Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nice "Valentines" Date

We celebrated Valentines Day a couple of days late - with a date last night.

The main event was a Chris Botti concert at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. But before I get to that, lets talk about dinner.

We don't go to Oakland all that often. Actually, the only reasons that I have been there recently are for a sporting event at the Colosseum (Monster trucks once and a Warrior game more recently) or to visit Craig at his shop - The Outboard Motor Shop / Star Power Marine. So we had no idea where to go eat before the concert. I did a search on the web and found a good list of restaurants, but still didn't feel comfortable with a Valentines dinner at a place that I picked off the web. So called Ken - a guy that works for me and use to work at Forte Software, a company that we (Sun) bought a number of years ago headquartered in Oakland. He recommended a few places and we decided on Oliveto Cafe and Restaurant.

This turned out to be an awesome choice. It is in Oakland, but right on the Berkeley border across from the Rockrimmon Bart station. A bit of a digression. This is actually a very cool area. It feels more like a college town than I would have expected. It was really alive. There were nice specialty wine, meat, grocery and flower stores on one side and a number of cool looking restaurants on the other.

Back to the restaurant. They do a new menu each night. So they include any specials as they create the menu. We took one of these menus home since it was so cool. Todd - expect a copy in email:) They are known for making their own salami and pasta daily. So rather than go with two full meals, we went with a salami starter, we shared a "Polentina with Green Garlic and Parmesan" soup, "Ravioli of Graised cavolo nero, ricotta and Pine Nuts" as our pasta and "Charcoal-Grilled Sierra Mackerel with Sweet Potato Puree and Old balsamico" as the main course. This was all very good - although a bit on the unhealthy side ...:)

We then went to the concert. The opening act was Dana Glover. She plays the piano and sings. You might know her from the theme song from the first Shrek movie - It is you (I have loved). She has a nice raspy voice and was kind of funny in her comments between songs.

Then it was on to Chris. He is really really good. I am not a big instrumental fan, and the trumpet is not one of my favorite instruments, but he is impressive. He mixed it up nicely, had a guest singer who joined him for a few songs, brought you back to his time with Sting and his first professional gig with Frank Sinatra.

As you can tell, we had a great time!

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