Friday, December 19, 2008

2008 December 19 - La Mediterrannee Restaurant

2008 December 19 - La Mediterrannee Restaurant

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Today Elsa and I will take the Amtrak to the City and meet up with Grandma at the Embarcadero BART Station. Our goal is lunch at the La Mediterrannee Restaurant who has Middle Eastern cuisine. La Mediterrannee Restaurant Web Site

Gobo and Patti have previous engagements and will not make this trip and miss out on a great day.

It is a cold, wet morning in Stockton. We have umbrellas ready. Warm jackets and winter gloves.

Stockton Amtrak Station

Our train pulling into Stockton
Loading up
A view of a Delta home in the middle of nowhere
A stop at the Martinez Amtrak Station

I-680 bridge in the back. A tanker on the river.I-80 bridge at Crockett
We get to the Emeryville Amtrak Station about 10 minutes early. I call Grandma's cell phone. She is on BART just approaching Lafayette and said the BART will get to the Embarcadero Station at 11:09 AM.

Elsa and I board the Amtrak bus for a ride over the Bay Bridge. The bus is nice and high and I can take a few photos of the new Bay Bridge that is being built adjacent to the current Bay Bridge.

The new Bay Bridge
which is in progress
The new Bay Bridge with Treasure Island in the background
Coit Tower from the Bay Bridge
The Ferry Building and Embarcadero from the Bay Bridge
We hook up with Grandma and walk the two blocks to the Number 1 Muni line.
The 1 bus is a straight shot up Sacramento Street. We get off the bus at Fillmore and the restaurant is across the street and about three doors to the north.

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The restaurant

The interior of the restaurantA party platter
Today's lunch bunchWe order the 10 item sampler on the menu:
Mediterranean Meza (for 2 or more) — 15.95 per person
An assortment of 10 house specialties & appetizers including Lamb Lule, Chicken Pomegranate, Spinach & Chicken Fillos,
Dolma, Hummos, Baba Ghanoush, Tabuleh & much more.
The cold dishes
I was too busy eating to take a picture of the hot dishes when they arrived so....
What's left of the hot dishes

The weather is amazing for mid December in San Francisco. The temperatures are in the high 50°'s but with no wind. The two outdoor tables of the restaurant are filled.
Diners alfrescoI just had to take a photo of the little girl's lunch................
The little blonde haired girl's lunch

We are on Fillmore Street about 5 blocks north of Japan Town and 13 blocks from the apartment I stayed at in my college days from 1964 - 1966.

It is amazing how compact and varied the San Francisco neighborhoods are.
North Beach the hang out for the 1950's Beat Generation is just across Columbus Avenue from Chinatown. In fact Upper Grant Avenue was a popular address for the Beatniks. Whereas Grant Avenue is the heart of Chinatown.
Across the street from the restaurant is the refurbished old Clay Theatre

We use our Muni transfers after lunch to catch the 3 bus since that one gets us to Union Square.
The 3 bus eventually heads to down town on Post Street and we get off at the Powell Street intersection at one corner of Union Square.

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The obligatory cable car photo

Macy's shot from Union SquareMacy's donated this huge Christmas tree for display in Union Square
This year there is an ice skating rink set up in Union Square
Some ice skatersAfter watching the ice skaters for a few minutes we head up Powell Street to Nordstroms where the ladies are trying to use up Grandma's gift certificate.
Nordstrom's on Market Street. This is a seven floor building open in the center.

At the basement level of both Nordstrom's and the next door Bloomingdales are food courts. On both the basement level and the first floor there are hallways between the two buildings. There are more restaurants and dessert shops in Bloomingdales than Nordstroms, so we wind up at Bloomingdales for dessert.

For dessert we get Red Beard cream puffs at Blomingdale's basement eatery court

We catch the Amtrak bus in front of Bloomingdales and get to the Emeryville station.
The train is 10 minutes late but we make up some of that time until just before we get to Antioch. There is a broken down train on the tracks that delays us another 40 minutes before it can be repaired enough to move it out of the way. The train is crowded and we are talking to a mother and daughter who is just a few years younger than us from Fresno so the time passes fairly quickly. Taking Amtrak is not for those on a schedule, but the Lunch Bunch are all retirees who are no longer in a big hurry. :-)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 December 16 - Kandi's Pies

2008 December 16 - Kandi's Pies

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It is a rainy Tuesday. The Lunch Bunch is making a trek to Kandi's Pies and Pastries in rural Tracy. Two stops before we get to the pie shop. First at the Amtrak Station to pick up tickets for our train trip to San Francisco on December 19th. Then a stop for breakfast at the Four Corners Café on the outskirts of Tracy.

Today's route to Kandi's

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Point A is home, point B is the Amtrak Station, point C is the Four Corners Café and point D is Kandi's.

Four Corners Cafe with farmland in the background
The entrance to the cafe with a little grocery store just to the right

Today's lunch and dinner special. Note: Free birthday dinnerElsa and Patti - Gobo and Grandma were indisposed today
Pigs in a blanket before
Pigs in a blanket during
Both of the ladies had the pigs in a blanket. I had the veggie scramble, potatoes, onions, bell peppers, spinach and jack cheese.
We finally get to our destination. Kandi's Pies and Pastries which is in rural Tracy.
Kandi's Pies web site

I first found out about Kandi's Pies from Grandma. Tachella Fruit Stand in Brentwood sells Kandi's frozen pies during the Spring, Summer and Fall season. Grandma, who lives about two miles from Tachella's, had been buying Kandi's sugar free pies for a couple of years.

My cousin from Huntington Beach who visits mom often will take back about 5 or 6 pies each visit. Either from the Tracy Farmers Market or the retail store.

The front entrance
The pie display case many more pies in the back
The other goodies
A special Holiday cookie platter
Kandi taking a special order
From Kandi's web site:
Kandi's Pies and Pastries has been supplying fresh homemade pies and baked goods in the Tracy area for the last twelve years. Located on our farm in Tracy, we have a 1,700-square foot commercial kitchen set among our family’s orchard where we handpick our own fresh fruit to make our pies.

We currently attend the Tracy Farmer's Market every Saturday. It is located on Tenth Street and runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of November. We open the retail shop mid-November for the holiday season. We accept orders for all of your holiday baking needs along with our custom gift baskets.

The retail shop will have all of our regular items along with specialty items, including our fresh cream pies, eclairs, cream puffs, cannolis and our holiday cookies. The shop also has a huge selection of holiday items, including cookie jars, ornaments, musical globes, teapots and specialty teas.

Google Map Street View of Kandi's


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2008 November 11 - Market Club

2008 November 11 - Market Club, Sacramento
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The others arrive. Patti can not make today's lunch. Cars from left to right are Elsa's, Gobo's and Grandma's.

Today the Lunch Bunch Crew is heading to Sacramento to the Market Club Restaurant. Grandma wants the Tuesday special lunch of short ribs. So we will take a little extra time to drive to Sacramento since lunch starts at 11:00 AM. What I was to find out later is that breakfast ends at 11:00 AM, so I will not get my waffle.

Gobo looks around my garage while Grandma {just a nick name} is doing a cross word puzzle.

It is only a drive of 45 miles on Interstate 5, but I take a few back roads and get to the place at 11:00 AM.

This is the sign at the entrance to the Sacramento Produce Market. The Market Club is at dock 16.
Grandma is looking at the missing letters on the neon sign.
Now Gobo is a retired State Probation Officer who commuted to work in Sacramento for 25 years. He has eaten lunch many times before at the Market Club.

Here are five (5) photos of a few of their breakfast plates.

Hamburger steak and eggs
Pork cutlet and eggs
Hamburger royale over rice with some pickled daikon
I was going to have an old fashioned waffle. Here with a side of scrambled eggs and fried weinies
Another interesting breakfast, hamburger and fried onions over rice
We all order the Tuesday lunch special, short ribs with rice. You can also have it with mashed potatoes.

Soup, salad and rolls for a start
Grandma says that Elsa has a bigger serving
This is all that Gobo left on his plate
Grandma only finished about 40% of her plate. Note the bill, short ribs is the most expensive thing on the menu at $9.00. They have quit serving the vegetable to cut costs.

Here Grandma has just finished putting her leftovers in the box
The ladies leaving with their left overs
I took this while taking my after lunch smoke break. The Market Club is the brick building .
Okay. It is not quite Noon. So we decide to get some pastries. Pass by June's Café which has wienie teriyaki on her menu. Drive past the New Canton dim sum place. Do a little shopping at Oto's Japanese Market. Before heading home. That sounds like a lot but we added two other things and still got to my home at 2:00 PM.

Today's route in Sacramento

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Here we head into Osaka-Ya the Japanese bakery
Japanese pastries
From Osaka-Ya we make a left turn at the corner and pass June's Café.

By Kate Washington in Sacramento News and Review: June’s Cafe, a tiny lunch counter on a quiet street in what’s left of Sacramento’s old postwar Japantown neighborhood, gives new meaning to the expression “no frills.”

June’s is only open on weekdays and only for breakfast and lunch, so the busy may find it all too easy to miss.

The big paper menu is printed on butcher paper and stapled up on the wall. It features a range of basic, hearty dishes, including various sandwiches and plates with rice: ginger pork or beef, chicken with greens, other stir-fries, bacon fried rice, katsu (cutlets) and all manner of teriyaki—not excepting the slightly worrisome choice of wienie teriyaki {This is what I have when I eat there-Don I.}.

From there we head east about a mile and a half to drive passed the New Canton dim sum joint that is on our Lunch Bunch "to-do list". Then the two mile drive over to Oto's Japanese Market.

Oto's moved to this new location only about two to three years ago. It is much bigger than their old location a few miles up the same street
Looking at a jar of pickled daikon radish
Oto's also makes up lunch plates that are called BentoThe bentos have a meat or fish, some rice and some pickled vegetables
Fish counter
The Kobe beef. It is not real expensive at Oto's.
A lot of the pickled vegetables are now vacuum packed. Gobo decided not to buy the pickled Japanese vegetables made in China. Just was not right like buying canned chili made in England.
You probably did not know that there were this many varieties of soy sauce
The check out counter
A fancy toilet seat with built in bidet, etc
We run into Joann who is the daughter of my dad's golfing buddy. She now lives in Sacramento but grew up across the street from Grandma albeit she is quite a few years younger than Grandma.
We are heading home when we take a little detour to the Chinese bakery. It is right on the way home. Pork buns and custard tarts are what we bought.

The egg custard tarts are just being brought out from the ovenPork bun - egg custard tart

Another detour as two and a half miles west of I-5 about 10 miles west of Lodi is the Sand Crane Preserve. We get there at mid day the Cranes are plentiful early in the morning and at dusk. There are but a few quite a distance from the viewing area.
The end of another Lunch Bunch trip. We were only gone for about four hours and 15 minutes but managed to get a lot of things in today.
The next lunch will be a train ride to San Francisco in December for some Christmas shopping.