Last night, since Maya was out of town on business, Ted and I decided to go crazy and do those things we can't do when she's around...that's right, we went car shopping and then to dinner. :) We are a two car family, one of which is a 2005 Camry, complete with car payments, while the other is a 1986 Volvo (It's a classic, right? At 20 years, it's a classic? Why would anyone call a Volvo a classic? It's a box!) Anyway, we went looking at cars to perhaps replace the Volvo. Sigh. It's probably a good idea, because the car is wearing out. But we went from no car payment, to one car payment, and I'm hesitant to make the leap to two car payments. If one of us were to lose our job, that would be really hard to manage. We're practically month to month as it is. So, if we do get a new car, the top contender at this point is a Scion tC, which is a little Toyota off-shoot. What to do?
After looking at cars for awhile, we decided to go get some dinner. Ted suggested we go to Left Bank, since it's what Maya would call a "boring" restaurant, which is what we like. :) Left Bank is a small, Northern California chain, with maybe four or five locations. We go to the one in Pleasant Hill, since it's pretty close to our house.
On Saturdays, there is a small farmers' market across the parking lot from Left Bank. Once when I was there getting heirloom tomatoes (oh, dear, heirlooms...perhaps the best thing about September...), the chef from Left Bank was there as well, buying boxes and boxes of heirlooms. I thought to myself that THAT was a sign of a good restaurant...using local, fresh ingredients whenever possible. I don't know how often he goes over there...if he does it every Saturday to see what's what, or if his tomato supplier flaked on him that day and he got lucky with the market. Either way, I was impressed.
I like Left Bank. They have GREAT burgers, and really tasty fries, if you're in a burger/fry type mood. They have a really nice roast chicken on the menu, which is what I usually get. I love it because it is flavorful and moist, which is sometimes difficult to get. Well, I was tempted by the chicken, but they're serving it with cabbage, and not carrot, which is how they used to serve it. And I was tempted by the burger, but I thought that I might take Maya out for a burger this afternoon when she returns from her business trip, and besides I had rib eye the other night for dinner, so I decided to forego the beef. So, what to do? Well, something I'm not well known for...I tried something new. I tried the Filet de Porc, with spaetzle and Dijon mustard sauce. It was a pork loin, which I've never had before. VERY tasty. Lots of flavor, nice and juicy, yummy over all. It wasn't served with any veggies, just spaetzle (which I had also never had before...it was nice), so I ordered green beans with shallots. Mmmm. I love green beans. The mustard sauce on the pork was really nice and light and didn't overpower the pork at all. With my dinner I had a glass of a yummy Chardonnay I've never heard of before...I think it was called red and green or something like that. Tasty, though. Ted had the striped sea bass, which had a lovely crust on it, and a beautiful presentation, but he said the fish itself didn't have a lot of flavor. We postulated that perhaps sea bass is what is called a 'mild fish', and therefore, not lots of flavor to be had. We don't know. He also had a very nice appitizer, Prawns au Pernod, with tomatoes, basil and garlic. Very tasty.
Ted had a glass of bourbon with his dinner. He said it was fine, but he didn't like it as much as his beloved Woodford. What he tried was Booker's bourbon, which got us to thinking about boogers, and how if I ever got STUPID rich, I would buy a really respected bourbon distillery and rename it Boogers. See, this is why we wait for Maya to go out of town. So we can have these intellectual conversations. I read a quote once, by Eleanor Roosevelt: "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people". What about people who talk about boogers at dinner in a nice brasserie type place? What kind of minds to WE have? I shudder to think.