We were at King’s Crossing railway station at Gate 9¾, getting ready to board the Hogwarts Express and I was traveling with a wand carrying woman. If none of this makes sense you have probably ignored one of the major literary and later cinematic series of stories to emanate from England since Dickens was first published in serial form. We edged our way to the train around luggage carts loaded with steamer trunks and owls in cages to go to Hogsmead Station, and in actuality we were going from one amusement park to another and all part of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We were assigned seating in an enclosed booth on the train car and there was a show to observe both looking out the window or by watching through the translucent windows and door to the aisle way of the train car.
All the while, my Bride and sometimes myself practiced using the wand and reading enchantments. She had bought the wand ahead of time and it came in handy throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmead as there were places to practice magic with the wand for added enjoyment. Though after some debate and even though it would have been a learning experience, we both refrained from having a draught of Butterbeer as well as any dining establishments in either of the Harry Potter environments. We actually took the Express back to King’s Crossing and decided to go and have lunch in the wharf area of San Francisco.
While it sounds like we did a lot of traveling that morning, the streets of New York, including cinematic favorites of Louis in the Bronx and Genco Olive Oil was just around the corner from King’s Crossing and if you looked across the water, you could see Beverly Hills and San Francisco tied the two communities together. The last time we were there, before there was a Harry Potter there was a delightful restaurant in the Beverly Hills/Hollywood district called the Brown Derby and they even duplicated some of the famed dishes from that famed eatery. Alas, the younger generation had no idea of the Brown Derby and it had been converted into a hat shop, but with tourism being curtailed, this was one of the shops that had been closed down at least for the moment.
We decided to have lunch at Lombard’s Seafood Grille, I had looked at the possibility of having dinner there, but when I saw the hours for the parks and that the restaurant was in one of parks, so it was only available for lunch. It was a large establishment on two floors overlooking the water and there was a number of dishes we could have really enjoyed, but we actually had dinner reservations and we wanted to leave room for that meal, even though we had walked across half of the world by that time. The interior reminded me of how Hollywood would portray San Francisco during the Gold Rush Days and the Gay Nineties with the arches and color. We decided to order two smaller plates and share between the two of us, which would hold us over until dinner. My Bride had Blue Crab Cakes that consisted of Blue lump crab that were pan seared with a Mustard Caper Aioli. I went with the Lombard’s Lobster Roll on a toasted split roll with Dijon Mayonnaise and shredded lettuce with house-made chips. The two dishes were much better than I expected, especially in a tourist attraction and we were both very happy.
The wine list was quite nice and there were several bottles that we could have enjoyed if we were going to have made lunch the focal point of the day, but since we were dining light, we both enjoyed a glass of wine and the air conditioning, as it was in the sweltering nineties that afternoon. My Bride had a glass of Emiliano Natura Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley, Chile 2018. Emiliana Organic Vineyards is a leading Chilean wine company, and one of the leading producers of certified organic and biodynamic wines around the world. They are famed for some of their blends as well as their varietal driven wines. They own about three-thousand acres in the country including properties in Colchagua, Maipo and the Casablanca Valley. This was a very pretty wine and it had a green and flinty taste and finish and very refreshing. I had a glass of the Halter Ranch Rosé Adelaida District, Paso Robles 2018. Halter Ranch is a vineyard and winery founded in 2000, and the ranch covers twenty-two-hundred acres of which two-hundred-six acres are certified Sustainability in Practice, they also have fifteen acres of walnuts and ten acres of organically certified olives. The wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Picpoul Blanc. The berries were lightly crushed with twenty-four hours of skin contact then pressed and fermented in Stainless Steel tank. Multiple tanks of Rosé were blended in different proportions after the initial fermentation to create the final blend, which was aged for two months in Stainless Steel, with no oak barrel aging and no malolactic fermentation. Tropical fruits and a mineral terroir finish with some nice acidity made this wine very friendly with our quick meal. Then it was back out to enjoy more of what the day and the parks had in store for us.