Thursday, December 21, 2017

Boudin blanc in Oakland

Oakland, December 19, 2017—
LUNCH TODAY in the upstairs café we so like to patronize, where a fine salad of puntarelle and radicchio, beautifully dressed, was followed by a spectacular, very brightly flavored pizzetta covered with squid and aioli, sliced onion, tomato sauce, and marjoram — and very piquant with, perhaps, Aleppo pepper. I'm not sure about the latter. I should have asked.

Afterward, a thoughtful fruit plate — Pink Pearl apple, pomegranate, dates. And an apple and sour cherry galette with vanilla ice cream. Perfect.

     🍷Cava, Brut Nature, Avinyo, Spain, nv; crisp and refreshing
Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 📞+1 (510) 548-5525

DINNER OUT, CELEBRATING the 52d wedding anniversary of our old friends. (We were their witnesses, long ago, in a Reno chapel.) We decided, I'm not sure why, to take them to a place we haven't visited in ages, where we sat in a back room — in fact a canvas-covered patio, thankfully heated, and quiet in contrast to the hip noisy front room.

The contessa and I ordered identically: a salad to begin, then a rabbit boudin blanc. You know that's sausage, the waiter cautioned us. Yes, we know, we said; and then, curious, You tell us that because there are people who order it and then…

…Yes, the dish arrives, and they say Oh sausage, I didn't know it was sausage, no, I don't want this…

The little problematic dramas of the client-waiter relationship. Oh well. The boudin was quite delicious.

For dessert I had a piece of cheese, requesting the candied walnuts, toasted almonds, sliced apple, poached figs and walnut levain all be left off the course. The result was a simple wedge of "Blue de Moncenisio," a marvelous creamy but solid mostly white cheese tasting much like my favorite Castelmagno but lacking its grain. Moncenisio is the mountain and pass just north of the Italian Alpine valley the Contessa's father came from; it's a favorite landscape of mine.

     🍷 Pignolo
À Côté Restaurant , 5478 College Avenue, Oakland; 📞+1 (510) 655-6469

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

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