Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Stay in the Bay

Amazing Mushrooms 

I'm am blissfully near the end of a two week retreat to The Bay Area.  I have been privy to so many adventures, so much good produce, and so much fun with friends.   There is so much to tell so I decided to do it all at once.  What follows is a very long post.. sorry to those who can't hang with it but, here goes..

I planned my stay around my daughter camp schedule and was blessed with a wonderful place to stay by friends Andrea and Robert of Kenter Canyon Farms.

The adventure began early Sunday morning as my friend JoAnna  and her daughter scooped Violet and I up and we made great time up to the Bay Area.

JoAnna at the Berkeley Marina

We had one night prior to depositing children at camp and we didn't want to waste it. A quick breezy trip around the Berkeley Marina for some fresh air and in to the city for dinner at the Elite Cafe on Fillmore for some oysters and a martini.

A Right of Passage

The Oysters

Old school


The next day was a beautiful journey through the countryside placing us at camp by afternoon.  Greeted by friends, we said a brief goodbye.   I felt a bit teary eyed and a bit more jealous.
Tipi Life
The late arrival of John and the rest of our party beckoned for late morning Blue Bottle coffee at Guerilla Cafe on Shattuck in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto.

Guerilla Coffee Berkeley where the food and coffee are delicious

First night with John meant something fun, well researched  and super special: Dinner at State Bird Provisons on Fillmore.  We dined on an assortment of goodies from the dim sum style wagon.
Post our amazing dinner I just read that Bon Appetit has named it Restaurant of the Year.  Congratulations!!!

We sat at the counter which was super fun, watching each plate lovingly delivered to the wagon with great determination and care.  A delicious glass of  local rose accompanied my dishes each of which were artfully presented and equally delicious.  I wish I had taken notes, well here are some photo's....Sadly, the only thing I didn't leave room for was their namesake dish named for our state bird: The Quail.
The kitchen
Restaurant owner Stuart Brioza shopping his wares
beets with creme fresh
 Short Ribs- Millie's favorite


Next morning was time for fresh air.  Just beyond the city lies giant redwoods and scenic mountaintops.
First a picnic at Muir Woods Beach- a delightful assortment of local foods.  Acme bread, Framani salami and an assortment of bay area cheeses.

Muir Beach Picnic
Local Framimi Nostrano Salami
Breathtaking views


The next day we ventured in to the city to see the Cindy Sherman exhibit at SFMOMA.  Millie was excited to have her Cindy Sherman Sundae on the rooftop cafe.

Bubble gum syrup, Humphrey Slocum ice cream and bubble water.. ewwww it was sticky!

Did I mention that roller skates were the preferred method of travel this vacation?

Therefore, we couldn't miss roller disco in Golden Gate Park on Sunday!

bi-Rite grocery

Next to 18th and Dolores.  Where the food scene is insane!  Bi-Rite Grocery store, Bi Rite Ice Cream- where people wait in line for hours for their offerings.  Dolores Cafe, and Tartine for  fresh bread and baked goods.

Our destination was Namu Gaji where we dined on delicious Korean food from The Lee Brothers.  Serving local delicious every changing menu we were fortunate enough to arrive while there were still tables available and were seated immediately and served by a very adorable waitress.  We feasted on an assortment of things, my favorites were  bimbim- cold soba noodles with cucumber, and  delicate mushroom dumplings in broth I wanted to drink.

backstage at Nomu Gaji
A quick stop for espresso at Tartine told us we must return for lunch another day.


fantastic style at Tartine
After a few assorted venues for morning coffee we decided to try Local 12.  Where the graffiti was for- bodin, coffee and service excellent!

Local 12 cafe

Back to Tartine for lunch where we arrived just in time to see the bread being pulled from the oven.

Little Gem's salad and a Pressed Pastrami Sandwich

A last minute score for Otis and we were off to dine on local pizza, and salad with friends James Lord and Roderick Wylie of Surface Design.
Roderick and John

Outside Lands Music Festival

John and James
Farmers Market

Padron Peppers

Berkeley Farmers Market on roller skates.
 Where we purchased shishiso and padron peppers and special immune system boosting mushrooms.

Next stop Emily The Strange creator Rob Reger's cool Victorian house with incredible gardens and greenhouse

 A Fire was made, special label beer opened and we promptly got down to business.  Picking lettuce, tomatoes, basil and artichokes and roasting mushrooms and peppers.

Rob's Magical Green House

The Prep
Some Art
Some Music
The Front Door

Home Grown Scarlet Runner Beans

Local Sausage

Roasted Immune Fortification

Roasted Corn

Drink of Choice

Ok nearly there... Just a few more fun things...

Yummy lunch with Pulp Lab lady Kate Pawlicki at Jane on Fillmore - a quick trip to Sacramento street to Good Buys high end resale boutique and  The Grocery Store-a fantastic must for designer clothes.
Bathroom Wallpaper at Jane on Fillmore
 I know it's touristy, but the Embarcadero really has such great shops. Here I found sea beans, which I had recently had in a salad.  almost like a succulent they are salty crunchy, like asparagus mixed with brocollini.

Sea Beans

Mushrooms at The Embarcdero

Of course most of all seeing old friends is my favorite thing to do.

dinner at Bistro Aix with my lovely friends Grace, Abby and John
All this food, but he real highlight for me was a  backstage tour of  the Botanical Gardens Nursery in Golden Gate Park where I was privy to the propagation of carnivorous plants, ferns, orchids and begonias.   As I left I was allowed to purchase a prize piece of an enormous Staghorn which was gifted to the Botanical Gardens

Carnivorous plants

Fergus my new Staghorn

Hope you enjoyed your tour!  Ya' all come back now!