Thursday, August 29, 2013

Adventures with Ma Brennan

My mama was here this past weekend! She and my dad each visit about twice a year (for elder-dog-care reasons, they almost never come together), but it's been a while since her last trip, so I planned us a day in Napa. I usually gravitate toward more laidback Sonoma, but with the moms, why not fancy it up?
My mom showed up  in San Francisco with a huge suitcase full of produce from her garden: zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, an 8 pound cabbage (!), and, hallelujah, a re-up on my honey stash. Muchas gracias mama.
Her visit coincided nicely with an outing to Cal Shakes, a theater in the Berkeley hills where my friend coordinates group trips a few times a season. It was an Oscar Wilde play, Lady's Windermere's Fan, and was therefore delightful. I made us a kale and pasta salad and a plum almond tart to picnic on before the show.
Over the weekend we went north to wine country to seek non-Chardonnay whites, because oaky = gross. At Honig we made friends with their sauvignon blanc (though not so much with the rose pictured below) and a rich cab.
Caitlin scooted us over to Addendum in her Mini to pick up boxed lunches, which are the best and cheapest way to get your hands on Thomas Keller's fried chicken. We tolerated ten minutes in the car with the fried chicken aroma tickling our bellies before we scarfed it at our next stop. I love Casa Nuestra's laid back vibe - there are goats on the property, their tasting room is a slightly rundown old house, and they have folk music posters on the walls. We stocked up on a chenin blanc (not officially released yet, but ask and ye shall receive) and their tinto.
At St Supery we tried some super peachy and crisp sauvignon blancs that mom loved, as well as a sauvignon blanc-semillon blend. I don't know much about semillons, but I did brew a saison last year that used semillon grape juice, and it was one of my best beers. We ended the day at Domaine Chandon, which was overrun with dudes in tight shirts and bachelorette parties. The vibe was off, but it was nice to wrap up with a glass of bubbly, and Caitlin snapped a photo of me and my mom where we're both smiling, which is an absolute miracle.
Other Things That Happened:
Street art on Divis: $$$ won't love you back.
 A visit to Temescal Alley in Oakland brought us to Esqueleto, a beautiful jewelry shop.
 I finished off the plums we got at the farm via a plum crumb tart. Cooking the plums in a little bit of port first was a good off-the-cuff move.
 I also whipped a cake via The Yellow House. It has peaches, butter, cornmeal, fresh lavender (the first time I've clipped any from the plant in our backyard!), basically all the good things.
Speaking of the garden, I found three cucumbers ready to be picked! These suckers really know how to hide.
Or maybe we're just not so good at looking, since this zucchini managed to grow to over a foot long before I saw it. Holy moly. 
All this zucchini went into a vegetable paella, along with some of its vegetable brethren.
On a completely different note, Helene and I went to dinner and discovered this bizarre urinal in the women's room. Why is it there? Why is it filled with flowers? And why is it so high up? 
 We'll never know.

1 comment:

MDS said...

I love Temescal Alley! Did you eat Dolly's Donuts?

And the Napa wineries you found sound fun -- looks like seeking out the less-known varietals means you stay away from the annoying parts of wine country tourism too.