Friday, December 31, 2004

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The weather has been a bit unsettled this week, and promises to continue that way through the New Year's weekend. Too bad. No golf.

However, there are a few compensations. For instance, catch this view from our back yard this morning:

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

We're still exploring the restaurant environment in our new hometown of Walnut Creek, and last night found a true winner. It's not cheap ($40 w/wine), but it's fascinating.

That's the chef, Kelly Degala above. He's Hawaiian, and he runs a loud, exciting, busy exhibition kitchen at Va de Vi on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. We were without reservations, and so were seated at the counter where we could watch the activities.

The deal here is small plates, bigger than h'ors d'oevres, but smaller than entrees. Lots of choices, myriad influences, and a plethora of tastes. We shared a rib-eye steak, shrimp w/peanut sauce, and pork ribs w/plum sauce. Prefaced with lobster bisque and closed with a four-piece dessert sampler. Wow, it was good.

The counter setting also provides for easy friendship with neighbors. Next to us was Giuseppe Cagnoni from Umbria (next door to Tuscany in central Italy) who imports Italian delicacies, including his family's "Etruria" olive oil. He had just delivered a paper bag with Italian white truffles to Kelly and had him put one on a plate to show Mieko. About 3" by 2", it cost $700. Not bad.

Highly recommended by the mystery restaurant guest (me.) We'll try it again with an old college roommate next week, for lunch this time.

Go to

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Wedding Anniversary Day. Here's a photo we found recently showing George and Mieko at the Tonga Room of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. The date is December 28, 1966:

We haven't really changed much, have we?

Friday, December 24, 2004

St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall. Mieko & I were there in 2001 and we shared a plate of fish and chips right here:

Yes, I know that the timing is a bit off, but it looks warm outside, doesn't it?
Merry Christmas and a Very Happy Holiday Season to all from Nut Crik!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Cheers to all the new homes in the Winnacker family!
Here's one from Bromsgrove...(aka MKW's infamous two story brick?)

Monday, December 13, 2004

We could talk about moving, right? It's an exhausting, degrading, unintellectual, boring process. But you knew all that, right? In honor of another traumatic change for the three cats that we have recently been living with, let's look at a satisfied feline:

We'll check in from a new location as soon as possible.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Remember that paper-mache Japanese face that we painted one eye onto about 5 years ago? It's called a daruma. Sort of a promise of good luck in a chosen endeavor. Well, our endeavor was HiltonHouse in Nut Crik, and here is the daruma in place on the window seat, just waiting for his/her second eyeball to be painted in, in less than a week. :-)

And, I just couldn't resist on final photo of the new wind vane. I'm beginning to like that heron:

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I just thought that this was a neat padlock photo (hat tip to

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

OK, back to wine in the foothills. (It's been going down to 25-30F at night up there this week.) (Unusual, but not unheard of.)

Unlike the Napa/Sonoma area, wine tastings in the Gold Country are still free. That's good, and it's good business; makes me want to buy a bottle of wine to take with us.

The smaller wineries are by far the most interesting. Usually just one person serving, often quite knowledgeable, and there are no crowds unless there's a limo or a van out front.

I'm thinking here of Spinetta, Serenidad, Terre Rouge, and Easton. All within 15 minutes of each other off Shenandoah Road in Plymouth. Get a sandwich in town, buy a bottle of wine at the winery, and enjoy a wonderful luncheon picnic. Go now!

Here's a picture of the vineyards on Shenandoah Schoolhouse Road:

Two weeks to go on HiltonHouse, and it looks like maybe we'll be on schedule, although the driveway will lag by about a week. Remember that earlier post about Mieko's cupola? Well, here it is, in place and looking good, although the damned bird appears to have pooped a bit already:

And, even the exterior is beginning to look presentable. If that truck isn't moved pretty soon, I think that I'll claim it.