After a glorious three days in Calistoga, California followed by a whirlwind Fourth of July in San Francisco, I’ve decided it’s imperative I find a way to make a living eating really great fresh food and tasting wine. Or at least make enough income to do this trip again, ASAP!
Our family has always had close ties to San Francisco and the Napa Valley – it has been really wonderful to be able to get back there as much as possible. We stayed with my close family friends the Gilmores. Marlys Gilmore who turned 80 this year, is by far the best cook I’ve ever had the pleasure of dining with. She also does simple so well – like fresh fruit and toast for breakfast – what more do you need?
While serving as sous-chef to Marlys, I was even able to show her a little Kisster-hack I’d read about.. Did you know that you can stop your eyes from watering while chopping a red onion by putting a piece of bread in your mouth?! You look silly (and it’s hard not to chew the good bread) but it really works!
Of course, I needed to get in a quick run each morning in order to justify the movable feast that is Napa Valley. The scenery in the vineyards during the mornings is quite lovely. And would you believe that the temperature variance this time of year can be up to 40 degrees? That’s right, we’d hit 90F during the day and cool down to 50F at night, which gave me a lovely and refreshing morning run. The grapes love this temperature difference too.
A spot I cannot recommend highly enough is the artist’s residence of Carlo Marchiori. It’s called Villa Ca’Toga and is designed by the artist himself to look like an old Venetian Villa. He is also world-renowned for his incredible murals. The grounds too, transport you to a magical and ancient place.
After our lovely stay in Calistoga it was on to San Francisco, where I leave my heart each time I visit but it’s always there waiting for me when I get back. An Irish Coffee at the famous Buena Vista cafe has always been on my bucket list as it was a favorite spot of my mother’s in the 70’s and a fun place to take friends. Below is THE Buena Vista, and a classic San Francisco vista.
We were lucky enough too to be in San Francisco with friends for the Fourth of July celebrations. My friend Candy and her boyfriend are also excellent cooks and made us broiled salmon on the grill. I had to finish up my journey with an Uber back to the hotel – and will now sign off to campaign that New York begin installing fuzzy seatbelt covers in each taxi, amirite?