James, Jeannette and Tim at Café Mozart in San Juan Capistrano. (12/26/2007)
I used to work with Jeannette in the mid-to-late '90s when I was working for a publishing company. The company had acquired some new magazines, and Jeannette came along with them. Interestingly enough, one of the titles that she had been working on was an annual publication called Death Row, which was kind of a yearbook for people on Death Row. It sounds terrible, I know, but you'd be surprised at how entertaining it was to read!
Although we didn't intend to, we just sort of lost touch with Jeannette shortly after she moved to San Francisco seven years ago. Although she still lives there now, we found out she was back in Southern Cali visiting family for the holidays, so we decided to meet up for a reunion dinner.
James and Jeannette reunited again. (12/26/2007)
We live in Orange (the city with appeal!), and Jeannette's family lives in Oceanside, about 60 miles south of here. So what did we do? We met in San Juan Capistrano, which is almost exactly the mid-way point between the two cities. For the restaurant, we selected Café Mozart, which is where we had the reception for Todd & Carolina's wedding.
It was great seeing Jeannette again. We instantly fell back into that comfortable groove, and we spent a lot of time catching up on everything and everybody. It was definitely a hoot!
Alligator tail thinly sliced and blackened, Cajun style. (12/26/2007)
One thing I can say about Jeannette is that, like me, she's adventurous with food. Sometimes that adventurous streak delivers like dominoes (i.e. the hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Redondo Beach with the amazing empanadas). Other times, you get cold dissed (i.e. the chicken leg tamales at the not-so-good Peruvian restaurant). So when my parallel food adventurer saw an alligator tail appetizer on the menu, she couldn't resist!
The first bite of the alligator tail was a little odd. You definitely knew it was different. A little like calamari perhaps. I don't think we really started appreciating it until bite #3 or so, when it started to grow on you. Once I got into it, it kind of reminded me of chicken-fried steak.
Tim's pan-seared crispy duck breast, red cabbage & spätzle. (12/26/2007)
Tim didn't go for the alligator tail, but for his entree he very much enjoyed the beautiful pan-seared crispy duck breast served with a cherry and black peppercorn sauce. It was served with red cabbage and homemade spätzle. Jeannette and I each had the beef stroganoff in a red-wine sauce, also with homemade spätzle. All the food was delicious, as well as the crème brûlée dessert we shared at the end of the night. Fun times!