For years now, we have had a family tradition. After our daughter's end-of-the-year dance recital, we would go to Sonoma Station for dinner (previously discussed here). It was my parents' favorite restaurant in Vermont, too, so as they were usually in town for the recital they were only too happy to go. Alas, Sonoma Station closed its doors last month.
Our lives are changing in other ways. For a few years now, the girl's interests have slowly been moving away from dance and towards music. She plays three instruments: piano, clarinet and bass clarinet. Now 13, she's gotten pretty good at all of them, particularly the piano. She's taken lessons for five years and left me in the dust ages ago. Admittedly, I was a late bloomer in music but her comfort, knowledge, sensitivity and passion already exceed anything I experienced before college. It's a joy to watch. In part because of this shift in interests, in part because dance weekend is crazy enough without having to worry about out of town guests, we invited my parents to come for music recital weekend instead this year.
With all of these changes, it is certainly a good time to forge new traditions. We asked the Purple Penguin if she had any requests for her post-recital dinner this year. She told us to surprise her. Challenge accepted! She loves Italian, so...
We had never been to Toscano Cafe Bistro in Richmond before. We certainly know the neighborhood. Sonoma Station was just down the road and Bridge Street Cafe (read more here), another now defunct family favorite, was across the street. Downtown Richmond was also our trick-or-treat area of choice for a long time.
We started with mussels (if they're on the menu, we're getting them) and deconstructed bruschetta. I had pork tenderloin as an entree. My wife and I shared a peach cobbler for dessert. The food was all good as was the service. It was noisy, so not the best place for intimate conversation and probably not a reasonable Sonoma replacement for my parents. Prices are on the high side but they reflect high quality.