Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Catchup again

Eastside Road, April 8, 2014—
UNUSUALLY BUSY LATELY, but you can be sure we've been eating — up to today, when we resumed our weekly fast. More or less.

Last Thursday we dined at a place we like but, alas, seem to neglect — there are just so many good places to go to these days! I opened with the delicious grilled asparagus you see here, with grapefruit, lovage, and almonds. I never realized it before, but asparagus and lovage is a perfect combination, like lamb and rosemary, or chicken and sage: I'd better get a little lovage into the ground next week…

After that, the perfectly grilled pork leg you see below, with a crépinette alongside, on a bed of farro pilaf, with tiny turnips, sautéed rapini and, most delicious, a little crushed anchovy. What a fine dish — and how I miss the crépinettes we used to get so long ago at Pig by the Tail!
Syrah, Chante Perdrix (Rhone), 2012 (deep, fruity, and delicious)
Camino, 3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland, California; 510-547-5035FRIDAY AND YESTERDAY we actually ate at home — we do that from time to time. And I bet Constant Reader can guess what we had: Friday, penne with Lean Sauce — I call it that because I forgot, though I'd been carefully instructed, to bring a can of tomatoes home, and the usual browned-onions-and-porcini sauce was colored with a bit of tomato paste instead. I must say I liked it very much that way, with shavings of Parmesan on top, and of course a green salad afterward…
Cheap Barolo d'Asti

Last night we had our first chard this spring from the garden, from a volunteer that came up from last year — I haven't yet set any new plants out. Maybe I shouldn't: this is a big healthy chard plant and the insects have left it alone. (Maybe that long string of cold weather a couple of months ago will have thinned their ranks.) The chard is delicious, and it goes nicely with Franco's coriander-flavored "Greek" sausage.

Saturday we saw three plays in Berkeley — Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia, excellently produced by Shotgun Players; I hope I'll have time to write about that over at The Eastside View, but don't get your hopes up. Not much time for dinner, as you can imagine: we made do very well indeed with a sandwich from the exceptional Berkeley butcher The Local Butcher Shop: roast beef on a sourdough roll with melted Gruyère, butter, caramelized onions, thyme, raw spinach, sherry vinaigrette — we wanted only a glass of good red wine, but since we were eating in the car…
  • The Local Butcher Shop, 1600 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510-845-6328
  • BUT LIFE IS NOT ALL beer and skittles, as my mother used to say; Sunday afternoon we found ourselves at the memorial service for a good friend who we will miss a lot — at table, in fact, as he and his wife were frequent dinner companions. There were hundreds at the service, and afterward a few of us gathered at our friend's home, lifted several glasses to his memory, told anecdotes, and consoled ourselves with a couple of very comforting lasagne. Our Martinis this weekend will be lifted to his honor, though mine won't be Stoli, up, no floaters.

    Grilled pork leg at CaminoChard, "Greek"sausage, cauliflower at homePenne with lean sauce at home

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