Love in the Time of Coriander

Thoughts on food & more.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Brown vs. White

. . . rice, that is. My mother, who is a staunch white-rice person, recently visited us to escape the hotter-than-Angelina-Jolie climate of Fresno summers.

She's a vegetarian, who has primarily eaten South Indian food, lots of vegetables, lentils and rice. In the olden days, my mom ate well. People in her environment needed an abundance of carbohydrates to get through the day. Still, my family in India shovels mounds of rice onto their plates to weather the sizzling Andra climate. Most of them don't have cars and walk everywhere in order to get around. They burn what they eat, and they rarely have health problems.

Then, there's my mom. She lives in the 'burbs and drives her car everywhere, even if all she needs is a carton of milk. The food that she eats is now no longer viable for her environment. Her diet, from our current perspective of carb-consciouness, is too sugar heavy. She is a prototypic white rice addict, and it's hard for her to give up the good feeling that it gives her. I have on many occasions extended an arm and tapped at the vein, indicating the junkie-like hold it has on her.

It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the simple fact that she can't, in her primarily sedentary lifestyle, burn all those carbs off. She is teetering on the edge of adult-onset diabetes. And, she eats the worse type of carb possible: one with a high glycemic index. White rice spikes her blood sugar levels and requires insulin to come to the rescue immmediately. She might as well be eating candy. She's only 50, mind you. That ain't good.

Meanwhile, I've been singing the praises of brown rice for a long time, trying desperately to encourage her to try it. In much the same way that she refuses to believe that seaweed is vegetarian--we're talking about an old dog here--she has firmly stood in the white rice category. Only now, egged on by a recent weight loss and the positive effects it has had on her blood sugar problem, she has opened her mind to other kinds of slower-burning grains.

So, I made a Thai veggie curry and a pot of brown rice. And guess what? She loved it. But she is not the type of person who is so easily converted (no pun intended) to a new type of food. Unlike me, she listens to words of the familiar. She realized that brown rice was something her father used to eat before white rice became popularized in India. She also believed that white rice, or "polished" rice, was something the British initiated in India. My mother claims they processed the rice and then marketed it back to the Indians as a better product. Throughout her childhood, she remembers disdaining the old "brown" rice and singing the praises of white rice, much to her father's dismay.

Anybody familiar with this historical narrative? I'm curious to see what I can learn about this change from brown to white rice. I've looked around a bit on Amazon but haven't been able to find much about this time period in rice's history.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Eating One's Shoe

I heard Werner Herzog on the radio a few days ago being interviewed on Fresh Air. Terry Gross was absent and was replaced by a man who asked similarly naive questions. I caught the tail end of the interview.

Listening to Herzog, however brief, did remind me of his incredible commitment to doing one's creative passion. The interviewer asked him about the strenous, life-altering journeys he embarks on in order to get his films made. Herzog interrupted him abruptly to tell him, "That is bologna." He claimed he was unmotivated by the transformative aspects of the process, but that he is just solely dedicated to making the art happen, whatever that might be.

E had asked me the night before whether I would just become more and more obsessed with food. This was in the back of my head as I heard Herzog speak and remembered the Les Blank movie, Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. Coincidentally, I had also been reading about Les Blank in Ruth Reichl's book, Comfort Me with Apples. In it, Blank is shooting Garlic is s Good as Ten Mothers. I know that Les still lives somewhere near me and continues to make his kooky but thought-provoking documentaries.

In Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, Blank films the unfolding of a bet between Herzog and Errol Morris. At one time, Herzog was Morris' professor and encouraged him to finish his first film. If Morris did, Herzog promised to eat his shoe, the leather one he was wearing at the time of the bet. Not suprisingly, Morris made the film, Gates of Heaven, a documentary about pet cemetaries and the people who bury their pets in them.

Alice Waters marinated the shoe in duck fat, garlic and other herbs. If I recall this correctly, she then slowly simmered the shoe until it was tender. Don't think you'll ever see that on Chez Panisse's menu! Herzog, standing in front of a crowd in the UC Theater, a precious gem filled with history and sitting unused at the moment, proceeds to give a talk and eats his shoe. I believe that he actually eats the entire leather portion, the edible part, of the shoe.

Perhaps one of the most inspiring parts of the film--and it is definitely a film worth seeing--is the footage that Blank has of Herzog speaking about his vision of what an artist should be. At one point, Herzog describes difficulties he had in the making of Even Dwarfs Started Small. There were accidental fires, and one of the cast members got very hurt--not uncharacteristic of Herzog's films. (See Les Blank's Burden of Dreams.) Because Herzog felt so badly for the pain that his cast of midget actors endured, he promised to throw himself into a cactus when the filming was done. In Eats His Shoe, he of course reveals that he painfully threw himself into a cactus bush.

There is also a stellar moment in the film, when Blank is interviewing Herzog in the back seat of a car. I don't remember the exact quote, but Herzog is talking about activities which most closely attain perfection. Not surprisingly, he lists his own passion of filmmaking. He then goes on to say that an alternative to such an ideal would be "cooking" and, then, lastly, adds that "walking on foot" is also quite special. From the time I saw this movie, I loved this scene. It was always poetic to me. But it was also ephemeral, something I didn't quite understand: that filmmaking and cooking and walking on foot would all, almost equally, bring me closer to nirvana?

Now, faced with E's question of whether I will continue to become more and more obsessed with cooking, I feel confident that I am engaged in one of the most powerful, ascendent practices.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tomales Bay (West Marin, Part 3)

On Tuesday, E convinced me that it would be "fun" to kayak across Tomales Bay and sold it to me as a food adventure by adding that we could have the destination of the Hog Island Oyster Company in mind. I am skeptical of sports-related activities like kayaking. I want so badly to be cool and composed enough to enjoy them but I can't stop thinking about all the horrible things that might go wrong when doing them.

In the end, I decided to try it if only to compromise and do something that I knew my new hubby would like to do. We drove to Marshall, where we were outfitted in wetsuits and PFDs (personal flotation devices). The man who worked at the rental company recited from memory in the quickest and most monotonous way what we should do if our kayak capsizes. Then, after hearing him move his lips but not having registered a word of the light-speed lecture, we were paddling away from shore.

This is the bay not the ocean. Nevertheless, I've heard that there is a white shark breeding ground in Bodega Bay, just 20 miles north of where we were. So, as soon as we were on the open water, I kept scaring myself into believing that a shark would jump up from under our kayak and frighten us into the water. Or, we'd accidently capsize on the waves (which seemed really unlikely given the sturdiness of the vessel), and Jaws would be near, ready to snap up a limb or two. Even if a shark wasn't loitering near our kayak, the sheer thought of falling into the bay was terrifying.

Any which way you cut it, I'm a fear type. It's my job to worry about the worst case scenario. In times of daily stress, it can be a desirable trait. I'm always thinking of the best hour to go shopping, the most time-efficient way of driving to a location, or any of the many items that we might accidently leave behind before boarding a plane. I am what in other cases would be a "good planner." I don't cope well with letting go of control.

I sweated the three hours that we maneuvered about on Tomales Bay. It was good to have the distraction of a paddle, a repetitive activity to take one's mind off the negative. I will also be the first to say that it was a stunning place to be. We paddled to the opposite shore (West), where we came upon beaches accessible only by the Bay. They were filled with sparkling white sand and lots of trees. The sun was out, no fog, and the winds were very low. It was a beautiful day.

We had a quick snack of fruit and cheese on one of the beaches. We then paddled further toward the ocean--watch my fear-meter creep upwards--where we approached a beach filled with cows grazing. There were only five or six of them near the beach's edge, all black with white spots. What a serene sight! Then, we turned around, paddled to another little beach, where three abandoned buildings were once inhabited by a man who had an artist's colony. We've yet to get the full story on this.

Finally, the Marshall shore beckoned us back. We asked the guy who had originally sent us off about the Hog Island Oyster Company. He said that it was fine, but we'd have to shuck our own oysters. Instead, he emphatically recommended the oyster bar sitting only yards away from the rental place.

The Marshall General Store and Oyster Bar has a funny collection of things. On the one hand, it is stocked with a few high-end items such artisan goat cheese and local breads by the Brickmaiden. It also has a small (not gourmet) candy selection and other useful household items. They have no running water (talk about feeling like you're in another country), and they make delicious deli sandwiches. Then, of course, there's the renowned oyster bar.

We sat down in the sun-porch near the oysterista (is there such a word?) and put in our order. There's an expansive porch on the back side of the building, too, where other oyster-loving folks sat waiting for their food while looking out upon Tomales Bay. E got us a beer each, and we suckled on them until the oysters arrived. Three barbecued, three Rockefeller, and a half-dozen raw oysters. We gobbled the raw down with generous amounts of lemon juice and hot sauces (they stocked many types). The barbecued and Rockefeller arrived a beat later, and before we knew it, they too were gone. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Rockefeller, we weren't either. They are oysters chopped and mixed with spinach, onions, herbs, butter and bread crumbs. They are then put back into the shell and baked.

Just as we begin to list our favorites--raw first, bbq second--our oysterista brought a set of mussels in Thai green curry sauce to the table. "A gift for being newlyweds," he said. The mussels were so delightful that they melted instantly in my mouth like a tender mushroom. In addition to the texture to the bite, there was the refreshing feeling of eating from the spring of life, the ocean. The curry only egged the flavor of the mussel on, reminding us of the evolution of life on earth. I thought of all the time we have traveled through the lineage of food to get to the perfect combination of flavors embodied in the curry. Many years of trials to bring such taste explosions to life. All of this paired simply with something foraged from the water, not altered by human meddling.

What can I say? We grew closer to something simultaneously elemental and evolved, and all my fears of falling endlessly into the bay evaporated.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


What else can you call it? I met Jen G for breakfast and a wedding photo swap at Tartine. The photos came out beautifully! I am impressed and delighted by the quality of what she took for us! The only problem, clearly not her fault, is that my rotund belly shows through in the reception gown. Cute? Or just too many visits to bakeries in the Bay Area?

I know I'm low on willpower, but I also know that I have a ceiling that I can hit, where it no longer feels comfortable to be a chub. I'm there right now again, feeling the need to move my body again. Giving up the treats, though, is tough. Maybe impossible. So, I had a gougere, lighter than the ham croissant I'd intended to get. Jen G ordered a shiitake croque monsieur, and I helped myself to a tiny bite.

A few years back, when Tartine was a fledging, a friend of mine worked there as a baker. I confessed my infatuation with gougeres, and she gave me a tip. "Check out Linda Dannenberg's Paris Boulangerie Patisserie," she said. "That's where they get most of the recipes." I paid $75 for a second hand copy of this book. It was out of print at the time, but I noticed that it's back in print and available for a very reasonable $25. Flipping through the book makes me salivate profusely. Recipes for all sorts of French pastries, sweet and savory, are contained in the pages. I've tried my hand at the gougeres, which are easy and turn out excellently. I'm still mustering up courage to tackle a croissant!

I still can't believe that I used to live only two blocks from Tartine. Even harder to fathom is my move! I guess soaring housing prices had something to do with our new neighborhood dense with fruit trees (lemon, apple, plum, fig, persimmon, avocado, to name a few). Despite our misgivings, we are now only a 1/2 mile from the best produce on earth: Monterrey Market. Those of you who are loyal to Berkeley Bowl might contest this, but I stick to my statement. Monterrey Market has less selection (and less traffic), but it's a farce to say that in the face of the many horrible supermarkets in the world stocked with iceberg lettuce and a few stalks of celery, that Monterrey Market is lacking.

E and I shopped today for a small dinner for friends tomorrow. We were both moved by the sheer abundance of gorgeous produce. Several varieties of peaches, nectarines, and berries bursting out of their containers. And, of course, figs! And melons! And tomatoes! So much produce, so little time.

Inspired by my recent pilgrimage to Tartine, I had come with the intent to make an apricot tart from Paris Boulangerie Patisserie, but mysteriously, there were no apricots today. I wonder if the window has closed already or if there will be another batch soon. In any case, I picked up some yellow peaches instead and paid homage to the fruits of summer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Point Reyes Station (West Marin, Part 2)

The Food and Wine article that I mentioned earlier was of great help in finding a few local check-it-outs in these parts. We took its advice in the town of Point Reyes Station and dropped in for a light lunch at the Pine Cone Diner and a little afternoon treat at the Bovine Bakery. At the diner, we ordered the soup-of-the-day, a sweet corn and squash soup, which was simple and hit the spot. We also scoped out the Caribbean Chicken Salad. The salad's ingredients (spinach, mango, dried cranberries, coconut and wild rice) were all harmoniously there, but I found myself avoiding the chicken. Had it been grilled or tended to with more loving care (it was just boiled), it wouldn't have lacked the flavor and firmness needed to make the salad really come together.

Locals rave about the Bovine Bakery's offerings, but I had little chance to experience much of the charm save for a stunningly beautiful teenager who worked behind the counter. (Are people actually allowed to be that pretty in real life?) The blueberry-plum crumble we tasted was nicely done. The fruit was bursting with flavor but the crumble part of the treat was a bit soggier than I usually like it. Had there been room enough in my stomach to sample more, I might have gotten a more distinct impression of Bovine's unique style, too. As it is, I think I'm spoiled by the deluge of fine bakeries in North Berkeley and in the City. (Afterall, I've got plans tomorrow morning for Tartine.)

Unfortunately, the Tomales Bay Foods building (housing the famous Cowgirl Creamery and the Indian Peach Deli) was closed on the Monday that we rolled into town. We used the extra time to loiter around and ducked into a bookstore on the main drag. Upon entering, the first table to our right was filled with books expousing the growing and cooking of local, organic foods as well as other pro-food movements, such as "slow food." There were also fliers for a Marin farmers' market, touting itself as the only all organic market around.

While E browsed for a good summer novel, two 9-year old boys came through the door and asked to be put on the waiting list for the Harry Potter event. In just a few days, the bookstore would be sponsoring a sleepover in the store, entertaining giggling boys and girls before the strike of midnight, when each of them would finally be allowed to open and devour their copies of the new novel. After the hubbub involved in disseminating the books, I imagine the children retreating to their sleeping bags, the room completely quiet but for the sound of turning pages. The man behind the counter just wanted to make sure the kids were aware that they would have to purchase the book to be able to come to the sleepover. One of the kids politely answered "yes" while the other blurted out an emphatic "duh!" E & I chuckled and repeated "duh!"

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dishin' It Out

It makes me absurdly giggly. All I want to do is plate food onto them in order to display their magnificence. Where, you ask, did I get these dishes? Three differences circumstances converged in our acquisition of our new dishware.

1. As a birthday gift from his best friend, E took a class at Heath Ceramics in Sausalito last year. Heath specializes in making ceramic dishware and tiles. E took a class about phototransfering onto tiles, in which he learned to make the cutest tile of sock monkeys in the jungle, a mainstay of our kitchen decor.

2. When it came time to register for wedding gifts, we had a breakdown at Macy's, wondering what on earth we'd possibly want there besides underwear or jeans (which, incidentally, you are not allowed to register for). After two hours of wandering about the store, we left having put only two small suitcases on the registry.

3. I have been "over" my dishes since the day my mother bought them for me. I mistakenly mentioned to her once that I needed dishes after a roommate of mine (and her dishes) had moved out. My mother, who is a Costco shopper, bought two 4-place setting sets of Mikasa china in an ivory color and rimmed with gold. Eek! Aesthetically, they are totally not my style, especially the gold rim. From the start it drove me nuts because it makes the plates unable to be microwaved.

These three variables, put together in an equation, yielded: Heath. Started in the 1940s by Edith Heath, an artist and designer, the company gained and maintained its reputation for simple but elegant ceramics. Shortly after the company started, Gump's began to carry them, which was the main way they became distributed. (They are no longer carried by Gump's but can be found at Barney's.) Several restaurants in the area, such as Slanted Door, use Heath to show off their creations. The plates aren't cheap, but they'll also, according to everyone we know, last forever. Not just because of their quality but also because they are timeless pieces.

Yesterday, we drove to the Heath headquarters in Sausalito to pick up our "loot" as E called it--things that our friends and family had purchased for us off the registry. We supplemented with a gift certificate we had gotten, too. The experience of browsing in the store is a wonderfully fun thing, but we also arrived on time to take a tour of the factory. We witnessed the way the clay is processed and made usable, saw the molds used for the teapots, watched an employee throw a pot, and even got to spy the kilns. Heath is small enough that all the pieces have been touched by people either in the process of throwing or glazing. All the dishes come out with slight differences, making them like endearing big-eared or gap-toothed friends.

At the end of the tour, we carefully packed up our loot and headed for home. We washed them immediately and ousted the gold-rimmed Mikasa. Suddenly, unperturbed by the idea of more dishes to do, I've started to plate pasta I've made in bowls rather than leaving it in the sauce pan.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Experiments Already Underway

E & I stopped into a small, independent bookstore in Point Reyes Station, which had a table devoted to the subculture of organic farming and general food-related items. On that table, I noticed a book called Everything I Ate, recently published by Chronicle Books. In it, the author Tucker Shaw, a writer of teen fiction and amateur photographer, chronicles through photography, every morsel he put in his mouth in the year 2004. I was intrigued but couldn't help but feel envious. These days, it's hard to shrug the envy of my peer's cultural production and see the thing produced for itself. It didn't help that Tucker was still youthfully good looking, too!

Admittedly, Tucker Shaw's experiment is brilliant. To see not just the notes of each mini-feast, be it pretzels or fois gras, but the actual photographs is, frankly, stunning. It is a stark reminder of the ways in which eating is, for most of us, simulataneously a low- and high-brow activity. Unlike E, who I have mentioned is more discriminating about food consumption than I am, I'm likely to dine at Taco Bell for lunch and Zuni Cafe for dinner. This comes to life in Shaw's book, where some meals are fantastic for both their artistic as well as culinary qualities. Other bites of the day are as simple (or processed) as a handful of peanut M-and-M's.

E jokes that I am planning meals just after eating. He thinks this is silly but is also aware that he benefits greatly from my constant attention to food. Like a 1950s housewife, I free him up to think about other, ostensibly more important things. But unlike that antiquated stereotype of a housewife, I'm closer to my mom's version of a homemaker. I make things I absolutely love and want to eat. My dining whims are as unpredictable as the fog, and because E does not crave differences in taste daily, I can follow the tides of my own tastes. I can make whatever pleases me, and, most likely, it will please him, too. Two birds with one precise stone. I do believe this is what people call lucky.

In the vein of Shaw's experiments, I would like to chronicle all the meals that I make this summer in the hopes that what I will do for myself is to transcribe the recipes which I continually create but are lost with the making. I am a cook of two extremes. Either I follow recipes to the tee or I put things together without any outside direction. Either extreme is valuable. In one case, I can know how to return to something that exists our there (I rarely keep and organize things I make from recipes) and I will capture in print and in photographs, my own style of cooking.

So, today I frolicked at the Berkeley Farmers' Market, knowing that I craved a good corn chowder. The organic farms are at their peak with summer veggies. It wasn't hard to spot ears of fresh corn, heirloom tomatoes, and peaches. Here's what I made:

Corn Chowder with Tomato Relish

Ingredients for Chowder: organic white sweet corn, organic carrots, organic celery, haricot vert, yellow onion, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, free range chicken broth, heavy whipping cream, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper. (All herbs were from my garden.)

Ingredients for the Tomato Relish: heirloom tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Fresh Peach Filo Tart

Ingredients: Filo Pastry (frozen but thawed), one yellow sweet peach, organic raw sugar, and unsalted butter.

Cheers to fine summer cooking!

The Village of Bolinas (West Marin, Part 1)

I'm relieved that we opted for a "mini-moon" instead of a getaway involving getting your passport and visa ducks in order, hopping on planes (something E & I don't love), exhaustively sight-seeing and, finally, wishing you had a vacation to recover from your vacation.

We went to brunch with E's family on Sunday morning, unhurriedly threw a few sets of clothes, a couple of bikes, and a picnic basket (gifted to us by Anne & Sami and filled with cheese, wine, olives, chocolate & other delights) into the back of E's truck and drove North over Mt. Tam until we arrived in the sleepy little town of Bolinas.

If you're unaware of the rep that Bolinas has, here's a good opening descriptor: the residents categorically tear down the sign indicating the turnoff each time a new one is resurrected. In general, they are inhospitable to non-residents, hoping that the touristy tourists will keep their prissy noses out of Bolinas' business. Though it might seem outright xenophobic to vacationers itching to conquer a cute little locale by the beach, I find it self-protective and utterly understandable. This attitude has kept the town from being overrun with an icky and irreponsible hotel economy.

So what has Bolinas got to offer? For starters, it is more a village than a town, where the locals know each other by name. Only a handful of shops and eateries exist on the downtown strip: a hardware store, one gas station (with ridiculously expensive gas), a doctor's office, a dentist's office, a library, a cafe, a general store, a bike and surf shop, an old saloon by the name of Smiley's (which purports to be the oldest drinking hole in California), and a few other stores offering surf clothes and essential (!) hippie paraphernalia such as incense, crystals, and Indian fabrics. This latter detail, the "hippie" store, is a good indication of the reputation that Bolinas has had over the past few decades. Certainly, it was an alternative haven to many artists, particularly those influenced by the Beats. Richard Brautigan, for instance, called it home and even shot himself to death there in 1984.

Bolinas still retains much of its post-Beat flavor. Many of the houses are very rustic and still don't have a central water or sewage system (because of Bolinas development laws). Deer can be found roaming around throughout the more secluded parts of town. Several ragamuffins, young and old, hang out on Wharf Road wearing flip-flops or dreads or both. Stragglers sometimes camp out on the beach, where there are several beautiful tide pools into which one might peer at low tide. In general, as long as no pandemonium ensues, sleeping on the beach is welcome.

The town's emblem--Bolinas Border Patrol--shows a tough California quail in profile wearing cop shades. A great way to get to know this part of Marin is to read the Sheriff's Calls from the local paper, the Point Reyes Light. The calls still have the flavor of a Wild West, where mayhem of the drugs and alcohol variety make up a bulk of the problems. One story I loved was of a drunken man who broke into a house in the middle of the night and, when confronted by the owner, asked him for cigarettes.

What, then, you might ask, were we doing there? For starters, we hoped that our general familiarity with Bolinas and our respect for the town would make our stay welcome. Afterall, E's mom lived there for awhile, and E still has several friends who are residents. We booked three nights at the Blue Heron Inn, one of the only local B & B's in town, also on Wharf Road, which was recommended to us by friends. The rooms (there are only two) are very cute and quaint, nothing fancy. The bathrooms are spacious and have wood floors and clawfoot bathtubs.

The to-die-for part of Blue Heron was the food. A recent blurb featuring Northern California beach towns in Food and Wine had recommended it. The Blue Heron's restaurant, just downstairs from our room, featured a lovely sun room with wood and wicker furniture overlooking a small garden that can only be described as "cute." While the settings were much more bumpkin than the city-slickness of Fleur de Lis or Jardiniere, the prices and the quality of the food were equal rivals to these SF hot shots. The food was not cheap. There is no mistaking this! But the experience of perfect--nay, sublime--food made it all worthwhile. We were easily wooed and even made plans to come back the next night.

Sunday night:

*Baby greens, grilled red onions, kumquats tossed with red-wine vinaigrette and topped with baked goat cheese and toasted macadamias

*Sesame-encrusted grilled halibut with mango-pepper salsa and rice cooked with coconut milk

*Sweet-glazed pork chops with black mission figs

Monday night:

*Potato leek soup

*Tagliatelle in a tomato and fresh vegetable sauce

*Orange fried chicken with mashed potatoes

*Belgium chocolate cake with chantilly cream

What made the food so incredible? This is a tough question to answer, but I'll take a shot. The perfection of the experience lay largely in the fact that it was not formulaic, not a combinations of fashionable somethings that added up into something. I'd say that the freshness of the ingredients were definitely a factor. Most of the produce was organic and grown in the near vicinity. The pasta sauce for the tagliatelle, for instance, was catapulted from ordinary to extraordinary largely because of the quality of the veggies.

Another important factor in success: the ingredients were not used in a showy way. They were showcased for their complimentary nature. For instance, the kumquats in the goat-cheese salad were exemplary not for their uniqueness as this year's pomegranate (as brown is the new black or the 30's are the new 20's) but because they married well with the rest of the flavors in the dish. It was fitting that the ingredients of the food were committed and collaborating, not only in the spirit of the village of Bolinas but also in the spirit of our recent wedding.

Lastly, I've got to give it up for the wines. We had a Viognier that rocked my world! Of course, I was too enamored to have noted the name of it. I'll have to call them back and ask them what it is. Three cheers for the chocolate cake, too. Had they not run out of the coconut custard pie, we'd have missed out on the cake. Pastry chefs can learn a lesson from the simplicity of a perfectly moist, barely frosted chocolate cake with an ever-so-sweet whipped cream topping it. It was the girl-next-door who, having just emerged from the shower, is always more ruddy and naturally beautiful than an actress caked with makeup.

Stay tuned! More West Marin adventures to come. . .

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Bells & Reverie!

Suprisingly, the date has come and gone! E & I are hitched, and it went off without a hitch. Several of our friends said it was the best wedding they had ever attended. Many remarked that they loved our priest, who was entertaining and managed a very sweet hearthfelt ceremony with much humor and effervescence.

Other guests commented on the delicious veggie Indian food (by Amber India), the picture-perfect desserts (by Delessio Market in SF) & killer tunes from a local Berkeley DJ. There was effortless booty-shaking all around. Let's just say we had a crowd who knew how to rock the dance floor. E & I got our own tushes out there and cut a rug, too. Perhaps that was the pinnacle of fun for me? Bells & reverie all around!

So, um. . . anyone in need of a wedding planner? Now that I know how to handle every detail of a 200-guest affair, it's a good time to hang my sign and open shop. But I can't glibly take all the credit for such a masterpiece. Check out our beautiful altar--all thanks to my new hubby, who constructed it from green bamboo. He's been the aesthetic mastermind to the entire affair. Of course, the love of many kind people didn't hurt us, either.

I'll soon be back to blog, writing of all the temptations of the tongue we experienced in West Marin! After that, expect regular posts of kitchen experiments and more.