Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This weekend brought a embarrassment of Bay Area riches. We ate our way through this county and several neighboring ones with oysters, wine and champagne, dinner at Pizzaiolo, Cowgirl Creamery cheese and homemade pickles, Pork Belly, dumplings and cocktails at Heaven's Dog, Zeitgeist burgers and beer, tamales from The Tamale Lady, eggs and toast at Rick and Ann's, Cole Coffee and of course, the best part, the guest of honor, Beth. Safely arrived from D.C. and, as of now, back in Oregon to prepare for her wedding on Sunday!

I picked her up from the airport where she was waiting, wedding dress in tow. With the dress safely secured in my apartment, we were off! Starting with cocktails at Pizzaiolo and sitting down to a dinner of grilled squid, fried fava beans and squash blossoms stuffed with fresh ricotta, lemon and basil, rigatoni with pork ragu and a pizza of nettles and Pecorino fresh out of the oven, blackened and blistered crust...oh so good! From there it was on to The Avenue for a few nostalgic games of Ms. Pacman, and I am happy to say, my skills at that game still reign supreme. I beat both Beth and a fellow bar patron who wanted in on the action. I am accepting all challenges, if you dare!

The next morning we headed up to Napa, stopping first at Mumm's to walk through the photography gallery there and have a flight of celebratory champagne. It was cold and cloudy in Berkeley, but the sun broke gloriously through the clouds in Napa. The vineyards were bright green and the yellow mustard was blooming everywhere. After Mumm's we went to one of my favorite's, Vincent Arroyo for Petite Sirah, barrel tastings of port and futures and a picture with Vince, the winemaker, who was graciously handling a tasting for customers himself. If you haven't tried their wine or been up there, it's truly one of the best wine tasting experiences I've ever had.

Our final stop was Frog's Leap. We did a tasting and a self-guided tour. Most of the pictures below are from that stop. This is one of the most beautiful wineries I have ever seen. Someday I'd like to do the guided tour, but we were happy to have a flight and then walk the organic garden's, exploring the beautiful grounds and gorgeous buildings.

There was so much more to the weekend, the oysters at Hog Island in the San Francisco Ferry Building being a true highlight, but I can't possibly recount it all. Suffice it to say, it was truly a perfect weekend. I love having visitors in the Bay Area, it helps me to explore and share everything I love about this little corner of the world. Every time I do, I fall more in love with this part of California. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate Beth's last "single days".

I dropped her at the airport this morning, and tomorrow I'll fly up to Portland as well to begin the wedding festivities. I can't wait! Congratulations, Beth and Daniel, I love you both!

Beth at Mumm's

Final note, posting will be a bit sparse this week, as I'll be visiting with family and friends in Oregon. Hopefully I'll come back next week with tons of new recipes!

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