Anyone who knows me (and quite a few who don't) knows that I'm a foodie. One of my earliest memories is making sugar cookies with my grandmother. Growing up, our family vacations seemed to be more about where and what we were going to eat than what sites we would see. Family get-togethers became showcases for whatever style of cooking or food you were currently in to.
Joining the Foreign Service I knew that my culinary adventures would change tremendously. On the one hand, I'd get exposed to so many new foods and items and cultures. On the other hand, leaving California and it's wonderful markets and farmland would significantly decrease the diversity of what I could find to cook with.
So - it's no wonder that as we've been planning our trip home for R&R, where and what we would be eating and cooking has been a significant part of our planning.
There are the special restaurants and foods we wanted to have again.
Like the very famous Roast Chicken from Zuni Cafe. So simple, so wonderful. I've made it at home with this recipe - but nothing beats having it there - especially with good friends.
And then at Vik's in Berkeley, the wonderful Dahi Batata Puri - little puris filled with yogurt and tamarind chutney and cholle - super yummy!
La Taqueria was our first stop when we arrived back in the US - but they were doing their yearly closed for renovations and we had to wait two weeks for the tacos. But sooooooo worth it! Carnitas and chorizo tacos with the works - double corn tortillas (1 crispy, 1 steamed, cheese, wonderful pinto beans, salsa, sour cream and hot sauce. Sunset Magazine got the recipe to make it at home.
Then there are just the fabulous places to visit - like Nepenthe. It's a wonderful place (to call it just a restaurant doesn't begin to do it justice). It's in Big Sur, it's got amazing views of the coast. There are big decks everywhere, a fire pit, the famous Ambrosia burger and wonderful wines.
I just love it there - so peaceful!
We also got to go wine tasting in Sonoma Valley. Gary Farrell and Hartford Court have some wonderful wines.
Good times with good friends!
And then there's the cooking to do. I got to visit one of my favorite places in the world - and certainly one of the best grocery stores ever - the Berkeley Bowl. So much variety, such excellent quality -heaven on earth!