Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 12th: Leaving SF - off to Napa

tamales at the Farmer's Market
The Wine Way Inn - our accommodation in the Napa

This morning we started out early so that we could visit the Farmer's Market. There were thunderstorms and rain overnight, clearly an unusual event as everyone kept remarking on it. After the disappointment of Thursday morning's market, it was gear to be able to show David what a real one was like. We bought beautiful heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, natural set yoghurt in gorgeous pottery containers, fresh basil, and genuine mexican tamales, wrapped in cornhusks, to be heated up for dinner tonight. Yumm - with all our stores ready, we then headed off for a great day's meander thrugh the Napa Valley. A couple of wine-tastings, a visit to Bouchon Bakery for beautiful baquettes and their sublime lemon tart, as well as some 'yard sales', provided a great day. Tonight we are ensconced in a Victorian Arts and Craft Inn in Calistoga at the head of the valley. This little town was quite a revelation. Having encountered some sterile 'wine tourim' on the way up, Calistoga still very much has the feel of a wild west town in a way (well one with spas and inns.). Being a source of mineral springs and mud baths means it has it's fair share of day spas, but there are still a lot of the original buildings and small town feel to it. We're looking forward to a promised 5 course breakfast cooked by the owners Jll and Nck who have written a cookbook on Wine Country breakfasts. Nick has just returned from a couple days mushrooming near Yosemite and showed me some of his haul. As I write I'm sitting in the wood panelled lounge and dining area with the smell of mushrooms in the dehydrator permeating the house - scrumptious - hopefully there will be some for breakfast tomorrow!!

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