God, I'm getting old. We spent the weekend in Sonoma with friends and I'm exhausted.
We flew down to the Bay Area this weekend for an extended getaway. It all started when Ramkins published their Winter schedule and Judy Witts Francini aka Divina Cucina was teaching a Winter Tuscan Dinner class. Several of us on SlowTrav had said we would take the class. I signed up right way which was a good thing since it sold out.
We also hadn't seen our friends in Bay Area for a while so we made arrangements to stay with them and we would spend the weekend in Sonoma.
Pauline fron SlowTrav found an outstanding rental, Cottage Sonoma. She said it would be big enough for two couples so we wented it. It was outstanding. I loved the Asian/Island style decor. It has two bedrooms, two baths, hard wood floors, a large open modern kitchen, patio, BBQ and hot tub. It was foggy and cold so we didn't take advantage of the hot tub, but the deck and tub would be great in the Spring.
We flew into Oakland. We decided to tour a few of the gardens on the East Bay. Our first stop was the Lakeside Garden at Lake Merritt in Oakland. It has a metal lath house for Vireya Rhododendrons. Many of them were in bloom. It was kinda run down but nice vireya. Great for plant geeks.
Next we headed up to Berkeley and the Fourth Street shopping area. Our destination, Tacubaya, an upscale taqueria. Yummy. G had a mushroom-cheese chile rellano and a fish taco. I had a pork tamale and a beef taco. All was outstanding. I loved the chile aioli on the fish taco and the mole sauce on the tamale was a perfect blend of sweet/bitter chocolate and hot spices. We'll go to Tacubaya again.
Next door is the Pasta Company. I picked up some porcini ravioli, sauce and a piece of Selle sur Cher goat cheese for dinner. At the wine store, we picked up a yummy Chianti from a producer I hadn't heard of but was located in Panzano.
On the way back to the car, I ran into a former co-worker who had moved back to Bay Area several years ago. It was so strange to run into someone you know.
Our dinner that night was fun. We spent the evening talking politics and wondering about the future.
Friday, we lounged around while B worked from home. We did take in back to back viewing of Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2. Tarantino is not one of my favorites. I also don't care lots of violence even over the top stylised violence.
We left shortly before 4pm and made it to Sonoma just around 5:30pm. We dumped our bags and headed out to Cafe La Haye for dinner. Boy oh boy was it good. G had a wild greens salad and taglattini with clams. It was spicy but good. A had mussels in a pernod-fennel sauce and a filet mignon spiced with pepper and lavendar. B had a green salad and the filet mignon. I had the endive, golden beet, dry jack cheese salad. It was great but unfortunately, the pale belgian endive and white cheese ended up not being very appetizing in appearance. My entree was a lamb shank in a great sauce. It was a red wine, broth, and tomate based and was the perfect sweetness to go with the lamb. But was the best was the mustard cooked cabbage. It was wonderful. Along with this we had a bottle of Flora Springs 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon.
We skipped dessert and headed back to the cottage. They had Trivial Pursuit 6. We always play TP when we are together. We play men against women. Several years ago, the women would always win but again is taking its toll. The women were ahead but we didn't finish it so who knows who would have won. We opened a bottle of Robert Craig Affinity and had it with Fran's chocolate truffles. Oh that was good.
- more to follow -