Friday, August 30, 2013


Eastside Road, August 30, 2013—
ONE HUNDRED DEGREES today: too hot for anything but this kind of salad. Hardcooked eggs, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, peppers, green beans, anchovies, vinaigrette. Hey! Cat!

What, no rosé? Oh well: let's finish off that Mourvedre…

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Eastside Road, August 29, 2013—
IF YOU LOOK really close, down there at six o'clock, you'll see tonight's protein: a Moroccan sausage from Franco Dunn, delicious as always, but hardly able to compete with the other colors.

From it, proceeding counter-clockwise: broccolini and green beans, sautéed in a little olive oil; my purple potatoes, pot-mashed after steam/boiling them in a little water; tomatoes, of course, just sliced. In the center, padron peppers seared in a tiny bit of oil in the black iron skillet, sprinkled with sea salt.

Green salad after, and later tonight we'l have a bit of fruit, I'm sure.
Mourvedre, Preston of Dry Creek, 2010

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hush puppies

Eastside Road, August 28, 2013—
WITHIN THE SMALL but fondly recalled repertoire of Good Things Mom Cooked, along with pineapple upside-down cake and floating island, what do I find but Hush Puppies. Hers were not Cajun, and were certainly innocent of remoulade — she stuck to tartar sauce made with bottled mayo and pickle relish. They were what I think of, since I met them earliest, as the classical version, authentically Floridean: the recipe came from Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's novel Cross Creek,whose torn and lightly soiled dust-jacket I can still see in my mind's eye. I think I never got around to reading it.

We had lunch with a couple of acquaintances today at a place that opened a year or so ago in town, a New Orleans restaurant. I had half a muffaletta, a tiny bit too cheesy for me and on foccaccia I thought could have been a little less oily, but what the hell: ham, salami, mortadella, provolone, mozzarella, olive tapenade add up to a satisfaction whatever the proportions (within reason).

And, on the side, hush puppies. I'd never associated them with New Orleans before, but then I've never been there and no nothing about it. Our friends have and do, and assure me these are how it's done there: balls of the corn-meal bread, not sticks, nicely crumby, and served with a little bit of peppery-mustardy remoulade, that's what they call it, on the side.
YOU SEE THEM on my plate up there in the photo, but these are the three we brought home with us, reheated. After that sandwich, all I wanted for dinner was a few slices of tomato and a handful of padrones I fried up the usual way, just olive oil and salt. Behind, raspberries from our garden — we'd already had enormous beignets, nice ones, at lunch…
Rosé of Syrah, Gustafson, 2011 (lunch); rosé, La Ferme Julien, 2012 (dinner).
As Gertrude says: a rosé is a rosé is a rosé
muffaletta.jpg• Place, address; tel.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Off my feed

Eastside Road, August 26, 2013—
IT HAPPENS TO us all, I suppose, everything's going so beautifully, life is beautiful; then i numi slap us back just a bit. Seems to happen to me every couple of years. I won't go into it further, just that I was off my feed after those three fine dinners centered on my birthday.

Not a result of the dinners, I hasten to say! but Thursday was fast day, and Friday was chills and fever, and Saturday shivered, and only on Sunday did I take a little bit of delicious frittata my nurse and cook provided; and only today do I feel like eating again.

Fortunately I was in Berkeley in the morning, so lunch was a rocket salad with hazelnuts and parmesan cheese — nothing mind-blowing, I'll concede, but nice and pointed and salty. And then dinner was these penne, with fresh-tomato-and-anchovy sauce and, of course, more Parmigiano reggiano grated on top. Back to basics, and thankful
Lunch: Chez Panisse Zinfandel (Napa County) mixed with water; dinner: Rosé, La Ferme Julien, 2012
• Chez Panisse Café, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510.548.5525

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pork chop

Eastside Road, August 21, 2013—
EATING LOCAL is what we tend to do, as you know if you've been following me. I found the purple potatoes in my pathetic little kitchen garden today, when I was preparing a new bed for a dozen lettuce plants I bought the other day. The green beans and zucchini came from the farm market in Healdsburg, and that big glazed pork chop grew up a few miles away near Sebastopol.

I made a little applesauce today just to go with the pork, from four or five windfall apples in what I call our apple alley — eight or nine trees in a double row near the kitchen garden.

And we had dessert tonight: vanilla ice cream with sliced peaches — from our peach trees. Fortunately, the wine was not homemade…
Primitivo, Epicuro, 2012


Eastside Road, August 20, 2013—
THERE IS NO GREATER pleasure, not for me, than to sit at the end of a dinner-table surrounded by family; and if it's an Important Occasion so much the better: cancel all inhibitions, say I, and have a great time. Don't go by the expression on my face: I'm having a ball.

And also having tapas. The five of us went through:
Fermin jamón ibérico
Marinated olives, pickled garlic, Idiazábal cheese (pictured above)
Tuna belly salad, green olives, egg, shaved celery
Spanish white anchovies with herb oil
Duck meatballs with tomato sofrito and green olive tapenade
Patatas bravas with alioli
Bacon-wrapped dates with blue cheese and marcona almonds
Cider braised chorizo with padron peppers
Bacalao fritters with orange alioli and parsley
Crisp pig's ears with anchovy vinaigrette
Sardine in black olive ink with piquillo and migas
Skirt steak with red onion marmalade and Valddón cheese
Manzanilla, La Gitana;
red blend (Cariñena, Syrah, Grenache), Can Blau (Montsant, Spain), 2009 (Rich and complex, reminiscent of last night's Cerasuolo)
Bravas Bar de Tapas, 420 Center Street, Healdsburg; 707.433.7700
"He was having a good time - really!"
Photo by Thérèse Shere (lightened)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Birthday eve

Berkeley, August 19, 2013—
DINNER DOWNSTAIRS under the handsome new ceiling at Chez Panisse, with a couple of friends we see too rarely, and here's what we ate:

Roasted Monterey Bay squid with borlotti beans, tomatoes, and salsa verde
Quaglia alla diavola: quail seasoned with rushed pepper and grilled over fig wood, with eggplant caponata and fried squash blossoms
Toasted almond ice cream profiteroles with peaches

All, needless to say, quite delicious, with two of my favorite wines:
Rosé, Domaine Tempier (Bandol), 2012; Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Azienda Agricola COS (Sicilia), 2009 (a unique wine, rich and mysterious)
• Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510.548.5525

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to the dockside

San Rafael, August 18, 2013—
HEADING BACK NORTH after catching a matinée in San Francisco, and having skipped lunch, we were too hungry to wait for supper. We'd been here before, a year ago, and decided to try it again.

As you can see, it's a pleasant place on a warm late afternoon — the San Rafael marina is sort of a poor man's Belvedere. ("Well, upper middle-class," Lindsey corrects me.) The people-watching is great. The waiter was a very pleasant fellow. And the orecchiete, in a tomato-arugula sauce with just the right amount of cheese, was quite tasty.
• Terrapin Crossroads, 100 Yacht Club Drive, San Rafael, California; 415-524-2773
(not to be confused with Terrapin Creek, in Bodega Bay)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Saturday salmon

Eastside Road, August 17, 2013—
OUR USUAL DINNER on Saturday begins at the farmers' market in Healdsburg, where we find local salmon, local lima beans, and local tomatoes. A little savory on the salmon today. Green salad, of course, and then a bowl of strawberries. Local, of course.
Picpoul de Pinet, Moulin de Gassac, 2011

Friday, August 16, 2013

Salad redux

Eastside Road, August 16, 2013—
LEFTOVERS TONIGHT. Well, put that in the singular: only one dish was a carryover, the tuna-bean salad from Wednesday night, the flavors more fully merged, of course. Then the green salad, and then a nice bowl of berries — why didn't I photograph them? — blackberries, mulberries, and raspberries, all as local as can be, and even a few strawberries from neglected plants hiding in the citrus pots…
Picpoul de Pinet, Moulin de Gassac, 2011 (still a little bland)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Worth our Weight

Eastside Road, August 15, 2013—
OUT TONIGHT TO A benefit dinner for a cause we very much support: Worth Our Weight, an organization founded some years ago by Evelyn Cheatham, who we met when she came to work at the Downtown Bakery and Creamery, which Lindsey and our daughter Thérèse and (most importantly in the long run!) Kathleen Stewart opened lo these many years ago in Healdsburg.

Evelyn is a force of nature, a rara avis, a grande Nature, a magnificent woman. She is practical, intelligent, disciplined, and immensely good-hearted. And the thing she runs, Worth Our Weight, takes on what she calls young people "at risk," who have fallen into the many cracks between social classes, demographic groups, and legally countenanced behaviors.

Since Evelyn's own enhusiasm, experience, and expertise fall within the fields of nutrition and cuisine, she relies on them for the substrate, if you will, of her approach to a redefinition of the lives of these young people. In short, she exposes them to the delights and the demands of awareness and work within those fields. She trains them to cook and to serve.

More than that, though, she exposes them to the delights and rewards of their work. Every other year, for example, she finds funds to take a few of these youths to the Salone del Gusto that Slow Food puts on in Torino, exposing them to taste, to sustainability, to travel, and to the culture of other countries (for the Salone is truly international, not merely Italian).

Tonight our dinner was cooked by Mark Dierkhising, the chef-owner of Parkside Cafe in Santa Rosa, a place we like quite a bit, and his brother Roger, and his sous-chef Arturo Guzman. The dinner was one in a series of monthly benefit dinners cooked by chefs in the area on the third Thursday of each month: Evelyn's raising money to buy and renovate a restaurant in Santa Rosa, where her apprentices will be able to stretch themselves into really professional surroundings.

The menu?
Seared Day Boat Scallop and Maine Lobster with mushroom ragu
Local heirloom tomato and beet salad with basil, BR Cohn olive oil, and Sonoma Valley Portworks vinegar
Pan-seared local salmon with white corn, kale, and lobster sauce

Clover milk poached Sonoma lamb, Tierra cauliflower and broccoli, cabernet glaze
Fresh berries with lemon cake, lemon curd, and French vanilla ice cream

Everything on the menu but the lobster was, I believe, local, seasonal, fresh, and sustainable. It was beautifully cooked and served with real care and attentiveness by the apprentices in the Worth Our Weight program. We ate with friends at a big table, and the place was absolutely full, spilling out of the building in fact into the parking lot, where the summer evening couldn't have been more benign — completely befitting every aspect of the event. We left well fed, well received, and full of respect for Evelyn and her program, optimistic about a world — well, a community — where such promise is translated so readily into real practical value for people who are otherwise so vulnerable to the flaws of a society generally lacking such optimism, energy, and sympathy.

Third Thursdays will continue for the next few months, perhaps into 2014 for all I know. I think it's a series well worth supporting. We'll be back, I'm sure.
Sauvignon blanc, Preston of Dry Creek, 2011; Pinot noir, Simi, 2010; Cabernet Sauvignon, Benziger, 2008 — all quite sound, expressive, and — again — local
• Worth Or Weight, 1021 Hahman Drive, Santa Rosa; (707) 544-1200

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tuna and beans

Eastside Road, August 14, 2013—
CERTAINLY ONE OF the inspired combinations, one of the Hundred Plates, the Italian salad of tuna, cannellini, and onions. Tonight Lindsey looked to see if Cesare Casella, the gifted chef we met at his Vipore restaurant outside Lucca many years ago (and who has since gone on to big things in New York, where his restaurants have included Coco Pazzo, Beppe, and Maremma) had a recipe in his book Diary of a Tuscan Chef.

He did, and his recipe suggested adding tomato to the mix — one step to many, it seems to me. I had already requested a bit of chopped celery in it; for some reason I've been craving celery for weeks now. Lindsey also flavored the salad with marjoram, not the sage I prefer: I'll have to make my own version next week.

With the tuna salad, a slice of ciabatta from Petaluma's Della Fattoria, lightly toasted and drizzled with olive oil; afterward, green salad; and then melon and some Seckel pears from our tree. A fine summer supper!
Rosé, La Ferme Julien, 2012

Monday, August 12, 2013


Eastside Road, August 12, 2013—
WHAT'S PRETTIER than fruit? Especially dead ripe fruit from your own trees…

But first, that title. We were on the road today: breakfast at Gayle's Bakery in Capitola, where the butter croissant was tender and, well, buttery, and the coffee really quite good.

Then to Swanton Berry Farm for a meeting of the Bakers Dozen, Lindsey's professional (and, yes, a few amateurs, in the best sense of the word) organization, for a very informative and fascinating talk by the farm manager, Bear. Swanton is an inspiring business, enlightened and ethical, and I came away with renewed respect for them.

We stopped, hungry, in Petaluma, where Happy Hour treated us to deviled eggs, arancini, meatballs, and salmon cakes, with a glass of decent white for me.

Then supper at home: sliced tomatoes, broad beans and zucchini, and Joe's marvelous raisin walnut rye bread from Gayle's, with a glass of rosé or two.

Tomorrow we fast.
Gayle's Bakery, 504 Bay Avenue, Capitola; (831) 462-1200
Swanton Berry Farm, 25 Swanton Road, Davenport; (831) 469-8804
Social Club Restaurant and Bar, 132 Keller Street, Petaluma; (707) 238-0158

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Meat loaf

Aptos, August11, 2013—

I SUPPOSE IT DOESN'T look all that appetizing, but then meat loaf rarely does. The quintessential American comfort food, it has few aspirations. But I like it, and when it turned up on an inexpensive marketing gimmick it proved irresistible. And in fact it was pretty darn good, a little carrotty, devoid of catsup, but with those mashed potatoes… on the side, no-nonsense spinach.
Cheap Cabernet sauvignon by the glass

• Bittersweet Bistro, 787 Rio Del Mar Blvd, Aptos, California; (831) 662-9799

Again with friends

Capitola, August 10, 2013—

WHAT YOU SEE HERE is perfectly cooked halibut, en papillote, seasoned with black pepper and thyme, cooled all the way through but moist and succulent and recalling the sea. Our friend Joe cooked it, and accompanied it with a delicious salad of chopped celery, shavings of parmigiano, and bits of walnut in a very light vinaigrette, and perfectly ripe local tomatoes, and a soft, supple polenta that couldn't be better.

Sauvignon blanc, Whitehaven (Marlborough), 2012; Zinfandel, Ridge, Ponzo Vineyard, 2008

Friday, August 9, 2013

Back down the hill

Eastside Road, August 9, 2013—
DINNER AT THE NEIGHBORS' this evening, and I repeat what I wrote day before yesterday: it's a pleasure people still invite us to dinner. They know what they're subject to…

Tonight it was tri-tip and flatiron steak, grilled over oak in the fireplace. Neither cut existed in my youth. Well, technically, I guess tri-tip did, because according to Wikipedia it orignated in Oakland in the late 1950s, when I was in my early twenties, which must qualify as "youth." Not that I ate much steak in those days.

Bottom sirloin, Wikipedia says. Thing is, in my youth a steer (or "beef," if you prefer) was cut into a smaller number of pieces, larger pieces, than it seems to be today. The progression from then to now may have something to do with a finer sense of discrimination, probably of marketers rather than customers; or it may be related to the greater number of people able to buy beefsteak; or simply another byproduct of postmodernism, I don't know.

Again according to Wikipedia, flat iron steak is cut from the chuck, which of course had a special meaning to me in my youth — I won't go into that at the moment. Marbling, they say: not so apparent tonight.

In any case while I have liked tri-tips in the past I must say the flatiron seemed the tastier tonight: but there are many variables. The age: the breed: the source. In both cases it was local, "natural," probably organic beef; certainly not you garden variety feedlot cornfed antibiotic-raised stuff.

With it, tomato salad from the neighboring farm, and delicious green bell peppers, also grilled over the fire. Cave-men knew how to eat. Too bad so many of them never had green peppers or tomatoes…

Oh yes: and baked pears, our own, with almonds…
Picpoul de Pinet, Moulin de Gassac, 2011; cheap Italian red; cheap Spanish red

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Back to Chez Panisse

The view from the upstairs porch, Chez Panisse
Berkeley, August 8, 2013—
AS NEARLY EVERYONE knows, Chez Panisse was closed for a number of weeks this last spring after a serious fire under its dining-room floor. And as nearly everyone knows, it reopened in late June, the dining areas completely refurbished and the front wall of the building rebuilt.

I left the country just a few days before the reopening, and only got home a week ago, so it was only tonight that I was able to see the restaurant at work again.

Of course I can't be objective about Chez Panisse: I've been associated with the restaurant from its opening. Perhaps that permits me some pride in its recovery from the fire, and the new beauty of the dining room.

We ate downstairs: Squash-blossom fritters, light as a feather, with cucumber salad and anise hyssop; King salmon à la nage (swimming) in a delicious vegetable broth wih broad beans and pistou; grilled quail with sage, fried croutons, pancetta, wild mushrooms, and roasted vegetables; mulberry ice cream on meringues with fresh peaches. A fine summer supper, intelligently composed and artfully prepared and served.

Rosé, Domaine Tempier (Bandol), 2012; Nebbiolo, Castello di Verduno (Langhe), 2011: both of them authoritative, and perfect with the food
• Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510-548-5525


Eastside Road, August 7, 2013—
IT'S ALWAYS GRATIFYING, and perhaps a little bit surprising, that we're still invited to friends' houses for dinner from time to time. After all, most of them know I write about what we eat every day. Some of them think I'm a little bit nuts on the subject.

But they still do ask us to dinner, and we're always pleased to accept the invitation. Tonight it was these marvelous pork ribs, marinated in soy sauce and ginger and garlic of course and perhaps one or two other things, I'm not sure, I wasn't there to see. Mac grilled them over charcoal, and served them with a fine tomato salad.

We supplied the dessert: Three Twins vanilla ice cream and mulberries, blackberries, and raspberries from our garden. A fine dinner; an often hilarious evening. Thanks, folks!
Prosecco; Pinotage, but whose?

Monday, August 5, 2013


Eastside Road, August 5, 2013—
ANYHOW, THAT'S WHAT I think they're called, fusili — fuses. There's a website somewhere with all the pasta shapes pictured and named, and it's interesting, but you'll have to look for it yourself.

Lindsey made here anchovy-and-garlic dressing, adding some chopped cherry tomatoes because we have them, and they're ripe — their acid lending a bright note to the anchovies. Green salad afterward, and a couple of chocolates for dessert.
Picpoul de Pinet, Moulin de Gassac, 2011 (a little bland)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Eastside Road, August 4, 2013—
IN SOLIDARITY WITH all those inconvenienced by the weekend's events in North Africa, let's eat Moroccan again tonight. (Last night it was those delicious lamb chops, remember?) I don't know where the recipe came from, or exactly how it was made, but we had a delicious pilaf tonight, involving peas, a red pepper, chicken stock, cinnamon, and rice of course; probably one or two other flavorings as well. They and Nancy Skall's broad beans were set off by Franco's Moroccan sausage, also chicken-based, and very flavorful and pointed.

Green salad, with a lemon-juice vinaigrette; applesauce; chocolates.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday salmon

Eastside Road, August 3, 2013—
FIRST TIME TO the Saturday Healdsburg farm market in two months, I guess, and how reassuring to find everything just as I'd expected. Same people, in about the same condition. Salmon from Dave, who's apparently out fishing, as he should be on such a fine morning. Lima beans from Nancy, who looks fit and yar as always. Tomatoes our neighbors the Hopkins — gee, the baby is getting big.

What a pleasure, and how lucky we all are…
Cheap Pinot grigio

Final catchup

Eastside Road, August 3, 2013—
YES, HOME AGAIN, and on the whole gratefully so. But in the flurry of settling back in, Eating Every Day has been on hold, and it's time to bring it up to date. So:

terrine.jpgNice, July 29:

The three-course menu at a restaurant du quartier where I've been previously on such an occasion: farewell dinner with friends. I had a delicious soft terrine of violet artichokes, faintly flavored with nutmeg, and then a perfectly grilled and salted contre-filet of beef, softened under chive butter, the most discreet possible use of chives. (My dislike of chives is the result of their nearly universal over-use: one stem, snipped into tiny bits, is enough for any single serving.) Also on the steak: sliced green pepper, pine nuts.

Dessert: cherry clafoutis, the only proper clafoutis, say I, compromised a bit by an irrelevant dusting of powdered sugar, otherwise very good, almost as good as Erik's a couple of weeks ago.
Côtes de Provence, Cuvée Rayne, 2011
* Rendez-vous des Amis, 176 Avenue de Rimiez, Nice; +33 4 93 84 49 66

In flight, July 30:

Some kind of pasta in tomato sauce, but why bother taking notes?

Berkeley, July 31:

An absolutely delicious porchetta sandwich from

• The Local Butcher Shop, 1600 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; (510) 845-6328
Eastside Road, August 1:IMG_9841.jpgFranco's Sicilian sausage (pork, coriander, white pepper, fennel) with cabbage and the last of my purple potatoes; green salad
Trentatre Rosso, Salento (Puglia)
Santa Rosa, August 2:

Moroccan Style Lamb Chops, Preserved Lemon Couscous,
Spiced Almonds & Arugula. Lindsey let me share her Jones Farm Rabbit Rillettes, Spiced Grape Chutney
Tamì Nero d’Avola, Sicilia
• Willi's Wine Bar, 4404 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa; 707.526.3096