At last. After much anticipation, a story. On California. In pictures. You would probably stop reading right about here if I shared all of the glorious photos my sister and I took documenting our adventures in and around the Bay area, so I've selected just a few of my favorites that highlight just a few of our doings. You might notice that nearly every image notes a venture centered around food or drink. I can't help it. I work in a bakery. I experience the world by tasting it. You might say we ate our way through San Francisco. And that's fine by me, it was ever so good.
There's nothing like wine tasting in Lodi with old friends. We actually made it to five wineries (!). With a pitstop for snacks and recovery somewhere along the way. The wine country of Lodi is incredibly beautiful. It did my city-lungs good to breathe in some fresh country air.
My sister and I ended up in CA over Easter, so we celebrated with Easter dinner on the front lawn, Outstanding in the Field style. Beautiful.
Our main reason for travel was to visit two of the dearest ladies in the world. They know how to have a good time.
Have I ever told you about my Collection of Natural Wonders? Well, I have one. And these crab shells became a part of it. My sister likes to make fun, but it is how I experience and treasure the natural world. So what.
We stopped in the famous Buena Vista for some Irish Coffee. San Francisco's finest. I loved watching the barista line up the glasses and layer them with rich coffee, whiskey, and fresh cream. The perfect warm-up on a windy SF day.
We splurged on a ridiculously delicious Italian dinner in North Beach. Fit with red wine, authentic pizza, housemade gnocchi, and butternut squash stuffed ravioli with a sage butter sauce. And we ate it all. Our waiter surprised us with a digestif - limoncello.
Like I said, ridiculous.
Like I said, ridiculous.
This brings me to Tartine. A hidden gem in San Francisco's Mission District. Working at a patisserie, we talk about other delicious, sometimes famous, bakeries all the time. Tartine was on my must do list once we planned this trip to SF. I was immediately overwhelmed by Tartine's selection of pastries. The space is small, dark, and fairly rustic. Everyone was just sort of bumbling around with their pastry and coffee, talking and laughing, and making that face you make when you eat something so delicious you just can't stand it (my coworker always says "you'll want to take your pants off it's so good") and you don't even care that you have croissant crumbs all over your shirt and chocolate smeared across your cheek. It's that good. I couldn't possibly order everything on the menu, though I wanted to. Instead, I took pictures of everyone's food. They didn't seem to mind, they noticed the gleam in my eye, that look of a true pastry connoisseur, and stepped to the side.
I love these next two photos. They're so genuine. They remind me of that scene in Chocolat, at Armande's birthday party, when things suddenly slow down as everyone indulges - taking bites and chewing slowly, licking their fingers, and looking around the table to see if everyone else is enjoying it as shamelessly as they are. Not the most graceful of moments, but you know they're loving it and you want to be a part of it.
So there it is. And here we are. Back in Chicago, back to work and life and bees. I looked in on them this weekend. We even spotted the queen. She hasn't started laying yet, but they've been busy, working on the comb and getting ready for the honey flow.
Oh, and a friend gave me these. I haven't found any of my own this year, but for some you might call it a year of plenty. A free gift from the spring earth to us. How generous.