ahhh....can you tell we crammed a lot of eating into 36 hours?
Our first stop was for "breakfast" tamales at Lupita's in Dixon (not quite bay area, sorry....). Lupita makes a mean tamale, and they are especially good first thing in the morning when fresh. Pitt School Road exit; its about a block south of I80 on the right hand side (about a half block past McDonald's....). Don't confuse Lupita's with the Mexican restaurant next door: its really just a Mexican grocery that also sells tacos, tortas, tamales, etc to go. Throw in some home-made salsa and a Sidral Mundet and life is good...
We were meeting friends in the city who are from Sierra Vista, AZ. The highlight of their usual culinary choices is Outback, where she is a bookeeper and at least gets free meals. So they were ready to eat. Our first stop was for dim sum at Yank Sing. Yeah, I know there are cheaper and maybe better places...but I always enjoy it there. Plus it has free validated parking at Rincon Center and they take reservations...both big pluses. One item we hadn't had before which we all really liked was made from asparagus spears whose ends had been wrapped with a thin chicken breast, dipped in bread crumbs and fried. Yum! Also had some great dry-cooked green beans and of course mango pudding.
After all that dim sum, we needed exercise, so took a walk along the marina. Later in the evening we ended up at Cafe Neibaum-Coppola where we did a little wine tasting (All Coppola wines of course, but we did enjoy it.) The cafe has a Paris "feel." Enjoyed some of their "bites" with our wine: a couple of different cheeses and some wonderful smoked salmon. Pricey.
Dinner was at 500 Jackson. The parking gods had smiled on us and we had found a spot near there (that's how we wandered into the Coppola cafe). I really enjoyed the restaurant. Nice atmosphere. We also found the service friendly but not overpowering. Jerry and I started out by splitting a half dozen Hog Island oysters. They were wonderful....went down so smooth. Paul and Jane had Ceasar salads. Real romaine spears on the Ceasars, which I like. My main course was the grilled scallops over a basil risotto. Scallops tasted very fresh; risotto was appropriately creamy if a little heavy on the basil. Jerry just had a bowl of clam chowder and a Ceasar; I think he was still full from lunch. He liked the chowder, but didn't seem overly thrilled. Paul ordered gumbo. Now Paul lived ten years in New Orleans and knows his gumbo....and declared this version among the best he'd tried. I tasted it and have to agree....nice smokiness from the anduille sausage. Paul and Jane also split an order of grilled ahi. The waitress brought it out already split on two plates, a nice touch. They pronounced it excellent. Desert was key lime pie. This was the only weird part of the meal. The server warned us that some folks don't like the crust (too much ginger). We found the crust excellent, but were surprised that the server hadn't warned us that the pie had a thick layer of merengue. Just seemed odd for key lime pie. It tasted good; just not what I think of when I think of this type of pie. Dinner for four with three glasses of wine, two espressos, and a latte was $180 including tax and tip. I couldn't give you details on the wine (I guess I tasted too much at the wine bar)...I know I had a Sancerre and Paul and Jane had a Merlot.
Today we headed out to Inverness. We stopped at Big Rock Deli on Lucas Valley Road (about a mile and a half off of 101) for provisions. Just a mini-mart, mostly, but the owner makes a mean sandwhich. They were huge, with wonderfully fresh ingredients. He was very kind: lent us a milk crate lined with a garbage bag and filled it with ice (no charge!) to keep our food cool...then told us we could drop it off on the way back "if we came that way." Very sweet.
Inverness was beautiful but windy. Our final food stop of the day was at Rancho Nicasio on the way back from Inverness. A pint of Lagunitas IPA and a couple of dozen BarBQued oysters was the perfect end to a beautiful weekend in your area! I was just glad Jerry was driving and I could nap all the way home to Reno......
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