Saturday, 6 August 2011

San Fran Redux

San Francisco, just like I pictured it.

More giant produce, this time a Brussel sprout - not a cabbage, a Brussel sprout:
We stayed in Pacific Heights, one of the most beautiful areas of a generally beautiful city, and home to some of the grander mansions such as this:
You can even drive around the 'hood with Zillow on your iPhone, looking at how much each house cost.  Extraordinary - everything from $3.4 to $33.9 million.  This one was weird - note the metal dude on the left:
Zillow doesn't report how much for this poor doggy in the window:
Highlights of the trip included this beautiful heart-shaped wine at Chez Panisse:
These tomatoes at the Castro Farmer's Market, and these amazing summer squashes:
An eight ball, San Fran style:
I could happily work in this store:
Seriously, beer, bourbon and hummus - winning combo.

We had amazing Catalan food at Contigo in Noe Valley where Ottolenghi had been the week earlier so we knew we were on to a good thing.  This is a corn, bacon and cheese pizzette.  I think corn and bacon is as winning a combo as darn near anything:

Not sure how Spanish a corn and bacon pizza is but anyway, it was delish.  Also amazing clams and bacon:
Tartine is an award-winning bakery everyone raves about.  Be prepared to queue.  My still-warm orange, cinnamon breakfast bun was a moment of unmitigated joy:
Tartine Morning Bun
Their other cakes are mighty purty too:
We took a little trip over to Hog Island Oyster Farm, in Tomales Bay, an estuary about an hour's drive north of the City.  A perfect day - a handsome man

super-fresh oysters
and triple-cream cheese spread thickly on wild sourdough:
Hog Island Farm is basically a super-hipster weird hillbilly oyster rave in the middle of nowhere. 
Then from one extreme to another.  We drove inland across to Sonoma, wine country, and popped first to Ridge, a vineyard famous for its fancy shmancy Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
Within an hour we've gone from cold, roughneck and barnacle-y to hot, posh and super-sleek.  And then on to the awesome-est place of all - Francis Ford Coppola's winery, Disney Wine Vegas, a shrine to all things Coppola:
This place is fully hilaire.  Luscious country club
meets mega-brand merchandising opportunity
Apocalypse Now - in liquid form.  The horror...
 meets shrine to immodesty:
Who, little old me?
Although how cool is this?
 and this?
And how very uncool this:
Kirsten Dunst channeling like Marie Antoinette, duh...
Can't wait to have my own vineyard.

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