Saturday, January 8, 2011

Potlucks and Mexican - California-style

Happy New Year everyone! We jetted off to Northern California to ring in 2011 with friends who were getting married on New Year's eve. As most people were traveling long distances, the couple arranged for a block of beach homes on Bodgea Bay where we could all stay and spend time together pre-nuptials. Meals consisted of great pot lucks where strangers cooked and ate together, leaving as friends. Instead of a rehersal dinner, the night before the wedding saw the most robust of these meals, highlighted by plates and plates of fresh oysters and Dungeness crab. I wish I'd taken photos, but just close your eyes and imagine scores of oysters shimmering on a loaded dining room table, simply begging youto eat more than your share and you can come close to my joy. I may have missed the oyster pic, but here's a shot of the coast that made me smile as much as the slimy little buggers did.

One of the contributions our house made was a cheese place comprised of delicacies from Cowgirl Creamery, just down the road from where we were staying. While out and about earlier that day, I'd also picked up some of their wares - a hunk of Mt. Tam triple cream that is (almost literally) worth its weight in gold, but worth every penny. Facing duplicates, we left one package of Mt. Tam at the house. Then, come breakfast, we realized there was no butter for our locally-made sourdough toast and the cheese served as a spectacular substitute. My heart may disagree, but can you really do better than fresh homemade toast piled high with rich, creamy artisan cheese? I haven't had a chance to check out our local cheese sources yet but you can bet my eye will be out for this stuff here at home.

The wedding itself was at a winery in Santa Rosa. We had some time to bum around during the day and Western One was set on finding "real Mexican food." Thank you Yelp - we tracked down a fantastic little strip mall taqueria away from the touristy part of town. I think this might have been my first authentic taqueria experience.
I'm slowly learning why Western One is so discriminating - the food was outstanding. I had one carne asada and one chile verde taco, Western One went for carnitas, which he said was great. One taco was really two, so we were both stuffed and happy for less than $20.

I did, however, commit a cardinal sin. Sonoma county and no wine tour. I suppose my penance will need to be a return visit.

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