Coming back from vacation always is a bit of a letdown. While it did feel good to cuddle up in my down comforter after 2 weeks of motel room polyester bedding, I’m missing the adventure and how unexpected and new everything felt. San Francisco was fantastic, filled with great food & beer, lots of walking and poking about in shops I’ve read about online. I loved exploring Telegraph Hill where the gardens and staircases felt like a secret world filled with wild parrots squawking loudly overhead. The herbal smell of eucalyptus that seemed to start on Telegraph Hill permeated our entire Northern California trip. I happily chowed down the Burmese Tea Leaf salad at Burma Superstar. I slurped up my Coffee Toffee ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery (which I enjoyed more than the salted caramel). I had a spoonful of the most decadent buttery grits ever at Brenda’s French Soul Food Cafe and a fantastic mile-high crumb coffee cake from Dottie’s True Blue Cafe. We dug into our take away of Little Skillet chicken & waffles and drank Arnold Palmers in a cute neighbourhood park that reminded me of the tiny green spaces in Europe. I loved my Pliny the Elder IPA with its happy hour price tag at the Lucky 13 and even though I was stuffed from a carne asada burrito from Pancho Villa, we all managed to grab a pint on the sunny patio at Zeitgeist. My mushroom & cheese crepe from the breezy window seat at Ti Couz was perfect and so was the velvet painting vibe at the hipster bar around the corner we went to afterwards. The deliciously sour lemonade I had at Out the Door was perfection. However, all good things must end and for me things ended all too early as my decadent eating and drinking was cut short with my first & oh-so-nasty bout of stomach flu which I do not wish on anyone.
So I rested and it was ideal since we moved from the hubbub and whirl of San Francisco to the literally Easy Days of our Russian River cabin. Ahhh, cabin life was the perfect respite and I could heal in peace (despite the fact that my husband and friends were grilling up salmon and steaks and vegetables while I subsisted on icy green grapes and crackers). When we weren’t reading books in the hammock or star gazing in the hot tub, we drove around the beautiful tree-lined roads that twisted in and out of vineyards and discovered amazing bakeries. As we moved onwards to Yosemite, we stopped off at Bouchon Bakery (I had a lemon macaron & an iced Americano) and Rancho Gordo to stock up on provisions. We stayed in a cozy yurt and played board games and the next day we hiked and got soaked by a waterfall. Then we high-tailed on the slow roads it to Santa Cruz where I fell in love with it’s beachy charm, it’s youthfulness and it’s absence of pretentiousness. Not to mention the very fun wooden oceanside rollercoaster that Cornelius and I first rode on during our honeymoon 5 years ago. Delicious iced Americanos at the Perg patio, a very yummy fish taco dinner in a tiki setting, and a Belgium style wit beer at the tiny Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing didn’t hurt the good times either.
Yup, it was 12 days of wonderful and now I’m back home and my eating isn’t much to write about. I’ve made grilled cheese (which I wrote about for Poppytalk) and a very austere lentil and brown rice stew. It must be my upbringing that has me unconsciously doing penance for all those holiday good times. Soon I’ll get back into the kitchen again and start coming up with new recipes and ideas. There’s already some talk of strawberry picking this weekend so I’m sure that will inspire something creative.
But if you are looking for ideas and recipes and more, I did do a wackload of writing for other online publications before I left. So be sure to check out the following links if you are interested:
- A Pie Adventure over at the Food Network Canada blog.
- Looking for a perfect summer sipper? Try a vermouth gimlet over at Poppytalk.
- Give your arm a rest and mix up this oven-baked spring risotto.
- Too hot to cook? Make a dip or two! Check out some cool ideas over at ReadyMade.
- Recipe failure, it happens to the best of us. How do you deal?
- Tuna Sandwiches without the reek as I give an old lunchbox favorite a new twist.