The weekend before I flew away to the sunny wine country of the Sonoma Valley I went on a Big Breakfast Adventure with an uber-talented photographer friend, Danny, and his smart, beautiful, and equally-talented-but-in-different-ways wife, Tina. Danny is one of those people who is gifted with everything he touches. Not only does he shoot amazing images, he is also a brilliant, multi-instrument-playing musician, and those two accomplishments barely scratch the surface of things that he has successfully turned his hand to. Tina is busy studying Naturopathic medicine while running a successful business, and being wildly creative with fabrics in ways I can only dream of ever being able to do. For years they have travelled to Venice every February to attend Carnival, Tina making all their stunning costumes and masks with her incredibly skilled fingers. On top of all that artistry though, they are simply fascinating people. Danny wears kilts, has a foot-long beard to go with his two-foot-long black hair, makes no apologies for the choices he makes about his life, and regularly wears a bowler hat. They personify what it means to be who someone really is, and I just adore that about them.
When I posted on Facebook my intention to resume The Big Breakfast Adventure, Tina was one of the first with her arm in the air, waving wildly, “Me! Me! Pick me!” I was equally thrilled. I was also a tad nervous, because what with my mission to eat only *SANE foods, and Tina’s multiple food sensitivities, I realized we might be in for a tough time finding something suitable to quench our appetites; La Bête’s menu indeed proved to be a weighty wrestling match, and there were more than a few moments when I thought we might all have to leave hungry.
La Bête lives in an unassuming – almost missable – grey, corner building right near what I like to call the Olive Way triangle. This is like the Bermuda triangle without the water, and I have spent far too many hours of my life driving around its few short blocks over and over trying to figure out how to get to where I wanted to be. This visit was no exception, but Bing maps and parking karma eventually prevailed and as I stepped from my trusty 4-Runner, Danny and Tina magically appeared less than 100 feet away.
La Bête is one of those places that you could walk past daily and never realize there was a charming restaurant inside serving up a delicious array of interesting foods. Sophisticated old world elegance and a happy, eager staff make for a delightful experience. The menu at La Bête is a panacea for adventurous food lovers as long as you’re ready for a hefty helping of starch in a myriad of guises.
Danny, who is not following a SANE lifestyle, took the plunge and gobbled up the biscuits with ham gravy and poached eggs, and declared them to be delicious. Tina and her pesky dietary limitations worked with the our server to conjure up a plate of food that was both interesting and tasty, although other than that it involved a slice of pâté and some exotic-looking cauliflower, I do not recall the details. And this is why it’s always best to write the same day as the day you ate the meal…
Hand on heart, my pre-SANE foodie’s interest was piqued by all the ingenious concoctions staring at me from the menu, but I stood firm to my mission to find *SANEity everywhere!
When I whittled out all the inSANE, all-inclusive dishes which didn’t have options for SANE substitutions, I was left with 3 or 4 choices, all of which needed some tweaking. I finally opted for the La Bête Deluxe “Painted Hills” Burger – where “Painted Hills” is a brand of grass-fed beef raised in Oregon. It’s famous in these parts as one of the local grass-fed beefs of choice. Yum.
The options listed for my burger were fries or Caesar salad. Ding! That was easy. The only other hurdle was that wretched bun. When I asked for it bun-less, our ever-helpful server subbed in some leaves of butter lettuce – favorite! lettuce! ever! – and, um, B-A-C-O-N. Needless to say, after some initially scary moments wondering if I was going to get fed, a little help from the kitchen resulted in my desired plate of delicious *SANEity. Despite having been almost lured off the ranch by the dozen other inSANE dishes, I knew that a few moments of oral pleasure would have been regretted for hours, if not days.
It was a thoroughly lovely couple of hours of good food and great conversation. I even made it out of the Olive Way triangle alive! And on the same day!!
I thoroughly recommend grabbing some favorite people and sharing a meal. Whatever makes you feel good – do more of that.