Thursday, December 21, 2006
Life with Father. Monday was filled with various appointments for my father, and I'm unfortunately learning the intimate details of what an insidious thing aging is, even with the best of lifestyles. The moral of the story is eat your veggies and exercise (including BRAIN exercise), and you'll be ahead of the game, but there is no 'safe zone' for aging (yet).
So at the end of the day I asked Dad if he'd prefer a newish fish restaurant, or an Italian restaurant for dinner. He chose Italian, and we headed for Il Fornaio. In reading through their website I found that the Corte Madera location we went to was in fact the first Il Fornaio restaurant. And what a success, it appears to be quite a chain now. Father headed for the restroom, just down the hall and to the left of where we were, and I saw him pop around the corner just fine. But I started worrying about 20 minutes later when he didn't come by... the waiter kindly checked the men's room and suggested I try the ladies room in case of confusion.. when he was no where to be found, I felt a bit of panic set in. The waiter suggested there was a door near the restrooms which perhaps Dad mistakenly exited which would lead into the center of the outdoor mall -- yep, that's where I found him a few minutes later cold and rather shaken up. But my Dad is a cheerful type and he perked back up and we set off for another culinary adventure.
We shared a Insalata della Casa, a chopped salad of romaine, radicchio, cannellini beans, avocado, tomato and cucumber with gorgonzola dressing. It was a very fine blend of tastes and textures.
Dad chose the Gnocchi Emilia, visions of my mother's homemade dumplings danced in my Dad's head when I translated the dish name. This gnocchi was an inventive housemade potato dumplings with butternut squash, Italian ham, porcini mushroom, truffle oil and cream. He let me taste a forkful, and it was quite smooth and wonderfully complex and comforting at the same time. He enjoyed most of it, as it was a bit heavy for him to finish having cream sauce.
I enjoyed the Ravioli alla Lucana, ravioli filled with Italian sausage, ricotta, parmesan and fennel; fresh tomato sauce with imported peperoncino, pecorino pepato cheese and fresh basil. I wondered where they found such flavorful fresh tomatoes at this time of year. It was quite good, and although the fresh tomato sauce made it a lighter choice, the fact that it was mad with whole wheat ravioli also made it rather more filling than usual.
I've been to this Il Fornaio and the one on Battery Street in San Francisco many times, and I've found it consistently good for service, well-executed dishes and good menus.