So, I could be writing about, y’know, work. I’ll get to that, but I’ll write first about what I did
on summer vacation tonight. It occurred to me not too long ago that I haven’t done a “fine dining” restaurant in a long time; I thought about going to one a weekend or two ago—after I’d gotten word of the job offer—but ended up at a pleasantly non-descript chain Mexican place. Today, though, I got the money order from the contracting work I did last month and I think it’ll be enough to carry me through until my first paycheck, which should be for the four days just past. (I’ll be invoicing biweekly, but got an okay to turn in my first one for this last week so I can get a check by the end of the month. Not a huge check, but a check nonetheless. I should note that “carrying me through” in this case means “without having to withdraw more from savings,” not “without running out of money completely.”)
So. Anyway. Tonight and I dracosphynx headed up to Walnut Creek and visited Lark Creek, a restaurant I’ve been thinking about going to for a few years now. I’ve been to a couple other restaurants owned by Bradley Ogden, something of a star chef in the Bay Area (and now Las Vegas, which is becoming a culinary destination spot). No, it wasn’t cheap, although it wasn’t deathly extravagant, either—they had a special three-course option available of soup or salad, entrée and dessert for $30. I had something I’ve never seen before, a “stone fruit gazpacho”: a cold fruit soup, not very sweet, with grilled peaches and cucumber. The main course was seared and roasted salmon with tarragon-yogurt sauce, with greens and heirloom tomatoes—one of the better salmon dishes I’ve had, and one that might inspire me to try cooking fish at home again sometime. I’ve noticed desserts at Ogden’s restaurants tend to follow a pattern of small sizes but intense flavors, and this held true to that: a “sugared cornmeal biscuit,” which was something more like a shortcake biscuit, with vanilla ice cream and what was described on the menu as peach compote, although I’d describe it more as a spiced peach coulis with some diced fresh peach nestled against the biscuit/ice cream combination. Whatever it was, it all worked.
But wait, there’s more! Driving into Walnut Creek, I noticed that a place that shaterri took me to in Portland had opened a location just a block away from Lark Creek: the Moonstruck Chocolate Café, what I glibly describe as a Starbucks for chocolate lovers. The vibe is very much upscale espresso bar, but when you see the menu board has nine types of hot cocoa and eight types of mocha, you know what the focus is. I was already slightly stuffed from dinner, but not so much that I couldn’t have a small orange mocha, and buy a “Chile Variado” chocolate bar—dark chocolate with ancho and chipotle (!)—for later.
Now I’m home and I should probably start winding down. The day overall was horribly unproductive, which I’ll try and make up for tomorrow—just because it’s leisure time doesn’t mean I should slack around playing video games until it’s time to go out and do stuff. (I’m actually feeling a little more inspired and energized to work on my own projects again, which I’m taking as a good sign.)
But you know, this was a pretty good evening.