Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2008 September 16 - Wool Growers

2008 September 16 - Wool Growers

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The "Lunch Crews" trip to Los Banos and Hilmar and Lathrop. With lunch at the French Basque restaurant, Wool Growers in Los Banos.

Gobos pick up and Patti and Elsa arrive in the auto.
Today our lunch bunch or lunch crew is headed via I-5 to Los Banos and the Wool Growers Basque Restaurant. On the one hour and fifteen minute ride we decide to return via Hilmar to visit the Hilmar Portuguese Bakery and the Hilmar Cheese Factory. And to also stop at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Outlet in Lathrop.

Arriving at the Wool Growers.
This is the first time for the rest of this group to eat at the Wool Growers.
Elsa, Patti and Gobo.

Entering the Dining Room.
It is crowded and we are given seats at the end of a table.
It is no accident that the lunch crew is here on a Tuesday. Tuesday is the only day that the Wool Growers serves pigs feet, in addition to their lamb stew.

Pigs feet in the traditional Basque tomato sauce and also in the white vinargarette sauce.
Wow. Soup, salad, beans, French bread, pigs feet, lamb stew, chicken and rice, French fries and either lamb chops or pork chops. We are a bit late and there is no more baked chicken left for today. Each person gets two large chops.

And of course the institutional cup of ice cream for desert. We also have the bottle of wine, a pitcher of ice water and coffee. All this for $15 which includes the 8% sales tax.
The food is excellent as usual. Some do not like the overly buttery flavor of the chicken and rice. The pigs feet in white sauce is thought to be be better than the tomato sauce by all. The lamb stew was a bit tough today, but no one had room to eat much of it anyway. We did finish off all of the pigs feet.

Leaving after lunch.

We had decided to return home via Hwy 165 to stop in Hilmar. Our first stop is the Hilmar Bakery where we pick up some Portuguese sweet bread and a few deserts. I forgot to take any photos of the bakery. Hilmar is a town of about 4,000 located five miles south of Hwy 99 and the town of Turlock.

A few blocks up the road we stop at the Hilmar Cheese Factory. They have built a big visitors center in front of the factory. There is an interesting ten minute video that is shown on the making of cheese narrated by Daisy the animated cow. There are also displays of scaled models of cheese making equipment.

And of course you can buy cheese in the Visitors Center. You can also buy curds. Then too there is a deli and a separate ice cream stand in the Center. No one is ready for a banana split however.

Our return route by home

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Leaving the Cheese Factory.
A few of the milk silos, each one capable of holding 225,000 gallons of milk.
We head north onto Hwy 99. To get to the Ghirardelli Outlet store in Lathrop we take Hwy 120 back to I-5.

Lots of goodies to buy. Discount prices and a further 10% discount for those of us over age 55.
You can even buy by the box. They also have an ice cream shop similar to the ones in their company retail outlets. Ice cream treats are 20% off the prices that are charged at their retail outlets. Their menu is the same and the listed prices are the same but you get a 20% discount at the cash register. Of course, the ambiance at Ghirardelli Square near Fisherman's Wharf is worth the extra 20% cost. Eating an ice cream sundae outside a warehouse along I-5 is not quite the same.
Employees stocking the shelves.
It is only a short 20 minute ride from the Ghirardelli Store to my home. It would only take 15 minutes on the motorcycle, since we hit the 5:30 PM traffic along Stockton's I-5.

Here is the crew with their left over chops, baked goods and chocolate after a full afternoon.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2008 May 30 - Canto Do Brasil

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The "Lunch Crews" trip to San Francisco on the Amtrak. With lunch at the Brazilian restaurant, Canto Do Brasil.

Waiting for the morning train. It was on time at 9:01 AM.
Leaving Stockton

The train follows the river from Martinez to Richmond. It is nice to be able to get up and move around. Elsa and I get a Diet Pepsi at the Café shop on board the train.

I-680 bridge from Martinez to Benicia

Carquinez Straits Bridge and The Nantucket seafood restaurant.

Someplace along the San Pablo Bay
We arrive in San Francisco right on time and Patti and Elsa immediately head into Nordstrom and do some shopping. The weather is great. The temps are in the low 60's and overcast. My kind of weather.

A random shot of people boarding the Trolley.

Patti and Elsa leaving their morning shopping.

We take the "F" street car to Van Ness making sure to get a transfer since that is our ticket for a Muni ride back to Nordstroms.

We get to the Canto Do Brasil at 1:00 PM.

Waiting for our food
We split two appetizers among the four of us:
Cod Fish Croquette

Brazilian Fried Calamari Sautéed in Garlic and Lemon

Elsa and I have the
The Traditional Brazilian Specialty A Stew of Black Beans, Smoked Ham, Beef, Sausage, and Garlic, Simmered All Day with Herbs and Brazilian Spices

Gobo has the
Fresh Red Snapper with Onions Sautéed in Lemon Juice with Savory Brazilian Spices

Patti is less adventuresome and has the
Fresh grilled fish fillet served with rice and salad

Here is a plate after lunch. I was too hungry to get a shot before.
Here is a link to the restaurants web site: Canto Do Brasil Web Site

We head back to Market Street and catch a Muni bus back to Ellis Street. The sun has broken out much to my displeasure. But the temperature is still very cool.

Elsa and Patti head to DSW to shop for shoes. Gobo and I head to Macy's. I then head over to Union Square to rest and people watch.

At the Food Court at the basement level of Bloomingdales we check out the desserts.

Elsa buying a Vanilla Bean custard cream puff

Too many interesting tid bits, but everyone passes
We had decided earlier to grab a sandwich for our return train ride home. We locate the Cable Car Coffee shop that has $3.50 sandwiches. It is located just across the street and at basement level even with the Nordstrom's food court and the BART station.

We get on the Amtrak bus for an uneventful ride back to the Emeryville train station.

Emeryville train platform. That is the California Zephyr
just pulling in from Chicago. Emeryville is the end of the line.

Our train was 15 minutes late waiting for freight trains to clear the track. We ate our sandwiches on the train ride back to Stockton and made it back home fifteen minutes late, but happy with how the day went.

Don I.
May 30, 2008


auntie el said...

And it was a fun day. Time for shopping was just right. I didn't buy so much I couldn't carry it, and my credit card balance is still reasonable. The food at Canto de Brasil was good and the music during lunch made me want to get right up and dance ( didn't do it, but I wanted to) and the train ride was very relaxing.


becca said...

Looks like a good place to eat. Taking the train is much more relaxing than driving, way to go!