Mendocino trip. Meals $5- $55 / long
Just got back from our weekend up in Mendocino. We met some friends who were coming from Grass Valley (5-6 hr. drive) so for our first night we decided to dine in and enjoy the fireplace and hot tub. I made a version of Malaysian Laksa with scallops and shrimp - very yummy and just right for a chilly night. The following night was our big splurge at Stevenswood Lodge for dinner. It was a very enjoyable evening. The dining room is graced with some interesting artwork - the details of the room itself are not overwhelming but the fireplace was roaring and the company was very good. All the service staff we encountered were in good cheer and helpful. We started with the Akvavit cured gravlax topped with Russian sevruga caviar and accompanied by cucumber, red onion dice, mustard dill sauce and caper emulsion. It was a good size portion in a pyramid shaped mound that was shared by all four of us. Flatbread was provided to scoop the gravlax onto. The bread basket had more flatbread, a dill foccacia and some rye? or was it plain foccacia. There were 3 small dishes of enrichment for the bread...an orange butter, a basil olive oil and a garlic/hummus thing. I had a Mushroom "Cappuccino" with golden chanterelle cream/foam that was topped with a parmesan straw. It was also topped with porcini dust.... a clever visual take on a coffee drink. The flavor was outstanding - the essence of mushroom with lots of sliced mushrooms, as well. Very satisfying and comforting on a cold, wet night. Janice had a Tartar of beets with Humboldt Fog chevre, baby spinach and a cilantro rice wine vinaigrette. Entrees: Osso Bucco of lamb with rosemary bread pudding and roasted root vegetables - a very generous portion of tender meat on the bone. I had the Duck cooked in two styles - crispy duck breast with port wine jus & duck confit ravioli on a bed of sauteed spinach. Very tender duck breast and a nice portion of spinach - the ravioli was OK but needed a bit more of something - served in a bit of broth? The Seared scallops on rice with saffron broth, peas and pepper confetti was topped with crispy leeks - also very good. Pine Nut crusted Salmon with bitter greens and grilled polenta rounded out our selections. All the presentations were nice and the portions fairly large - especially the lamb osso bucco. We were not rushed in the least and the service was friendly but still efficient. We finished by sharing a creme brulee and a green tea/ginger sorbet - very yin/yang combination of rich and light/cleansing tastes. A very pleasant evening - all in all. Appetizers were $6-12ish and entrees were in the $24 -32 range. This upper range was for prime beef that I heard others oohing over. On the way home we stopped in San Rafael at Taqueria San Jose and had a great Mexican meal for about $5 ....love this place. The al pastor filling is really nicely spiced .... I like the cabeza also - not quite as tasty as the al pastor but there is a salsa fresca and a green sauce to spice things up with. You can help yourself to the warm chips. They serve a lot of folks and it's not spotless but the counter help is friendly , the music is loud and the food comes quick.