Friday, March 13, 2015

Birthday dinner at the Plumed Horse

To celebrate Inna's birthday, I've been trying to setup a dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants for a the past few weeks. Unfortunately, Alex came down with pneumonia and we had to reschedule her birthday dinner multiple times.

We were finally able to enjoy the food and hospitality of The Plumed Horse in Saratoga. The Plumed Horse is a Michelin 1 star restaurant, and is one of our favorite alternatives to Manresa.

When we arrived, we ordered some Dr. Loosen Spatlese Riesling from the Mosel region of Germany. We have visited Mosel a few years ago and really enjoyed the food and wine there. The wine was sweet and delicious.

After reviewing the menu, Inna decided on trying the Chef's tasting menu, which included a series of small dishes:

  • Cauliflower Panna Cotta (kampachi, Brussels sprouts , bonito)
  • Nantucket Bay Scallops (sunchoke veloute, radishes, dashi foam)
  • California Halibut (charred onion, read wine marmalade, consomme)
  • Roasted Squab (polenta ravioli, braised squab, black trumpet mushroom)
  • Braised Veal Cheek (celerty root, veal sweatbread, pickeled allium)
  • Key Lime semifreddo (toasted meringue, fingerline "pop" rocks, graham streusel
  • Manjari Chocolates ganache

Inna's first entree was the Cauliflower Panna Cotta. It looked interesting and tasted wonderful.

The next dish was the Nantucket Bay Scallops. The portion was quite small - maybe enough for a single bite.

The California Halibut followed the scallops and was a well-sized portion of fish. It was very well seasoned and tasted delicious.

The Roasted Squab came next and it was good for one bite.

The Braised Veel Cheek was the best dish on the tasting menu. It was so delicious! Inna shared it with me and it was absolutely the best veal I have ever tried. It was so delicate and so tender and juicy.

The Key Lime semifreddo was one of Inna's desserts and was a good beginning.

The Manjari Chocolate ganache was a small dessert with delicious dark chocolate. It was rich and satisfying.

I chose from the standard menu and ordered the following two dishes:
  • Chicory & Escarole Salad (roasted & pickled Bartlett pear, walnut, pomegranite molasses)
  • Sea Bass
The chef brought us a complimentary portion of Bisque soup. The soup was warm and delicious.

The Chicory & Escarole Salad came next and it was a small salad dish with mostly leaves. It served as a good appetizer.

My main dish of "Sea Bass" came next and it was more generously sized, well prepared, and delicious. The sauce really added to the taste.

To clean the palate, the Plumed Horse waiter brought us some cool desserts, prior to our main dessert.

For dessert, I ordered some Apple Beignets (small donuts). They were soft, chewy, and quite delicious, and I am not a fan of donuts.

The staff brought out a nice Birthday Surprise dessert for Inna.

We enjoyed our dinner very much. We think the quality of the food and presentation is as good as the two Michelin star rated Manresa.

This is the first time I got to wear my brand new Brooks brothers suit. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Snowboarding at Sugar Bowl

I got up at around 6:00am for the long drive to North Lake Tahoe. I took I-680 North to I-80 East. There was little traffic in the morning and I arrived into Sugar Bowl Ski resort at around 9:30am.

I parked at the Village Gondola and changed into my snowboarding outfit. I rode the village gondola to the Village Lodge. It's a very short ride to the village and avoids all of the parking hassles. Since I pre-ordered my tickets online ($15 off/day for early purchases), I stopped by at the ticket counter to pick up the tickets.

I then strapped on my new Ride Berzerker 162 snowboard and took the Disney Express chair to the top of Mt. Disney. This was the first time I got to try the board (I purchased it two years ago at REI but never got to try it, due to poor snow conditions at Lake Tahoe). I had my old K2 Clicker bindings and Clicker-compatible books to try out. (Since K2 does not make Clicker bindings anymore, I had to buy a set on Ebay).

The ride down was fine but a bit too short.

The day was sunny and beautiful with not a cloud in the sky. The snow was a bit icy at first, but it warmed up/turned slushy in the afternoon. After a quick ride down the mountain, I stopped by at the Euro Snack cafe for a waffle and a hot chocolate. The warm waffle was really great!

I decided to take the Lincoln Express next, to get to the top of Mt. Lincoln, where I rode "Lake View" and "Crawley's Traverse" trails down. These are blue-rated runs, but they are not terribly difficult.

I took a early video of my runs down the mountain. As you can see, the snow coverage was very low, but it was still fun to be there. The views of surrounding Tahoe forests and lakes were magnificent.

I really started to like my Ride Berzerker snowboard. It holds its line down the mountain exceptionally well. With my K2 Clicker step-in bindings, it was a great combination. Too bad you can't buy K2 Clickers anymore. There are such great bindings.

I saw a few interesting dressed up characters at Sugar Bowl. I even saw a few snowboarders riding in shorts!

I did a lot of quick runs down the mountain. It was never very crowded and each run took me at most 15 minutes (including the ride to the top).

I snowboarded until about 4:00pm. Afterwards, I drove to Truckee, where I was staying with friends (we rented a house for two days).

I got to enjoy a bottle delicious Lagunitas Censored beer that my friends brought along.

Afterward, we had wonderful dinner and I rested the rest of the day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I got up around 8:00am (there was a return from daylight savings time), so I lost one hour of sleep. After a breakfast of hamburgers and tea, I drove to Sugar Bowl for one more day of snowboarding.

I found a few places at Sugar Bowl where I could do a few jumps.

This was another beautiful day - but just a little bit colder and the snow was a bit more icy than on Saturday. The view of surrounding woods and the nearby Lake Mary are really spectacular.

I had a great time doing jumps (though these are not as great as the ones in Whistler's Nintendo Park).

Thursday, March 5, 2015

2015 Pops Concert at Dartmouth Middle School

The Dartmouth Middle School Band (in which Alex plays trumpet in Beginning Band) presented a Pops Concert in March of 2015.

Alex was scheduled to play trumpet in the Beginning Band. While waiting in line for the concert, Inna received a call from Alex - he forgot his notes at home. Inna rushed to get his notes and handed them off to Mr. Neipp. Alex was then able to walk in and sit down.

The band played the following compositions:

Jazz Band
Beginning Band (Alex playing trumpet)
Concert Band
Symphonic Band
It was a fun concert and well directed by Sam Neipp. My favorite performance was of Skyfall.