A Farmhouse Like No Other

So it came to pass that Leon was one year older and festivities were duly arranged. Considering the gravity of the man’s ghastly age, it was decided that a full week must be engaged for the  follies, beginning most auspiciously with a Monday evening three-course fixed menu meal at Forestville’s Farmhouse Inn. This local’s tradition continues through the end of this month.

outside

On the evening we arrived, the prix-fixe featured a fresh piece of halibut, a gorgeous green salad, and a sweet for just $49. Perhaps this Michelin-starred restaurant meant no harm, intended no evil, when our hostess generously slipped us the night’s four-course fixed menu along with the Monday evening special. But alas. Continue reading

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April in Stinson

The beach became the star last week when Leon’s grandson Eric came to visit. Eric is nine and lives close to the sere inland border of Idaho’s grain deserts. In other words: the lad had never been to the ocean.

We set about fixing that exception with a short overnight trip to Stinson Beach that was ostensibly about taking the boy to the buoys but was really about eating deeply and well.

eric

We set out through the town of Tomales and along the bay. First stop, Nick’s Cove, the Pat Kuleto-designed property that transformed an old fish shack into a souped-up facsimile of an old fish shack. With its magnificent perch right on Tomales Bay and its stuffed heads and fishing paraphernalia adorning the walls, Nick’s is a charmer. And a perfect spot, we decided, for a nine-year-old to try his first oysters. Continue reading

Prix-Fixe Truckee: Restaurant Trokay

No one goes to Truckee for the food.

But a day of falling down raises up a hearty appetite. And after dropping sideways and forward and backward all over the bunny trails of Royal Gorge, Leon and I could have eaten one of the tiny pinecones we so often found near our teeth in the snow. We couldn’t face another meal at the B&B (see image below) and so set out to scout the culinary environs of nearby Truckee. The Interwebs had promised great things on Donner Pass Road, after all.

That's a steak. On the right. That thing. A steak.

That’s a steak. On the right. That thing. A steak.

Things started well with a lovely life-giving beer at Moody’s, where I became transfixed by the ski-bum-beauty of our bartender, a slim athletic woman who took my stunned adoration as a matter of course. Leon busied himself assessing the comestibles being to delivered to other patrons. “Those,” he hissed, jerking a thumb at the offending basket of fried items being devoured to our right, “are corndogs.”

“We can’t possibly,” he declared, finishing his beer, “eat here.”

Nor could we eat at the Mexican place (“We came all this way for a taco?”); the sushi place (“Sushi in the mountains?”); the California cuisine place (“Punny names are just plain frightening.”); or the Italian place (“Reminds me of that spot in Santa Rosa I hate so much. What’s it called? Oh, right. Yeah, that place. Hate it.”)

Our options were dramatically narrowed as specialty candy—even fudge—makes for a poor evening meal. And then we saw it. It had all of the faux Depression-era marks of a great hipster joint: Raw leather, raw wood, Edison-style lighting, burnished steel, cement floors, the promise of drinks served in mason jars. That much we could see. What we couldn’t yet know was that the Restaurant Trokay was about to provide one of the most delicious and cerebral meals we ever have enjoyed. In Truckee!

Continue reading

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