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Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Tale Of Two Lunches...And A Dinner

Last Friday, I officially began working in the coffee business. Oakland is a landmark for coffee.  Some of the best on the planet.  I am excited for the commute over there because drinking coffee and espresso are a big part of my daily routine.  That and beer guzzling are some my favorite hobbies.  I was pretty caffeinated throughout that first morning on the job.  I had a stop at Ritual before hitting the gym.  And then it was off to ROASTCO and my new sales gig.  I had a cup of their Kenyan blend and it perked me right up.  I needed it after my crazy chest and triceps workout earlier that morning.

The area I work in is pretty close to some amazing beer spots and restaurants.  Everywhere I ate that day had Linden St Black Lager on tap.  It is probably one of the best local beers around.  It seems from it's color that it would taste a certain way.  You will be surprised at the taste though, if you have a chance to try it.  I had 2 pints at Chop Bar with a Yucatan Grilled Chicken Torta. It's there Mexican-style sandwich with avocado, queso fresco, tomato, & ancho chile aioli and is served with a jicama salad.  It was mad good.  The menu in general looks very intriguing too.  I even got to chat with the owner, Chris, a bit.   Nice guy.  Mellow guy from back east, like me. Yeah, right...

I still had an appetite and saw the line around the corner at Brown Sugar Kitchen.  I heard about the legendary Fried Chicken Waffle they do.  I am really looking forward to trying that very soon.  Meanwhile, I asked Rachel, a server what a 1st timer should try.  She insisted on the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and a side the Smoked Mashed Yams. So, I sat at the counter with another Black Lager and  ate my 2nd lunch.  I was a hog in heaven and I smiled all the way through my incredible sandwich.  Those yams are screaming! I can't wait to go back there and eat more.

After some champagne at Laura's house during cocktail hour that evening,  the July Birthday Club was off to dinner for our 2nd annual tradition.  Last year it was me and Lori being taken out by Laura to Chez Panisse. This year, we were a foursome at Pizzaiolo.  It was hosted by Jim and Laura this time. Our hosts treated us in decadent style.  It also helped to have Cate as our barkeep.  She made me some of her favorite drinks on the menu. Like the Metà del Turno.  It's  gin, lemon, amaro nonino, chamomile honey & fernet.  It was a great starter.

Other starters started to head to our table too.  Flatbreads with eggplant spread, broccolini, spicy carrots and  yogurt and the Burrata da Di Stefano with cherry tomatoes and a toast, arrived first. Anything from that oven, especially with Charlie on the deck is sublime.  So toast, flatbread, that Pizze with Rapini & housemade sausage that we had...phenominal!

The ladies ordered a bottle of Sangiovese Chianti Rufina, Fattoria Selvapiana ‘08 as the Star Route Farm garden lettuces and Heirloom tomatoes & cucumbers with fried squash blossoms were being passed around. How can you not order a fried squash blossom?  That's just stupid.

Jim got the pasta handkerchiefs with fresh ricotta, basil pesto & cherry tomatoes for the table as well as the ribeye steak with shoestring potatoes & a wild arugula salad.  Everyone was sharing the dishes as I continued with another drink from Cate.  This time a Bourbon Buck with lime, ginger, orange, cane sugar & peychaud's bitters.  It was extraordinary.

We didn't even need to order dessert because gifts kept a coming.  We had the bittersweet chocolate port le creme, puff pastry tartlet with vanilla custard & roasted Blossom Buff Farm peaches and the Spring Bright nectarine sorbet.  It was a grand feast and we were treated like kings and queens.  The day was something for the record books. 

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