A Tale of Three Restaurants

This tale does not have much to do with cycling, but it does have  a lot to do with an important part of our cycling trips–eating. Saturday we did one of our usual rides from Sycamore to the farmers’ market in Danville and then on to Blackhawk. It was a cool day but comfortable riding,  though a bit on the nippy side for the downhill return journey.

We made arrangements to meet our son at Stomp, one of our favorite Blackhawk restaurants, where the small plates are innovative and fun to sample. When we arrived at about five minutes before twelve, we were told that they do not open until twelve so we went to browse in a nearby art gallery. We returned about ten past twelve to be told that their computer was down and therefore they could not open. This is a restaurant that has been somewhat empty the last few times that we have been there, and I would think that they would have a backup plan for computer problems. Do they cook by computer?

Through good luck, we were able to grab one of the last tables at the Little Pear, a small restaurant run by the same people who have other restaurants in the San Ramon Valley. There we had  good food with fast service from a waitress whose favorite word was “perfect.” It was apparent that we should not  linger since the check was brought with no offer of dessert or coffee. While the food was good and it arrived in a timely manner, the dining experience here was not one to encourage a person to return. We look forward to these meals on  our rides, and we felt cheated by the rushed atmosphere. When the weather is too cold for sitting outside, this restaurant has limited space but under the former Cafe du Paris owners, we always encouraged to enjoy our meals in a leisurely fashion.

On Sunday, we visited the wine country to do some shopping. We had reservations for lunch in  Yountville  at Bouchon Bistro, one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants. Here the dining experience more than made up for the one the day before. We were seated on a banquette, fairly close to other people just as is often the case in bistros in France. We started with a wonderful pumpkin soup and then shared a pâté de Campagne and a confit de canard; all of these offerings were fantastic. The waiter was professional and attentive, and the surroundings are beautiful with lots of brass, an interesting mural, and a frieze that lends the room a seasoned look. We felt almost as though we were dining in a Paris brasserie, and we can’t wait to go back. But next time, we will work in a bicycle ride as well.

Bouchon Bistro


Cars Offered for Sale in front of San Ramon High

Saturday we did one of our usual rides from Alamo to Danville along the old highway, this one brightened by a stop at the Harvest Crafts Festival at our church, San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church. We visited the farmers’ market, Lunardi’s, and Pegasus Bicycle Works. We then headed home for our pleasant downhill ride on this tree-lined part of the highway, which still retains some of the ambiance of the San Ramon Valley of my youth. However, we ran into one blot on the landscape, really dangerous for cyclists. On weekends, people park cars that they want to sell in front of San Ramon High, so the cars are close to the bike lane. Saturday this hazard was aggravated by one car that was double-parked next to another, taking up the bike lane and a bit of the regular lane, thus causing cyclists to have to pass between these cars and the northbound traffic. A bit further on, another person had his SUV door open over the bike lane. It is bad enough that the cars are parked there at all, but the further endangerment of cyclists by this kind of disregard for their safety by the selfish few should not be tolerated by the Town of Danville.