Monday, March 8, 2010

A Toast

Well guys, I am filled with excuses for not writing-- they are lame. Like I have been trying to get Born to Shop California Wine Country finished so I can get on a plane and fly to France and close up my house which has been sold. Then my computer died. Then the dog pee'd on my homework. You get the drift. Lazy. Not organized. But I'm baaaaack and will be doing regular reporting from France after March 18, 2010.

But first, that toast I promised. Jill Parsons Stern, who was the first editor of the Born to Shop series back when it was created (1984) and sold to Bantam Books has been taken (so to speak) -- Sarah and I have won her over to the red side (we all drink red, not white) and Jill will be editing the next four Born to Shop books. Born to Shop California Wine Country should be available on by mid June.

Jill came to Tiburon to go over the pages and help us get organized; we felt that she needed at least a day in the vines to really 'see' the book. (Think Avatar; I see you.) That made us compose one perfect day in the vines.

We didn't want to do too much schlepping around, so we drove up Route 121, looked at The BlueTree at Cornerstone Galleries, then turned onto Highway 12 until we got to Domaine Carneros, the Taittinger owned chateau on a hill that now presides over a park filled with cherry blossoms. At 11am there weren't too many people and we could enjoy the view and the bubbly. By noon it was jammed and we ran out of there screaming, "we're not with the tourists."

I drank a coupe of Le Reve, the premium pour and it was indeed dreamy-- and far superior to what the other girls tested. Jill had an OK-enough pink sparkling but Sarah's blanc de noir was very disappointing. The winery offers a 3-glass tasting of these varietlas ($15) so you can see for yourself. I'd suggest you just go with the dream.

Still sober, we sped off to Taylor's Refresher in St. Helena. The Napa branch at Oxbow would have been closer, but we wanted Jill to get the whole experience, or asmuch as you can get in a drive-by. We stoof in line at Taylors (as is almost always the case) then dined inside a clear plastic heated tent that has jsut been erected for the spring crowds. I had my usual rare burger with garlic fries; Sarah had her usual loaded cheeseburger with sweet potato fries and Jill went for fish tacos, which she claimed were excellent.

The original Taylor's Refresher, on the edge of downtown St. Helena, is not much more than a stand or 60's style diner-- it's famous for gourmet burgers and easy eats. They also serve local wines. They are located on Highway 29 -- the main drag through all the Napa Valley communities-- and are in fact almost directly across the street from the new eatery Farmstead, which is busy, a little bit pricey and the place to be seen these days. I thought that Taittinger and Taylor's was the right combo.

We prowled downtown a little, marveled that soap at the Napa Sopa Company costs $8.95 a bar before taxes, then drove south toward home. Our final stop enroute was Fruit Basket, one of those giant farmstands that sells a little of everything. We were in the wrong lane of the highway to get to Marie Calendar in time to grab dessert (big sale on razzleberry pies) and I was hoping that Farm Basket sold fresh made pies from a nearby ranch, but alas -- nope. I got some fusili instead. But not for dessert.

We got home, dove into the pages and totally re-organized the front of the book, wine glasses in hand. Not to break the Napa spirit, but to go with the intent of book editing, we poured Candor, a $10 a bottle wine from Paso Robles, L'Chaim.

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