Amuse-Bouche

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Winter, Spring

The Newsoms totally owe us. Having spent a lovely weekend at their property in Carneros, we decided to try their property in Squaw over Memorial Day weekend. Our meals at their Plumpjack Cafe and Balboa Cafe were separated by skiing, massages, and candle-making (my candle is way better than Aren's). Food highlights include the breakfast granola, a pork chop Aren had that came with bacon-confit potatoes, and warm pumpernickel bread. Beverage highlights include a Flowers Pinot Noir. The Pinot is the best we've had in recent memory - it was incredibly earthy, smooth, and soft, without being feeble. Lodging highlights include the gas-powered fire pit in the bar, which was perfect after a day on the slopes. We only have to try Jack Falstaff and the Plumpjack Cafe in the city before the Newsom's are obliged to invite us over to dinner.

This weekend we tried Woodward's Garden, which has a view of an overpass, rather than a garden. I'd describe the restaurant as shabby chic, service as no-frills, and food as California comfort. We sat in the stark back room, which is simply decorated with a crooked chandelier -- it was pleasantly romantic. I started with a simple green salad, moved on to a large piece of halibut (hence the comfort food aspect) that was served on a bed of vegetables and topped with fava bean puree, and finished with an olive oil cake that came with a citrus compote and creme fraiche. Oh, and the 2003 Pur Sang we brought paired nicely with my meal. I've had a handful of people mention that they'd like to try Woodward's -- my advice is that it's worth trying, but that it probably won't be added to your list of favorites.

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