I landed on the other side of the coast very late Friday night and it feels like I've been running nonstop to meet up with friends and family before their busy work week. The last time I visited was in late August, so not long ago. Can you tell I'm a bit homesick? This is a picture of the Alcatraz from my friend Gloria's house Saturday morning, December 5th. Notice how crisp and clear it is on the bay.
This is the same shot I took in late August with fog looming in the background of Alcatraz. I don't have any evidence but I think the summers in San Francisco are foggier than ithe winters. In fact I think that it was only ten degrees warmer in late August than today.
A big storm is coming through San Francisco, we're expecting to be rained in the next couple of days. This is a picture of the San Francisco skyline from our friend's house in Sausalito, a charming town 15 minutes north.
There will be loads of adventures that I will be sharing this week including a trip to Napa with Sherry Page from Culinary Getaways - that is if I wake up early enough to make the trip. Hehehe, if enough people chime in to tell me they want to see pictures of Napa Valley, I'll set my alarm on Wednesday, if not I may sleep in. Just kidding Sherry! This is a picture of a fruit platter Sherry made over the summer when I visited her gorgeous home in Northern California.
Saturday was a rather busy day for us. My husband and I met my parents for lunch at Henry's Hunan, a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco on Sansome and Broadway. We started lunch with homemade chicken dumplings in a soy and chili oil sauce.
We also ordered four entrees to share family-style, because that's how we roll. The chicken with black bean sauce was wonderfully smoky and spicy. The chicken was sauteed with onions and cabbage with chili oil, which imparted a subtle charred flavor while the black bean sauce rounded out the spicy flavors.
Mongolian beef this was my mom's favorite dish. Tender slices of meat sauteed with shredded carrots and green onions in what I believe to be oyster sauce. Again, I felt this dish was a bit too salty.
Rock cod fried fillets in sweet and slightly tangy hot sauce, which I would describe as similar to orange chicken only with fish. It's a similar concept, fish breaded, deep fried and sauteed in a thick sauce. This was my dad's favorite dish, but he's easy to please, give him any fish and he'll generally enjoy it.
Dry-pan fried sauteed green beans was perhaps the only dish that we could all agree on as a favorite. It was an interesting texture of tender and crispy. As you can see there was a generous peppering of red chili sauce.
After this late lunch, oh wait! Did I mention that we visited our wine storage facility before the lunch to take inventory of the wines we left in California? It was at once fun and frustrating to watch my husband go through his collection. Fun because it was like seeing a kid be reunited with his old pals, or perhaps another analogy is like watching someone unexpectedly find $20 stashed away long ago in his coat pocket. Frustrating because he was rifling through every box without acknowledging how much work I put into organizing these wines by region, vintage and varietal. Did I tell you that there are gazillion bottles in heavy wooden boxes and all of this work is being done in the cold and dark? He later told me that he appreciated the system that I set into place. That's good enough for me, all I need to know is that this work is being appreciated.
After the late lunch, my husband and I returned to my friend Gloria's house to make dinner for her family. As any parent with teenagers would agree, Gloria and her husband Chris need a break. They have two sons, who keep them busy running around to school, sports activities and music lessons. I made, and I say "I" because my husband also took a break too. Somehow he disappeared when I started cooking only to reappear right before dinner was being served. Convenient, isn't it? That's okay, he had a very rough week of travel and meetings, so the nap was well deserved. I roasted lemon and thyme chicken, which is a delicious and quick recipe that Sherry Page gave me.
On the menu was also butternut squash fries, which is easy and healthy, oven roasted potatoes with truffle oil, unfortunately did not a snap of, and another side dish of grilled asparagus.
It was neat to be able to gather in Gloria's dining room, which has an incredible view of the bay and Alcatraz.
After such a long day, all I could think was that I could use a glass of wine. We brought a magnum of a 2006 L'Angevin Sonoma Stage Pinot Noir for the adults to share, it's friendly fruit and elegant balance hit the spot and the larger bottle format didn't hurt either. It should be drinking great in two years.
I was so tired at the end of the day that I set a sheet of cookies in the oven and forgot that I left them there. Fortunately, my well-rested husband detected that sweet vanilla aroma of freshly made cookies, and took them out before they became toast. Perhaps this was the perfect way to end the day.
Thanks to Gloria and Chris for allowing us to stay at their home for the weekend. Thanks to everyone who gave a guess to where I was headed in the last post. Andrea from High/low, Dolce from Confessions of a Chocoholic, and Mardi of Eat, Live Travel Write guessed San Francisco correctly, although I'm pretty sure I told at least one them I was headed here a month ago. Hehe.