Tuesday I turned the big 3-2...which seems not too notable or exciting. Since we had such a downer of a day on my birthday (travel + jet lag), we decided that this would be birthday week! Last night my mom babysat and we had a date night- I can't remember the last date we've had. It was the perfect birthday treat.
We started the night off at Gather. It's this amazing new restaurant near the UC Berkeley campus. The food's local, sustainable, and all that good stuff. The chef is young (he looks like a grad student that wandered off the school's grounds across the street), and hailed as a best new chef by various foodies and media outlets. With Gather's righteous attitude towards food and all the fanfare we thought the place would be pretentious, but it was quite the opposite. After leaving the restaurant Mark and I were talking about how several Bay Area restaurants serve upscale, to-die-for food, while remaining completely down-to-earth and approachable. Gather has instantly become a new favorite for me: most everything in the decor is salvaged material (including bench upholstery made from old leather belts sewn together), every bite of the food was flavorful and completely enjoyable, the waiter was warm, knowledgeable, and not too into himself/explaining the food (a plus at this type of place).
Food and Wine Magazine voted Gather's Vegan Charcuterie (pictured below) a top ten restaurant dish of the year. Umm- it was amazing! I can't describe the flavors- but I wanted to savor every delicious bite.
Here's what we had:
*out of 4 starts each
Vodka Smash (Cocktail) **
Bitter Rose (Cocktail) **
Vegan “charcuterie” ****
Sausage– pork belly, chile, Fontinella ****
Barbecued young chicken– farotto, turnips and tops, punterelle, cheese rind oil ***
(farotto= farro risotto and was freaking awesome!)
Scoop of cream cheese cranberry ice cream **
(The choc mousse looked tasty- but we were pretty full by then)
Bottom line: Go here. It's awesome.
After dinner we walked two blocks over to see True Grit at the California Theater.
I'm not one for westerns- but this is a must see. It was funny and touching. Jeff Bridges and 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld stole the show. I won't ruin it, but young Mattie is out to avenge her father's murder.
Matt Damon is also in the movie, and provides a lot of laughs. I usually bristle at the Cohen Brothers violent movies, but this was entertaining and not too violent at all.
All in all, a great date night.