Monday, August 30, 2010


Eastside Road, August 30, 2010—
A BUSY WEEKEND, on the road, in general without Internet connectivity, but hardly a fast. Saturday (August 28) we drove down to Los Gatos, 120 miles south, there to help install some material in an art museum. Lunch was at the macaronically named Fleur de Cocoa, where — recalling my wish for Nizzese food on seeing Cezanne paintings a couple of days earlier — we took advantage of a pan bagnat that was really quite nice — tuna, hardboiled egg, tomato, washed down with peachleaf-flavored iced tea. Afterward, rather nice ice cream, also made on premises: Tahitian vanilla, pistachio (beautifully flavored, lots of nuts), salt-caramel.#alttext#
  • Fleur de Cocoa, 39 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; tel. (408) 354-3574

  • Then it was back north to Oakland, where we walked through the Eat Real festival of street food. What a fabulous scene: very crowded with strolling onlookers of all ages, races, and types; trucks and stands featuring food from dozens of different ethnic persuasions. We didn't eat much, as we were eating dinner in just a little while and didn't want to spoil our appetites: still, who could resist an heirloom-pork-and-cannelini stew? Not me: and it was superb, with a perfect note of oregano.#alttext#
  • Eat Real Festival, Jack London Square, Oakland, Aug. 27-29

    August 28 is an important date in our family: it was on that day, in 1971, that Chez Panisse served its first dinner: Lindsey made a plum tart for the occasion. For the thirty-ninth anniversary of the date the restaurant served the exact same menu, and it was interesting to see the difference in sourcing, conception, and execution — you'd hardly think the menus had anything in common beyond a few words:
    Pâté de campagne with heirloom tomato salad
    Duck breast and duck leg confit with olive sauce and wild fennel purée
    Garden lettuces
    Plum tart with peach leaf ice cream

    Thirty-nine years ago Chez Panisse was less, let's say, evolved. The pâté was coarser, its pork more industrial, its mustard more forthright. Duck with olives was on the opening-night menu, but it was a braise, loose and hearty, rather than the confit drumstick and the beautifully grilled breast served Saturday night.

    The tart, though — I think the tart I had, pastry, plums, and ice cream, was almost unchanged across all those years. Lindsey retired ten years ago or more, but her influence lives on in this pastry kitchen.
    Rosé, Domaine Tempier (Bandol), 2009; Morgon, “Côte du Py,” Jean Foillard, 2008; Bourgueil, “Nuits d’Ivresse,” Catherine and Pierre Breton, 2008
  • Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; tel. 510.48.5525

    Sunday morning, Aug. 29, yesterday, we breakfasted on a perfect Betty Crocker buttermilk muffin — thanks, Judy — and delicious Bronx grapes and coffee with milk, of course; and stopped by the Marin Farmers Market, astonishing in its size and scope, and dined finally at home: another Mangalitsa sausage — I don't know where Lindsey finds all these — and a mess of potatoes-and-favas, a very nice combination indeed.
    Cheap Pinot grigio

    And today, Aug. 30, we watched a ball game at suppertime — Mets and Braves; we don't really care about either team, but any baseball is better than no baseball — so of course we dined on hot dogs, Nieman-Schell ones of course, dressed with thin-sliced onion, pickle relish, and wild arugula leaves from the garden, with the last of the potatoes-and-favas on the side (an excellent potato salad, to my way of thinking). And now I'm all caught up.
    Cheap Nero d'Avola

    Heath said...

    Charles -- have you been eating at Chez anisse? I understand they've got pigs from Suisun Valley Farm on the menu.

    Have you tasted any of that? How was it?

    Charles Shere said...

    We had dinner at Chez Panisse Saturday night (see above), the 39th birthday. Pork wasn't on the menu. I phoned just now: yes, Suisun Valley Farm has been on the menu in the past; isn't just now. And yes, Suisun is raising Mangalitsa.