So today is my birthday, and like any good foodie, I've been celebrating with tastes of some delicious local treats. As I write this, I'm working my way through my second loaf of Acme cranberry-walnut bread in three days...let's hope I save a bit of room for my birthday dinner at Conduit tonight!
But let's start with our recent excursion to Sonoma and Napa. Jonathan and I drove to Sonoma on Friday night, just in time for dinner with a few others at El Dorado Kitchen, located in downtown Sonoma's El Dorado Inn. The ambiance of the place was classic laid-back, wine-soaked California, and we sat at a long communal table. The meal started out well, with some delicious wine and a petite jar of rosemary-roasted pistachios. Unfortunately, I wasn't as impressed with the real food.
My green salad with figs (I do love California figs) and marcona almonds was lovely, but my entree - a gazpacho with cucumber, avocado, clams, and prawns, was nothing special. The soup was nice, but the shellfish was average, at best. We also ordered two sides, some pan-roasted vegetables and a quinoa pilaf, neither of which was particularly appetizing. And our waiter, who seemed a bit too, um, "casual," for my tastes didn't help much.
Lunch the next day, though, was certainly special. We ate at Ubuntu, a yoga studio/vegetarian restaurant named in the New York Times as one of the world's "10 Best New Restaurants." I started with a vinyasa yoga class, where I got to do fun things like work on my scorpion, and then I met up with Jonathan and his mom and step-dad for a post-yoga lunch. The menu was overwhelmingly creative; we started with chickpea fries served with romesco sauce that were outstanding. I also had a "leaves and things" salad, which came with a sweet roasted pepper and a the mini-est apple-like specimen that I've ever seen. My entree, a sort of cauliflower served three ways, was also quite yummy and interesting. Jonathan's farro with carrot broth was delicious, too.
And today, walking around the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, Jonathan and I stepped into a tiny little truffle shop, where the owner makes all of his infused truffles by hand right in the store. We walked out one matcha and one earl grey truffle richer, and only $1.50 poorer. Yum.
I'll be sure to let you know how Conduit is; I'm anticipating yet another leisurely and delicious California meal, perhaps this time with a little birthday cheer (and cake?) thrown in.
Oh, and it's sunny today!