So I mentioned that I recently went on a roadtrip from Victoria, B.C. down the coast to San Francisco where we pretty much spent the majority of our days driving from one food-serving establishment to the next, right? K. Well, here's the long-promised Part I of the journey that my belly took... through pictures.
At times, the memories are painful they're so good and at times they're painful because I remember how impossibly full I was the entire time. But nonetheless, mostly good memories overall.
And here we go.
And here we go.
Agave was a tiny taco restaurant in Ashland, Oregon where we downed some cold beers, hot tacos and the awesome hedgehog-esque creature of guacamole and house-made chips seen above.
I went with the slow roasted and shredded duck confit taco, which was fall-apart tender although it could have done with a kick more of flavour in its toppings...
... and the camarones, which was a lightly battered and fried shrimp taco. Super-fresh ingredients made for simple flavours and a yummy quick-fix lunch.
Mendocino Cafe in the awesome little beach town of Mendocino, California is a cute dinner spot in a redone little beach-house that's always packed with locals and visitors alike. We've been the past two times we've visited and I remember them for their super-fresh seafood that always tastes like it was caught that day.
Both times, I've opted for the sesame-seed crusted seared ahi tuna, which comes with a side of killer wasabi creme fraiche, jicama-ginger relish, jasmine rice and seasonal veggies. It is melt-in-your-mouth goodness with a dollop of punchy wasabi and a just-crispy-enough crust.
My parents split the Cafe Catch (imagine having that dainty of an appetite?) which is whatever local rockfish was caught that day, blackened with a side of spicy aioli. Also pretty darn good.
In Napa Valley, we couldn't drive past Gott's Roadside stop without seeing a lineup of catastrophic proportion. We knew we needed to go, and we weren't wrong.
First of all, for a roadside stop this place had a pretty impressive menu (seared Ahi Burger, anyone?)
And nothing we tried disappointed.
My brother tried the California Chicken burger, above. Sliced avocado, jack cheese, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and mayo on a toasted sourdough roll. There really was good, fresh California avocado in there, although it hid from the camera.
My dad, never one to shy away from a classic burg, went for the Bacon Cheeseburger. Good old fashioned American (read processed) cheese with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and 'secret sauce' on a toasted egg bun. Can't go wrong with that.
My mom had the Texas Burger, which was probably my favourite of the day. Jack cheese, sliced avocado, salsa, mayo and pickled jalepenos on a toasted egg bun. Sloppy, spicy, cheesy perfection.
And I opted for the Green Chile Cheeseburger, with jack cheese, lettuce, grilled onions, salsa verde & charred jalapeno mayo. Loved the smoky flavour and the grilled onions. If they had given me the added avocado I asked for, it would have taken the cake hands down. (I forgive them. You should have seen the line).
Another bit of Gott's goodness? You get to eat your huge, messy burger in the gorgeous Napa Valley sun at one of their picnic tables in the back. Could life really get better than that? Didn't think so.
Bistro Jeanty in Yountville, CA was a major trip favourite for my French-food-lovin' fam. An adorable little bistro with a warm, bustling French feel. Packed at night.
I started my meal with the Parfait de Foie Blond (duck liver parfait) which came with a side of crisp brioche and cornichons. Good, but couldn't hold a candle to what my dad ordered below...
Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the Creme de Tomate en Croute. Aka creamy tomato soup in a puff pastry.
We were a little surprised when my dad ordered a soup to start, as it was a touch uncharacteristic. Then we found out he'd been reading reviews online (the sneak!) and had gotten the heads up that this was a killer dish. Check out the look of pure, unbridled excitement above.
Oh. My. God was this amazing. The flakiest, butteriest, lightest puff pastry encompassing the most flavourful, rich and mindblowing tomato soup you've ever tasted, hands down.
Wow. Hard to relive. The table seen in photos below was pretty happy to have discovered it.
My steak tartare was fresh, flecked with herbs and topped with an artfully-cracked half raw egg.
It came with a side of frites and bearnaise, which was necessary because it was a lot of steak tartare on its own. They mellowed out the meal, and the bearnaise sauce was unsurprisingly awesome.
My mom opted for the Moules au Vin Rouge, which were steamed in red wine with garlic and bay leaves and also came with a side of frites. Cooked to perfection with a super-flavourful broth that was mopped up quickly.
Speaking of quickly... pretty sure the others had either finished or half-demolished their meals before I could even snap a pick. How very un-Francais of us!
Are you full yet? Part II to come. Stay tuned, amigos!
Check links for addresses and contact info, because I'm too lazy to write them all out. It is the Friday before a long weekend, after all.