Eastside Road, October 16, 2014—AWAY FIRST: Tuesday we were in Berkeley for lunch with a granddaughter. I began with a fine, colorful salad of Gypsy peppers, then went on to quite a rich chicken al mattone — that is, cooked "under a brick," pressed under a weight (probably a heavy black iron skillet: at least that's how I'd do it) while cooking in the wood-burning pizza oven. The dish was flavorful and rich, probably better suited to a cool-weather supper than a warm-day lunch… particularly with the intense and intensely delicious dessert: chocolate pavé with caramel ice cream and chocolate sauce!
• Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510.548.5525
YESTERDAY, THEN, we made do with another bowl of Marion's barley risotto (though to tell the truth that's pretty rich too). With it, a glass of good inexpensive Pinot grigio from the Veneto.
AND THAT BRINGS US up to date. Last night I set a pot of white navy beans on to boil, there being no true cannelini in the house, neither dry nor canned. Today I chopped up a cipollini onion bought last week from a neighboring farmer, and a few sage leaves from the garden; and I opened a can of Ortiz tuna, and mixed them up with the cold beans and a good splash of olive oil and some grated lemon zest. It's always a good idea to mix a salad like that a few hours before you're eating it; the flavors mature and blend so well…
Afterward, a salad of nothing but arugula, the small-leafed kind, dressed with an olive-oil-lemon-juice vinaigrette and garnished with shavings of Parmesan cheese. This is, I suppose, an Italian meal, but damn it we'd finished that good Pinot grigio!
Sauvignon blanc, Earthstone (Sonoma county), 2013: crisp, good varietal, not too grassy