Friday, September 11, 2015

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #8

A week in California...

Jeremy Fox's Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica...The Price Is Right...Paso Robles for two days...Field Recordings...Pacific Coast Highway...Santa Cruz...Spanish Table...Kermit Lynch...Chez Panisse Café...Broc Cellars...North End of Richardson Bay/Tiburon for three days...Skydiving...Pig In A Pickle after skydiving...Fish...Harmony Chinese...Bocadillos...Gioia Pizzeria.

A nice vacation. A lot to like and remember, highlighted by skydiving, freakin' Berkeley again (feels like early retirement Home to us), some good wine, two spectacular Airbnbs, and a lot of sitting.

I'll forget most of it by early next year, with flashes returning here and there. September in the U.S. hasn't been the way we do it the last few years. This trip was fine, and being in the country has its advantages. Being out of the country has more.

Total food and wine cost for the week: $439 for food and $387 for wine = $826

Total food and wine cost for the month: $787 for food and $939 for wine = $1726

Sunday: Skydiving and Pig In A Pickle

Notes: Can't recommend Bay Area Skydiving more. Organized, efficient, and a great staff. Bruce and J.P. as instructors were rather awesome. 85-degree day, clear skies, 13,000 feet, in and out in less than two hours. Perfect (except don't leave your mouth open on the free fall like I did. Oof!) This was our third jump, first in ten years. We gotta do this more!

Pig In A Pickle southern BBQ after skydiving, because we wanted an enormous comfort food feast after jumping out of a plane. Whole smoked chicken tossed in Alabama white sauce, potato salad, cornbread, rolls, and more tomato-parsley salad. Served with 2014 Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône Blanc (formerly the Sunflower Cuvée, I believe) and a bottle of NV Veuve Fourny & Fils Blanc de Blanc Brut Nature Champagne. Fine, fresh and good. Nothing really to report with the pairing, though the Champagne was delicious on its own.

Cost: $50 for food, $70 for wine = $120 

Saturday: Chez Panisse Café, Broc Cellars and Spanish Table cured meats and cheese spread

Notes: Solid meal again at Chez Panisse Café. Our fourth trip to Chez Panisse in some form, this meal confirmed again that while it's never the best meal you've ever had, or even close, it's a reminder that restaurants should get back to what Chez Panisse has been doing for decades: Feed People Well.

Heirloom tomato salad to split, chicken and scallop entrées. Silly-good California freshness all around, but the best part was the wine, a bottle of 2012 Jolie Laide Trousseau Gris, Fanucchi Vineyards, Russian River Valley, a wine that will probably be bought by us for years after having it here (best wine of the trip and it's not even close). Such prettiness and purity. Shimmered and sang a beautiful song. Dirt, flowers and stars. At $54 on a wine list? Wow!

Our standard Berkeley stops at Spanish Table and Kermit Lynch. Beautiful Berkeley morning air. An enjoyable Broc Cellars tasting after Chez Panisse, another stop this trip was built around. Golly, we like their wines. And I got to try the Nero d'Avola, something I've wanted to do, and now I don't have to buy it.

Spectacular Airbnb #2 (pictured). Extreme north end of Richardson Bay with the San Francisco skyline in the background. Quiet, right at the end of the trail that leads all around the bay, plenty of birds, dogs, a seal, and people that view not having kids as a valid life choice. Our people.

And plenty of warm smiles and faces. That's quite a contrast from Chicago.

Dinner of cured Iberico meats and idiazabal cheese spread with baby parsley and "Jon's tomatoes" salad and TJ's bread. Served with 2014 Raventos i Blanc La Rosa Rosado Penedès, a 100% pinot noir rosé, from Spanish Table.

This was a good day.

Cost: $200 for food, $130 for wine = $310

Friday: Los Robles Café, the Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Cruz, the Picnic Basket and Falafel Hut

Notes: The Pacific Coast Highway, was...rather...underwhelming. I had built this road trip up in my head so much since my early 20s that, after so much natural wonder in Spain, Portugal, Italy and southern France over the years, it fell short of my bloated expectations. And not helped by the end-point being Santa Cruz and the Labor Day Weekend kid fest that it was. Los Robles Café Mexican food before getting out of Paso. Then the PCH. Beautiful landscape that, hate to say, wore thin a bit. $6.50/gallon gas near Big Sur. That was fun. Then Santa Cruz for lunch at Picnic Basket. Two BLAs and two glasses of Birichino Malvasia. Hotel Paradox for a dip in the pool that didn't happen. Humans and human children galore! Dipped our feet in the Pacific at the beach, then got dinner at Falafel Hut (with 2014 Field Recordings Jurassic Park Chenin Blanc). Nothing to report here. Move along. We couldn't get out of that town f'in fast enough.

Cost: $45 for food, $35 for wine = $80

Thursday: Lamb loin, tomatoes, arugula and bread with 2014 Field Recordings Grenache Rosé 

Notes: This Airbnb, sitting among Paso Robles vineyards, was a top-5 stay for us. Gorgeous views, quiet, stars, fire pit, great owner, perfect little cottage.

Went to a Field Recordings tasting and bought a 4-pack of canned grenache rosé. Went to Trader Joe's, bought some lamb loin. Jon, the owner of the property, gave us some of the ripest tomatoes we've ever seen. Grilled up the lamb, set the table, popped our cans, eat and drank. Lovely weather, lovely views of the vineyards, lovely fire pit, lovely dog, Percy, that keeps watch over the property and any possible food droppings (loves lamb fingers).

Flip through the pictures of the Airbnb link. This place is better than the photos. Great outside-inside, light-dark-light flow. We don't even gravitate to Paso wines. We loved Villa Creek in the past specifically, but generally don't drink them. We'd return just to stay here. And shoot down to Santa Barbara.

Cost: $20 for food, $16 for wine = $36

Wednesday: The Price Is Right and In-n-Out Burger

Notes: Yep. The Price Is Right. Then In-n-Out Burger. TPIR was an 8-hour ordeal that we're glad we did, just for funnsies, but wouldn't do it again. EVER. Both of us were surprised how small the studio was, and how completely insane the crowd really is. Whew! Not our element. And In-n-Out Burger makes a fine burger. Didn't love it though. Skipped the lower half of the PCH through Santa Barbara, etc. because Google said traffic was jammy-jammed. Up the I-5 to a great AirBnb just outside Paso Robles. Cost: $20 

Tuesday: Jeremy Fox's Rustic Canyon Wine Bar in Santa Monica

Notes: We heart getting bumped up to an earlier flight and placed in economy plus. And we heart Alamo's "just go pick a car you like" at LAX. Good start to the trip. 

Jeremy Fox's Ubuntu was one of our favorite meals out in the world ever. We had read Lucky Peach's profile of him, knew he had a place in Santa Monica, saw REALLY cheap tickets to California and compared it to Europe (our typical September vacation) and said, "Why the hell not?" A stop at Huckleberry Café before Rustic Canyon. 

Food Details: Ciabatta with lardo, boiled peanuts, beets with blackberry, squash salad, malfatti, trout, potatoes.

Did We Like It? Lots of echoes of our experience at Ubuntu to confirm if Mr. Fox had a place near us, we'd be semi-regulars. The boiled peanuts with vadouvan were lovely. The malfatti ricotta dumplings so balanced and delicious. We had a fine time.

How Was The Wine? Two glasses of LaSalle Champagne to start. Standard Champagne, but nothing to get excited over. A bottle of 2012 Arnot-Roberts "Old Vine" Sonoma County White Blend was, tough. Sylvaner, riesling, French colombard, Green Hungarian and some other obscure grapes. Subtle waxy texture with minerals, pear, quince; delicate acid and flowers backing everything up. We loved it.

And The Pairing? Mostly, the Arnot-Roberts was loved because of what it did with the ricotta dumplings (malfatti). Perfect. One of the those moments you chase in a meal that says, "THIS is why food and wine are so good together."

Cost: $115 for food, $135 for wine - $250 

Monday: Falafel, tahini, kumatoes, cucumbers and naan with 2014 Broc Cellars White Zinfandel Sonoma County

Food Details: Falafel, which probably wasn't the best choice before a flight on Tuesday morning, with tahini sauce and naan, salad of arugula, onion, herbs, cucumbers and kumatoes. Middle Eastern feast, substituting freezer naan because we had them. Rip, top, drizzle and eat. Good, fresh, light, goopy and pleasant.

Did We Like It? Bouncy Middle Eastern spread to begin vacation. Note: No falafel before flying.

How Was The Wine? Mr. Brockaway makes white zin. A typical Broc fresh edge to the oft-maligned white zinfandel. Organic, no sulfur used on grapes. We liked it, and I would drink it again, but it did reveal itself to be white zinfandel a little too much for our taste. We wanted to get into the nod to the 70s-80s, but I heard a little too much Def Leopard and Journey when taking a sip for my taste.

And The Pairing? Fine enough. Nothing to really report here. A brightness to the fruit in the wine held firm, which was nice.

Cost: $9 for food, $17 for wine =  $26

No comments:

Post a Comment