Last Day in Cali

Was pretty awesome if you ask me.

We started the day at the last winery on our list, which also turned out to be our favorite of the wineries we visited during our trip. A small one that gave you the code to the gate to get in. When we arrived we were greeted by a dog, always a good sign. Then we had a really intimate and laid back tasting. I hesitate to put the name of the winery on the web because its kinda one of those experiences you don’t want the whole world knowing about because once they do it could change but we already sent our name to get on the waiting list for their wine distribution (they only offer a limited allotment of bottles to the public per a year which includes a limit on how many bottles a person can order of each). Its A. Rafanelli winery.

Then we stopped at Downtown Bakery & Creamery for some sweets to bring on the plane for our breakfast the next morning. Also one of the three original owners used to work at Chez Panisse.

A galette

And donut muffin (I now know it is possible to enjoy the delicious taste of donuts longer via muffin format).

Then we headed off to Petaluma to visit my dad’s sister and uncle, and drop in on my cousin. Although we all saw each other last year, I hadn’t been back to Petaluma in over 10 years so it was really nice to take in familiar sights and enjoy a each others company over a lunch with delicious salad and bruschettas. I can’t recall the name of the place we ate but I liked that they had cut the spinach in the salad lengthwise.

Then we headed to Berkeley for our long awaited dinner at Chez Panisse, i.e. the restaurant that was the inspiration for our trip. For those of you that don’t know the back story it goes like this – reservations are only taken 1 month in advance so of course we had to book our flight more than a month in advance. So I was quite surprised to learn that they would be closed the Friday, and Sunday we were there because it was their 40th anniversary that weekend. The problem was that we would only be in town until Tuesday night and they are always closed on Mondays. However he did mention that they might have space on the waiting list for the celebratory dinner on Saturday, upon which I said yes we’d be interested, but after learning the price per person was $2500.00 I had to politely decline being put on the wait list. So it looked like we would have to go on Tuesday, but since I was calling a month in advance for the Friday we’d be there I had to wait to make the reservation. So you could be sure that I was planning to call at 9am PST a few days later to make a reservation for Tuesday night. Unfortunately it just so happened that the a month earlier at 9am just so happened to be the start time for a race Bourbon and I were participating in. Luckily it was a short race, albeit a muddy one and when I called they took our reservation.

And oh was the dinner amazing (note: the picture at the top of the post is the front of the menu from that evening). We opted to have each course paired with a different wine, something we’ve never done before, and I wish I could always do so. Not only was it delicious but it was a lot of fun comparing the different wines and talking about how they complimented the dishes. Without any further ado, here is the menu from that evening:

 Squash blossom fritters with wild rocket and gremolata paired with a 2010 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Vin Gris de Pinot Noir, Napa, California

Maltagliati pasta with shell beans, tomato, and summer savory paired with a 2008 Ghosturitor Vineyards Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Grilled Sonoma Liberty duck breast in wild blackberry sauce with corn pudding, romano beans, and fried sage paired with a 2005 Pinot D’Aunis, Le Verre de Poetes, Domaine de Montrieux, France

Plum sherbet with muscat gelee and peaches paired with a 2006 Muscat de Beaurres de Venise, Domaine Durbon, France and a 2010 Moscato d’Asti, Bricco Quaglia La Spinetta, Rivetti, Italy

After dinner the crisp air of Berkeley greeted us and fully satisfied we headed to the airport. After a red eye flight we arrived in Detroit. Upon arrival we learned that one of wine bottles had exploded, luckily a white. Turns out it was the only one with a screw cap so perhaps they don’t fare well? We’ve never had a problem bringing wine home (i.e. twice from Italy but then again they always had corks).Bourbon has a theory that the cork lets the bottle pass some air through it to pressurize.

Read about our trip to California starting with Day 1 here.

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