My 2016 Bucket List consists of only 4 items, the first visiting every county in California and having a meal. There are 58 counties in California and although I’m a native Californian, there are a few Ive never been to.
- Sonoma County January 1, Shed, Healdsburg. A great breakfast which included a soft-boiled egg on toast (think baked egg’s) along with a frittata which included a variety of mushrooms and Kouign Amann, which is an ugly love child of a croissant and a cinnamon roll. 4 stars. It would be 5 stars if they severed Bloody Mary’s.
- Napa County, January 2, The Market in Saint Helena, Lunch was fantastic as usual. We started off with the Lobster Rolls and Ceviche, both tasted very fresh and worth the added calories. I always seem to get the Fried Chicken, which is organic. Its served with mashed potatoes and spinach. We also consumed a bottle of Brown Estate 2013 Zinfandel. 4.5 Stars
- Santa Clara County, January 7, Original Joes, San Jose. OJ’s is a red sauce Italian Restaurant with great service, food and beverages. Its been around since the 50’s and its a place you being friends new to San Jose. If Tony Soprano was looking for a great meal in San Jose, he would have went to OJ’s. I had medium cut of Prime Rid with real horseradish sauce and lots of al jus. 4.5 Stars.
- Sacramento County, January 6, The Grange, Lunch at the Grange consisted of an Heirloom Beet salad and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Chef, both were fantastic. 4.5 Stars
- San Francisco County, Scoma’s Restaurant, January 14, the wharf in San Francisco. We had a Clara Mateo meeting at the restaurant. Traffic was horrible and it took 21/2 hours to get there. The wine was awesome and so was the dinner salad and the fresh pacific cod. The braised root vegetables makes you want to drive another 2 1/2hours. 4.75 Stars
6. Los Angles County, Gordon Biersch, January 21, rode down on South West, these girls from Sacramento were on there way to a Mexico cruise. The Marzen was wonderful as usual. 4 Stars
7. Orange County, The Colony House, January 21, In Northern California the Italians own and operate the garbage collection and recycling companies. In Southern California, its the Arminia’s. Every year my friend Art and Dennis Kazarian throw a great party with all the major players of the garbage world, its called the Arminian Christmas Party and its a hoot. This year the event was at the Colony House, what a magnificent venue. 5 Stars
8. Alameda County, Massimo’s Fine Dining, Fremont, January 29th. Had a great lunch with the girls. Blackened Red Snapper. 4.5 Stars
9. Colusa County, Granzella’s Deli, February 5th. Lunch with Kara, and a great brown beer. Williams, Sorry no olives this trip. 4 Stars
10. Glenn County, The Last Stand Bar and Grill, Willows, February 5th. Cocktails at a drive bar,. 3 Stars, would have been higher but the bikers drinking beer were jerks. 11. Shasta County, LuLu’s Eating and Drinking Establishment, Redding February 6th. Cocktails and breakfast with my friend Wayne and Judy. 4 Stars,
12. Tehama County, Jay and Mary Gross’s house, Red Bluff February 6th. Cioppino with my family. For anybody reading this, Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in San Francisco is typically a combination of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, and fish all sourced from the Pacific Ocean. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread, either local sourdough or French bread. This year we can’t get any Dungeness crabs so the craps came in from Oregon. 5 Stars,
13. Butte County, Beatniks in Chico, February 7th. Great breakfast, had the James Dean – Apple Chicken Sausage, mushrooms, spinach, and swiss cheese. 4 Stars,
14. Sutter County, Yuba City, The Happy Viking, February 7th. Went in for Bloody Mary using the Effen Cucumber Vodka. GREAT JOB, although their Yelp site said that they were open at 10:00 when they actually didn’t open until 11:00. Not much else to do in Yuba City on a Sunday morning. 4.5 Stars
15. Yuba County, Silver Dollar Grill, Marysville February 7th. Just had Torpedo from Sierra Nevada Brewery. Best part was the mannequin that overlooked the men’s toilet. 4 Stars,
16. Contra Costa County, Charman Kabob Restaurant, Brentwood, February 7th. As an appetizer we had the Banjan Dip which is eggplant roasted with garlic, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil served with flatbread. For lunch, I had the Chaple Kabob. This is made with ground beef patties mixed with green onions, special seasoning cooked on a flat grill. Spicy. 4.5 Stars,
17. Marin County, Marin Sanitary Service, San Rafael, February 10th. Lunch at Marin Sanitary, think of it as lunch at the Landfill. Was there for our monthly CRRC meeting. Chef had made his famous pasta (both red and white causes) which was excellent. 4.5 Stars,
18. San Mateo County, Mistral Restaurant & Bar – Redwood City, March 4th. Awesome lunch with my girl friends. Had the scallops, which were pan sautéed in a butter sauce. Some of the best scallops I have every had. We also had a few bottles of “The Prisoners” Red Blend which is always marvelous. I would have giving the entire meal 5 stars, but the service is a little off. 4.5 Stars
19. Santa Barbara County, Sides Hardware and Shoes- Los Olivos, March 18th. Awesome lunch with Kara and Ted and Anna. I had a fried chicken sandwich that also included 1/4 slabs of bacon. Incredible…. 5 Stars
20. San Luis Obispo County, Big Sky – San Luis Obispo, March 20th. Great brunch. Had the Devils Mess, which was a scrambled egg’s, mixed with sausage, spinach and onions. The corn muffins were very good too. Beer and tomato juice. 4.5 Stars
21. San Benito County, Basque Restaurant – San Juan Bastia, Dropped by on Sunday after our trip stop San Luis Obispo. Had the Lamb Stew. Kara and I shared a few tapa’s which included salted mushrooms. March 20th. 4 Stars
22. Riverside County, Gourmet Italia, Temecula, I was in Temecula for the Garbageman’s Invitational Golf Tournament and my good friends Dennis and Nancy took me to Gourmet Italia. The food was excellent and the service was fantastic. For starters we had the Cozze e Palatine, aka (mussels and white wine and garlic sauce) followed by the ossobuco. Dennis also provided a nice bottle of 2013 Decoy Cabernet. April 26th, 4.5 Stars
23. Monterey County, The Lodge at Pebble Beach – After touring 100 people around the Zanker Facilities for the CDRA conference , my friends Bill and Sharron and Kara and I went to Monterey to relax. Only had appetizers which included a puffed pastry of some sorts. Service was outstanding, but the views were unsurpassed. May 3, 5 Star’s for the view.
24. San Joaquin County, Mangy Moose Cafe, Manteca – Driving through Manteca we found this cafe for a much needed lunch break. Had an open face patty melt. The fry’s were great. May 20, 3 Star’s.
25. Alpine County, Sky High Pizza, Bear Valley- Alpine County only has 1,750 people in the whole county. Casey the bartender poured a pint of lagunitas capachinno stout and we shared the breaded mushrooms with the lemon aioli. It was also snowing. 5 stars since it is the only place in Alpine County that is open. May 20
26. Calaveras County, The Lube Room, Murphys- I’ve been hearing about the Lube Room for several years from my neighbors Loren and Marsha who have a home near the restaurant. Had a barrel aged Manhattan followed by Firestone 805. The Lube Stew, which was made with Guinness was also a great find. Kara and I shared the deviled eggs and cold slaw. The slaw was incredible. I was thinking this was going to be a dive bar but ended up earning 4.5 stars. May 20
27. Tuolumne County, Douglas Saloon, Columbia- Think Dive Bar in a western town.Drank a Firestone Nitro Merlin Milk Stout, this beer was incredible. 3 stars. May 21
28. Mariposa County, 1850 Restaurant – Mariposa – Ordered a glass of Tortoise Creek 2012 Zinfandel and Smoked Prime Sliders. Highly recommend this place. 4 stars. May 21
29. Merced County, 17th Street Public House, Merced – Nice place to have a cocktail on a Saturday afternoon. Started with Imperial Brown made by Sierra Nevada. I liked it so much I had another. May 21
30. Stanislaus County, Camp 4 Wine Bar, Merced – We started with an incredible meat and cheese tray, this alone was worth 5 stars. Also had a few glasses Jeremy Wine Company 2014 Zinfandel. 5 Stars. May 21
31. Amador County, Main Event Bar, Jackson- Not much was open on a Sunday morning but we did find the Main Event Bar and had a Guinness 2.5 Stars. May 22
32. El Dorado County, Euro Bistro, Placerville- Happy to find this Czech restaurant which helped me with some other bucket list items. Food was good but the service was a little off. Ended up having Jager Schnitzel and a Czech beer. 3.5 Stars. May 22
2. Drinking 144 (a gross) of different wines, and remembering to grad each one.
1- Brown Estate 2013 Zinfandel, 1-2-16 – The Market Saint Helena 5 star
2-Dry Creek 2013, Heritage Vines Zinfandel, 1-2-2016 – Pizzando Healdsburg- 3 Stars3-J. Rickards 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel, 1-3-16 – My House, but I bought the wine in Headsburg 4 stars
4-Boa Vida 2009 Estate Merlot – Jan 3, Blue Line Pizza Campbell Ca. 3.5 stars
5 – Justin 2013 Cabernet, – Faz Restaurant San Jose 1-7, 3 stars
8 – Loma Prieta Winery, 2012 Pinotage, Served at my house compliments to my Neighbors Loren and Marcia. January 15. 4.5 Stars
14. Bonaventura de Caires Winery, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. My House Nice Finish Jan 25, 4 Stars
MANDALAY BAY – Las Vegas, April 4, 5 Stars
MANDALAY BAY – Las Vegas, April 4, 5 Stars $110
57. Beauregard Chardonnay 2014- Village California Bistro – San Jose, April 23 4.5 Stars