New Year’s eve with Latkes and family

4 Jan

We spent New Year’s eve with my brother Ken and his lovely wife Tosha with their kiddos Chrissy, Brianna and Rosie. We watched The Lemon Tree (an Israeli film) http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809994830/details and ate Tosha’s delicious latkes with sour cream. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and moist/oniony on the inside. We enjoyed a sparkling kosher wine from Trader Joe’s (buy the one with the bee emblem on the bottle since I don’t remember the name of it!) and went to bed early. We needed the rest, since…

The week before we had spent visiting Jack’s sister Apple, her husband and their kiddos (they are not kiddos anymore but that is a universal word I seem to use) in Hercules (near San Francisco). They offered us wonderful hospitality and one night we were there we went to his brother’s house where his sister in law was cooking Thai beef noodle soup (we were well fed on this trip!) that had many of the same ingredients as Jack’s version. I ate almost a full bowl (minus a few chow fun rice noodles that I really like – there was just no more room).

On this trip we also spent two days in Monterey – what a beautiful place. I loved the architecture and little restaurants. The aquarium is a must see if you go. We spent the whole day there, you can get your hand stamped, eat lunch and come back to see them feed the otters (I have a thing for otters). There were so many different types of fish you find in the Pacific Ocean in one place. It is impressive. http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

One of the restaurants I want to mention that we enjoyed so much is Loulou’s in Monterey. http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/277/1219533/restaurant/Monterey-Bay/Loulous-Griddle-In-The-Middle-Monterey

They do tasty squid, sanddabs (a thin white fish), fish and chips, shrimp cocktail and clam chowder. Don’t forget to go for breakfast also and order the creme brulee steel cut oatmeal. You won’t be disappointed.  The first day we were in Monterey we went there on the recommendation of Jack’s friend Shirley and Loulou’s was not to disappoint. Although they were out of chowder (much to Jack’s chagrin) we mowed through combination plates of the sanddabs and fried squid which came with a side of fries and a field green salad with a yummy balsamic vinaigrette (similar to Jack’s version that I enjoy so much). They also sell local beer, the one we tried was an Amber and was called Fat Lip and it has a cute label (it appears in this picture of Jack enjoying a Hoegaarden).

After a couple of days in Monterey we sauntered over to San Francisco to some souvenier shopping and have lunch. We ate at my favorite restaurant Cathay House, which has a great view of Chinatown. http://local.yahoo.com/info-21354500-cathay-house-san-francisco Lunch was dungeness crab in black bean sauce (yum), fried rice with bbq pork and shrimp, potstickers and  fried quail. The quail was tiny (just one bird) and they cut it in half for us so we could have a taste. A tasty bird it was.

We also went to Napa for a day and visited two wineries and shared a couple of tastings. That was all we were able to do since we are lightweights. Maybe next time we will take the train so we can spend more time enjoying the local grape.

 

Happy New Year!

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