As part of the great J's birthday week, we have been going out some, and ate out twice this week. First we went to see the new Crocker, which is much bigger and better laid-out than the old Crocker. In fact, it's quite beautiful. Unfortunately it has the same old art. Would someone please move the Sabines to storage? Please, please. The changing exhibition was the art that will be contributed over the next century. Some of it is good, but it's too bad we can't just say no to some of the pieces. Of particular note, though, is the third floor front sculpture gallery, which has a beautiful view of the trees through the sculptures. Very cool.
The cafe, though. Hmm. J, who had the misfortune of a cracked tooth during his birthday week, had a bowl of clam chowder. It was better than Progresso, but just barely. He gave Progresso a 3 and the cafe chowder a 4. I had the Chicken Breast Salad. It was okay, but nothing spectacular and should have been for $11. There are far better, and cheaper, places nearby for lunch. Skip the cafe.
Then we went to The Grange for the official birthday dinner. Deciding against the fixed-price menu, we ordered off the regular menu. The house-cured sardines with mussels and clams was excellent. Highly recommended. Really good. We then had house-made pasta with mushrooms, splitting the large order. It was, well, okay, but nothing spectacular. J suggested that it needed salt. I wasn't sure of that, but it did need something. We split the braised short ribs. Very good, over excellent mashed potatoes. But the highlight was still the sardines. We were comped dessert, as the waiter thought the service had been too slow. I thought it was fine.
We also had really expensive wine, one of which--a mix of Chardonnay and Voignier--was excellent, and was perfect with the sardines. The red, though, was not much better than the table red we drink at home. The white blend was Blend 23 from B Cellars. And they were both expensive!