Monday, June 6, 2016

Another houseguest week

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Hot dogs, June 2
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Chicken and asparagus, June 3
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Chicken, chard, favas, June 5
Eastside Road, June 5, 2016—
ANOTHER WEEK FAR TOO BUSY to turn to The Blog.

Tuesday was fast day, as usual: toast and coffee; a handful of nuts and tea. Basta così.

Wednesday a house-guest arrived for a couple of nights. I'd asked him in advance, of course, to let us know if there was anything he would not eat, and what he preferred for breakfast. He apparently felt it polite to ignore the request. Cook made a fine pasta sauce with excellent local bacon, her own tomato sauce, and fusilli, and I made the usual delicious green salad. He turned out, of course, not to eat meat, and politely pushed every tiny piece of minced bacon to the edge of his plate. He then announced he never ate lettuce.

For breakfast he had an orange and perhaps something else I ignored, withdrawn from a small cloth bag of provisions he always carried with him.

Thursday night he was punished by friends in San Francisco who took him to a Burmese restaurant whose fare, he told us, was impossibly piquant. We on the other hand had hot dogs at home again, while watching another excellent Cubs game on television. In the photo (top left) you see how We do it: sliced raw onion, sauerkraut, a little mustard, a little pickle relish. Yes, that's potato salad on the plate.

The mustard jar is pretty well empty, as you see: fine. I put a spoonful or two of red wine vinegar in the jar, put the lid on tight, and shook it up well; then used some of that for the evening's vinaigrette. Delicious.

We spent Friday in the city, delivering houseguest to his work in San Francisco, then picking up green coffee beans in Oakland, and continuing our so far unsatisfactory search for salt from the Ile de Ré. The coffee's from Sweet Maria, who provide marvelous blends of beans for me to roast here at home: currently my favorite is what they call Ethiopiques, a suggestive name that always brings Valery Larbaud to mind, and Jacques Ibert's Escales ; it is a delicious, fragrant, solid, thoughtful blend.

Cook did not want to cook that evening, and who could blame her? We settled for a pre-cooked chicken from the new upscale supermarket opened a couple of weeks ago in the neighboring town. The asparagus was fine; ditto the wine. The chicken tasted a bit of feathers, I thought.

YESTERDAY WAS UNUSUAL: it began at four o'clock in the morning with a quick cup of coffee and a piece of buttered toast; then a drive to the nearby city of Sonoma. There I joined — with my companion, the neighbor down the hill — a group of say eighty walkers led by a local historian.

We walked the environs of that historic city: the Mission, the Bear Flag Revolt, Vallejo; the vineyards and wineries; the wealthy suburbs up the hill toward the Napa county line; the town cemetery; the nearby blue-collar suburbs, once vacation-cabin communities on the placid railroads of more than a century ago.

Along the way, breakfast sandwich and coffee; a lunch sandwich with an orange and a nectarine; a muffin or two. Dinner was also provided, and it was good: baked chicken (again!), a chicken tamal, a pork burrito, rice, beans, salsa chile verde, a kind of chopped salad, watermelon. With this, Lagunitas IPA my neighbor had thoughtfully brought along.

So we come to tonight, Sunday night. I'm afraid we had to finish that precooked chicken, and it hadn't really improved in the meantime. With it, a fine bunch of huge Swiss chard leaves, ribs and leaves chopped and cooked staged; and favas.

Cheap Barbera d'Asti

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating:  2016   2015

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