I just got back from a week in California. I’d go again tomorrow if I could.
A world of fresh experiences always unfolds when I am lucky enough to travel there. Amazing things happen every time.
Like new flavors on my plate. Octopus, for example…
…and rabbit (which got me in trouble with Last born, who once loved a bunny) …
…courtesy of the Michelin-starred kitchen at The Farmhouse in Forestville. The accolades are very well-deserved. Last born was dismayed by my menu choice. “Your rabbit ate my carpet,” I texted her. “Now we’re even.”
We tasted wines at wineries and saw sea lions lounging in the cold surf at Jenner. Waiters offered blankets to wrap in during an early dinner on the big front porch of the restaurant at Cavallo Point, a lodge in Sausalito with splendid views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
My husband met a movie star…
Butch with Martin Sheen
…and was draped in a feather boa while being serenaded by a Disney chanteuse, all in the same day.
At Disney California Adventure, parades cropped up out of nowhere, right behind me…
…and even the ferris wheel was unique, with some of the cars extra-mobile and sliding left and right and around. I get motion sickness easily, so I wasn’t tempted.
Instead, my husband and I threw caution and common sense to the winds and went sailing in a real schooner, helmed by a real cap’n, freezing our behinds off while viewing the pretty sunset on the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay. I got cocky after my successful navigation of Goofy’s Sky School roller coaster the day before, and I dismissed my previous experiences of barfing in boats. I was lucky; a new friend shared his bottle of Dramamine before the boat launched, just as my panic began to rise. Note to self: It’s not easy to choke down those pills without something to drink, and parts of one’s tongue might go numb in the process. Buy a bottle of water.
It was so cold and so lovely.
After 95 or so days spent avoiding wheat and dreaming of bread, my husband and I fell off the gluten-free wagon in spectacular fashion at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, owned by legendary chef Thomas Keller. We split everything you see here, and it was beyond delicious.
(Clockwise from left, chocolate eclair with gold leaf, madeleine, chocolate croissant, chocolate-cherry scone, bouchon, and strawberry cheesecake) We’re back to gluten-free fare now that we’re home again, unfortunately.
I learned that I love flowers in my food, garnishing yogurt at breakfast…
…and raw scallops at dinner.
The rugged terrain of fly-over country struck me with its vivid, stark beauty. Here, somewhere over the American Southwest…
The majesty and fabulousness of the Golden Gate Bridge…
…makes it seem like a character all its own in any movie set here. Crossing it makes me happy.
I got some garden ideas from seeing dahlias combined with boxwood hedges…
…and the ubiquitous appeal of Agapanthus throughout coastal California.
Not to mention all those palm trees.
Here’s a simple illustration of the verticality of San Francisco’s streets, visual aid provided by hospitality hour at the Hotel Drisco:
Notice my wine is level. Notice the street is not.
Church happened in a cathedral of redwood trees.
A firepit for roasting marshmallows burned brightly each night of our stay at The Farmhouse.
We didn’t imbibe, being too full from wonderful dinners both nights, but I brought home a s’mores kit from that place. I hope to recreate a little bit of vacation heaven at home.