Monday, June 02, 2008

day in sonoma

Every time Dan and I explore together, I find new beauties in this spectacular area I call home... new treasures we both get excited about, expanding our pleasure by sharing it (geeky or not).

After a French brunch at Sausalito's new Le Garage (dig that French Toast with homemade creme fraiche), we drove North to some wineries near Sebastopol, before ending up at the also brand new (had to hit 'em up, you know) Hopmonk Tavern, a beer garden and hofbrau that wasn't as kitschy as we'd have liked but more industrial and modern. Still, lots of beers on tap (made Dannee happy) and a kick ass plate of German-style sausages, grilled onions, cabbage, potatoes and an unforgettable creamy mustard sauce (made me happy).

Sitting at the bar, we ended up getting into a long conversation with the man next to us, a well known chef in the area whose restaurant was Zagat-rated, and certainly known by me. He was as cool as could be and excited about our love of food, drink and travel and about my food writing. He tipped us off to a massive vintage clothing store nearby where he's opening a French cafe (unusual), so we visited that after a great talk with him.

The next step was Matanzas Creek Winery which we didn't taste at but was a magical discovery with it's lush, purple lavender field. California quail were cooing, dashing through the lavender bushes, providing childlike entertainment for my bird lover husband and making the backdrop even more enchanting for photos and lingering.

Driving through Glen Ellen that afternoon, we stumbled on Jack London Village, in one light, a plain, old Wine Country shopping mall. But for us, food discoveries awaited. A cheese tasting chamber!? Bright, fresh lemon olive oil. Exquisite chocolates at the blandly named Wine Country Chocolates (nothin' bland about the PB&J, Elvis - PB&Banana, of course! - and Cinnamon w/ Clover Honey truffles! I am dreaming of more!) Bluegrass Bar & Grill - a delightful old mill converted to a restaurant with a fabulous outdoor patio over a stream, modern cowboy decor and most of all, amazing beef brisket!

The evening ended with a walk around downtown Sonoma's idyllic square, checking out menus, walking each alley, peeking in windows and basking in the glow of that pre-twilight hour.
Currently watching : God Grew Tired of Us (Documentary)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Favorite May Moments

1. Roaming North Beach and the Wharf with Dan for hours (after 4B coffee in the alley, fondue at Melt, reading, writing, roaming the docks by the old ships)
2. Chicago Speakeasy Ball w/ 10 friends... & dancing with my Dannee
3. Bette Davis movies at the Stanford Theatre with Jus & Amanda
4. Challenged to wake up to what's going on around us at Pilgrim's Place
6. Rousing talk over flights of wine with Karen at Cav
7. Exploring Sausalito and other parts of Marin alone on a gloriously beautiful Tuesday
8. Real talk over family style pasta at Caffe Sport with A&A
9. Bourbon & Branch, then Indian food, w/ Ben & Corie
10. Seeing Kenny Barron for free at Yoshi's w/ Dan (and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe sitting at the table next to us!)
11. Sex & the City nite w/ girls (dressing up, cocktails, crowds, and, yes, female bonding)
Currently listening : Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) - Cloud Cult