Wednesday, September 27, 2006

it's my party

It was my birthday early this month, E and I celebrated it at César on Piedmont Ave in Oakland. This is their second location, the original is in Berkeley. The concept is a Spanish-style tapas bar. The restaurant was packed and we were told there would be a 20-minute wait. Dimly lit, there were large rustic picnic-style tables that are near the bar that sat several parties, and a more intimate outdoor patio with smaller tables (of course, aided by heatlamps). To the right of the bar was a mercado where they sold wines, specialty foods and cookbook.

We were sat in the patio area, albeit romantic, I wish we were sat in one of the bigger tables as we tend to order a lot. The menu and a wine list by the glass were handed to us but we had to ask for the wine list by the bottle which she had to hunt for. Our waitperson was not quite knowledgeable with the wines and we had to ask a manager to assist us. We ordered, and we ordered, and then we ordered some more. You could order the charcuteria as half-racion or racion. We had tocino de pato, chorizo, pork & rabbit pate, jamon serrano, lomo embuchado. Too bad we weren't told that we could order these as tabla pequena or grande, wherein we get to have all the items listed as charcuteria at a set price. For us, these were the outstanding dishes and worth going back for.

For the tapas, we had marinated olives, pimientos de padrón (very good), salt cod & potato cazuela (mostly potato and lacked cod flavor), croquetas de queso & jamón and boquerones & crab salad crostini (disappointing). Throughout our meal, sliced bread was instantly replenished as soon as you picked up the last slice. Unfortunately, the food came at such a pace that we hardy had any room on the table. We were strategically stacking plates in order to make room.

Overall, service was a little harried but okay. The food does live up to the reputation and is a welcome addition to the restaurants we would eat at again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

catching up

It has been a while since I made an actual post. I have not been inclined to post nor visit other blogs lately.

Over the Labor Day weekend, E and I went on a roadtrip to visit his Maman's new house in Idyllwild. We left on Thursday morning and came back on Monday, Labor Day. We didn't realize that she moved high up (7300 feet) in the mountains of San Jacinto. Idyllwild is a sleepy alpine town with a quaint downtown. There's not much to do there but go on hikes and/or camp, if you're into that sort of thing.

Tomlinson v MI6 (it's back!)

Life imitates art.

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