Friday, July 29, 2005

My friend just booked a trip for he and his girlfriend to go to Napa for a week this August. I was instantly reminded of our good friends Nick & Mary who we met in Seattle and were neighbors in Chicago. They moved back (home) to Northern California a few months before we moved back out east. We spent time with them at their cabin outside of Sonoma, CA. A cabin that Nick and his Dad built up a winding road. It's a good old fashion cabin with 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, sleeps 8-10 people, bare minimun appliances and a big deck surrounded by pine trees whose long needles crack under your feet when you walk through them. The only food that is permanently kept in stock is coffee. The light is, like people say about Italy, just different there. The four of us toured some wineries while we were there and found one of our surprise favorites to be Clos du Val. It was also the trip where we had one of the best meals of our lives. The Culinary Institute of America has a California branch located in St. Helena, CA. A beautiful open space that is reminiscent of the wineries and Missions in the area but the restaurant surrounds the kitchen so you can see all of your dishes crafted before you. Every course is a piece of art that is intended to stimulate your senses and it succeeds, beautifully and deliciously. If you plan a trip to Sonoma, this is a short drive north but worth it. Make reservations in advance.


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