Thursday, December 29, 2011


Lafayette, California, December 29, 2011—
steak-frites.jpgTHIS IS THE FIRST town I remember living in, but it's changed considerably since 1940. I doubt there was a bistro in town in those days, but of course we weren't a restaurant-going family, so I wouldn't have known.

After a doughy Starbuck's croissant for breakfast and an enjoyable stroll in the Ruth Bancroft Garden I was hungry. We met an old friend from Chez P. in the 1980s at the place of her choice, also recommended by others. I had standbys: an almost authentic but not really Caesar salad (no anchovies, fluffy croutons, cut-up romaine) and a quite nice steak-frites made with hanger steak correctly grilled rare and served in a wine-flavored reduction. Nice frenchfries, too.
Pinot grigio, Scarpetta (Veneto), 2010; Malbec, Level (Languedoc), 2010
Chow Lafayette, 53 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette; 925.962.2469


Daniel Wolf said...

Charles, your wondering about the restaurant landscape in Lafayette in 1940 reminds me that my grandparents insisted that almost every town with a post office in central California — they were both from Paso Robles (my grandfather actually from Union, which doesn't exist any more) — had a standard fare restaurant (often attached to an "Inn") and a Chinese (= Californian Cantonese) restaurant, so that Californians appear to have enjoyed some parallel culinary practices for a good long time. Does this confirm to your own experience?

Charles Shere said...

Add Mexican to that, I think. The first restaurant meal I remember was at a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley, on the south side of University Avenue, somewhere near Grant Street; I can't have been more than six years old at the time. (It was also the last restaurant meal for a number of years.)