Matt and I drove up to Pinole today to take a look around and have lunch. We wound up eating at The Embers (600 San Pablo Avenue), since I wanted to try to get the roast beef sandwich I saw my neighbor enjoying the last time I was there having a dish I didn’t care for. I spent that whole meal craning my neck to examine the sandwich and being slightly pissed off about my chicken. My family and friends know very well that I have a tendency to start in when I think someone else’s food looks better than mine. What might start out as an idle comment can quickly turn into a meal-long whine. My friend Paul and I often order the same thing when we eat out, since we share this unappetizing trait, in fact. The Embers, a kitschy kind of diner that specializes in BBQ, is uneven in terms of quality, but we were willing to give it another go. The lunch menu offered a French dip au jus for $8.95, which seemed about right, so I ordered it. The friendly server asked me how I wanted my meat. “Rare!” This was a sign that there was actually a piece of beast roasting in the kitchen, and I became giddy. Turns out this was the best French dip I ever had. Lots of hand-carved sirloin, really rare, the way I like it, served with a cup of beef tea for dipping and some decent from-frozen — I think — fries. Matt had the chicken fried steak again and. while he liked it, it didn’t look like great shakes to me. I’ll be dragging my mom and Steven up there soon.
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