Eastside Road, Healdsburg, Nov. 30, 2008
Trattoria MilaneseTHURSDAY WE REGRETFULLY ended a short sojourn in Milan with a meal on the via Santa Marta, where we were trying to find a trattoria we'd been to some years ago with a couple of friends. (One of them Marta, in fact, though not the saint, I'm afraid.) Googling for it I ran across the Trattoria Milanese, which seems to be on everyone's list, and I booked a table; when we arrived, we discovered the place we remembered was in fact across the street at No. 6 and was called Al Santa Marta. A man leaving the Trattoria said that Al Santa Marta was a restaurant; the Trattoria was a true trattoria, and specialized in traditional Milanese cuisine, so we stayed with our reservation. I opened with artichoke-and-Parmesan salad and went on to a costaletta Milanese; both were absolutely correct and perfectly ordinary; and I recalled yesterday's meal at Porta Rossa with regret. Could have gone back there!
Vino bianco da tavola in caraffa
THEN ON FRIDAY we had a long flight, Milan to JFK, then JFK to San Diego where we'd have a ten-hour stop before flying on yesterday morning to San Jose. (Such an itinerary is the penalty for flying on 'free' miles.) I won't write about the airplane food; it was edible, not interesting. Across the street from our cheap San Diego hotel we found Sole Luna, an Italian place, the only restaurant within blocks. Here I had a very good Martini, my first really good Martini in weeks, and a nice Caprese, with clean lettuces, flavorful tomatoes, and decent Mozzarella, dressed with a fine green olive oil. I'd go back there any time, and you almost can; it's open seven days a week, 10 am to 10 pm, and the Italian guys running it are full of heart: just look at their YouTube clip on the website.
Nov. 28, 2008: Sole Luna Cafe, 702 Ash St., San Diego, CA 92101
YESTERDAY, ALAS, we were reminded we were in home at the Bistro Liaison in Berkeley, where we had lunch. (Chez Panisse was full.) I had what was billed as a Salade Niçoise. It came on wet, ragged lettuce, was loaded with untipped string beans, halved hard-cooked eggs, a barely grilled hunk of tuna as big as my shoe, chunks of boiled potato, a number of things that might have been peas, and half a big avocado cut into thick slices. It could have been better.
Nov. 29, 2008: Bistro Liaison, 1849 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley California
Rosé "Vin de Cigare", Bonny Doon Vineyards
TO FRIENDS for the remains of Thanksgiving dinner: Turkey brined by the butcher; conventional turkey breast (both roasted), Brussels sprouts en confit with onions, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce…
Nov. 30, 2008
A delicious dinner: and we do have things for which to be thankful.
And we are.
Pinot grigio; red wine "L. Preston"