Thursday, March 02, 2006

Car Shopping & Left Bank

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 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.


Cherry said...

A Scion huh?
I was afraid you were going to replace the box (Volvo), with a big box(Scion xB). But thankfully you are looking at the cute coupe. But if you wanted to get the big box, and you like that sort of thing, then of course, get that too! I'll try not to judge.

One thing to keep in mind for your next car purchase... Will this be the car that Maya will be driving in 6 years? Probably! Don't make it too cute, you must take every opportunity to embarrased her that you can get!

And on Left Bank. I've only eaten there once. I had the burger. And yes.. it was quite tasty! The next time my real estate agent takes me to lunch while looking at houses, I'm not going that cheap again if she takes me to a nice place that is! There was guilt involved, but when I calculated her commision, I had nothing to feel guilty about.

J said...

No, Cherry, you should have felt NO guilt. :) But the burger is really good..and the it was a good choice, no matter what.

Ted's thinking about one of the boxes as well...they're sure ugly, but that's what he likes about them.

And maybe the volvo should stay, to be Maya's car? ;) Who knows.

Autumn's Mom said...

We watched Emmeril this weekend and HE made spaetzle. Looked very tasty inded. :D As for the car, I feel the same exact way about two car payments. We did it way back and it wasn't fun. We talk about me trading up, but it ceases to be fun when we get to the part where I have to pay monthly.

Piece of Work said...

Lance actually sold some of his company stock so he could pay off his car before we bought the second, just to avoid the double payment thing. Although I should say that it has been my experience that whenever I am stressing out about taking on another payment for something, somehow we always manage. I think that's just proof that we should be saving a LOT more than we currently are.
Glad you had a nice dinner out!

Uncivil said...

Wow.......out of your whole post.....I like Eleanor Roosevelt's quote the best: "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people".

My ex-mother inlaw always talked about other people. LMAO!!!!!

One car payment would scare the hell out of me right now. I just hate being in debt.

Will be fun to see what you decide on.
I have a 96 Honda Odyssey with 175 K on it. It's gonna have to make it to 300K like my last Honda did!!!!! I got my little 2002 Ford Ranger with 25 K to fall back on if something goes wrong.

I recommend a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corrola!!!!! Can't go wrong with either of those two.

I'll probably go with one of those if my Odyssey ever leaves me hangin!

Gina said...

Yes, you really can never go wrong with a Toyota or a Honda. Glad to hear from uncivil that their last Honda made it to 300K, because our older Honda is coming up on 200K.

Isn't it lovely to go to a "boring" restaurant? I've got babysitting next Tuesday, and we plan on hitting a restaurant that has no children's menu and no crayons.

Glad you liked the spaetzle, I grew up with my German grandmother making it all the time and it is a comfort food for me.

Maya's Granny said...

All of my Yup'ik and Tlingit friends have very earthy senses of humor and would never hesitate to talk about any bodily functions at all anywhere at all. So, it seems to me that the kind of people who talk about boogers are people who are comfortable with themselves and the fact that their bodies have functions. Personally, I still think we should celebrate elimination once a year and everyone wear brown and yellow because without elimination we would all die.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought. Ted should cut Booker's with water. It is a very high proof bourbon, and for proper drinking you need to bring it down in alcohol percent. Even it's maker, Booker Beam, suggests that.