For the Love of Garlic: The Stinking Rose in SF

Filed under California, Food Culture, San Francisco
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We have a fairly good success rate with trying new and adventurous recipes. Roasted chicken with dates and apricots? Outstanding. Six-layer rainbow cake? Tasty and visually delightful! But we have not been able to exactly replicate one of my favorite meals from our trip to San Francisco four years ago: bagna calda from The Stinking Rose.

Photo by deannanmc


The Stinking Rose’s menu claims to serve almost three thousand pounds of garlic per month. Put another way, if that were a single bulb it would be a small Honda. I’m pretty sure I ate at least a carburetor’s worth of garlic in my meal. It should go without saying that you should not plan to attend the theater, go to the gym, or do any dancing after eating here. You’ll have garlic coming out of your pores for days.

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The Perfect SF Day Trip: Muir Woods

Filed under California, general, San Francisco
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I was going to use this space to talk about the signs of Spring in New York City but alas, Spring has not yet sprung…It’s cold and damp. So instead I’ll tell you about one of the best day trip ideas ever. I’ve already gushed about San Fran but what makes that part of the world so great are the surrounding areas accessible with just a short car ride.

Muir Woods

Crossing over San Francisco’s bodies of water is part of the fun and no matter which exit point you take you’ll be treated to some amazing views. Driving over the towering Golden Gate Bridge for the first time is one of those great travel experiences you’ll always remember.

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5 Reasons Why San Francisco is Cooler than New York

Filed under California, Curiosities, general, new york
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Gotham forgive me. I’ve loved your grimy streets and your aggressive charm but maybe it’s time I started seeing other towns...

After nearly a decade in the city, I’m having a ten-year itch. And this week, spending time in the Bay area with a cute little number with the initials SF, I’ve having some serious doubts about our future together. Yes, New York has so many things going for it, but that’s for another day. Today’s all about the city made famous by the Beats and the freaks and the hippies too.

My new Favorite city - Photo Yunmee Kyong

Here’s why I am falling in love with San Fran…

1. A general all-around West-Coast inflected niceness.
“Hey man, thanks a lot,” says the dishwasher with bright-eyed glee at Four Barrel Coffee, when I return my cup and saucer to him on a busy Saturday afternoon. “How’d it go?” asks a complete stranger at a thrift store when I come out of the changing room after our brief introduction, apparently without any traces of irony or sarcasm, (two conversational staples in New York). During a memorable cable car ride up Market street , one chatty passenger put it more succinctly than I ever could – “People think this is a big old gay Metropolis, but once you live here, you realize it’s just like Mayberry.”

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Virginia Wineries

Filed under Body and Mind, California, Culture, Curiosities, Food Culture, general
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When most people think of American wines, their thoughts gravitate toward California–specifically Napa and Sonoma. Nothing wrong with that; California turns out an excellent product. On the opposite coast, however, is Virginia. While not as prolific as California, Virginia’s wineries turn out several complex and tasty varieties amid scenic surroundings that are just as lovely as anything found in California. Try these three the next time you find yourself in the mid-Atlantic.

Vineyard, photo by deannanmc

Set on a 475 acre farm by Shadow Lake, Tarara Winery has a sunny patio for socializing and a delightfully extensive tasting menu. Tastings are $10 per person but well worth the money; the wines themselves are very affordable and your biggest problem will be choosing which one you want to enjoy outside and which ones you want to take home. If you like white wines, you’ll want to try their Charval. It’s a blend of chardonnay, pinot gris, vigonier, and sauvignon blanc that is crisp and sunny. The chardonnay itself comes from five different regions of the farm which lends a lot of complexity and interest to the flavor. Personally, I’m happy with anything Tarara sells as long as I can pair it with some of the local cheeses, charcuterie, and chocolates on sale just next to the tasting floor.

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Cakebread Cellars – Wine Tasting in California

Filed under California, Culture, Food Culture, general
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I forget why we chose to make Cakebread Cellars part of our sojourn through Napa and Sonoma (a trip we fondly refer to as “Boozecation”). It certainly wasn’t a hotel recommendation; as part of an effort to save money we stayed in a campground. Whatever it was that inspired us to go, I’m glad that we did. Cakebread Cellars is an essential stop on any tour of the northern California wineries.

Cakebread Cellars. Photo by deannanmc

One thing that you have to know about Cakebread is that it is not a walk-in winery. In order to sample the wares you must make an appointment for a tasting. We did the basic tasting of their current releases (which is $15 as of this writing) but there are six different options at varying price levels. The food-and-wine pairing option utilizes ingredients from the revered Cakebread garden, an organic marvel maintained on the grounds. The quality of the wines and the food showcase Cakebread’s commitment to both healthy, sustainable food culture and fine wine that’s also fun and accessible.

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