white bread; but my conscience cleared when I noticed Lindsey'd done exactly the same.

The array at Andrew's party

We drove nearly an hour to get to Andrew's party in Point Reyes Station. Quite a contrast: from a fairly new, media-savvy, banner-hung Christian church jam-packed with probably six hundred mourners to a rustic, crowded artists' studio equally jam-packed with perhaps thirty friends and family. Since Andrew is a Romanov, the table boasted blinis and borscht as well as ham, green beans, olives, beans, green salad, bruschetta, and a dozen other things. Looking forward to a dinner party in a couple of hours, we held back: but that borscht was delicious, even to beet-hating me; ditto the blinis and bruschetta. Perhaps I was simply in the mood for the letter "B". Or perhaps it was the Sophia rosé, whose slight sweetness pushed the Italo-Russian savor.

pork loin.jpg
On, then, another hour, to dinner. A few glasses of Pinot grigio followed by Sauvignon blanc and conversation; then down to serious business at table: roast pork loin; delicious little yellow potatoes; green beans with pancetta and pine nuts (yes yes); homemade applesauce — ah: we're home in the good old USA again. Good food, good cooking, good discussions, good friends.
Chardonnay, Clos du Bois, 2009; Cabernet Sauvignon, Simi, 1999 (sound and serious); Sirah, Preston of Dry Creek, 2009; Zinfandel, Murphy-Goode "Liar's Dice", 2008 (authentic and mature); Pinot noir, Shone Farm, 2009 — note that all these reds were first-rate, and they all (and the whites too) came from within a dozen miles of the dinner-table.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bogman with egg

Eastside Road, January 20, 2012—
HOW ABOUT BOGMAN with an egg on top, I said idly, not really all that seriously, but that's how she took me: seriously. A few tablespoons of Lou Preston's wheat berries in the saucepan, covered with water, cooked al dente with some chopped scallions, served with a poached egg on top. Rather a nice dish; we'll come back to it. Green salad, of course.
The rest of Tuesday's Bardolino

Roast lamb

Eastside Road, January 19, 2012—
HOME FAR TOO LATE last night to report on dinner, so you will find no dissertation here on the roast lamb. We'd driven down to Berkeley with friends to hear high-school musicians in a pageant of all sorts of chamber music, from a Schubert quartet movement to (no kidding!) a saxophone quartet, in shades and danger jackets, playing the "Air on the G String" by Johann Sebastian Bach. (I made a shaky video of this; when I get to better bandwidth I'll upload it to YouTube.)

To serious business first, though: dinner in the Café. I started with the house green salad, always dependable with its soft, subtle, but complex vinaigrette; and went on to sliced roast lamb with fried shoestring potatoes, delicate little turnips, and anchovy butter. Well, the lamb wasn't really roasted; it was grilled — such a young lamb it must have been, meat with that curious combination of young tenderness and optimism and the innately wary gaminess of the adult sheep. The anchovy butter suited it perfectly.

Desserts: Jim's Kishu tangerines, new crop dates, and for me house-made membrillo with Txiki and an exceptional ricotta, again with dates, candied lemon peel, and honey. Yes.
Verdicchio di matelica, Colle Stefano, 2010: fragrant, true to varietal, good body; Barbera d’Asti
• Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; 510.548.5525

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fish and chips

Eastside Road, January 18, 2012—
THE LAST FAIR DAY, we're told, before a string of rainy ones. So, since we have to get in shape for another long walk, we can't waste it: let's take a hike.

The hike took us forty minutes away by car. It always seems morally wrong to drive the car to a walk, but there you are: that's the kind of world we live in. The walk itself was nice, the first half a stroll really, the second more of a scramble. But this is a food blog, not a walking one. (I do in fact have a walking blog, but it's been inactive for a long, long time.)

So what did we eat to put back some of those calories we'd walked off? I'm a little ashamed to tell you: fish and chips. We thought of fasting, in fact, but were a little hungry. There weren't that many places at the end of the trail, so we dropped into a bar and settled for the least obnoxious thing on the menu. Three strips of decently battered unidentifiable firm white fish, fried in clean inert oil, with probably commercially pre-cut potatoes fried similarly, house-assembled tartar sauce, and a couple of leaves of lettuce that, frankly, didn't tempt us.

Later, at home, the usual handful of nuts with tea, and a banana. What a life.
White table wine, Kenwood, nv
Wolf House Restaurant, 13740 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, CA; 707.938.8510

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pasta, tomato sauce

Eastside Road, January 17, 2012—
WHAT SHALL WE HAVE for dinner, she asked as we drove into town, and I gave it a considerable amount of thought, but not coming up with any ideas I kept silent.

A few minutes later: Why don't we have pasta and red sauce, she said; fine, I agreed, it's been a long time.

So we fell back tonight on familiar if neglected provisions: penne, in a sauce involving oil, onion, garlic, bay, salt, pepper, and of course a can of tomatoes. Every winter I tell myself next summer I'll can a couple of dozen quarts of tomatoes; every summer I somehow forget about it.

Green salad, and have I mentioned Mendocino Sea Salt? We bought a little jar of it at the Marin Farmers Market months ago, and finally have got around to using it; I think I like it even better than the salt from the Ile de Ré. (Well, actually, it's apples and oranges, as Mr. Cain used to say.)
Bardolino, Corte Gardone "Le Fontane," 2010

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Eastside Road, January 16, 2012—
NO, WE DIDN'T go to Deborah Madison's excellent, indispensable book of that title for dinner tonight; it didn't really need a cookbook. I just put the title up there because L. pointed out that tonight's dinner was in fact vegetarian, and because I so admire Deborah's book, and so admire and respect her.

In fact, dinner was simply lentils from last night — from another friend and Panisse alum, David Tanis — a baked potato with olive oil and salt, romanesco sautéed with hazelnuts in olive oil and a little butter the usual green salad, an apple and a tangerine, and three little chocolate candies. Nothing exciting, you say? You haven't tasted these lentils, tiny tiny ones from Italy I think, we've lost track of the lineage; nor the olive oil from Les Baux that went on the potato; nor those sweet sweet hazelnuts from Oregon (thanks, Bhishma); nor (if I do say it myself) the green salad with red wine vinegar from Eastside Road Zinfandel.
Zinfandel: Viano Vineyards, 2006

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Salmon and lentils

Eastside Road, January 15, 2012—
salmon lentils.jpgTHE GUARANTEED TO BE very last piece of salmon exited the freezer this morning, and as you see graced our plates this evening, accompanied by delicious lentils and romanesco cooked in the now-fashionable Italian manner — slower and longer than recent fashions have required.

Lindsey's no slouch with lentils, and has usually in the past cooked them simply, her way, and they've been fine. Tonight she took inspiration from David Tanis, whose New York Times column recently ran a recipe that adds more savories than her everyday approach: onion, thyme, a carrot, bay, a shallot, vinegar, garlic, mustard, capers, scallions, cornichons, olive oil, and parsley.

As a general rule I think most dishes with more than ten ingredients are suspect. This was one of the many exceptions, all of which tend to marry the many flavors through slow cooking and careful adjustment of fat content. David's recipe calls for pork belly and potatoes: because tonight's lentils were a side dish, not a main course, both were omitted. (We'll go the whole nine yards another time.)

The salmon was salty and drizzled with lime juice: a tiny shot of Tequila would have been nice, but it's Sunday. Green salad, of course; and for dessert, a tangerine, an apple, and a couple of Roxanne's delicious and authentic Hungarian kiffles.
Zinfandel, Viano Vineyards, 2006

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chou farci

Eastside Road, January 12 and 13, 2012—
cabbage.jpgA COUSIN AND HER HUSBAND stayed overnight, and I decided to introduce them to Julia Child's wonderful chou farci, and I decided to follow the recipe much more closely than I usually do.

What an amazing recipe, and what an amazing recipe author. Julia Child must have had an extraordinary gift for organization — it's almost too bad she didn't go into politics instead of cuisine: she'd have made a fabulous president, I think.

There are essentially three steps to the process: making the stuffing; assembling the cabbage and baking it; making the tomato sauce. I had trouble finding Savoy cabbages, but two little ones turned up in a San Francisco neighborhood grocery store in the nick of time. Yesterday afternoon I set a big pot of water to boil, cooked two thirds of a cup of rice (next time I'll cook less), and made the stuffing by cooking a pound of sausage and another of ground veal, then a good thick slice of ham cut into little pieces, then a couple of onions chopped up. These all get combined with the rice, a raw egg, salt and pepper and a good bit of powdered sage.

I blanched the cabbages just enough to be able to pull them apart; then put five thick slices of bacon and some pancetta into the cabbage-water and simmered them. They went into the bottom of a hemispherical mixing bowl, along with some chopped carrot and shallot that had been sweated in goose fat. Then the biggest cabbage leaves, and a layer of the stuffing, and another layer of cabbage leaves, and another of stuffing, and so on until everything's used, ending with cabbage leaves.

I filled the mixing bowl with hot chicken stock, covered it with aluminum foil, and baked the whole thing for two or three hours. Meanwhile I made the tomato sauce: I browned a good-sized onion, roughly chopped, in goose fat with a little olive oil; then added a small can of tomatoes and a couple of smashed cloves of garlic, and a little bit of stock. After this had cooked down a bit I put it through the food mill. The result was a little thin so, following Mrs. Child's instructions, I thickened it with cornstarch.

I turned the cabbage out onto a platter; it was beautiful. The sauce was served on the side. Tonight we'll finish the dish, with a green salad; last night we finished dinner with spiced quinces which Lindsey made from the November 2011 edition of Sunset magazine; she livened it up further with some star anise. What a cook she is!
(Jan. 12) Pinot noir, Clos Henri (New Zealand), 2004; Cabernet sauvignon, Simi (Alexander Valley), 1999

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Eastside Road, January 11, 2012—
IMG_1790.jpgMANY YEARS AGO, back in the '70s I suppose, Victoria Kroyer (now Wise) opened a charcuterie on Berkeley's Shattuck Avenue, across the street from Chez Panisse, where she had been the first chef. Pig-by-the-Tail was a marvelous place. I knew from the beginning it would be, for she borrowed my Emerson to double-check the shop's motto: "I would write on the lintels of the door-post, Whim" (from the essay "Self-Reliance"), and any institution so flagged was bound to be good.

Among her most wonderful creations were her crépinettes. According to her book American Charcuterie (New York: Viking Penguin, 1986), which is indispensable, they are "the easiest sausage to make." Chopped spinach wilted in butter; ground pork and chicken and fatback, mixed and seasoned with nutmeg, pepper, cayenne, salt, coriander, ginger, and cloves; wrapped a quarter-pound at a time in caul fat with a tarragon leaf or two (or maybe a small bay leaf).

I bought these crépinettes whenever I had the, um, whim, which was often; particularly since our teen-aged daughter Giovanna was working there and could, as I recall, get them at a discount. On the rare days there were any left at the end of the day.

Alas, Pig-by-the-Tail is long gone; but yesterday I saw them at the Rouge butcher counter down on Berkeley's Fourth Street, and brought a couple home.

To cook them, you just put them in a hot dry black iron skillet, covered so as not to spatter all over the kitchen, and cook them to 140° or so on a hot fire.

Tonight we had them with romanesco from the farm next door and Corona beans left over from last Saturday. I put a couple of slices of focaccia in the skillet, not to waste the drippings. A green salad; then for dessert some pan pepato and tangerine ice — why eat out?
Cheap Nero d'Avola

Duck, duck, delicious duck

Eastside Road, January 10, 2012—
DROVE DOWN TO THE CITY today to see a show of Venetian masters (Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Giorgione wins, hands down) and dine with an old friend too infrequently seen. At a place we'd heard good things about, a place hard to get into — but a table for three at 5:15 fell right into our iPhone.

What a delicious dinner! We shared some "bouchées," little bites: a dish of four nice fat suave panisses* and another of broccoli romanesco prepared with olive tapenade, Meyer lemon, ricotta salata, and breadcrumbs.

Lindsey and I shared a marvelous salad: tiny kale leaves and duck confit, with chopped Medjool dates and sweet-sour fennel, and crisp ingenious deep-fried shallot rings strewn on top.

Then I went on to almost underdone duck-breast slices nicely grilled on the outside edges, served with slices of cotecchino, a favorite sausage of mine. Bitter escarole and nicely cooked butter beans rounded the dish out. It was superb.

Dessert: Panna cotta flavored with chicory "coffee", with espresso gelée and bits of mandarin orange on top (I'm not sure about the tangerines), with chocolate sea-salt cookies on the side.

The wine list was interesting, though I'd have liked a few less expensive items. We had a Sicilian red we like a lot: forthcoming, rich, not heavy, complex, and interesting. The service was smooth, ingratiating, personable, but not intrusive. The canned music was annoying, but that's modern life, I guess. We'll be back, I'm sure.
Frappato, Cos, 2009
Frances, 3870 17th St., San Francisco; 415.621.3870

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fasting day

Eastside Road, January 9, 2012—
A COUPLE OF CAFFELATTES at breakfast, hold the toast; nuts with tea; half an apple and a tangerine at bedtime. Virtue is its own and only reward.


Eastside Road, January 8, 2012—
LUNCH WITH FRIENDS — a sort of business lunch, too — at a restaurant they're connected with over in Sebastopol. Sunday Brunch was what the menu said, but we'd had our Sunday soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, so I passed up further ovae and opted instead for a nice Niman-Schell hamburger, rare, no cheese, no bacon, yes to mustard, tomato, onion, lettuce. A nice dish, this.
Bloody Mary
• French Garden Restaurant & Bistro, 8050 Bodega Avenue Sebastopol; (707) 824-2030

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Eastside Road, January 7, 2012—
IT SEEMS FOREVER since last we had beans. Lindsey picked all kinds of thyme and marjoram and sage today, and I chopped up a shallot, and she cooked up a batch of Corona beans. Dressed with that fine Les Baux olive oil, they were magnificent. A green salad afterward, and a dish of tangerine ice — what more could you ask?
Cheap Pinot grigio

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lunches at Chez Panisse

Eastside Road, January 6, 2012—
THROUGH THE KIND of misunderstanding unique to long-married couples — involving inattentiveness and doubly rich lives — we were booked for two lunches today. Alice helped us finesse this by electing to nibble in the office, where we shared her delicious artichoke-capers-red onion pizzetta and garden lettuce salad.

An hour later we tucked into a more substantial lunch — in fact, Principal Meal of the Day, as we always refer to such lunches, which allow us to skip dinner altogether. I chose a half dozen Hog Island Sweetwater oysters on the half shell, ignoring the mignonette as I always do (for seawater is the best sauce to an oyster, I find), sharing a corner of L's puntarelle with anchovy, garlic, and egg, a combination that reminded me once again that we've ignored bagna cauda so far this winter: memo: correct that. I went on to a bowl of noodles with beautiful, deeply flavored, long-cooked beef ragù, and finished up with lemon sorbet with candied orange peel. Definitive.
Sylvaner, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Ostertag, 2008 (long in the tooth but fine with the oysters); Zinfandel, Green and Red "Chez Panisse"
• Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; 510.548.5525

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ham hash

ham hash.jpg
Eastside Road, January 5, 2012—
TOMORROW, THE FEAST of Epiphany, we will not be eating at home. Tonight, the last of the Christmas ham. I'd smelled chopped onions browning in olive oil, and I knew something was going to be delicious. A few potatoes, that last thick slab of ham chopped into dice, salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of leftover duck sauce from New Year's Eve. This time of year, Slow Cooking and Continuity gladdens the heart. And the palate.
Cheap Pinot grigio; cheap Nero d'Avola

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pasta with anchovies and garlic

Eastside Road, January 4, 2012—
IL COMMISSARIO MONTALBANO was on the screen (one of our little pleasures, a set of DVDs borrowed from a friend), so I couldn't help sing out my praises of tonight's dinner as I went to the stove for a second helping:
Mamma mia, cosa bella
pasta fatta cogl'alici…

Lindsey cooks the penne in the usual way, meanwhile melting chopped anchovies and garlic in a little olive oil. Some broccolini flowerets got tossed into the pasta along with the anchovies. Nothing more, nor nothing needed, but the green salad, made tonight with chopped shallots, oil, and sherry vinegar. A little fruit for dessert, and the last of Thérèse's delicious buckwheat galette, which I will miss.
Cheap Pinot grigio

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Eating, but not every day…

Eastside Road, January 3, 2012—
THREE LITTLE PIECES of stollen with the caffelatte at breakfast; the handful of almonds and cashews with the tea at tea-time. Oh: and water from time to time.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back to the icebox

Eastside Road, January 2, 2012—
THAT'S WHAT I still call it, to the amusement of the grandchildren: icebox. That's what it was, when I was a kid.

Ours, of course, runs on electricity — it's undoubtedly the biggest consumer of electricity we own. And it has a lot of work to do. Today we barely made a dent in it, but we finished the Christmas brandade mantecato for our lunch, along with some fruit; and for dinner we finished the Christmas ham, and the puréed vegetables from two nights ago, and the last but one of those delicious pickled crabapples: I'll have to be sure to pickle some more this summer.
Cheap Nero d'Avola

Eating around

Eastside Road, January 1, 2012—
TRADITIONALLY A DAY of visiting, no? So today we went out to brunch with a couple of friends, who'd dined chez nous last night to see the new year in. Brunch is not my favorite sort of meal: I'm hungry by the time it rolls around, and of course I've already had my coffee, who can wait that long for the first coffee? But after last night's dinner of duck breasts — and yesterday's lunch of duck rillettes — what should be on the brunch menu but a nice duck-leg confit. I didn't hesitate a minute. The accompanying salad was a little strange — red beet, yellow beet, Belgian endive, a slice of orange — but the duck was fine.
Virgin Mary
Barndiva, 231 Center St., Healdsburg; 707.431.0100

Then, after a brief rest at home, out to another friend's for dinner — three couples, all old friends. Here we had braised chicken and rice and a green salad and a lot of fun: a fine way to start the year.
Martini; Champagne; Pinot noirs: La Crema, 2010; Trioni (private label), 2010; Cabernet sauvignon, Simi, 2003 (mature and nicely balanced, thanks Kendall!)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Eve

Eastside Road, December 31, 2011
ODD-NUMBERED YEARS HERE; even-numbered years there: therefore, tonight we ate here, with the two dear old friends we've shared this evening with for more than forty years. The menu:

brandade toasts • nuts • pickled carrots


salade lyonnaise

duck breasts, purée of vegetables
dinner rolls

Syrah, Preston of Dry Creek, 2008


tangerine ice with cookies and chocolate bark

Méthode Champenoise, Scharffenberger, nv