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August 27, 2004

Living the High Life

While my parents were in town last week helping me transfer my car registration and purchase some more can’t-live-without-‘em household items for my apartment, I made sure we also did some sightseeing and had a little fun. On Saturday morning we toured the Paramount, America’s finest art deco theater, where we had seen Shaft the night before. Yes, nothing says family bonding like a classic blaxploitation film with two hot love scenes to dirty disco music.

The theatre, though, is just about the coolest building I’ve ever been in. Way cooler than disco, for sure. [This is my first foray into slideshows, so be patient until they load if you want to see all the goodies.]



After the tour we went up to the Marin Headlands in the hills behind Sausalito overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.



Then, on the way to lunch, we got stuck in horrible traffic for two and a half hours in one of the few unscenic places in the Bay Area. We were so hungry we almost ate the grody seat cushions in the rental car and we were so bored we discussed trading off driving duties so the others could get out and jog alongside the car just for kicks.

When we finally made it to our destination, the Chateau Souverain winery in the Alexander Valley (west of Napa and Sonoma), we were ready to do some damage. And damage we did indeed, even though the restaurant was between lunch service and dinner service and was only offering from their al fresco menu (read: appetizers). That sounds like disaster, I know, but we’re not talking about buffalo wings and cheese fries here. We were in California’s wine country at a chateau of all places. This is what we got:


What you’re looking at is the Wine Teaser Tier (cue fanfare). Level 1 was three kinds of amazing cheese + olive bread + dried fruit. Level 2 was pate and seasonal chutney crostini + local smoked salmon tartare with roasted lemon vinaigrette + hobbs soppressetta (I think that’s what they called the prosciutto wrapped around the breadsticks). Level 3 was warm, salted almonds + the most delicious mix of marinated olives + pepperoncinis stuffed with prosciutto and some kind of cheese (heavenly!). We also had heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil and another separate cheese plate. My oh my, was that food ever good. And of course there was wine:


No, not whine--wine. And dessert.


Had the food not been so good, I would have spent this entry writing about the girl from the limo puking in the bathroom who had to be taken away by ambulance or the very large party of very loud, very drunk Greeks, the men all looking like Tony Clifton in Hawaiian shirts. But I won’t talk about the drunk girl or the Clifton family reunion because the food was just that good. Mmm mmm mmm, that was some good food. Right up there with the time I lunched at Chez Panisse.

If you’re into such things, here’s what you should hunt far and wide for:

--Laura Chenel’s Cabecou goat cheese
--Fiscalini Farmstead’s raw milk cheddar reserve
--Spring Hill Jersey Farm’s Old World Portuguese cheese
Have the above with a glass of 2000 Dry Creek Valley Reserve Zinfandel. (It tastes like snickerdoodle cookies!)

Then for dessert get a brownie—any old brownie—and taste of the heavenly serum that is the 2000 Chateau Souverain Syrah Port. Not only will it knock your socks off, but it will also handwash them in perfume water, and give you a foot massage while they dry in the April-fresh sun. To. Die. For. And I don’t even like wine.

Anyone else’s tummy grumbling?


Um, Hi. Jealous?
That looks wonderful! And worth the traffic... someday if we ever have more than 2 dimes to rub together I totally want to come to SF and tour the vineyards. And eat food like that. Where is that winning lottery ticket? *rumaging*
have a great weekend!

Sounds wonderful. While reading your post, I hadn't gotten to the part about the slideshow and was sure I had gone crazy when my periphreal vision spotted some movement.

I'm hungry for wine, cheese, and dessert and it's 8:30 in the morning here.

wow, those pictures all look fantastic, from the theatre to the killer view of the golden gate bridge, and, yum, yes...the food looks great, too! isn't taking pictures of your food at restaurants fun? i do it all the time, and people are always amused.


p.s. your parents are so cute!

You just had lunch in my backyard! I love when someone else tries a place first so I can KNOW what I'm getting into before I go there.

so you liked it huh? Well that goes on my 'list of places to go next time the kids are with the 'others'.


Now I am so hungry that I'm tempted to eat my computer keyboard. I'm definitely stopping that winery - I'm in NoCal until Sept. 12. Thanks for the foraging update!


Oh! That sounds fabulous. Fab.u.Lous.

Now I want to come back to California, for snickerdoodle wine if nothing else. I'm heading to the wine store in a few hours; I'll have to see if they have that wine there, and if they do, have some. Yum. Yum. Yum.


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