La Jolla won’t annoy ya
La Mesa what a place-a
Salinas is as keen as it can be
You’ll feel betta in Murrieta
Stomp your feet over Montecito
Go insane for the lovely terrain
Wait and see
Think about all the fun you’ve missed
Come on out here and get sun-kissed
If you really wanna live and not just exist
You better get across our old state line
— Mel Tormé
“California Suite” (1957)
Tracie B and I spent our first weekend back in La Jolla since I moved to Austin. The number-one-hit-song highlight was nephew Oscar’s first birthday party. The Riles-Parzen family gathered together in March, 2008, not long after he came into this world, for an “Oscar Party.” That’s brother Micah (Oscar’s dad), me, and the birthday boy (chewing on my lens cap!).
The night we got in, we were 8 for dinner at Jaynes (where else?). The food was great and we drank a fantastic 1997 Felsina Chianti Classico riserva (on the list at a great price) with our main courses and 1985 Brunello di Montalcino by Il Poggione courtesy of Benoit at the end of the fête.
The 97 Felsina showed an irresistible goudron note and its fruit and acidity were great with the seared ahi tuna. Nearly a quarter century in age, the 85 Poggione was bold, beautiful, and proud — with vibrant acidity and gorgeous fruit. I’ve tasted this wine a number of times over the last five years and it has never disappointed.
Saturday afternoon found us shopping with Judy at the Asian market in Kearny Mesa, 99 Ranch Market. On her shopping list: rice noodles, preserved mandarin oranges, persimmons.
Hot and sour wonton soup for lunch at Spicy City (4690 Convoy St Ste 107, between Engineer Rd & Opportunity Rd, San Diego, CA 92111, 858-278-1818). Also in Kearny Mesa. So good… I LOVE that place. (I used to get my pre-sbarbato highlights done at the Korean salon in the same shopping mall.)
On Saturday night, Tracie B and I were geeked for sushi with Judy at Zenbu but we wanted to check out the “hot rock,” too. Our waiter told us it was the “biggest rock” she had ever seen. (Thinly sliced beef is cooked on the scalding hot rock.)
I had no idea that my highschool buddy Matt Rimel, who owns Zenbu together with his lovely wife Jacky, was such a fan of Texas. He got this belt buckle there. A professional hunter, he travels to my new home state five times a year for bow hunting, he told me. He invited me to go boar hunting with him this year… I am SO there. Alfonso, you game?
Saturday night ended with a bottle of 2006 Lunar (whole-bunch-fermented Ribolla) by Movia at Jaynes. Benoit and I decided to decant it. I’ll do a post later this week on Lunar and the story behind it. Aleš Kristančič explained to me how he makes it when my band Nous Non Plus played at his winery in April 08. It’s incredible…
The rentacar screwed up and gave us a Mustang instead of the Pinto I had reserved. Me in a muscle car? Why not???!!! When we rolled up to the Jaynes Gastropub, martial arts instructor and bouncer at Air Conditioned next door, Alex, told me, there’s a tough guy underneath my nice-guy skin. He asked me rhetorically: “How else would you have survived so long?” Right on, brother, right on. I’m so glad I made it!