Feb 27, 2006

Procrastination Redux

I was just about to write an entry for this past weekend's tourist excursions, when I realized I need to write up the rest of February. Then it struck me that for the past while, a lot of things have gone by with little reflection. I think there have been moments in blogging, where the mere act of blogging forces some mental review of events.

Sometimes this brings out an appreciation that was initially missed, that only clicked in retrospect. Other times a lesson learned perhaps. Or maybe I'd simply reinforce my memory of a point in time by going over it again. Recently life's gone by without much reflection. I ought to set some time aside from doing stuff for thinking and reflecting. Later.

In February we began to expand our small group with new members from YAF. The YAF Snowtrip this year seemed almost like a reunion of older YAFers (myself being one). The face of the fellowship has changed drastically since it moved to Wednesday, with many of the older members gone, and all the new college grads in the mix. All the new guys that joined our group were at the lesser end of their twenties. It certainly reminds me of how long I've been here, and how "unstable" the dynamics of people are here, with a constant influx of new people trying to find their place, along with people leaving and moving on.

Although unintended, February did indeed end up being yet another food month. This started with Manresa in Los Gatos, a posh neighbourhood nestled in the hills southwest of San Jose. We drove down there on a cool spring evening with heightened expectations, wandering around the dark small side street of Los Gatos looking for the unassuming restaurant. The kitchen is visible through a small window by the entrance, buzzing with activity. The dining room looked clean but casual. No ties here, and you could probably would be comfortable even in a polo, but the conversations were quiet. Definitely not the Ritz Carlton, even though the crowd was a bit on the older side, which is pretty much expected for Los Gatos.

First disappointment hit when they said if we wanted the acclaimed chef's tasting menu, we both had to order it. I'm not a big fan of restaurants with prohibitive policies. We passed on the tasting menus and got a 3 course and 4 course meal. In my opinion, the highlights were the amuse bouches, and the fatty pork on risotto dishes. They were excellent, bordering on rave worthy. Unfortunately, the rest of the dishes were mostly unimpressive, and the sea urchin dish was particularly vile. All the details are in my flickr, complete with descriptions. The pictures themselves came out poorly in the low light though. Overall, the few hits were outweighed by the misses, which should not have existed at all given the bill. (2.5/5)

The other pictures in the set came on a trip up to SF, when Peachy's boy came to town for a visit. Lunch was at Koi Palace, which makes up for having long waits, being out-of-the-way, and being costly (but not unreasonable) by having the best dim sum without requiring a plane ticket. We spent the afternoon browsing the stalls at the Ferry Building (I think Acme Bread and Cowgirl Cheese will be regular stops in future visits to SF), and somehow Peachy managed to conjure up a reservation at this restaurant I'd never heard of before.

I must say, One Market certainly surprised me. Visually, it feels like a business lunch/dinner place, with a large dining room and an open concept kitchen. Although posh, it certainly didn't feel exclusive. It did, however, have what felt like the best New American I've had. That's to say, the best part of American food is bacon, and One Market certainly featured plenty of it. The majority of the dishes were accented with some sort of cured pork. Pretty much all were solid. Even the brussels sprouts (with bacon of course) was great, although the recommendations for sides were superfluous, since the portions themselves were a good size. Desserts were not outstanding, but decent, although the creme brulee came out a little too brulee. The only slight miss was the excellent bread, which simply didn't come often enough. (4/5)

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