Well, the secret is out. The Daily Meal named Danville one of nine "small food towns." According to Danville Weekly’s online editor, Jessica Lipsky, “The Daily Meal is a website covering ‘every aspect of the food and drink experience.’" A restaurant in neighboring San Ramon was also cited.
Those of us who are lucky enough to live in the Danville/San Ramon community know how great the food is here. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the neighborhood doesn’t attract foodies as residents. Or, perhaps good restaurants have grown up to meet the needs of the natural foodies who live here. Maybe the outstanding reputations of San Francisco and Oakland/Berkeley cuisine have spawned a few chefs who work their magic in our area. Bottom line: You don’t have to drive far to find what you’re looking to eat – and find it in abundance and delectable quality -- in this community. Who knows why? But it’s a wonderful thing and none of us is complaining.
So, speaking of great food, a friend from Oakland offered to take me to lunch yesterday to kick-start my month-long birthday celebration. (Annually, I try to eat my way through a month of birthday lunches.) She wanted us to go to some fancy venue in San Francisco but I persuaded her to make reservations closer to home. When asked for ideas in this area, she stopped me when the counting-off and naming of my favorite places around town passed onto my second hand of fingers.
We settled on Esin, and I couldn’t have been more delighted. (Since I’d dined there plenty of times and she had not, I realized that she was probably in for a bigger treat than I was. But that’s what birthdays are for – sharing special moments with great friends.)
As soon as we entered Esin, she knew she had underestimated Danville’s culinary quotient and that she was being exposed to a suburban “confidential.” The ambiance was fresh and, at 12:30, the place was packed. Spillover diners were eating at the bar. On the way to the ladies room to freshen up, she passed the dessert window and wanted to start there, until I talked her into a celebratory glass of wine and a cheese plate first. The waitress was gracious and suggested a white wine to compliment our cheese and figs. After a sip and a bite, my friend was already spouting praises. We split a salad and pasta entree...both tasty and generous half servings. I had to reward my friend (finally)with her choice of desserts. It was a 6" tall slice of lemon meringue pie, with the meringue as high as the lemon custard, sporting a thick gingersnap crust. Ooh la la! We hummed "Happy Birthday" to me as we politely competed for alternate slivers of the divine dessert. What a way to get my birthday eating-bash into action. Now, I have 30 more days to celebrate the fine dining of Danville and its surrounding "foodie" neighborhoods. Stay tuned.