Breakfast @ Country Inn Cafe (Bay Area: Santa Clara)
I had my first meal less than an hour after I landed at SJC. Vickee whisked me away to a very filling breakfast with Ian, Aparna and Jeff.
Country fried steak and eggs over-mediumThe country gravy smothered over the top was amazing-delicious.
This was the server's recommendation, and it made the perfect protein-packed breakfast.
Swedish pancakes with lingon berry butter
The crepe-like pancakes were light, but I could barely finish after inhaling the country fried steak.
Wine tasting @ Picchetti Winery (Bay Area: Cupertino)
What's the best way to digest a very filling breakfast? Mid-morning wine tasting of course! This is where my eyes were opened to the Mission Angelica, a Port wine that tasted like honey and was thick like syrup. The sommelier dropped an ice cube and a lemon rind into each of our glasses for the tasting. Quite interesting.
The entrance to Picchetti Winery
Wild peacocks roam the premises, so it's not a good idea to bring your pets.
Benches adorn the open grassy area, which makes for relaxing picnics.
The first tasting of many
2007 Chardonnay, Leslie's Estate
Picchetti charges $5 for five tastings.
The tasting room
Festive carolers provide holiday cheer as wine connoisseurs taste their favorites.
Barrels of wine are nestled right under the floor boards of the tasting room.
Lunch @ Santouka inside Mitsuwa (Bay Area: San Jose)
Nothin' beats the ramen from Santouka. The chain restaurant is usually located inside a Mitsuwa Marketplace food court, but I think their ramen beats out local LA favorites Daikokuya, Orochon, and Shinsengumi. A simple bowl of noodles in the afternoon really made me feel like I was on vacation. And a walk around Daiso helped jump start my digestion.
The miso ramen and its spicy sister
Wood ear mushrooms, slices of bamboo and kamaboko lay atop the noodle bed.
The chasu is fatty but firm, and the broth is flavorful but not extremely salty. The fish cake (kamaboko) is al dente, and the wood ear mushrooms have a texture similar to cartilage.
More wine @ Press Club (SF: SOMA/Union Square)
At Candice's suggestion we headed over to the Press Club near the Metreon to chill out with some wine. The venue's basement has a spacious modern interior and had different sections of bar counters catering to specific types of wine. The music was current but not pop, loud but not blaring... the crowd was Financial District yuppie cool. They've got an interesting concept in terms of paying for the wine. Patrons swap their Visas and MasterCards for the Press Club's own plastic charge card, and it's later used to cash and check out.
99 bottles of wine on the wall
Jamie, who happens to work for a wine distributor, was kind enough to show us a red wine with tastes of vanilla and leather. Insert S&M joke here.
Late-night grub @ Golden Boy Pizza (SF: North Beach)
We shed our pre-midnight yuppie casual cool for a bit of post-midnight college kid debauchery at John Colins. How can you pass up a night out without stopping by Zorro or Golden Boy?
Minced clams are hidden under a chopped shrub of parsley. Just a bit of intoxication augments the amazing-delicious taste. Supposedly, Golden Boy makes the clam pizza only every so often; I'm glad I got to try it before my memory completely faded.
Breakfast @ Curly's Coffee Shop (Bay Area: North Beach)
I've passed Curly's a number a times when walking through the North Beach neighborhood, and I've asked my friend Grace, "How come we never eat here?" It always seemed like a very friendly, neighborhood coffee shop... and it is. The coffee shop serves up traditional American breakfast with Japanese flair. I'd stop by again for an early morning meal as a substitute for the long waits of the nearby brunch places.
Spam and eggs
The infamous canned lunch meat grilled alongside eggs with toast and hash browns
I ordered eggs over-medium... not solid but not too runny. Perfect.
The hash browns were crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.
Japanese ramen submerged in a pork broth with chasu and egg.
The soup was sticky and thick, almost like gravy. The egg was cooked very well... medium-boiled with a slightly gooey and runny yolk. The broth was a little on the salty side.
I was actually quite surprised at how much I accomplished in less than 48 hours in the Bay Area. Half a dozen meals, wine tasting, spontaneous bar hopping, 2 near-missed flights, and 2 chance encounters with Nick Wong who ate at the same restaurants for lunch and dinner, San Tung and Burma SuperStar, as I did in the same day. Minus the sprint through SFO to make my flight back to LA, I felt accomplished and ready to take on corporate America on Monday morning. Until the next trip, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.
ML - 20110113/20101212