August Norcal Eating Tour
COVID-19 is a bummer and has been really hard on the restaurant business, but we appreciate the creativity it has unleashed. Tracey and I were apparently the only people not in Tahoe this weekend, so we hit a lot of our favorite places to eat. First up on Friday evening was the new outdoor set up at Beast and Bounty at the Ice Blocks in midtown Sacramento. We stayed true to our 95% plant-based diet and had the tofu meatballs, kale Caesar, vegan pizza and topped off with the rotating IPA for me and rose for TReg. The two slices of pizza that survived dinner were consumed less than an hour later at home because it was too good to save for leftovers.
The next morning (Saturday) we made the drive to Napa Valley and visited our new favorite winery Ashes & Diamonds. This place is unbelievable. First, you are greeted by two striking Barbara Bestor-designed buildings that seem inspired by a mid-century Palm Springs vibe yet look incredibly at home among the vineyards.
The wine matches the architecture and we did a tasting that included the Rose, Blanc, and Mountain Cuvee, all of which we bought a bottle of (or three of the Saffron Mountain Cuvee, of which we were compelled by the incredible taste and even more incredible story). It was good thing the tasting was two hours and included food. The setting and service (thanks Jasmine!) made it go seem much shorter than that.
Later that afternoon, after a walk around St. Helena to look at art that we somehow tricked the gallery owner into thinking we could afford, we stopped at Gott's Roadside Diner on the way out of town. I had decided early in the day I was going to make a wide departure from the plant-based diet and go deep into beef territory. I was planning on a burger, probably with bacon and cheese (ok, very wide departure). But the special of the weekend was an heirloom tomato BLT that looked incredible. Given the depth of hamburger possibilities in Sacramento, I opted for the item that would be hard to replicate anywhere else. I was not disappointed.
Bonus: T gave me one of her three avocado tacos that came with her meal. Along with some brussel sprouts (just ok, not crispy enough) and onion rings (phenomenal), I washed this gastro party down with a Pliny the Elder and was sufficiently sated until the following morning.
Sunday came and we decided to walk to the Faria Bakery in Oak Park. T has been randomly bringing home treats when she picks up a loaves of olive bread and we had the fontina and potato pizza last week that was one of the best pizzas we have ever had (seriously). The walk from our house was three miles each way, meaning I would more than earn the caloric reward provided by the buckwheat coffee cake I selected. Between the coffee cake, olive loaf and morning bun we shlepped home, we had a bag heavy enough to make carrying it a workout. T and I had to take turns and had to switch arms often. Note to self: the next time we walk three miles to buy food that's as dense as it is delicious, bring a backpack.
This weekend was a not-so-subtle reminder of how lucky we are to live in Northern California, the farm-to-fork capital of the world. So much fresh, delicious food that the producers are finding innovative ways to get into our digestive tracts by way of our ever grateful pallets.
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