Tag Archives: Texas

Chinatown – Seattle – Washington

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Chinese immigrants first came to the Pacific Northwest in the 1850s, and by the 1860s, some had settled in Seattle.

Canada 245The first Chinese quarters were near Yesler’s Mill on the waterfront. According to Chinese oral history, the waterfront was the first Chinatown, where the Chinese dock workers lived. In 1886 whites drove out most of Seattle’s Chinese population. However, some took shelter with Native Americans on the reservations while others came under the protection of white employers and a judge. The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 further hindered the community. Eventually, the Chinese re-established new quarters farther inland, along Washington St. and Second Avenue South. This was the second Chinatown. Land values rose, especially with impending construction of the Smith Tower, and the people of Chinatown moved again, to the present and third location along King Street. Only the Hop Sing Tong managed to retain its building on 2nd and Washington. It sold this building about 2006 in order to purchase the former China Gate building in the current Chinatown.

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Near the end of the 19th century, Japanese immigrants also began arriving, settling on the south side of the district on the other side of the railroad tracks. Part of present-day Dearborn Street, between 8th and 12th avenues, was known as Mikado Street, after the Japanese word for “emperor.” Japanese Americans developed Nihonmachi, or Japantown, on Main Street, two blocks north of King Street. By the mid-1920s, Nihonmachi extended from 4th Avenue along Main to 7th Avenue, with clusters of businesses along Jackson, King, Weller, Lane, and Dearborn streets.

Tinman loves to visit areas of Culinary Delight and stopped in a quaint little Tea Shoppe to examine the wares and speak to the delightful proprietor..

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He inquired as to where she and her friends would dine for luncheon in the Chinatown District….without hesitation, she replied….”The Purple Dot!!”

Hmmmm, Purple Dot, thought the Tin Man….wonder how authentic this is ……….hmmmmm

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AHHHHHH…..Dim Sum……YUMMY……and the tables were packed with local Asians only….a good sign…

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Beautiful Table Setting…….here come the carts filled with steaming baskets of Dim Sum….

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Pure Delights………Tin Man has not had Chicken Feet since he went to visit Dorothy in Kansas….

The food and service were so delightful, Tin Man went back two days in a row…….

Walking through Chinatown is like riding a Culinary Roller Coaster…

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Dragons Adorned the Lamp Posts….

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Seattle’s Chinatown is a most delightful small Chinatown, filled with marvelous people and amazing Culinary Delights…

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Visiting Virginia – Delta – British Columbia – Canada

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You have heard Tin Man speak of his love many times…….

Virginia of Bel’ Occhio’s Blog

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When Tin Man started his blog one of his first followers was Virginia…a friendship blossomed….

In the Spring of 2014 Tin Man rode a train across the entire country of Canada and ended the journey by spending the day with Virginia and the Good Husband…

You can read about that trip HERE  

This time The Tin Man was able to spend three delicious days with Virginia and The Good Husband..

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Virginia’s home is Paris….

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We had a delightful time on the front patio, surrounded by beautiful flowers…….

sipping bubbly, noshing and waving to the neighbors as they drove by…..

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Then one day ………off to the beach we went…..

but first …..the red lipstick from Theadora of Paris: People, Places and Bling…to match the cute red handbag also from Theadora….

Our Theadora, as she has become to known, lives in Paris and is another blogger who has become part of the family…

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Off to a friend’s home for an evening party….

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Magic and Delight abound when one is in the presence of Virginia….

Of course……..culinary delights abound…..Aromatic, Marvelous Chicken Curry…..Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce…..Cheese Puffs…..oh swoon….

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Of course these delights are picked fresh from the garden………

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The Back Porch is the perfect place to take an afternoon nap or enjoy a good book….

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A pleasant evening of companionship and conversation….

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The Good Husband builds model Ships….intricate and amazing work….

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Forever the beautiful ambiance and culinary delights….

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Three Days of Pure Delight….Tin Man rested in the lap of Buddha receiving blessings for the journey home…

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The Bengal Lounge – Fairmont Empress – Victoria – British Colombia

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Located within the walls of the beautiful Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Colombia

is hidden a jewel of the old world.

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The Bengal Lounge…….

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Drawing inspiration from Queen Victoria’s role as the Empress of India,

this colonial style lounge is known throughout Victoria for its authentic curry buffet and signature cocktail menu

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The hallway to the Bengal is adorned with beautiful fabric tapestries from India…

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Cocktail and martini aficionados will appreciate The Bengal Lounge’s extensive selection of signature drinks with such names as the Bengal Tiger, Ivory Hunter and Tiger’s Kiss, to name just a few!  

Tin Man decided to have The Empress 1908, a recommendation of the server….Canada 233Canada 234

For a meal, English Fish and Chips seemed appropriate….

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The Bengal Lounge is quite a proper sort of place to sip on a cocktail, not at all like the casual sports bars found in the U.S.

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The Beautiful Bengal Tiger Fur Hangs over the fireplace, a reminder of times gone by…

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Tin Man was reminded of Madonna’s song: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun when he spied these two…evidently a cocktail too many…hehehehhe

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Pure Delight at every turn inside this Grande Dame of a Hotel….

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St. Helena – California

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The City of St. Helena is located in the center of the world famous wine growing Napa Valley, 65 miles north of San Francisco. The area was settled in 1834 as part of General Vallejo’s land grant. The City of St. Helena was incorporated as a City on March 24, 1876 and reincorporated on May 14, 1889.

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The St. Helena area was home to the Wappo people, a Yukian-speaking group who were the area’s earliest inhabitants. The local Callajomanes tribelet village was called Annakotanoma or Anakanoma and was located where Sulphur Creek meets the Napa River. The earliest white settlers in St. Helena were John York, who lived on what is now Dean York Lane, and David Hudson, whose house is still located at Beringer Winery.

We loved the quaint feel of the town and so appreciated that the old buildings were kept in their original manner

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We were planning to have lunch at  the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone

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….but alas…..they were closed!!!!

We came upon COOK and decided that the place was perfect for a lunch break..

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We loved the décor and found the wait staff to be relaxed and friendly..

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The Menu was quite lovely and promised all sorts of delights…

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The Kitchen was open so the Tin Man went to investigate the happenings…

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A cozy table was found and the culinary journey began…

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The faux trophy in the lobby was beautiful…

california 326 Of course then it was off to the streets to find a sweet something…….

Oh look…….The Model Bakery……..

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It is lovely here in St. Helena ……but we must get back to Napa and have dinner….

Beautiful Vineyards ……..

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So……….finally some food!……….Dinner in downtown Napa..at Celadon..in the Historic Napa Mill

Lovely rustic environment and first class service…..

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Sangria…….Soup………Crab Cakes……….Mussels……..ah perfection…

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It has been a day filled with culinary delights…….hope you are ready for a nap……..I am!

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Acacia Winery – Carneros Valley

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Our travels to Acacia began with a text from a friend in the wine business. 

He informed us that he had obtained passage on a private industry only tour and tasting of the Acacia Winery as a surprise for us on our visit to the wine country of California! 

We drove through some of the most beautiful vineyards on our way to Acacia…

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The beauty that surrounded us was so very peaceful and serene..

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We came upon the Acacia Winery, quietly tucked onto a hillside…Acacia Vineyard is located in the heart of the Carneros district off “the beaten path” very close to the Napa/Sonoma Marsh Wildlife area. The one thing you notice when you step out of the car at their parking lot is how absolutely quiet it is, especially when you compare this to the main part of Napa Valley where we spend considerable time. In this part of the Carneros, the roads are small but there is usually little traffic – bicyclists love the Carneros for this very reason, not to mention its scenic postcard views. You are surrounded by rolling hills – a sea of vineyards.

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Headed by general partner Mike Richmond and winemaker Larry Brooks, Acacia debuted in 1979 and quickly distinguished itself as one of the first California wineries to offer vineyard-designate Pinot Noir. Fruit was sourced locally from Carneros growers until the mid-1990s, when Acacia began acquiring properties surrounding the winery. Today these holdings comprise the 150-acre estate that produces Acacia Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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In 1986, Acacia was sold to Chalone. Since the 1990s, Acacia has focused on Chardonnay wines, as well as some sparkling wine.

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Acacia also bottles under the Caviste label. The annual production is around 55,000 cases.

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In 2005, the Chalone Wine Group was purchased by beverage giant Diageo.

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When we arrive the vineyard workers were filling barrels with Pinot Noir

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We were given a tasting of all the wines produced by Acacia

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Our host allowed me to roam about the barrel room to explore on my own and take a few pictures…..It was delightful being the only people in the winery!

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I love the smell of French Oak and fermenting grapes…..that heady fragrance that promises delightful wines in the future….

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The Acacia visit was as calm and peaceful as the drive to the vineyard.  Their name comes from a single Acacia tree which is still growing in between the rows of grapes in one of their vineyards. This tree is located just down the road 

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St. Francis Winery – Sonoma, California

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For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County.

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Founder, Joe Martin, fell in love with Sonoma Valley and established St. Francis Vineyard in 1971, planting 22 acres of Chardonnay and the first 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley.

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After achieving great success as a grower, Joe opened his own winery in 1979 with his business partner Lloyd Canton.

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Today, a new generation of winemakers, Katie Madigan and Chris Louton, continues the long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes.

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Currently,  more than 400 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley are farmed. 

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Each with varying compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils.

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Well, the Tin Man, et al, embarked upon a seated, multicourse Wine & Food Pairing, orchestrated by Executive Chef Bryan Jones who created an assortment of small dishes  paired with hand-selected artisan wines.

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We enjoyed stunning vineyard views and an amazing fine dining presentation at a shared table.

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The seating was hosted by a knowledgeable and friendly wine expert, who created a relaxing, fun and unforgettable wine country experience. 

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If you are planning a trip to the wine country, this is an experience that should not be missed

Click HERE to make your reservations

The Menu was impressive and inspired..

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We began with the Smoked Beet Salad

Grilled Spring Onion – Green Garlic Purée – Aleppo Pepper – Goat Cheese Fondant – Almond Nougat

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Then the second culinary masterpiece was presented…. Red Wine Braised Duck accompanied by 2013 Pinot Noir

Coriander Spätzle – Endive – Pistachio – Tart Cherry-Apricot Mostarda

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Course Number Three…….Arctic Char a la Barigoule accompanied by 2013 Chardonnay

Celery Root-Yukon Gold Potato Puree – Saffron – Preserved Lemon – Parsnip Chips

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le Quatrième Cours…..Coffee & Cocoa Crusted NY Strip Loin with 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Roasted Cauliflower – Smoke Garlic – Crispy Shallots – Bordelaise

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La Finale …… Sucreries….Mexican Chocolate Pot du Crème accompanied by 2012 Ruby Port

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Marvelous Culinary Delights and the Creator himself….Executive Chef Bryan Jones…

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It was a most fantastic experience…..delightful, educational and most of all delicious!

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Mission San Francisco Solano – Sonoma, California

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Mission San Francisco Solano was the 21st, last and northernmost mission in Alta California.

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 It was the only mission built in Alta California after Mexico gained independence from Spain. The difficulty of its beginning demonstrates the confusion resulting from that change in governance.

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You see, the California Governor wanted a robust Mexican presence north of the San Francisco Bay to keep the Russians who had established Fort Ross on the Pacific coast from moving further inland. A young Franciscan friar from Mission San Francisco de Asis wanted to move to a location with a better climate and access to a larger number of potential converts.

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Here is a photograph of the Mission in 1910

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and one taken by the Tin Man……….notice that the building is very much the same today and the original bell stands where it always has…

 

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The Mission was successful given its short eleven year life but was smaller in number of converts and with lower productivity and diversity of industries than the older California missions.

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The mission building is now part of the Sonoma State Historic Park and is located in the city of Sonoma, California.    

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Sonoma is considered the birthplace of wine-making in California, dating back to the original vineyards of Mission San Francisco Solano, so Tin Man considers this a most important historic landmark!

We so enjoyed walking about and exploring the historic site…..alas we were the only ones inside, the trinket shops were packed but there seemed to be no interest in history today……

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On July 4, 1823 the soldiers placed a large redwood cross on the place in the Sonoma Valley where they expected the ‘new’ Mission San Francisco de Asis to be established. Then they celebrated Mass to consecrate the location. They then returned south to begin gathering men and materials to begin construction.

Tin Man imagined marvelous breads baking in this oven all those years ago….

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Beginning in October, 1823 Fr. Altimira had the opportunity to build his new mission at the location he chose but since Mission San Francisco de Asís would remain open this Mission needed a different patron saint. Altimira chose San Francisco Solano, a 17th-century Franciscan missionary to South America.    His company of soldiers and neophytes set about building all the facilities needed in a California mission. His annual report for 1823 listed no baptisms, one marriage, one funeral.

Father Altimira was admonished by investigating church officials for his over-use of flogging. Fearful of a native uprising, he left for San Rafael and then moved on to Mission Buenaventura in southern California. As a result of growing Mexican pride, there was considerable sentiment in favor of forcing out priests who were Spanish-born. In 1828, Father Altimira voluntarily returned to his native Spain.
His replacement was Father Buenaventura Fortini, an older priest, who was both a fine administrator and a kindly man of the cloth, who gained the respect and trust of the Indian population.

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Bouchon Bistro – Napa

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california 217As the Tin Man prepared for his trip to the wine country, French Laundry was at the top of his list…..oh, then this news……….

“The iconic French Laundry in Yountville has confirmed dates for a planned closure and major renovation, and the plans are a fair bit more ambitious than originally hinted at. As chef-owner Thomas Keller tells the SF Chronicle, what began as some modifications to the restaurant’s entry and an expansion of the kitchen blossomed into a major overhaul and reconstruction of the kitchen which will begin the week after Christmas and won’t be complete for about six months.

You see the reason for this desire is because Thomas Keller (born October 14, 1955) is an American chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer. He and his landmark Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry in Yountville, California, have won multiple awards from the James Beard Foundation, notably the Best California Chef in 1996, and the Best Chef in America in 1997. The restaurant is a perennial winner in the annual Restaurant Magazine list of the Top 50 Restaurants of the World.

Timing is everything!!! But wait, there is more…….

In 2005, Keller was awarded the three star rating in the inaugural Michelin Guide for New York for his restaurant Per Se, and in 2006, he was awarded three stars in the inaugural Michelin Guide to the Bay Area for The French Laundry.

He is the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants.   He currently holds 7 Michelin stars total:             

3 at Per Se, 3 at The French Laundry, and 1 at Bouchon.

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Bouchon it will be then……reservations were made…

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Delightful and Delicious was awaiting us within these walls…..

Marvelous atmosphere………

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We were seated at a lovely table and then the magical culinary symphony began….

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Of course, we must begin with wine….

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My palate was all a tither at the delights that awaited….

First,  the Foie Gras de Canard ……….oh swoon….

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Then the Möelle Rôti…..Roasted Bone Marrow……

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The table covered with delights………the wine, the tasty morsels …..it was culinary nirvana …

Sitting in Thomas Keller’s restaurant surrounded by laughter and the aromas of saffron….thyme…roasted meats….

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Then the mains came…Boudin Blanc ……..white sausage with dried French plums and mashed….

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….Truite Amandine….Idaho rainbow trout with haricorts verts, toasted almonds and beurre noisette…

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Absolutely Delightful……amazing service and delectable food….

….perhaps a bit of coffee….

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What  a delightful evening……….hope you enjoyed the visit

The Bouchon was such a delight, Tin Man was quite pleased the French Laundry was closed…hope you enjoyed the visit!

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SONOMA – CALIFORNIA

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The Tin Man and his quest for wine has lead him to Sonoma…..Sonoma is considered the birthplace of wine-making in California, dating back to the original vineyards of Mission San Francisco Solano  about that in a later  then improvements made by Agoston Haraszthy, the father of California viticulture and credited with introduction of the Zinfandel/Primitivo grape varietal.

The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival takes place late each September, and is California’s oldest celebration of its winemaking heritage…

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The drive into Sonoma takes one past a most beautiful sculpture of a man working a wine press, it is quite lovely against the horizon….

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Every hill is covered by vineyards and prestigious winemakers….

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The Tin Man resists the urge to stop and begin tasting wine, as his destination is the historical town square of Sonoma…

El Pueblo de Sonoma was laid out in the standard form of a Mexican town, centered around the largest plaza in California, 8 acres in size. This plaza is surrounded by many historical buildings, including the Mission San Francisco Solano, Captain Salvador Vallejo‘s Casa Grande, the Presidio of Sonoma, the Blue Wing Inn, the Sebastiani Theatre, and the Toscano Hotel.

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In the middle of the plaza, Sonoma’s early 20th-century city hall, at the plaza’s center and still in use, was designed and built with four identical sides in order not to offend the merchants on any one side of the plaza.

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The plaza is a National Historic Landmark and still serves as the town’s focal point, hosting many community festivals and drawing tourists all year round.

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Throughout the area surrounding the Plaza are so many beautiful sights…

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There are approximately thirty restaurants in the plaza area, including Italian, Irish, Mexican, Portuguese, Basque, Mediterranean, Himalayan, and French. It provides a central tourist attraction. It is also the location of the Farmer’s Market, held every Tuesday evening from April to October.  Well you know The Tin Man…..off to find an interesting restaurant………well tucked in the back of an alley off the main plaza, we found a delight…

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The moment we saw the sign we had to find a table.  The Tin Man so loved the food in Lisboa

Here is a pic of the clams from Lisboa, Portugal…

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Well don’t you know Tin Man was expecting no less from La Salette….

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The lovely Portuguese Bread….a little sweet ……of so delightful….

Then the starters……….of for the love of Hestia…..what delights….

Honey Roasted Almonds, Cow’s Cheese with Apricot Jam, Escarcot, Pork Trotter Terrine (yes…..Pig’s Feet) and lovely dark bread…

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Then the Clams………wow what a presentation…..

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Beautiful and Delightful……but alas, missing the olives…..perhaps too much for the American pallet…

oh yes….the Paella……….yummy..

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It was a most marvelous visit to the Plaza of Sonoma, hope you enjoyed coming along….

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Sawyer & Co. – Austin, Texas

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aaaaaaaaWell the Tin Man and his entourage were on the search for a new Foodie Venue to indulge in culinary delights..

We had heard of a new restaurant in Austin, Texas, that was getting rave reviews and much chatter….we ventured off

The food at Sawyer & Co. has been designed by Stephen Shallcross and consulting chef Happy Abdelbaki, longtime friends from Baton Rouge.

 The flavors and dishes of New Orleans  resonate in the menu choices: biscuits and pancakes with Steen’s Cane Syrup; jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice made with Manda’s sausage from Baton Rouge; and a po’boy bread from John Gendusa Bakery in New Orleans’ Gentilly neighborhood.

Breakfast offerings  include a rotating selection of omelets and eggs including a cheeseburger omelet and scrambled eggs with crawfish! – plus grits, Brabant potatoes, biscuits, pancakes, praline bacon, breakfast sandwiches, and tacos.

Lunch and dinner feature a daily blue plate special such as red beans and rice with cornbread, gumbo, jambalaya, roast beef with gravy and mashed potatoes – for the love of YUM

To see the MENU click HERE

The Venue is quite something in and of itself………….a 50s Diner that could be owned by the Jetsons themselves!

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We fell in love with the place immediately……

Check out the great booths and dining stools…

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We knew we were onto something the moment we walked in …check out the light fixtures and walls…

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and the clock……….so cool……

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We took a quick peek onto the Patio and it was just as incredible as the interior

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Astro Turf and such a fantastic environment…

To begin we had the most delightful Gumbo….rich dark and bursting with flavor….

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……..did you notice the pork belly…….you bet…..delicious…

then, of course, the seafood platter……..

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We finished with Key Lime Pie…..which we shared so no photo was taken because I had to fight for my bite!!!

If you are ever in Austin, Texas, check out this great food.  A bit of New Orleans Flavor with Texas Hospitality

By the time we left patrons were standing all around outside waiting for their turn at a table.

The Tin Man approves

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