Thursday, October 31, 2013

Snack at the game

Eastside Road, October 30, 2013—
LAST GAME of the World Series, and not a hot dog in the house! Oh well: here's a bit of Franco's chicken-liver mousse. Now normally chicken livers are not a thing near the top of my favorites; in fact, they're not to my taste at all. But Franco has some trick up his sleeve: his mousse is never grainy or assertive; he must source his materials carefully, and process it with real skill.

Toast, chicken-liver mousse, sliced tomatoes. Bottle-ends. A chocolate or two for dessert. And we won!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Roast goose

Eastside Road, October 29, 2013—
I TRULY THINK the best meat we can eat, pace Virgil, is roast goose. We're fortunate in having, finally, a nearby farmer who raises geese for meat. Thirty or forty years ago there were a number of such farmers; I remember picking up three or four geese for Chez Panisse, on our way back to Berkeley from Sonoma county, in those days.

(I remember fondly picking up six or eight live geese, on Occidental Road near the Gravenstein Highway, and bringing them down to Berkeley in burlap sacks, and cutting their throats for Victoria, who'd made a bargain with me: you kill 'em, I'll pluck 'em.)

Well, times have changed, and whether for squeamishness or governmental regulation there are precious few farms hereabouts raising geese. So when the Neighbor Down the Driveway forwarded an e-mail promising their availability, fresh, at a local farm market on Sunday, I jumped at the chance.

Meanwhile, the next day — yesterday — our oven turned up its heels and died. Fortunately we have a standby, an RV range we installed while building this house. Wonder of wonders, though it hadn't been fired up in years, its oven worked perfectly.

We stuffed the goose with prunes and onion and apple and orange, and roasted it, basting it with red wine from time to time. Meanwhile I cooked a pound of pitted prunes in wine. I shredded a red cabbage and braised it slowly with red wine, a little vinegar, some currant jelly, and cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.

Lindsey took care to prepare some potatoes and some yams, and cooked them in the roasting pan with the goose.

It was, well, delicious. Almost up to the goose I fondly remember from Budapest on St. Martin's Day. That's November 11: we're a little early. Oh well: the calendar's completely screwed up this year.

Green salad, of course, and then dessert: Lindsey made a gelée of Beaumes-de-Vénise, topping it with whipped cream — the perfect ending to a roast goose dinner.
Syrah, Preston of Dry Creek, 2009


Eastside Road, October 28, 2013—
A COUPLE OF FRIENDS live outside Healdsburg where they raise champion lettuces and a number of other vegetables for the farmers market, where we first met them a few years ago. On striking up our first conversation there, it emerged that they were ardent francophiles; the make annual tours of France in the fall, when their lettuce crop has pretty well played out.

And on their return they throw a little fête des fromages for a few friends. Last night we were privileged to join the table, and what a table! As you see in this not very good photo, we began with charcuterie: a couple of saucisses, jambon de Paris (de Healdsburg), and delicious duck breast, with almonds and olives and marvelous butter.

And then came the
Saint Félicien
Mont d'Or
l'Affiné au Chablis
Ossau Iraty
Bleu Servo
and with them the
Rosé, Domaine de Fonteil, 2012
Riesling, Martin Jund Grand Cru Schlossberg, 2012
Pinot noir, Navarro, 2007
Bordeaux, Château Haut-Sorillon, 2010
Riesling, Dr. Loosen, 2011
Vouvray, Champalou
Sauvignon blanc, Kim Crawford, 2012
Cuateeauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de Beaurenard, 2000
others, no doubt, now beyond recall…

tropezienne.jpgAll these were available for sampling in any order with any pairing, and in general I thought it was born out that whites go best with most cheeses but reds are definitely preferable with Roquefort. That was pretty much a given, of course. What was surprising was the deliciousness and delicacy of so many of these cheeses. The Mont d'Or, new to me, was a marvelous thing, soft and runny and floral and blossoming in the mouth. The Brillat-Savarin had a nice crumbly texture, very fresh. The Livarot was the only cheese that seemed to me to have a faint touch of ammonia; otherwise these were perfect cheeses, and I bet our friends are feasting on leftovers all day today!

Except, perhaps dessert: I think we finished the remarkable Tropezienne, flaky and rich and perfect after these cheeses…
Thanks so much, Mary and Burt!

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Eastside Road, October 27, 2013—
EATING LOCAL for the most part tonight, as usual: a nice thick shoulder chop from our son's place up the road a hundred miles — lamb or mutton, I'm not quite sure: too mature for spring lamb, but not at all rank or, well, muttony.

Nancy Skall's lima beans from Middleton Gardens. I always rave about them, I know, but these were particularly fine; we both exclaimed over them at dinner. Perhaps because I'd been peeling chestnuts before dinner they seemed a little chestnutty: but the flavor was so fresh, so vegetal… there's clearly something special about the combination of varietal and terroir here. I can't imagine the season will go much longer; I hope it never ends.

The potatoes are from somewhere nearby; the butter's good old Clover, the dairy Lindsey's father used to sell his herd's milk to. And dessert? Lindsey's applesauce.
Rouge, La Ferme Julien, 2011

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Brunch for lunch

San Francisco, October 26, 2013—
SPENT THE MORNING strolling among the di Suvero sculptures at Crissey Field and listening to Lisa Bielawa's Crissy Broadcast, for possibly hundreds of musicians — bands, orchestras, drum corps, a chorus, a band of Chinese instruments — but where shall we have lunch?

We thought of four or five places, but none of them turned out to offer lunch on a Saturday. I finally turned to Open Table, and was immediately reminded of a place we've wanted to try, but never think about.

In the meantime we'd run into a couple of friends whose son, it turned out, was playing drums in the extravaganza. One thing led to another, and we met for lunch.

I started with a Fernet and soda, then plunged into this quite succulent short-rib hash, with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Dessert was a platter of four big cigar-shaped brioche beignets with chocolate sauce on the side.
Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre, Gerard Bertrand, Côtes du Roussillon, 2008: very nice
• Presidio Social Club, 562 Ruger Street, San Francisco; (415) 885-1888

Once back home to Eastside Road, nothing more was needed but a Martini and a gougère from B. Patisserie, 2821 California Street, San Francisco; (415) 440-1700

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Boyes Hot Springs, October 24, 2013—
LUNCH TODAY in a Mexican take-out with one table inside and a couple of others out in a parking lot. Why? Two reasons: it was highly recommended in a recent newspaper article; it sources its supplied organically and sustainably. What a concept!

What you see here is the chile relleno with pork picadillo, using Niman Ranch pork, house-made tomato broth from Early Girl tomatoes, and house-made refried beans and tortillas. We've had these tortillas before, having found them at various local farm markets.

The chile had lots of flavor but did not overwhelm a delicate egg batter covering it, and the picadillo was interesting and resonant: tomato, onion, cinnamon, lard, pork, all thoroughly integrated through a slow braise.

I like this place a lot; I'm sorry it's an hour's drive away, in a corner of our county we rarely get to. The kitchen is open, behind a big glass window; the cooks are skilful and good-humored; the place is spotless; everything about it is cheery and pleasant. We'll be back.
"Petit Frère" (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre), Unti (Dry Creek Valley), 2011: very nice indeed, a perfect match with the food
el molino.jpg
• El Molino Central, 11 Central Avenue, Boyes Hot Springs, California; 707.939.1010

Another hot dog

hot dog.jpg
Eastside Road, October 23, 2013—
OPENING GAME of the World Series fell on what was to have been this week's fast day. But what are you going to do? Watch the opening game without a hot dog? Not a chance. This one's undoubtedly violating lots of other rules, too: it's totally commercial and all beef, definitely not grass-fed beef. But at least I bought it at a real butcher shop in our local supermarket, they didn't come wrapped in plastic.

And it was particularly delicious, with mustard, pickle relish, and locally made sauerkraut, on some commercial "Dutch crunch" bun. And best of all our team won, though it still feels funny to root for an American League team…
Cheap Nero d'Avola

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lunch in the café

Berkeley, October 22, 2013—
THE USUAL APOLOGY for the terrible photo, which can't convey the delicious salad: grilled albacore with green beans and cherry tomatoes, dressed with a light vinaigrette incorporating olive tapenade.

Next, succulent pork loin, very fine-grained and flavorful, with zucchini and Nardello peppers, salsa verde on the side — a course that rhymed, you might say, with the earlier one: tapenade and salsa verde, pork and albacore, peppers and green beans. Such things can't be accidental.

I had a dessert, too: ginger cake with poached Bosc pears and crème Chantilly. Delicious!
Jurançon Sec, “Vitatge Viehl”, Clos Lapeyre (Pyrenées), 2009: smooth, a little assertive, at its peak at this age
• Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510.548.5525

Vegetable hash

Eastside Road, October 21, 2013—
WHEN I WAS A KID we had meat for dinner virtually every night. Occasionally there'd be macaroni and cheese, but that was pretty rare. Normally we had meat: chicken, beef, or pork; maybe rabbit. (Never lamb: Dad hated sheep in every form.)

These days we don't eat meat at home that often, as you may have noticed. Salmon once a week in season, sausage usually once a week. We eat out so often, almost always with meat on our plate, that at home we eat more simply. And for health reasons we restrict our consumption whenever possible to meat produced without antibiotics, beef finished without corn.

For a few years we gave it up almost entirely, though I did buy bones in those days, to make beef stock — a few spoonfuls of beef stock in a dish was enough to make us think we'd feasted on a roast.

Tonight was another meatless meal at home. Lindsey made a braise, I guess you'd call it, starting with an onion-garlic sofritto, adding peppers and mushrooms. Mushrooms, of course, beef up almost any such dish. On the side, as you see, Nancy Skall's matchless limas; green salad afterward…
Cheap Primitivo

Monday, October 21, 2013

More parties

Eastside Road, October 20, 2013—
TWO BIRTHDAY PARTIES today — an eighty-fifth; a sixtieth. Neither, I hasten to add, mine. We began with a birthday brunch out at the coast in what I think of as a road restaurant, one of two places we've been to before in a village of 147 souls, according to the 2010 census.

Today's restaurant was observing Oktoberfest, and I was hungry, so I ordered from the Hauptgerichten: Wiener Schnitzel mit Eiern, a fried pork cutlet covered with what we used to call milk gravy, flavored with sweet Vidalia onions, with a couple of eggs sunny-side up atop, and a hash of fried potatoes and bacon underneath. A farm breakfast, with a Bloody Mary before and, of course, coffee afterward.

Rocker Oysterfeller's, Valley Ford Hotel, 14415 Coast Hwy 1, Valley Ford, California; 707.876.1983
Dinner was al fresco down the hill: the spatchcocked chicken you see above, grilling over an oak fire; Franco Dunn's Toscana sausages; lots of various peppers; Lindsey's deviled eggs; Becky's frittata; Thérèse's wonderful chocolate cake…

Campfire, sparklers; silly hats…
Volnay-Santenots, 1962; Pernand-Vergelesses, 1969 (both well over the hill, alas); L. Preston red (very nice)

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Eastside Road, October 18, 2013—
FOR THE FIRST party we drove down to San Francisco, where seventy or so survivors of the old KQED Newspaper of the Air, from the late 1960s, and the somewhat later Newsroom, which continued that emergency broadcast throughout the 1970s, had gathered to bless, collectively, not without perhaps a bit of nostalgia for Those More Interesting Times, the debut of a new daily news program on that public television station.

Whew. Sentences like that no longer thrive on public media.

Well, we had a good time; the bar was open; the four-piece jazz combo played smoothly; we marveled at one another's competence still in our later years. And we were served lasagne, both meaty and vegetarian; and a kind of Caprese made with little balls of a kind of mozzarella and cherry tomatoes; and a green salad. The wine flowed like water, white, red, domestic, imported, who knows or remembers.

DESSERT WAS ANOTHER matter altogether. A son-in-law is celebrating his sixtieth birthday; asked what he'd like, Lemon pie he said, and it was forthcoming. Doesn't hurt that baking runs in the family! The meringue had a beautiful texture and was baked to just the right degree, and the lemon curd was smooth and full of flavor, and the bottom crust was short and tender and very nice indeed. First lemon meringue pie I've had in years; hope I don't have to wait sixty years for the next!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pilaf revisited

Eastside Road, October 17, 2013—
I WROTE EARLIER about our friends at Kenter Canyon Farms, who last week introduced their first wheat harvest to the market. We bought a couple of pounds of their Sonora wheat Sunday morning — a soft white wheat, brought north to the California missions from Sonora, Mexico, in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Lindsey cooked it up into a pilaf tonight, beginning with browned onions and garlic, later some sliced mushrooms, then adding the wheat grains and water, bringing it to a boil, then letting it stand until done al dente. She added a few handfuls of fresh spinach leaves toward the end, and finished the dish with chopped parsley. There may have been other things, but those are the main outlines of a dish that had a lot of texture and flavor — color, too, come to think of it.

The wheat was dense and sweet, very pleasant between the teeth. Afterward, in spite of the spinach, green salad; then vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and chopped toasted almonds. A fine dinner for a cold night.
Rosé de Bobal, Albero (Murcia, Spain), 2012: cheap and pleasant

Paella, out

Eastside Road, October 16, 2013—
THE PHOTO is grainy, excuse an unintended pun, but you get the idea: a Spanish paella, quite hot from the oven, the bottom properly burnt to the pan, the rice nicely flavored with tomatoes and saffron, the top fairly thick with mussels. I was in luck: no crustacea were involved: I could happily join the other three at the table.

First, though, some tapas. We had delicious sweet white Spanish anchovies drizzled with herb-infused olive oil, and stewed garbanzos with Morcilla sausage and greens, and bacalao fritters with alioli and parsley, and a curious salad involving watermelon, cherry tomatoes, and basil. No bread! Why not?

The paella could have been better, I think. The rice seemed flabby; perhaps the chicken broth was too watery. "Pedestrian" was the adjective that came to mind: curious, since it's precisely shellfish with feet that I do not eat…
Fino, Alvear Fino en Rama, 2006; Verdejo, Arindo (Rueda), 2012; Nectar Pedro Ximénez, Gonzalez Byass, 1847
• Bravas Bar de Tapas, 420 Center Street, Healdsburg; 707-433-7700

Foreign Cinema

Eastside Road, October 15, 2013—
SAN FRANCISCO: in town today for a meeting of the Baker's Dozen, about which I have written elsewhere. We get to two or three of these meetings a year, I think, and are always interested in their presentations, and rewarded with lunch, as the group meets in a favorite restaurant of ours. Today's lunch:
Sliced San Daniele prosciutto with bread, olive oil, and olives
Pappa al Pomodoro with new olive oil and Piave
Cobb salad: grilled chicken, avocado, egg, blue cheese, and bacon on butter lettuce, with Green Goddess dressing
Crème brûlée
The tomato-bread soup was really beautifully made, smooth and substantial and flavorful; the salad — a complete meal in itself — was full of detailed textures and flavors. You can't ask for more at a lunch like this, unless maybe a glass of rosé…

• Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission Street, San Francisco; (415) 648-7600

THAT WAS OF COURSE the principal meal of the day: nothing needed in the evening but the last of the pulses and grains left over from previous evenings.leftovers.jpg They hold up very well, the lentil soup gaining in depth of flavor as various enzymes do their work even in the icebox. And look at that slice of bread, from our friends at Kenter Canyon Farms! I'll write more about them when I discuss the Baker's Dozen further, over at The Eastside View

Monday, October 14, 2013


Eastside Road, October 13, 2013—
BREAKFAST DOESN'T OFTEN figure here at Eating Every Day, as Constant Reader will know. Here at home it's usually the same thing: a couple of bowls of coffee with milk, a couple of pieces of toast with honey; add a soft-boiled egg on Sunday.

This morning we were in Los Angeles, though, and of course it's Sunday, so after taking in the Hollywood Farmers' Market, where a friend was debuting her own bread, made from her own flour, milled from her own wheat, we stopped in at a favorite breakfast joint before undertaking the boring drive up I-5.

I like the place even though it's terminally cute, with knickknacks everywhere, busy print wallpaper clashing with busy print curtains, and more revisionist variations on the simple croissant than you can shake a crumber at. Thing is, the croissants are good, the eggs fresh and tasty, and the atmosphere warm and friendly without being cloying or irritating.

I can never resist anything "Florentine," meaning involving spinach, so that's what I had: eggs Florentine: poached eggs on a bed of steamed spinach, the whole on a split croissant, then covered with a nice lemony Hollandaise sauce. (Next time I'll ask for toast instead; I prefer my croissants straight, if that's not a contradiction in terms.)

The cappuccino left a little to be desired, but with the addition of a little sugar was pleasant enough.

• La Conversation, 638 North Doheny Drive, West Hollywood, California; (310) 858-0950

lentilsoup.jpgFINALLY HOME, we had only to open the icebox and get out some lentil soup left from a few days ago, have yesterday's Martini while it heated up, and make tuna sandwiches on some of the very fine bread we'd bought in Hollywood, from our friends at Kenter Canyon Farms.
Cheap Primitivo

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Formula Caesar

Los Angeles, October 12, 2013—

GOOD COMPANY at table today, but only adequate food, at a chain restaurant near the opera house where we saw Einstein on the Beach for the fourth time in eighteen months — but that's another story.

Dinner was flatbread drizzled with truffle-flavored olive oil and Gorgonzola, then a "Caesar salad" devoid of anchovies and raw egg, followed by salt-caramel pudding — a curious menu for a place allegedly Italo-Californian. 

Zinfandel, Ravenswood

• California Pizza Kitchen, 330 S. Hope Street, Los Angeles; 213-626-2616

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Expertise and decibels

Venice, California, October 11, 2013—

NO PHOTO TODAY: the place was so dark I could barely read the menu. Nor could we discuss it, as ambient noise hovered consistently at 90 dB, which is on the pain threshhold. Too bad, as this is otherwise a very impressive restaurant.

I had a variation on a table d'hôte menu, with our very capable waitress bringing courses chosen by the kitchen:

Rapini with tiny lentils, migas, and cipollini in a Balsamico reduction
Nudi: gnocchi, with ricotta, chantarelles, lardo, and a corn/onion succotash
Rigatoni alla Calabrese, with octopus, marrow, rapini, chiles, and migas
Chocolate juniper cake, with soft chocolate mousse and passionflower gelato

I had ordered, simply, a glass of Frascati (rarely found on restaurant menus here!) and a glass of Nebbiolo and food that would go well with them. Everything about the meal (apart from the ambience!) was expert save one thing: the Calabrian pasta overwhelmed the very serious Nebbiolo, which would have preferred beef. There wasn't a single wine by the glass that would. Have worked: it needed a Sicilian Nero, or a Primitivo. But the wines were very nice on their own terms:

Frascati, Casale Marchese, 2010; Nebbiolo, Roero, 2007

• The Tasting Kitchen, 1633 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, California; 310.392.6644

Lamb birthday

Ojai, California, October 10, 2013—

OF ALL THE MEAT that we do eat, as Virgil used to sing, the one that tickles our palate the most is lamb, lamb, lamb. Michael prepped it and Jim grilled it for Lisa's birthday, served woth citruses of course since Jim and Lisa are in that business. With it, continuing a vaguely Greek-centered theme, and all cooked by Michael: baba ganoush, Spanish rice, tzatziki. Green salad after, and cake, naturally, and Lindsey's ossi dei morti.

Red wine, Preston of Dry Creek, 2011; Syrah, Ojai Vineyards

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Eastside Road, October 9, 2013—

I DO LIKE barley, in almost any form. When I was a boy, and often hungry, I used to eat  raw rolled barley by the handful, scooped out of the gunny sack that stood by the slop barrel we fed the pigs from. Even better, of course, was the Campbell's beef and barley soup we occasionally had as a treat. 

Tonight we feasted on this barley pilaf, which is flavored with butter and cooked scallions — a recipe from Marion Cunningham; who always seems near when we have this dish. 

With it, these sweet red peppers that I cooked simply  in olive oil with a few garlic cloves and salt. After letting them toast in the oil for a while I added a little water and covered the pan, softening the peppers a bit. Afterward, green salad; then fruit.

Cheap Italian Primitivo

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lentil soup

Eastside Road, October 7, 2013—
LIKE LAST NIGHT'S, tonight's dinner began with a soffrito — diced onion and garlic, colored in olive oil. You don't let them brown, at least I don't: you want them to turn transparent and a little bit golden.

And again like last night's dinner, Cook was working from a published recipe, in one of our favorite cookbooks, written by an old friend: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison. (And what she means by the title is not …for Dummies, but …for even Carnivores like me.)

Beyond the soffrito the book asks for tomato paste, finely diced celery and carrot, bay leaves, chopped parsley, and of course the lentils: we like the quite small French green lentils. Basically you cook the vegetables first, then add the lentils and water, bring to a boil, then simmer until tender.

Deb's recipe ends with a flourish, stirring in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, another of sherry vinegar, and garnishing the soup, when served, with chopped celery leaves and parsley. It's delicious. A dish of Nancy Skall's impeccable lima beans before; green salad afterward, and a little bit of apple pie, because it was waiting for us in the dish-cupboard…pie.jpg
"Guadagni Red," Preston of Dry Creek, 2012
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison. New York: Broadway Books, 1997

Eastside Penne

Eastside Road, October 6, 2013—
THE PENNE ARE whole-wheat, as usual; the photo's blurry, sorry; the recipe's from Patricia Wells.

I found her book Patricia Wells at Home in Provence on the second-hand shelf at my favorite local independent bookstore, Levin and Company, and opened it a random to find a recipe for penne, a pasta you may have read about earlier on this site. We have penne probably three times a month, usually with what I call red sauce (olive oil, garlic, onion, tomato, salt, pepper), maybe with a bit of sausage, often with a sprinkling of grated cheese.

But I'm a sucker for Provençal cuisine, and this recipe was called Provençal Penne. So I bought the book and as soon as possible — today — cooked the dish, following the recipe almost exactly. I sweated minced onion and garlic with a couple of small crushed dried red peppers and a bay leaf in a stainless-steel skillet, adding a small fennel bulb slivered into matchsticks after the onion had taken a bit of color.

When the fennel was tender I added a big can of tomatoes, putting them through the food mill on the way to the skillet, then added the zest of a couple of oranges, also cut into slivers. (The oranges came from a tree near the Healdsburg Museum: last week I walked past it just as a gardener was pruning the tree, and he let me help myself.)

After cooking and draining the pasta I added it to the skillet, tossing it to coat it with sauce. And here's where I departed from la Wells: I forgot to add a good-sized helping of snipped Italian parsley as a garnish. Oh well, we'll do this again: it's a lovely dish. Green salad after, then fruit…

"Guadagni Red," Preston of Dry Creek, 2012; an excellent pairing with the pasta sauce
Patricia Wells at Home in Provence: New York: Scribner, 1996
• Levin and Company, 306 Center St
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-1118

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Eastside Road, October 5, 2013—
I HAD EVERY intention of cooking dinner tonight, but it was a frustrating afternoon, and grew dark before I knew it, and I was out of time.

A platter of fried padrones with our Martinis, then; and afterward a simple salad of these nice trout-spotted lettuce leaves from the garden, with points of bread toasted in the black iron skillet after the peppers had been fried.

Afterward, figs and pears.

Bread, olive oil, and salt: virtually a complete meal in itself. Throw in the roughage and the vitamin C and you have what I call a healthful diet. The gin and vermouth are your reward.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Retro dining

San Francisco, October 4, 2013—
YES: WHAT WE have here is a retro restaurant meal, though presented with a stark simplicity no hotel restaurant would have countenanced a few decades ago. We'd read about the place recently, and Cook wanted a day off (well deserved, on any day!), so we gave it a try, and were immediately delighted by the room — big, nicely lighted, with black furnishings and ceilings and let's-eat deep red walls.

Then we looked at the rather simple menu, and were delighted again. We began with Martinis, it being Friday after all, and with them a couple of hard-cooked quail eggs in mayonnaise with crisp-fried celery leaves (tiny ones) and sliced shallot. A dozen of these with a dozen oysters on the half shell and a bottle of Champagne would make a splendid first course on a more festive night.

eggs.jpgCook went on to pork loin, but I, always thinking of Virgil, moved toward the leg of lamb, just the right-sized serving for me, discreetly sprinkled with salsa verde and served with its pitcher of garlicky lamb broth.

On the side, peas and green beans cooked in just a tad too vinegary a butter-sauce, with a judiciously calibrated addition of mint leaves — a perfect companion to lamb.

Lindsey had dessert, a nice velvety chocolate marquise; I was content with a glass of Armagnac. What a pleasant evening. We'll return.
Syrah, Qupé (Santa Barbara), 2011
The Cavalier, 360 Jessie Street, San Francisco; 415.321.6000

Mashed potatoes

mashed potatoes.jpg
Eastside Road, October 3, 2013—
THE LOCAL GRANDSON came by for dinner, a strapping twenty-year-old working twelve and fourteen hours a day now the grape harvest is on, a boy who needs his calories. Cook fed him a couple of Franco's marvelous sausages and a passel of fresh tomatoes and all the mashed potatoes he wanted. We had the green salad afterward, of course, and then apple pie with vanilla ice cream. A feast; and a handful of mashed potatoes left over for tomorrow's breakfast.
"Guadagni Red," Preston of Dry Creek, 2012

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Eastside Road, October 2, 2013—
AH, OCTOBER; OCTOBER and baseball. Our Cubs aren't involved, of course; they rarely work in October; but we watch the others, rooting against Texas and the Yankees, against Southerners playing Northerners, ultimately against the American League, though there's a soft spot in our hearts for the Sox…

For hot dogs, too, with mustard, onion, and pickle relish. It would have been nice to have sauerkraut and dill pickles, but there's time for them to show up still; the expansion has had its advantages.

Before, green beans cooked with butter, raw carrot, and one of my very favorites of the Hundred Plates: ciabatta, toasted, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt. Well, tonight a little crushed garlic as well.

After, the usual green salad, and an apple, a pear, some figs…
"Guadagni Red," Preston of Dry Creek, 2012

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Eastside Road, September 30, 2013—
ITHINK WE THOUGHT of it simultaneously: it's time to have a bowl of soup. For different reasons, probably: I was thinking about the brodetto the other night, and that there was a light rain and the weather definitely turning cooler (or so I thought); Cook was thinking — she later admitted it — of the leftovers in the icebox, the little bits of this and that.

So we picked some chard that had wandered into my potager path, and there in the fridge were some peas, and a little corn; and a can of cannellini stood on a pantry shelf, and there was a bit of bacon or some kind of pork product at any rate, and they all combined nicely. Vive les potages!

Nor any need for salad, since the chard could stand in for it…
"Guadagni Red," Preston of Dry Creek, 2012: solid and refreshing