After topping off a particularly stressful week with an even more stressful morning that included oversleeping an hour, squabbling with our admin person about a planned business trip and having to inform a user why his system enhancement would not be in production today, I was headed to the Juice Bar Collective for a brown rice bowl lunch, when it occurred to me that I could go to Chez Panisse.
After ascertaining that I could dine in shorts and a UC Berkeley t-shirt, I allowed myself to be seated. I had forgotten how transcendental a meal at CP could be. As I ate I could feel the stress slipping away. Some things in this lunch were so good that they pulled up those that were merely good. I once again worship at the Temple of Alice Waters.
My Riverdog Farm turnip and turnip greens soup was, well, odd and not at all flavorful. I occupied myself talking to the couple next door, while I spooned it up.
The star of my Grilled Wolfe Ranch quail , chicken and frisee salad with sugar plums and duck rillettes toast were the quail and the chicken skin. Both were good enough to make me swoon. The quail was medium rare, juicy and ever so slightly charred and the chicken skin better than any roast pork skin I have ever had. This dish was a surprisingly generous portion with half of a quail, a large half chicken breast and and large crostini topped with the duck. The chicken was tender and juicy, the frisee nicely dressed. The only underachiever were the duck rillettes which were nondescript, but a nice accompaniment to the other poultry.
Dessert was Pixie tangerine-lime sherbet with Lucero Farm strawberries and gingersnaps. The latter were razor thin, light and rich at the same time, bringing to mind a palmier and also swoon inducing. The sherbet was tart and refreshing. The berries worked with the other components, but weren't that sweet.
All this, tax and tip included, for $42 and well worth every penny.
On the way back to the office I picked up sticky buns from The Cheeseboard and ignoring the first bus, ran into Safeway and found my favorite Lawry's brand Sloppy Joe mix, which I will be preparing for dinner this evening. From the sublime to the sublimely ridiculous.