The last load of our washing machine hasn’t dried yet, empty bags still linger in our hallway and far too many emails are crowding my to-do list, gathering more e-dust by the hour. We’re home again. The welcoming sunshine at the airport was an insidious trickery – right, meanwhile we’re back in a constant rain mode, for most of last week anyway. Fortunately, we have some great memories to draw upon – here is the lowdown:
Sherry and Bob two of the most wonderful friends and very knowledgeable culinary enthusiasts took care of us while we stayed in the bay area and Napa Valley. A long weekend full of delicate surprises was kicked off with a visit to the amazing Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, where we met with Heidi and Wayne before we incidentally stumbled into Derrick and Melissa – we soon realized that more delicious days lay ahead of us.
The best thing about putting yourself in the hands of well informed friends is that there is no “taking chances”, you simply get to enjoy all the great places their hometown has to offer. May it be roasted banana ice cream at BI-RITE, melt in your mouth truffles at XOX or a one of a kind pizza experience – of course we devoured ours on that median in front of the The Cheeseboard Pizza Collective in Berkeley.
Believe it or not but I managed to start liking grits and raisins. What? When? How? – you might think, she never liked that stuff. Well, what can I say, Sherry won me over. Her outstanding cooking skills left me little choice but to indulge myself every day anew – yes we were spoiled. And if that alone wasn’t complete bliss, another highlight (The French Laundry) was scheduled for Sunday lunch. Can you o-d on good food? The whole experience was quite different from what we had expected, more details in one of the next posts…
Feeling a little like stuffed chickens after French Laundry our friends gave us a tour through Napa Valley’s beautiful scenery before visiting the family run Goosecross winery, just in time for the grape crushing and a little tasting. Most striking, however: on top of an incredible passion for the subject, everyone seems so much more aware of the possibilities of the Internet and especially the potential of blogs than most German companies!
For our last night in SF, Sam had booked a table at Range, of which we had heard many good things. Although one of the appetizers (whiskey glazed ribs) didn’t exactly float my boat (a bit too liberal on whiskey end), the desserts were luscious. Still… we keep wondering, why we got a special treat. Coincidence, pure kitchen love? Who knows. The prospects of having lunch not only at Chez Panisse in Berkeley but finally meeting the one and only Elise made leaving the city a little easier. The mighty fine food was only topped by her vibrant, open-hearted company!
After an unplanned rental car-exchange in Oakland (which wasn’t exactly a 30 seconds F1 pit stop) we were finally hitting the road again for days of driving, driving and more driving. Which also meant back to rather basic road-food – with the one or the other highlight of course (nah, can’t do without). Whoa Nellie Deli, the New York Times acclaimed Tioga gas mart, is certainly one of these rare finds, right in the middle of nowhere.
The thought of an a/c hotel room in Vegas made the seemingly never-ending drive through Death Valley only half as bad, and of course we were excited and certainly ready for a happy meal at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Excellent food, yet for our taste a little on the chilly end, both, the restaurant’s temperature and the service.
The following thousand miles few days were filled with amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, starting with Grand Canyon all the way to Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley and Arches, smaller sights included. Culinary-wise we either enjoyed a simple picnic, continued our search for the best burger or were lucky to stumble upon little gems like Comb Ridge Coffee in Bluff. Either way, it felt good to cut back a little on the food end…
…so we geared up for our final week in Colorado, yeah! Our dear friends Stephanie and David as well as their loving families took care of us, and that’s probably described best with the words as good as it gets. We exchanged beloved recipes, gave each other cooking lessons and indulged ourselves in fabulous family feasts. Naturally, when you’re having a grand time, the last evening approaches always too fast. Our last supper couldn’t have been chosen any better: Fruition, a cozy new bistro in Denver more than convinced us with their creative ideas of sophisticated comfort food. Here we go again, bliss.
Sadly all good things have come to an end and so did our fourth road trip in the States. Would we do it again? A-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y. Will we do it again? You bet. What route? We won’t tell :-) But if you’re uncertain whether to go by plane or take the car for a trip, provided you have the time – don’t think twice, it was worth it every mile.