Sunday, April 12, 2009

D is for Dining

One of my favorite parts of travelling is eating out (for a while, at least, by the end of the trip I sometimes just want to cook something at home already!). California absolutely did not disappoint with the food offerings. In San Francisco I had the most delicious pineapple fried rice at Thai Stick. Really, everything we ordered there was delicious but the rice was over the top!

Sonoma was amazing. Nothing like wine country to have dozens of fabulous restaurants all in walking distance from your hotel. We at at Deuce, Harvest Moon Cafe, Meritage & Cafe LaHaye. The wedding dinner was at Meritage, so really not fair to judge the restaurant overall by what they will offer as a catering menu, but in comparison to 'normal' catering, they were fantastic. . . . particularly the desserts! The award for introducing me to a food I've never heard of and now adore goes to Harvest Moon. We ordered a beet & fennel salad that was topped with Kampachi. I didn't even notice the kampachi in the description, I just jumped at beet & fennel, but when it came, there was clearly sushi on top and OMG! It was ridiculously fantastic. We asked the waiter what it was, and turns out it's a type of yellow-fin tuna. Delicious!

The overall, blow every other fabulous restaurant out of the water restaurant has to be Cafe LaHaye. It is a tiny little restaurant off the square in Sonoma. It was slam packed on a Tuesday night, which is always the sign of a great restaurant. The kitchen is tiny, staffed with just the Executive Chef & a sous chef. It was fantastic to watch them work in the kitchen, very quiet and calm and measured, none of the banging and swearing I am used to from my restaurant days. It's a very small menu, as well, I believe 6 entrees + 2 specials and the same number of starters. We shared soup & salad. The soup was califlower & celery root topped with cashews & golden raisins. The soup was sooooo yummy & smooth, though I could have done without the cashews. The salad - butter lettuce with avocado, boiled egg, bacon & blue cheese. YUM - so many of my favorite things all on one plate!! For dinner, Jake got a mustard braised pork chop served over mushrooms and corona beans and I got the rissoto of the day, which was green garlic & balsamic grilled radicchio. There aren't enough adjectives to do the food justice. And the serving sizes were incredibly generous, which was unexpected. In such a 'foodie' place, I would by no means have been surprised for a 6 bite serving to show up on my plate, yet it barely looked like I touched my rissoto when I was done! We finished off the meal with meyer lemon cheesecake, coffee & port. I wish I didn't live 3000 miles from this restaurant, because I'd be there as much as I could! And it was even affordable. .. . everything we ate plus wine, and our bill barely made it to $100.

I can't take credit for this photo, but I'm using it for my ABC-along, anyway. Jake is dabbling in photography and this was his 'artsy' shot at dinner. I think it's pretty cool.

And finally, here's a shot of us at Cafe LaHaye (note the wedding ring on Jake!). We had spent the rest of our time in Cali with friends and family, we got to go out Tuesday night, just the two of us, and we couldn't have picked a better place to do it!


Susan said...

Congratulations! Great "artsy shot" and you made me hungry.

IrishgirlieKnits said...

Such a cute married couple!! Okay, next time I'm in Sonoma, I am definitely checking out those restaurants!!

km said...

Such a fun time. I'll look for some of those places next time in in the area.

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

I'm hungry! Sounds like some wonderful restaurant hopping going on :)

San Diego is also a pretty good "food" town!

Catherine Kerth said...

I'm so glad y'all had fun! And you're married! wooo hooo!

you guys are cute together.... and tell Jake i will be showing my hubby Chris the picture of the yarn shop trip....muhahahahaha! Chris is in for it! If Jake can do it so can he :)