There are certain things that I adore about living in the East Bay relative to San Francisco. I think the weather is much better (aka I see the sun from June - August), the people friendlier and access to live’s little pleasures (Target, Home Depot and Joann’s Fabrics). However, I will go on a limb and say that the East Bay, Oakland & Berkeley in particular, are really coming into their own regarding food. From the Gourmet Grotto in North Berkeley to the string of wonderful eating establishments along Telegraph in Oakland, a person can definitely get their “grub” on in this hood.
This week was a short week for The Partner, so he was out of the hospital by 7pm and had the entire weekend off. We decided to take advantage of this by hitting up the 3-6-9 Happy Hour at The Lake Chalet in Oakland. The Lake Chalet is a recently renovated restaurant overlooking Lake Merritt. Headed by Chef Jared Doob, the restaurant focuses on American cuisine with an upscale twist. This was our second time at the restaurant but the first time experiencing their Happy Hour.
The Lake Chalet
Photo Credit: SF Weekly Blog
While the idea of Happy Hour is not anything new, The Lake Chalet has two Happy Hours daily – first one from 3-6pm and the second from 9pm to close. I love the idea of the late happy hour as I always tend to miss earlier happy hours due to scheduling conflicts. Additionally, The Partner has a wonky work schedule (damn sick patients – JOKING) so a later happy hour gives us flexibility. In any case, we headed out to The Lake Chalet with our friend Brian for drinks and a late dinner.
The 3-6-9 Happy Hour menu is built around the concept of $3 appetizers, $6 tapas plates and $9 dinner plates along with $3 beers and $6 cocktails. All of which are tasty and come quickly if you are seated at the bar, which we were. While my$9 fish and chips were ok, my extra dirty $6 martini was EXCELLENT! We also dabbled in the crab deviled eggs, humus and onion rings. Overall for a bill under $60 for three people including food and drinks, it was an enjoyable evening out.
While The Partner had visions of a relaxing Saturday filled with watching tennis and golf, I had other ideas which included using his superior math skills to hang pictures in the music room and downstairs powder room. After several hours of measuring, mi-smeasuring, nailing and leveling, we were done and the results are great. The couch for the music room arrives on Wednesday and then I can do my big reveal of the room. Overall, I am really happy with the room and how it turned it. It is one of the first times I have envisioned a room, bought furniture ahead of time, did upholstery and hired a seamstress to carry out my “vision”. It was a scary and exciting experience and I am a bit hooked now on the high of it all. Of course, I am sure it is much different when you are doing it professionally and with someone else’s home. But because of the two rooms, I have been asked by several people to help with their own decorating projects….maybe I will be the Decorating Chef — bringing home decor and yummy treats to the masses :)
The Partner and I then nixed the idea for a movie and literally just sat in the house watching TV and doing really much of nothing. It was heaven for The Partner and a bit of a let down for me, but we had to save our energy for my friend’s birthday brunch the next day.
We woke up early, 9am, which is early for us and was out the door by 10:15am. Reason being that we were headed up to wine country for a surprise birthday brunch for my dear friend Christian. Our destination? The Fremont Diner in Sonoma.
The Fremont Diner
Photo Credit: Fare to Remember
It is literally a roadside restaurant with some of the best down home cooking in wine country. Think hearty biscuits and gravy, beef hash and chicken and waffles — good stick to your ribs eatin’ done in an elegant nonchalant way. They don’t take reservations and seating is limited to a few tables inside and picnic tables outside. We were lucky enough to grab two tables for our group of 9 (hence why we had to leave early).
At noon sharp, Christian showed up with his boyfriend Taylor to a group of 9 guys yelling HAPPY BIRTHDAY, two cases of Diet Coke (Christian has a serious love affair with the stuff) and this cake:
Amazing what you can do with PowerPoint graphics.....
Our mutual friend Ryan found the baker and I whipped up a last-minute graphic in PowerPoint. Isn’t it hilarious? Christian as I said has a serious love affair with Diet Coke and to a lesser degree the McRib sandwich. After a wonderful brunch, we took the cake and hightailed it over to the group’s favorite Sonoma tasting destination — Gloria Ferrer Winery.
View from Gloria Ferrer's Tasting Patio
Photo Credit: Sonoma Uncorked
It was the perfect day to sit on their patio, drink sparkling wine and a few bottles of their pinot noir and just enjoy good company. It also makes for a very sleepy blogger, so I promptly fell asleep on the drive home and took an hour nap when we arrived at the house.
This was a really great way to cap off my last official weekend as a free person……next week the craziness of school begins!