Happy New Year!! I think it's going to be a good one based on leading indicators.
I haven't been to New Canton in so long since I always go to Asian Pearl 2000 in fear of the New Canton wait. On Sunday at noon there wasn't a wait and this rad sign with the golden pointing finger is new to me. Some early 2015 pictures after the jump
I liked this cold beef with a hint of five spice.
Soup dumpling! The lady doled out the precious red vinegar sauce very carefully but promised more should we need it. I thought it was really good but Asian Pearl 2000 is still my number one. It's nice to be able to stay downtown, though.
Sometimes the simplest, cheapest Christmas presents can be the best. In this case, we received a NY Times crossword book that has yielded a lot of enjoyment. Look at cool dad Will Shortz up there, just chilling in his New Balances. He is the height of current normcore fashion. Oh man, there are so many good things about him in his wiki entry.
Have you heard of the hot new band 2015? They played a stoney house show that was very, very fun. With Vasas, who are on a tear.
Speaking of stoney, I went to see the taping of Doug Loves Movies at the Punchline and got high with Doug Benson before the show. Well, technically I was with Ngaio, who was a guest on the show, and DB strolled up. So it was totally casual and I didn't have to try to make conversation. Now I'm one of 1 million Benson fans who have done that. Ngaio has actually made tshirts that said "I smoked weed with Ngaio" so that part is no big deal. It was so funny you guys. I highly recommend you go whenever he is in town. He tapes here pretty often. The Sac episode is online and is noteworthy for when he goes off on a woman who yelled out that answer to one of the questions. He got soooo mad! It was really awkward but then he made it funny.
We went to the legendary Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa and this place was near by. Forgotten Felines! How sad. Bottle Barn had a really good liquor section but I did not let myself look because I received a lot of alcoholic presents (perfect for the alcoholic on your list!) and do not need any more liquor! Except I always do. I got some excellent mescal and the Darjeeling Gin that everyone is going crazy for. I need some cocktail ideas. My problem is I want to make cocktails that let the quality liquor shine. It seems wrong to mix fine liquor with juice. Even tonic can overwhelm the flavor of a good gin but I can't just sip it on the rocks.
If you are in the area, I think Sebastopol is pretty cool and I recommend lunch at WoodFour Brewery. Good brews (including a shockingly good lager) and fresh, well composed salads and other dishes. Look at how pretty this beet salad is! It has watercress and pickled celery. I sense an uptick in the chicness of celery in food media lately. I'm a big celery booster.
This salad has black sesame ranch dressing and the crispy nori chips were a textural contrast. WoodFour is in a self-consciously hip section of Sebastopol called "The Barlow" that is nevertheless good for a visit. It had, among other things: fancy coffee shop, fancy clothing store with gorgeous yet unattainably expensive clothes, Waldorf-centric toystore with some sick rainbow blocks, distillery, molecular gastronomy ice cream (read: they freeze it in front of you with a blast of liquid nitrogen) and they are putting in a boutique hotel. Also, Les Claypool's winery is just down the street. Maybe they wouldn't let him into The Barlow
Had this crab at the marina in Bodega Bay. It was only $7.99 a pound! That's like how much it is at the store. It was so frigging delicious.
These oysters were perfection. Ice, ice cold with abundant clear oyster liquor. I need to eat more more more crab and oysters in the next month.
At Sonoma State Park we climbed way down this almost-mountain to the sea. I kept feeling like I was doing something wrong but there were no signs anywhere telling me not to do it. Saw whale spray but was not able to conjure up a pod of frolicking dolphins with my brainwaves, unfortunately.
2015 is off to a good start!