The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Monday, May 16, 2016

What We Did in Wine Country (California): Part 1

Sallie Swor is a 9th generation Nashvillian and a dear friend who shares my passion for great food and great wine. When she sent me her travel journal from her recent visit to wine country, I absolutely could NOT resist asking her if I could publish it on my blog- and she said yes! So this post and the next two will feature snippets from her travel journal- I'd love to hear what you think!

Sallie Stamps Swor

Cooking has not only been my obsession and creative outlet, but also my greatest pleasure for as long as I can remember. Way before the food craze, when most of my friends were poring over Cosmopolitan Magazine, I spent my time engrossed in the latest issue of Gourmet. In my first college apartment, I discovered the thrill of entertaining friends with dinner parties, brunches, picnics – well, just any excuse to cook. I also discovered that no one minded!

I have been fortunate to have a career working with students and young adults as a high school counselor and college consultant. In writing this cookbook, I’ve been able to use my experience with my students, clients, my own son, and his friends as a way to write in a voice that makes sense to a novice cook while still relating to anyone like me who just loves food and entertaining.

The cookbook itself came about as a request from my son as he moved into his first apartment. He was a well-trained food snob and a very independent young man who wanted to provide for himself instead of relying on take out and convenience food, and he wanted to do that without spending a lot of money. When his friends tasted his delicious creations, they all wanted copies of the cookbook. Soon, my friends, many of whom are very accomplished cooks, requested their own copies, so here it is: You’re Grown – Now You Can Cook

My on-going blog, originally started to help with the cookbook, is fun for me and I really love hearing from readers: The Deer One


April 22, 2016
Our flight was delayed by 2 hours, so we missed our Chez Panisse reservations. We were so happy to finally get to The Andrews Hotel a little after 5. Fino – the hotel's attached restaurant, nicely gave us a reservation. We had our "guest" glasses of wine beforehand.

Dinner: Three Caesar salads to start. The waiter gave us an appetizer (I guess we looked that pitiful!)- a garlic fry tower with truffle oil and Parmesan. It was fabulous.

I had scallops, house made pasta and sautéed spinach/kale

Richard (my son): Rigatoni with prawns and tomato vodka cream sauce

Sammy (my husband): Pasta with a tomato meat sauce

Had a bottle of the same red wine from the “guest” glass.

Too tired to do anything else.

April 23, 2016
Got up early to go to the Saturday Market at Pier 1. Beautiful produce, and local products were available at every stall. (It had really grown when we left) We walked all the way down to Pier 39 to see the sea lions. Fabulous. It was a perfect walk – all the piers are different. Fun restaurants and shops were all along the way. Stopped in a middle pier for Richard to get an Alcatraz shirt.

Chez Pannise also felt sorry for us yesterday, and gave us a Saturday reservation. It was hard to find, but worth it. The charming shopping area in Berkeley was a pleasure to stroll around in. We were actually early, and were seated anyway.

Me: Roasted beets and cauliflower with fava beans and chick pea puree, Fire roasted clams, shrimp, and scallops with adorable tiny potatoes and a garlicky sauce.

Sammy: garden/spring(?) lettuces, Buccatoni with arugula and almond pesto and sun dried tomatoes. (Tomatoes were the best part!)

Richard: Garden lettuces with baked Andante goat cheese. Pizza with wild nettles, artichokes and salata ricotta. He got even with those nettles from long ago.

The waitress loved our accents and gave us a plate of olives for the table and lots of delicious bread.

For dessert: Almond tart with Chantilly cream and strawberries to share! It was miraculous!

I bought Alice Water’s (executive chef, founder and owner) latest cookbook- My Pantry – it was autographed by Alice.

That afternoon, Richard and I walked to Chinatown and then Union Square for a quick beer and wine. Chinatown was junkier than we remembered, and yet more expensive! Imagine…

Dinner reservations were at M.Y. China. It’s in a fabulous setting – 1½ million pound dome above us in a shopping mall. We got a table with a view! Also cool lights that were motion capture screens to dance with while we waited. It was amazing.

We shared seafood and pork dumplings, scissor cut noodles with beef instead of wild boar (best thing ever!!), walnut glazed shrimp, General Mao’s Chicken (too hot). Came home with chopsticks!


Keep an eye out for part 2 of Sallie's California adventures!

1 comment:

Lisa McDonough Howick said...

Think i will enjoy this! Reminds me, Roshni... hope you'll share your growing knowledge of wines and their regions as you experience them

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