Boo hoo, nothing on my needles is for me. Currently residing on my needles are a wrap earmarked for my mother and some socks for the boy. The wrap yarn is dreamy (Rowan Bamboo Soft) and the pattern is fast enough (Vine Lace from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Pattens), but the color makes me ill. I hate pastel colors, but my mother wears lots of creams and whites, so it wouldn't do to make her a black and red wrap with flame patterns. I feel my creativity dying every time I pick up those needles, but I have only five more days to finish this wrap. It's crunch time. I'd much rather work on the neverending sock since the Lorna's Lace camouflage yarn makes me happy by just gazing at it.
But enough about knitting. Let's talk food! This weekend was the boy's birthday extravaganza. It started with the feast I posted about below, and it ended with a camping trip to Mendocino. I use the word "camping" very loosely, however, since we had showers and we ate out for all our meals! Among the most notable restaurants are Mendo Bistro and the North Coast Brewing Company, both in Fort Bragg.
Mendo Bistro blows me away every time we eat there. I always say that it reminds me of hip, affordable version of Chez Panisse. We had green curry mussels, peppercorn crusted pork tenderloin, chedder ale soup, and Hog Island oysters for starters. All were wonderful, with the exception of the chedder ale soup - I was expecting the chedder taste to be more pronounced, but it tasted more like a plain chicken and dumpling soup. My main course was pork belly with a root beer sauce reduction, roasted fingerling potatoes, and braised greens. It was very inventive dish that was mostly a winner, although the rootbeer sauce could've used some low notes (perhaps some balsamic or malt vinegar) because the richness of the pork belly and the sweetness of the rootbeer sauce was a bit lacking. The dessert was Not Your Momma's Carrot Cake, which was a deconstructed carrot cake consisting of a spice cake with dollops of cream cheese frosting, carrot sorbet, and carrot halwa. The presentation was stunning, the service was warm and solid, and the food is always above par.
The North Coast Brewing Company is also another winner. It's high-class pub fair coupled with some amazing microbrews. Sipping on their Blue Star and munching on a Kobe beef and blue cheese burger is not a bad way to pass an afternoon.
On our way up to the coast, we made a pit stop at Navarro Winery. This place has great white wines, and is also dog friendly (Vespa came into the winery with us even though is is under 21)! We came away with a case of my favorite wine for pairing with spicey Asian food: Navarro's 2005 Gewürztraminer. We also bought a couple bottles of the Edelzwicker and their 2004 Syrah.
Sigh, I could happily live in Mendocino. There are enough hippy stores to fill my larder with ethnic ingredients and the scenery naturally lowers my blood pressure. I better start on that Mingus yarn business so we can live anywhere we want (pending a high speed Internet connection, of course).