Eastside Road, August 30, 2014—THIS IS OUR USUAL lunch these late August days, when eating at home — a piece of toast with nice organic chunky peanut butter, a glass of orange juice, and fruit. Pluots and Italian prunes from our trees, a fig from the market — ours aren't quite ready yet.
The pluot is a difficult fruit, we think. This one is the "Flavor King" variety, and it's pretty prolific; but it doesn't really have a lot of flavor until the fruit is actually dropping from the tree. By then, of course, the birds may have had their way with them; but not always. When dead ripe, I find them delicious. (Pardon that misplaced modifying clause: I'm never really dead ripe.)
But today we had lunch in town, at what I now think may be the best white-tablecloth restaurant in town, judging only by this one trip. There were four of us at table, and this is one of those annoying "small plates" format eateries, so we had a chance to sample quite a variety:
pork belly biscuits with pickled onion, chipotle mayonnaise, and maple glazeWith the possible exception of the Gigli, which I declined since I can't eat crustacea, everything was truly delicious. The flavors were deep and arresting but never overpowering; attention had been given to textural interest; there was plenty of visual appeal but not to the point of whorishness, if you know what I mean. We like this place, and will return.
beef tartare with celery and a quail egg yolk
spaghetti with eggplant, tomato, basil, and ricotta salata
squid ink gigli with dungeness crab, calabrian chile, and black truffle butter
strozzapreti with pork shoulder carnitas, cherry pepper, smoked paprika and rosemary
balsamic raspberry gelato
bourbon vanilla gelato
bread pudding with summer fruit
Rosé of Pinot noir, Red Cat (Sonoma Coast), 2013: pleasant and refreshing• Chalkboard, 29 North Street, Healdsburg; 707-473-8030
Then a birthday dinner al fresco at a granddaughter's house in the remote hills out west of Healdsburg. A granddaughter turning twenty-four, and about to provide us with another great-grandchild — now, that's a special occasion. Chris grilled tri-tip; Emma made a delicious potato salad; there was green salad of course, and Thérèse's absolutely delicious chocolate cake.
And afterward, so far from the obnoxious light spill that affects our nights, a marvelous display of stars, with Mars and Saturn low near the crescent moon…
photo: Thérèse Shere