Eastside Road, September 1, 2015—OKAY, LET'S JUST SAY I took the month of August off. Why shouldn't I have as much vacation as any French plumber? In fact, we've been eating very well, but busy doing other things too. For one thing, getting ready for a big party.
The party fare was spectacular — a steer our son butchered for us, grass-raised and grain-finished, half of it braised, the other half grilled, served with many delicious things, with cases of rosé and red wine, and peaches in wine, and all that: but that was ten days ago, and I was too busy enjoying myself and playing the host to take photos, let alone notes.
Then came a three-day hike, which actually took five days because there's the getting there and the going back. One night we had a late-night steak and salad at a favorite Berkeley restaurant; another we dined in a new place in the same town; neither occasion requires much comment. And along the way we continued to eat leftover braised beef, which only got better.
We returned from the walk to house-guests, most welcome for among other things diverting us from a routine already diverted from the norm, and continued to eat leftover beef (gee, it was good, tender and flavorful, sweet and complex) and to drink leftover bottles of rosé and red.
Yesterday, though, we took them down to Berkeley to eat an early supper at that favorite Berkeley restaurant, where I had a faux-Caesar salad of Little Gem lettuces, anchovy sauce, and croutons, and then braised pork shoulder with figs and kale and polenta. Delicious, and the fruit basket pictured above was equally autumnal and beautiful (Bronx grapes, Flavor King pluots, figs); and the chocolate pavé… well, you know…
Txakolina, Bengoetxe (Spain, of course), 2013; then a glass of red• Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510-848-5525
☛Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants