California (food) Dreaming – Part 2

Alright I left you hanging after my California (food) Dreaming – Part 1 post, let’s continue on and see what other tasty treats I had on the left coast.

After spending the prior 3 days moving and setting up my sisters new place she surprised me by taking me out for a birthday dinner.

While we were getting ready to go out we cracked open a bottle of Samuel Smith organic raspberry flavored beer. It was good and had more of a beer taste to it than my beloved Lindemans – Framboise.

After we were all dolled up we headed to the California Cafe for a late lunch.

California Cafe exists to provide an escape from the outside world. We feed the senses through our chef-driven creations, engaging service and relaxing ambiance. Our multicultural offerings feature seasonal ingredients with broad appeal.
We are passionate about the guest experience, providing service that is friendly and knowledgeable. Our relaxing environment serves as a California-style oasis.

In the heart of Los Gatos’ Old Town shopping district, California Cafe has a beautiful oak-shaded outdoor patio and an expansive interior overlooking the lush Santa Cruz Mountains and the Los Gatos Creek Trail.
Sit back, relax and savor!

We were seated at the perfect table under a tree.

The reason my sister chose this restaurant was for the Sangria. She knows the way to my heart:)

We chose the White Peach Sangria: merlot, peach schnapps and brandy infused with citrus, vanilla bean and white peaches.

The sangria was very good! My sister and I had no problem polishing off the pitcher:) However, be warned those infused peaches taste strongly of brandy when consumed.

I split the taco salad with my sisters friend. I was really looking forward to it because it sounded amazing. However, when it came to the table I could see that cilantro was mixed throughout it:( I really dislike the taste of cilantro so I ate a couple pieces of the steak and called it good.

Taco Salad: blackened skirt steak, pablanos, crispy tortillas, queso fresco, tomatillo vinaigrette

See the plate below? I’m in love with everything on it!

I was most surprised at how much I liked the potato salad. This was the first time I had every had it with a vinaigrette dressing instead of the heavy mayo dressing.

California Chicken Sandwich: Arugula, swiss cheese, citrus aioli with a side of potato salad.

1 simple element made this sandwich delicious. That element would be the arugula. The pepper flavor in the lettuce with the lightness of the citrus aioli was genius!

After we ate our meals and ordered dessert we decided to order a cocktail.

I embarrassed my sister (she should be used to it by now) by asking the bartender to make me a drink of her choice. My sister just wanted me to order off the menu but I find a lot of interesting new cocktails by ordering this way. However, I did tell the waiter I don’t like cilantro so please don’t put it in my drink;)

This was a delicious cocktail, light and refreshing.

Bartender Cocktail: Vodka base, sparkling wine, some type of strawberry puree and probably some other ingredients I couldn’t pick up on.

I’m going to admit something, I don’t like bread pudding. Let the bashing begin, I can take it;) However, I learned if you add a ton of butterscotch to bread pudding it is possibly the best dessert on the planet. Love this and plan to have it again when I go back in November (Did you read that sister? Make our reservations now!)

Butterscotch Bread Pudding with house made caramel ice cream.

The presentation of all the food was amazing but the candle on the cake (literally), was my birthday cake.
Warm Chocolate Truffle Cake with espresso gelato and raspberry sauce.

California Cafe was nothing short of impressive. I appreciate that they use seasonal ingredients. I could really taste the freshness in all of my dishes.

One thing I did notice was that the service was extremely laid back. I don’t think it was bad service I just think it’s the difference with dining in laid back California compared to Chicago where they are practically pushing you out the door;)

This is me: tired, worn out, happy, stress-free and did I mention happy:)

After our late lunch we headed over to the “dive bar”(which in my book = fun bar) in downtown Los Gatos, Black Watch.

My sister said we had to stop here because they are famous for Kamikaze’s.

I chose the Pineapple Orange Kamikaze which is served in a pint glass with a strainer and 2 small shot glasses.

What a great food and drink day!!! Thanks Sister!

California Scenery

As we were walking around I couldn’t help but stop and take pictures of all the beautiful flowers. I was amazed at all the variety growing in just a couple blocks worth of space.

Simply beautiful!
Have you ever asked a bartender to surprise you with a drink of their choice? Was it a good or bad experience?


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