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Today at the pump

The Sole Prop's Sister?


Under here.

February 17, 2010

There Be More?
Wednesday. Quite foggy this morning, I set the alarm to be sure to get to breakfast with time remaining to finish the papers and avoid the Wednesday morning business confab, my waitress having warned me they'd rescheduled it for after eight instead of their usual seven o'clock start. Hard to read the paper with all that talking going on, people giving upbeat little business talks in what is still a very down market. Serious stuff in many ways I suppose, but totally irrelevant in many another. For old duffers trying to read the paper, anyway, out here on the periphery of the real world.

So later this morning I pick up Mr. E and Mr. S at the Rockridge BART station and we head out for Pescadero. Mr. H wrote to mention his own experience with Duarte's and their olallieberry pie, so we'll have a bowl of artichoke soup and a piece of olallieberry pie. Maybe take a picture of two and run them somewhere down at the bottom of this thing when we return (in time for my Korean soap!). Life in the fast lane, a foggy fast lane at the moment, but the fast lane none the less.

I did contact the doctor on the congested lungs leaving a message asking if I should renew my inhaler prescription or if we should try something else as it wasn't getting any better after four months. So he's bringing me in for a confab tomorrow, we'll see if we can't get this thing cleaned up, if it's easily taken care of with another approach or if I've been taken care of by whatever it is and don't quite know it yet. These thoughts occur, but only briefly and then they're gone.

Later. Picked up Mr. E and Mr. S at 10:40 at the Rockridge BART station, headed out to Pescadero crossing the San Mateo bridge and driving straight to Highway 1 on the coast. A left turn on Highway 1 and there was Pescadero, two short blocks of older buildings along a single street including Duart's Tavern and Restaurant. My, my. A long leisurely lunch at the bar, I having steamed clams, artichoke soup and olallieberry pie (a la mode) with a couple of Guinness. Artichoke soup is, well, artichoke soup. Nice. Smooth. Glad I had it, maybe I'll have it again. Olallieberry pie was good, could have been more tart for my taste, and the ice cream was excellent. And the Guinness was good. Back then to Oakland, dropping my companions off again at Rockridge, I arriving at the apartment by 5:00.

And do you recommend people flying in from all over the world for artichoke soup and olallieberry pie?

Well, no. I mean they're good. Duarte's is famous for making all their dishes from scratch, most of the ingredients grown out behind their restaurant and I suspect, after hearing the bartender go on about their menu, I should have had one or two of their other specialties. The Cioppino, for example, which the bartender explained is god's gift to the dining world. Otherwise did I mention the Guinness is good?

You're obviously not a foodie.

During my years in the wine business I acquired some cooking chops, learned in the company of actual experts, took classes, dined many times during any given month at one or another's houses where we brought all manner of dishes, wines and other edible oddities in a kind of ongoing, never ending party of frivolous behavior and one upsmanship. How should artichoke soup taste? Like artichokes? I like artichokes. Were there subtleties I should have been looking for and missed? Could be. Should be. Now that I've fallen back into the common canned vegetable crowd. Frozen vegetable crowd.

Olallieberry pie? I've not had it before. I hadn't even heard of it before. My comparison would be to home made wild blackberry pie or wild huckleberry pie, both of which, when well done, are god's gift to human kind. Hence, perhaps, the “it could be more tart” comment. Still, all things considered, I can now say I've been to Duarte's Tavern, been to Pescadero, been to wherever it was we ended up when we took a back winding road up through the hills that eventually hooked into Highway 1 again.

I'm hearing ambivalence.

Well, there were other diners coming in and eating, many were tourists who'd heard of the place, some who hadn't. Some tried the pie and the artichoke soup when they were told they were nationally renouned and smacked their lips and made the right appreciative noises, but I didn't detect any underlying throb of awe. Again, good, but don't pass up a chance to eat at the French Laundry in Yountville to eat at Duarte's. Otherwise, if you're in the area, go.

I detect waffling.

The people, both the bartender and the people eating at the bar, were quite amiable and nice. The juke box played tunes, two for a quarter, and was filled with old classic country and rock and roll. The atmosphere was right and the Guinness was good. Could there be more?

The photograph was taken on Telegraph in the Temescal district of Oakland with a Nikon D3S mounted with an 24 - 70mm f 2.8 Nikkor G lens at f 2.8 at 1/400th second, ISO 200.