Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Day in the Life

Instead of slobbing around in front of the laptop in my pajamas drinking coffee all day, stopping only for an hour of yoga somewhere in the middle, yesterday I decided to go up north for some manual labor in Healdsburg. I was called late the night before that by the owner of a.Muse gallery on 18th and Alabama, who I'd met at the soft opening of my friend Brandon's new spot, Luau. She was going up there to help harvest and crush two rows of Syrah as the guest of chef/blacksmith/Sicilian about town Angelo Garro and his young apprentice Jeff Burwell, who is one of her artists. I'm from Healdsburg, and I hadn't been up there in way too long (ever since I let DPT keep my car after one tow-job too many) so I agreed to keep Lori company on the drive and in the fields.

We arrived at 11am to join a jovial crew of artists and Europeans (including Angelo's cousin from Sicily, Jeff's cousin from Belgium, and an independent filmmaker from Slovakia who was mostly sick because she had put on a nicotine patch in order to kick her 15-year habit) sweating away, sickles in hand. We jumped right in and picked the two rows pretty quick (well, we only picked about 3/4 of a row, having been late). After putting everything through the crusher/de-stemmer it was time for a swim in the young apprentices parents pool while Angelo cooked lunch: wild boar ribs (which is almost common food in the Dry Creek Valley), a delicious pasta, crostini with cheeses, tomatoes, figs, and Angelo's own prosciutto, and lots of wine (jug wine from Preston, which is next door to the house and Angelo's syrah from last year).

More swimming and sunning followed lunch, and then Jeff and Lori and I headed down to the Barn Diva (where I worked and was fired from three times in 2004-2005) to see the general manager, who is a dear friend of mine (hence the re-hiring) and a friend of Jeff's as well (Healdsburg is a very, very small town). We quickly polished off 2 bottles of Roederer Rose (it's good to have friends who manage restaurants) and called it a day. It was 6pm and time to head back to the city; after promising the GM that I would return to Healdsburg next summer and stay in his empty bedroom (which has been empty for a year ever since his hippie chef left to get married in Santa Cruz) and clean for him and see how many more times in one summer I can get fired from the Barn.


I drove back to the city and dropped myself off on Cesar Chaves, which was the location of yet another Ghetto Gourmet (which I weaseled a seat at and a ticket to, through my hard work as a waitress on Sunday night. Thanks, Jeremy!!). The food was interesting, and you'll have to wait until next Wednesday to read more, somewhere in the actual printed-word world.

Following the "underground dinner," Michael Hebberoy, his lovely girlfriend Holly (who'd flown down from Seattle for a long weekend), the photographer who's documenting the dinners for his book, two friends of theirs who live in the Mission, and I headed over to Nopa for more wine and dessert. I like the food at Nopa very much, and the three other city-dwellers (we were joined by a friend of Holly's, who was jokingly peeved we were at Nopa at all as she'd wanted to surprise Holly with dinner there tomorrow night) agreed that the food was good but were in disagreement over the mural. I love it (it's an artists rendition of the Western Addition, complete with a hipster walking little dogs in Alamo Square, and I think I can see my old house), they hate it.

Dessert was two baskets of fries (I think Nopa has the best French fries in the city, served with a spicy harissa aioli), chocolate ice-cream, and spiced doughnut holes with a rum-caramel sauce. The fries were gone in a blink and we all picked at the desserts (they were very good but I think we wanted something saltier to accompany the two bottles of Nosis (where's the "G"? Anybody?) verdejo that Michael picked, yum. The two Blue Bottle espresso martinis went down easy, too, which was maybe not such a good thing as several shots of espresso right before bed atcually *do* make for a sleepless night.

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