Saturday, June 24, 2017


Portland, Oregon, June 23, 2017—

     🍷Martini; Rosé gris de Marquiliani (Corsica), 2016
Davenport, 2215 East Burnside Street, Portland; 📞+1 (503) 236-8747

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Biscuits and bucatini

Eastside Road, June 12, 2017—
PACKAGED FOODS are not that big a part of our diet, Constant Reader will have noticed. But when we checked into our beautifully equipped Airbnb apartment in Rome, ten weeks ago, among the things stocking the kitchen was a bag of special cookies. Well, I call them "biscuits," to assuage possible guilt about having one at breakfast. Campagnole , they're called, made by Mulino Bianco. I don't recommend specific products lightly. These are delicious.

In fact they soon became indispensable to breakfast, and I never ate them at any other time. Just one, one biscuit, every morning, even before the toast, with my first coffee. I replenished the supply before leavig, but there was half a bag or so left, so I stuck that into muy inside jacket pocket, pulling it out at breakfast time on the airplane. Our fourteen-year-old grandson noticed. Brilliant, he said, earning one for himself.

It occurred to me the other day that it should be possible to find them on the Internet, or what's an Internet good for? And, yes, there they were, available my mail from an online import specialist in Carlsbad, California. And what else did this fine place offer? Bucatini !

Bucatini are one of my favorite pastas: long spaghetti-like shapes, tubes with typically thick walls. This particular brand is very nice indeed, long pieces doubled back on themselves like a giraffe's croquet wicket, and made, the label tells us, of nothing but semolina durum flour and water. They cook up dense and toothy and really quite flavorful: I'm sure we'll keep some on hand from now on.

This bucatini is made by Gragnano ("Città della pasta", city of pasta), and they take fifteen minutes to cook. They are serious, old-fashioned pasta, extruded through the traditional bronze dies, according to the label, and cut to length, almost two feet long, doubled back, and hung on dowels to dry — hence the horseshoe-shape. (The label advises you break "the little arches" before cooking.)

Cook made her red sauce — Franco's sausage, only a little; her tomato sauce; a can of tomatoes for good measure, and a few anchovies. Rich, deep, and very satisfying, this sauce, and bucatini the perfect pasta for it. Green salad afterward, and fruit…

     🍷The rest of the not perfectly satisfactory Gattinara

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Eastside Road, June 11, 2017—
ANOTHER LAZY Sunday: we'd hoped to entertain guests on the patio, but it's chilly and breezy. Oh well: let's move indoors.

And wouldn't you know: guests brought the picnic with them! A fine array of salume and cheese; olives; foie gras; breads; fresh cherries. And the wines! Magnificent! Thanks so much, John and Susan!

Dessert: Cook made a peach crisp, with a float of lightly whipped cream.

     🍷Riesling Spätlese, Wehlener Sonnemuhr, Dr. Loosen, 2005 (1);
       Riesling, Eiswein, Josef Rosch, 1999 (!), in half bottle

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Saturday market

Eastside Road, June 10, 2017—

Gail Okamura, Dry Creek Peaches

Middleton Gardens
MARKET DAY. Peaches from Gayle; strawberries from Lou, lettuces from Burt and Mary, sausage from Franco, fish from the fish stall which I'm still not entirely sold on, favas from Middleton Gardens.

Then home for egg salad sandwiches with friends who'd driven up for a visit; and then Cook's dinner: Petrale sole lightly breaded and fried; favas on the side. Wasn't last Saturday's dinner exactly the same? Probably. Why not?

Green salad; sliced peaches and ice cream.      🍷Cheap bianco, Grifone, nv

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Birthday dinner

Eastside Road, June 9, 2017—
FINALLY TONIGHT I got around to cooking Cook's birthday dinner — two days late. I'd prepped everything two days ago, but other things intruded…

I grilled the lamb chops outside over grapevine cuttings, first grill of the year. Inside, I pan-roasted the little potatoes with nothing but oil and salt, and after lightly browning some cipollini I steamed them with fresh garden peas. Green salad afteward.

     🍷Gattinara, Franco Patriarca (Piemonte), 2012: a bit of a disappointment

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Dinner chez P.

Berkeley, June 8, 2017—
DINNER IN THE CAFÉ with friends tonight, and a generous dinner it was. I'll say no more about it: the photo speaks for itself.

     🍷SP68 Rosso, Arianna Occhipinti (Sicily), 2015: perfect.
•Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510-548-5525

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Eastside Road, June 7, 2010—
BIRTHDAY DINNER for Cook, so she got the day mostly off. We drank Cava and dined deliciously on anchovies and butter, three different cheeses, olives, and more than I remember; and afterward, at home, a plate of fine sliced peaches with some praline… Thanks, Giovanna!

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