Sunday, May 27, 2007

Gone fishin' - not

I'll be back in a week. My laptop will accompany me, but don't know whether I'll be able to get online and post anything. My friend Cherrie and I are taking a little trip to do some shopping, maybe try a few wines, attend some cooking classes at Ramekins in Sonoma, and enjoy some good food. Here are some of the other places we're going to visit:

Dinner: Chez Panisse, Berkeley (Alice Waters' restaurant - she was the earliest restaurateur to proclaim the virtues of fresh and organic lettuces and vegetables - we're eating in the café, not the more elegant restaurant.)

Dinner: Cyrus, Healdsburg (One of the top restaurants in the Healdsburg area - you have to pre-pay $100 for dinner here, not refundable if you change your mind. Geez! They will give you "store credit" though. It had better be worth it!)

Lunch: The Girl & the Fig, on the square in Sonoma (Dave and I have eaten here before, thought it was wonderful. The chef has her own personal line of fig products like fig vinegar, fig conserve, etc. Obviously, she's in love with figs! What I remember most about it last time was the great mojito I had. I know, I know, this is wine country, but I was tired of tasting wine from morning til night.)

Dinner: The General's Daughter, Sonoma (another landmark near the square in Sonoma. Highly recommended by one of the cooking instructors/classes I frequent.)

Dinner: Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, St. Helena (Cindy Palcywn, of Mustards Grill fame, has been on my radar screen for over 20 years. First tried baked garlic at her restaurant back in the early 80's. My friend Linda gave me the Mustards' cookbook. This is a more recently opened restaurant, casual, highly recommended by my friend Darlene.)

Oh, almost forgot, we're also going to the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory in Berkeley. We have an appointment for a tour there, which should be oodles of fun. I'm a fan of good chocolate and use Scharffenberger's in baking, always, providing I have it on hand. The Scharffenberger family used to be into wines, mostly sparkling wine, which was one of my favorites of the champagne-style. I was quite disappointed when they sold the business. But then they decided to focus on producing the finest, European-style chocolates. It took them a couple of years to learn all about it and purchase the equipment, etc., but they've since had great success and acclaim.



Kate said...

I went to Napa in 1989 (was in San Fran about three months prior to the '89 earthquake. We took a trip to Napa and toured some wineries. This was long before it was totally chic to be there and it so wasn't crowded at all. We ate at some outta tha way joint that had fabulous food and tasted some great wines. When I told friends about it, they said "WHERE did you go?" since most had never heard of it. *sigh* Those were the days! I hope you have a great trip! It all sounds wonderful.

Joyce McClain said...

Carolyn, finally took a look at your blogging website :-) What a wonderful project! I envy you your trip to Sonoma. Wonderful memories there. My favorite sip/taste was at Charles Krug Winery. I had been tasting wine and snack nibbling until my lips touched a sample of Charles Krug's cream sherry. That was it for me! I cherished the lingering nutty taste of the cream sherry for as long as it lasted. If you get there, have a taste in memory of NAIC Orange County. We did some great things, didn't we?
Have a marvelous time :-)
Joyce McClain

Carolyn T said...

Kate - I've been to wine country many times in the last 25 years, and it has changed. Napa Valley is certainly more commercialized. Sonoma, although very busy with tourists the days we were there, is still a little more laid back. Healdsburg, I think, is more like wine country used to be 15 years ago, although it's approaching the fast lane of wine tourist stuff. But still, we had fun everywhere we went.
Joyce - I'm embarrassed to say that Cherrie and I didn't do any tastings at any wineries. Lest you think I didn't imbibe, though, we certainly drank our share of wine at every dinner. We visited Ferrari-Carano (to shop at their winery store and to visit their glorious gardens), which is just beautiful. Shopping beckoned us on this trip far more than wine!