Posted by: Travis | November 23, 2008

Weekend Update – November 21-23

This was supposed to be an awesome weekend, and it was, but it ended up playing out completely different from the weekend we had planned.

My Dad’s cousin Terri, her husband Mike, and their kids (i called them kids even though they are well into their 30’s) Kelly and Kate are some of my favorite members of the family to spend time with, even though i can’t figure out what exactly to call my relationship to them. Getting together with them always involves great food and drink in large quantities, good times and belly laughs in abundance. You know that obnoxious table at the restaurant? Yeah, i hate them too, but when our family and their family get together, we become that table.  Anyway, Terri was in San Francisco on business for a criminally short 40 hours and was free for dinner Friday night. We went to a place called EOS in Ashbury Heights, just a few blocks from Haight-Ashbury. Over the course of 3 hours we enjoyed small plates of oysters, risotto, duck breast with cranberry, pork loin with apple chutney, squash soup, and tuna poke rolls. Eos labels itself as Asian fusion, but to be honest, it felt more New American small plates, pulling influences from all over the world. Dinner was fantastic though, and the opportunity to see family is always welcome.

Saturday morning we were planning on hitting the road by 4am so we could arrive in Tahoe by the time the lifts open for a day of skiing, spending the night, and getting in another epic day sunday before jumping back into the car to head home. I decided to check the resort website just before going to bed around midnight and found that because unusually warm temperatures over the past two days had melted much of the snow, that they were pushing back opening weekend for another week. Sad and depressed that the 2 days of skiing that i had been looking forward to like a kid does Christmas morning for the past 2 weeks had just slipped out of my grasp, i woke Rachel up to tell her the news and wallowed in my sorrow for a while before going to bed (‘boo-hoo, i don’t get to go skiing!’ it really was quite pathetic).

Luckily, the next morning i was able to move our ski reservations, so we didn’t have to eat that cost. Unfortunately we weren’t so lucky with the hotel i booked for saturday night. But considering i got the deal of the century on it and it was only for one night, it could have been much worse. I guess we could have gotten up super early and driven out there to discover that the lifts weren’t open. In the grand scheme of things, we ended up pretty lucky.

Rachel and i decided to take advantage of our suddenly free and open weekend. First we went to brunch. Rachel decided to live it up with biscuits and gravy. I personally decided to keep it light with the fresh fruit crepes. After breakfast we decided to head up to the North Bay, where we have spent no time since we moved up here (except for Muir Woods).

We started in the cute little town of Mill Valley. Carlos Santana lives there and has a restaurant there called Maria Maria. They have a location in Austin that my folks checked out a few weeks ago that my Dad raved about. I wasn’t really feeling up to going there, but i wanted to see what it looked like, where it was, and see if they had a menu posted. Unfortunately, no menu posted. I think the website has one though. We’ll have to come up and check it out some time.

Celebrity chef Tyler Florence of the Food Network is also a resident of Mill Valley and has a ‘lifestyle’ store there that pretty closely resembles Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table, but where those feel glossy, yuppie, and like a chain, Tyler Florence’s place feels unique, with some small town charm, and to be honest, i really liked it.

Tyler Florence's shop in Mill Valley, CA

Tyler Florence

Though i liked all the cool dishes, kitchen gadgets, and equally awesome and expensive Viking appliances, my favorite part of the store was the cookbook library in the back complete with shelves upon shelves of food related books, a comfortable sofa and a pair of super comfortable leather chairs. I could spend hours here.

lib-1

Awesome Library

Awesome Library

The funniest thing happened when we were about to leave. I here this guy walk in and he sounds kind of frazzled. He asks, “Hey man, do you guys have like different varieties of rice?”, “We have risotto” the sales woman responds. I look over to see Sammy Hagar standing there just as you’d expect him: shorts, ratty t-shirt, flip flops, long goatie, unshaven, ball cap, and sunglasses. “Nah man, i need rice. Looks like i’m going to have to go across the street. But tell Tyler i came here first. I always come here first. You guys have an awesome day.” and then he walks out. It was pretty weird.

After some walking around and realizing that Mill Valley was a lot like Carmel without the stuffiness, we decided to jump back into the car and drive a few minutes over to Larkspur to have a fantastic meal at a casual little pizza place called Pizzeria Picco which many people claim has the best Neapolitan style pizza in the Bay Area. I won’t go into the details because i plan to do a whole review/post on it (hopefully before Thanksgiving), but let me just say that it totally lived up to the hype, that vanilla soft serve ice cream topped with olive oil and sea salt is not only edible, but delicious, and that it was in fact, so good that it had Rachel and i romantically envisioning a way we could move to Mill Valley and still keep our jobs without commuting.

We got back from the North Bay and (reluctantly) rooted for Oklahoma as they slaughtered Texas Tech in football. It was pretty awesome.

Sunday morning we got up and hit the farmer’s market looking for goodies to eat before we leave for Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. After that i got in a good 60 mile bike ride that i wasn’t planning on for the weekend. Its always nice when those sneak into the schedule. After that it was the typical sunday hustle of laundry, church, and house cleaning.

It may not have been the weekend of flying through fresh powder that we were looking forward to (that one has been put off until after Thanksgiving), but it ended up being a damn fine weekend.

In other news, i just found out that my blog got linked to on the Bay Area CBS affiliate website for my commentary of the VP debates. Pretty cool.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Eat well and enjoy time spent with your families. Rachel and i will be doing our best to keep our cool while negotiating airports on the wednesday before and sunday following Thanksgiving. It will be nice to see some familiar faces and eat vast quantities of delicious food.

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