Had a beautiful weekend up in Gold Country (well, I guess for us its down). Good food and gorgeous weather. A quick report to chowhounds, and thanks to all for your recommendations: (All three of these restaurants are within a block or two of each other on Broad Street in Nevada City).
1. Citronee (or is it one e?): Had dinner at this bistro Saturday night to celebrate hubbie's birthday. Its small but cozy, with about 15 tables...but lots of nooks and crannies so you feel privacy. We had started with a martini in the bar at the National Hotel (more on that in a sec), and because I'm on cold medicine (so that I had a chance of tasting my food) decided not to drink much alcohol. Did order a glass of champagne to start: a Napa winery but can't remember which one. It was probably the low point of the meal: barely chilled. I almost sent it back, and probably should have, but the waiter was sooo nice I didn't have the heart. It surprised me, as the place advertises itself as a wine bar, that they would serve champagne that clearly hadn't seen a refrigerator for more than 30 minutes.....Anyway, we started with a Citrone salad for DH, and the soup for me. His salad was wonderful: nice selection of greens with goat cheese and pecans, and a wonderful, light and fruity vinagrette. My soup was a potatoe-leek, nicely pureed with just a touch of cream and a little pesto oil stirred in. Flavorful and hot and perfect for that cold! For a main I actually had one of the appetizer dishes (that medicine is an appettite suppressant!): the grilled prawns on couscous. The prawns were complete with heads, and tasted very fresh and sweet. Three large prawn and a good dollup of couscous, and it was plenty. DH had the free-range chicken dish, with lentils and I forget what else. He pronounced it delicious! As we were waiting for the dessert options he mentioned he hoped they had bread pudding. Well, we were in luck, because we finished by sharing a delicious cranberry-caramel bread pudding. Dinner for two including tax and tip, the champagne, and coffee was just under $100...great food and atmosphere. Check it out.
2. Cirino's: We picked this place for our second dinner after seeing it featured on a local TV cooking
show. It is pretty basic italian, and obviously a locals favorite. The place was packed on a Sunday night...lots of families. It was crowded and noisy, but we were given a nice table in the corner. Once we were noticed service was good, but it did take about 15 minutes to get someone to come take our orders. I'm not blaming the waitress too much; she was obviously overworked with several large parties. The food was very good: I had the grilled lamb special..it was marinated in lemon and rosemary, and there's enough left over for lunch today! Jerry had the special salmon: grilled and served over fettucini primavera. The salmon was very, very tasty! (They didn't advertise it as being wild, but it sure tasted like it). Dinner comes with a choice of (very good) green salad or minestrone. I had the soup: it was tasty but a little tomatoey for my taste. Jerry really liked the salad; very fresh greens. We started with roasted garlic as an appetizer (something both have to eat, of course!), and my lamb also came with pasta. Too full for desert. The wine list features a lot of local wines at reasonable prices: we had a bottle of Indian Springs Cabernet which they sell for only about 9 or 10 dollars more than what it costs at the tasting room a block away. Not bad corkage. Dinner for two including tax, tip, and the bottle of wine: $90. Very reasonable for quantity and quality, IMO.
3. Nevada City Classic Cafe: Had brunch here Sunday, even though we weren't particularly hungry. I couldn't pass up the special listed in the window: mango pancakes!!!!! Something with mango I've never tried!! This place was also packed, and its small. Yes, it did take about 15 minutes to get our food (coffee came right away), and the couple next to us was grumbling about this...but hey, its not fast food, folks! Its a beautiful Sunday am, take another sip of coffee, read the paper and chill. The pancakes were wonderful (with fresh mango!) and kept me full all day. One warning: I noticed several orders of fruit pancakes (they also had blueberry) coming out with gobs of whipped cream....fortunately I was able to alert the waiter in time to leave it off mine. If you're like me and think that whipped cream on fruit pancakes is guilding the lily, make sure you mention it when you order. Jerry was very happy with his turkey-avocado-green chili omelette (also one of the specials). Breakfast was $16 including tip. Can't argue with that.
A final note: the bartender at the National Hotel makes a very smooth Sapphire martini, and its a bargain at around four bucks. If you go, be sure and ask him to turn on ESPN. It turns out his boss insists on having Fox News on at all times, UNLESS a customer asks otherwise. He is a former assistant coach for Gonzaga, and was thrilled to have a chance to watch his team play Stanford instead of having to put up with Fox.....being Cal fans, we were happy to help him root for his team!