Today’s post makes the series name somewhat inaccurate, hence the subtitle. We awoke and, having spent the week debating the best course of action, decided it made the most sense for us to all go to the airport to pick up the rental car since it cost the same to get out there whether it was just me or all of us. Additionally, we’d spend less gas than having me circle back around to pick up the girls.
We grabbed the car within 5 minutes (we’d been expecting it to take an hour) so we went to the cell phone parking lot to wait for Brain to arrive. After grabbing him we drove the 45 minutes out to Livermore to attend the rehearsal luncheon at Uncle Yu’s. Uncle Yu’s menu and food selection is the same as Pacificana’s – the Brooklyn restaurant where Duc holds every event that a European American might use a party hall. That is to say, it’s authentic Chinese cuisine presented in the family style. (You’ll be used to that if you’ve ever eaten at a PF Chang – although their food is considerably less authentic) There’s an emphasis on seafood, but that’s probably as much of a personal preference as it is anything else. There are three key differences between Uncle Yu’s and Pacificana. 1) Uncle Yu’s food comes out at a more American pace. You don’t feel like you have to hurry to finish your dish so they can make room for the next one 2) Since Uncle Yu’s is in Livermore, CA and Pacificana is on 8th Ave Brooklyn (Brooklyn’s Chinatown), they cater to slightly different demographics. 3) Most importantly for me, I didn’t get sick at Uncle Yu’s. I don’t know what it is about Pacificana because I can eat their Dim Sum without any issues. But every time I eat dinner there I get the worst stomach ache in the world. I’m talking – I feel so bad I want someone to kill me to put my out of my misery. I’d rather not exist than feel that pain. I’m not sure what causes it because I assume they use all the same kitchen pots/pans/etc to make the Dim Sum as they do the dinner. So if it’s a contamination or allergy issue I figured I’d get it all the time. Anyway, the food was fine.
The real beauty was the downtown area where Uncle Yu’s is located. It looks like all the cute downtowns that aren’t real downtowns. In other words, suburban downtowns. It has a nice area for walking, not quite enough parking, and is great when the weather is nice on a lazy day. I took Scarlett to play with the fountain and watch the kids from the bride’s side play with the fountain.
I also had to grab some new shoelaces for my Rockports. The laces on the right shoe had given out that morning and they were my primary walking shoe in California. Thankfully, the was a shoe store right across the street from Uncle Yu’s and the guy there was very helpful in getting me the right size shoelaces.
That night we ate at Dimitri’s Taverna. The hotel (Courtyard Marriott Livermore) had given us a list of local restaurants and the person checking us in had circled the best in each category. Dimitri’s Taverna was the circled entry for Mediterranean, which was the cuisine Duc was in the mood for. So I gathered everyone up and they agreed to go there. It’s more or less diagonally across the street from Uncle Yu’s. Great decision – turned out to be the second best food I ate on the trip. I ordered a lamb gyro and it was the best-tasting one I’d ever eaten. One of the key things they did right was the distribution of food within the pita. They made the best effort I’ve ever seen to have the tomatoes, lettuce, etc all over the pita. Too often I eat gyros where I’m only eating meat for a while and then mostly only eating the tomatoes, etc. I also really liked the tziki sauce they made. There was also a guy working there who, if he wasn’t the owner, he is the best employee they’ve got there. He made great conversation with us, made sure everything was fine, and generally seemed to know all the regulars. When he found out we were in town for a wedding he gave us free shots of some Greek alcohol. I usually abstain from alcohol (other than homemade mojitos), but decided to have a shot in celebration of the wedding and in solidarity with the group. Man, it tasted just like Robitussin! ugh!
Tomorrow’s the big wedding post! Stay “tuned”!