I finally finished work on the feature that had been keeping me busy in the spring right about the same time that my new, custom Independent Fabrications Crown Jewel was completed by my dear friends at Topanga Creek Bicycles. I introduce to you, The Pearl.
After a quick trip to the hinterland to celebrate a milestone with the parents, we returned for a few days of summer, enjoying my time off, riding my new bike, and cooking things that take me back to my roots, like ravioli in a butter-sage sauce
and, of course, hot dogs.
Even the trip provided some unexpected culinary interest. Take these lovely oysters fetched while killing time in the Windy City before meeting family for dinner, courtesy Farmerie 58.
Then came the big trip: a long drive up the 5 to Seattle. Our main event was Seattle to Portland, an opportunity for me to spend quality time with The Pearl, the BoW, my bro-in-law, the future governor of Washington, and his family, who supported us along the route. Frankly, that's an entire entry, but it's really more the domain of BoW as most of the food came in bar form along the way.
On the way back, we did the coast route through WA and OR, camping some, eating much, truly enjoying some amazing places. In Long Beach, WA, I ate a whole crab.
The mouth of the Columbia River is one of the more amazing things I have experienced in my life. Legitimately awesome. Plus, I got to show my lady one of my favorite places, Ecola State Park in OR, where we had a little FOC meeting.
When we got to Eureka, we had lunch at the Lost Coast Brewpub before turning inland to do some quality camping in Humboldt Redwoods State park. I'll leave that at wow.
On the way back, we stopped for delicious breakfast at the Bluebird Cafe in Ukiah.
Note the excellent fresh and homemade pastries.
Happy to be home and enjoy the rest of the lazy summer in earnest, I prepared by purchasing an appropriate bottle to enjoy at the culmination of this year's Tour de France.
However, that was slightly spoiled by being recalled to work, slaving over a hot Avid making the funny for DVD.
One of the good things about returning to work is that it afforded us a chance to go out to Fraîche last night for our ninth anniversary. I've never written about Fraîche before, which is a travesty, and I will save the overall for a dedicated piece on it and Akasha that I have outlined in my head dating back to my birthday about two months ago. I know, slacker. Suffice to say it's real good. Steak tartare is a standard on the menu.
Appetizer special, homemade polenta with delicious ham and cheese, little sprinkle of balsamic that tasted like honey.
Again, house-standard pappardelle with braised oxtail and mustard greens.
Awesome summer flavors in the seasonal francobolli, with sweet corn, brown butter, and almonds. So rich, but soooooo goood.
One final note. Our absolute favorite neighborhood restaurant, Fioretto, has closed its doors. The Gianni family came to the end of their lease and decided they couldn't support the endeavor anymore. It's a sad loss for us, but I hope it's a new beginning and opportunity for them. I just have to find out where he's cooking now....