“Popcorn for breakfast! Why not? It’s a grain. It’s like, like, grits, but with high self-esteem.”
— James Patterson
I was invited to be a guest speaker for the Pollock Pines SIRS (Sons In Retirement) last week. They meet for lunch one Thursday a month at Fifty Grand Steakhouse, 6401 Pony Express Trail In Pollock Pines. This was the second or third time I have spoken to them and, as usual, it was a lot of fun.
They meet in the large banquet room and lunch was salad, a half roasted chicken, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy and for dessert, strawberry ice cream. Now, that is real food.
With the salad they put real men’s salad dressings on the table, both 1000 Island and blue cheese, and with the chicken they serve rolls and jellied cranberry sauce.
The chicken was perfect, real fall-off-the-bone perfect. The mashed potatoes and gravy were wonderful, as was the corn. Most people took home half of their chicken for dinner, but not me. My plate was empty of everything.
If you are wondering, my talk was on hangings during the Gold Rush and to add a bit of reality and humor, I wore a real, 13 turn hangman’s noose around my neck.
It has been a real long time since I had dinner at Fifty Grand. When I first moved to El Dorado County a little over 40 years ago, we went there every couple of weeks for prime rib, which they still serve as a special on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. They also have a full bar and serve steak, seafood, ribs and more.
For more information on Fifty Grand call 530-644-1580.
Diamond Chinese, the restaurant next to the post office in Diamond Springs, is one of my favorite places when I want a delicious, inexpensive lunch of freshly prepared Chinese food.
My friend Bruce Alden and I had some business in Placerville last Friday, so, on our way back, we stopped in for lunch. From its three items lunch combo ($5.75) I ordered cashew chicken, pork chow mein and, the little kid in me added sweet and sour pork. Bruce picked cheese wonton, Szechuan wings and pork fried rice.
Our very attentive server, who came by several times to make sure we had water and that everything was to our liking, first brought us egg flower soup, which was very nice. Then came our meals. Everything was hot, fresh and delicious, and the portions were generous. Bruce took half his rice home, I ate everything on my plate — again.
Diamond Chinese Restaurant has a huge menu with all kinds of dishes, family dinners, combination dinner plates and more, along with the lunch combos and over rice lunch dishes.
The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Call 530-622-8188 for more information.
On Sunday I stopped by Miraflores Winery to check out the food and wine pairing luncheon. As I mentioned last week, the featured chef was Christian Masse, chef and co-owner of “ALLEZ! Good Food on the Go” in El Dorado, assisted by a very lovely young lady named Orietta Gianjorio, who is a certified sommelier from Rome and really knows wine, but doesn’t talk down to you.
We sat on the shady vineyard patio, where a gentle breeze kept us pleasantly cool while being served deliciously prepared and presented dishes and had each wine explained to us by the smiling sommelier.
The four-course menu included cold tomato basil soup, goat cheese tart and green bean vinaigrette, paired with 2011 Rosé; salmon stuffed with scallop mousse with coffee ginger lime sauce, paired with 2011 Pinot Grigio; pork tenderloin stuffed with apricots and rosemary with a honey and garlic sauce, paired with 2007 Syrah and a dessert course of lemon pot de crème and a chocolate and caramel Grand Marnier tart, paired with the non-vintage Angelica.
On Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 18 and 19, the chef will be Damon Barham, chef at Technique Restaurant, California Culinary Academy Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco.
You can make a reservation for anytime between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. both days.
For more information call 530-647-8505.
This Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 18 and 19, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., you will have the opportunity to taste all the vintages of Holly’s Hill Vineyard’s Patriarche ever produced starting with the 2002 and ending with the 2010. This is the only time of the year to sample all vintages and your last chance to buy the 2010 vintage at the discounted futures price.
Appetizers will be provided. No reservations or advance tickets are required. For more information call 530-344-0227.
On Sunday, Aug. 26, from 4 until 8 p.m., the El Dorado County Main Library, 345 Fair Lane in Placerville, will be holding its annual “Wine for Words” benefit, this year featuring “An Evening of Mark Twain,” a presentation by scholar and editor, Robert H. Hirst.
The evening will start with wine and beer tasting provided by local wineries Ursa Vineyards, dkcellars, Synapse Winery, Wofford Acres Vineyards and Colibri Ridge Winery, along with Placerville Brewery.
At 5 p.m. there will be a catered gourmet dinner prepared by Diane Wilkinson, followed by Hirst, who will be speaking on “Tales from the Mark Twain Papers: Newfound Stories or Anecdotes by Twain.”
Hirst is a world-renowned expert on Mark Twain and general editor and official curator of the Mark Twain Project and Papers, housed at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also editor of “Who Is Mark Twain?” and general editor of “Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1.”
Books for his signature will be available for purchase before and during the event and there will also be a raffle and silent auction of many wonderful items donated by local wineries, merchants and community members.
Seating is limited, so purchase your tickets early. All proceeds benefit the main library in Placerville. For more information call 530-621-5540.
Birthdays to celebrate today: American frontiersman, adventurer and soldier, David “Davy” Crockett (1836); motion picture producer and industry pioneer Samuel Goldwin (1882); famed U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers (1929); singers Belinda Carlisle (1958) and Donnie Wahlberg (1969); actors Robert De Niro (1943), Robert Joy (1951), Maureen O’Hara (1920) and Sean Penn (1960) and artist Larry Rivers (1923). It is also the anniversary of Robert Fulton’s first steamboat trip in 1807.