May 28, 2005

Il Buono #2

Today was a perfect day to begin the holiday weekend. First, E2 and I dragged ourselves out of bed to slug through 10.5 miles in the surprisingly muggy heat. Neither of us were particularly into it, but with a half-marathon next weekend, there's not really any easy way to bail on the long run this weekend. So, we struggled through the mileage with a bit more walking than normal.

Thankfully, after a shower, much water guzzling, and a quick lunch, my reward was to be a passenger on the gorgeous drive up the hill to show E's parents Thomas Fogarty winery ("this is where we would have liked to get married, but BT wanted to get married in March, which meant no guarantee that the outdoor facilities would suffice..."). We tasted their delicious wines, and talked the rents into importing a case back to the South. Then we checked out the supposed hotel base for the wedding. We toured the guest rooms, bar, and cafe and decided it'll work, and I sighed with relief at one more detail crossed off the list with relatively low effort on my part (plus they have a free airport shuttle).

From there we headed to the wedding location where we glanced around the grounds. It was a gorgeous day to see the facility and E's parents approved of the selection, so that was good. But, another wedding was about to start, so we high-tailed it out of there and headed for this evening's dinner location, Iron Gate restaurant in Belmont. My parents joined us for a very long, very delicious, thankfully not too embarassing, meet the in-laws dinner. E and I avoided father fighting by picking up the tab ourselves and the evening ended with a group photo of all of us in front of italian carved door scenes.

As far as dining goes, Iron Gate could not have been more different than last night's dinner at pisces if it tried. Where pisces was small, light, airy, clean, and modern, this restaurant was large, dark, full of dark wood (including medieval italian door panels with carved scenes titled, "the harvest," "the hunt," "the kill," and "the war"). Where pisces had little-to-no-excuse for a bar, this restaurant had an almost full fledged dive-bar attached, TV playing sports before dinner and blues band after dinner and all. Where pisces had a fish-full menu, Iron gate had more steak and veal options than I've seen in a long time. Pisces was full of the young and the hip. Iron Gate had several apparent octogenarians, including one birthday, and the crowd reminded me of French grandparents.

The only trait the two restaurants shared was excellent french-influenced cuisine. Truth be told, pisces is more french-inspired california cuisine, whereas Iron Gate reminded me of several restaurants I visited in the suburbs of Bordeaux. For a good steak dinner, Iron Gate is now on the list. But for a seafood tasting menu, pisces is impossible to beat. Regardless of which restaurant E's parents choose for the rehearsal dinner, I'm glad I had the opportunity to try both of these restaurants. I can't wait for tomorrow's selection.

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