I don't have photos, but here is the post I did last year about our trip (or the San Francisco portion of the trip). I may not have photos of this year's trip, but I do have lots of links. Check them out:
- My mom and my sister introduced me to Heyday Café, a haven of simple yet fabulous food. I had their Portobello "Philly" with Caramelized Onions, Bell Peppers, Provolone Cheese, and Smokey Aioli. It was one of the better sandwiches I've ever had, especially considering the café's careful attention to the bread: a ciabatta that was light, airy, and in perfect proportion to the amount of filling. I also had their roasted red pepper bisque with smoked Gouda. I do a roasted red pepper soup, but I have never considered putting cheese on it. The Gouda added a layer of richness and decadence and really made the bisque a meal unto itself. My mom's favorite dish is the Roasted Butternut Squash atop a Bed of Spinach Greens with Bacon Crumbles, Red Onions, Toasted Almonds, Goat Cheese, and a Brown Sugar Cider Vinaigrette. Every flavor was balanced and the ingredients were incredibly fresh. Our server, who I believe is one of the owners, told us it was his mom's recipe. Last but not least, they have a stellar wine list, including lots of El Dorado County wines (I drank the Boeger Barbera).
- Speaking of Boeger wines, my mom also took me to the Boeger Winery as my birthday present (July 19th) and had me pick out wines to ship home. I chose two bottles of their Merlot, which was surprisingly smooth - generally speaking, Merlot tends to have too much bite for my tastes. I also chose two bottles of their rosé, which lacked the tartness I usually shy away from, and I also chose two bottles of their port, which was uncharacteristically light for a port. Isn't it lovely that I'm going to get home to local California wines waiting for me?
- Also speaking of wine, my parents have some friends who have only three acres of grapes and they make what little they have into wine...and I love it. It really strikes you how doctored up and pretty-fied all those bigger vineyard wines are when you taste the simplicity and freshness of a tiny wine. Of course, they sell it as grapes...in liquid form in a bottle...so it's not entirely legal. They also get lots of help producing the wine from friends so their wine label has the name of their vineyard (which I'm obviously not sharing) and then, underneath it, "Hand Crafted Wine of Friends." Don't you love that? So my mom bought a case of their wines and she'll ship some of those bottles to me, telling the UPS store that she's shipping olive oil.
- We also had a great dining experience at Kobe Sushi, an unexpected gem of a restaurant in a small town (Cameron Park). Stay away from the rolls, in my opinion - they're drenched in sauce. That said, my family goes nuts for the rolls so to each their own. I can highly recommend the sashimi, though - the freshness rivals any of the sushi I've eaten in NYC so far. Lastly, the service is friendly and attentive. The prices are also incredibly reasonable.
Overall, a lovely trip to California and, as usual, I'm having a crisis of confidence about our move to New York. But that always fades once I return home and rediscover New York's distinct personality.
Eat, drink, and discover you can go home again.