Monday, August 07, 2006

Wine Country Shenanigans Pt. 1 - Bouchon Bakery
While being a rather productive intern one afternoon a few weeks ago, HH IMed me and suggested a Napa excursion. Why? Because we are 80-year-old men with refined interests and a boatload of disposable income. Having very much enjoyed past visits to Wine Country with my family as a kid, and to the French Laundry this past Winter, I couldn't refuse yet another opportunity to sample Napa's ambrosiac culinary offerings, especially with someone who lives to eat more than she eats to live. So, naturally, my response was a "yes". Actually, it was more of an "Aight, letz do dis ding!"

Redd, Cyrus, and Bouchon were among the restaurants under consideration so our only difficulty at that point was narrowing down the choices.

Alright, time for me to take the virtual helm. One of the biggest vexations in life is choosing restaurant; every mealtime is an opportunity, and by settling for one, you forgo the chance to try another. Now then, to the contestants. Bouchon, Thomas Keller's cork, didn't sound all that appealing: French bistro was just too heavy, and we didn't just want to settle for the oysters and bubbly. Cyrus, deemed the "next French Laundry," is all the rage these days. Upon closer examination of the truffled/foied gras-ed/caviared out menu, nothing sounded too interesting. Also, having seen pictures here and there, the plates didn't seem to reach the refinement or sophistication of the French Laundry, because the FL it is not. Of the three, Redd sounded the most refreshing, featuring contemporary American fare with Asian and Latin American influences. We also liked how accessible the restaurant was, without the hustle and bustle for a precious seat. Bouchon Bakery for breakfast and Redd for lunch it was.

Lovers of cheese we are not; however, we love cheese. Armed with a soundtrack housing the likes of Pat Benatar, Jackson Browne, Belinda Carlisle and Phil Collins, we were ready to roll on a sunny Saturday morning. The trip north was only a convertible and couple of Golden Girls silk headscarves away from being the roquefort of cheesy experiences.

We planned the first half of our day meticulously and were confident that spontaneous doodads would carry us the rest of the way into the evening. We were to arrive at Bouchon Bakery early to have a light breakfast so that the refined carbs would be well-digested by our 1pm reservation at Redd.

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It was pretty difficult to choose out of the myriad of empty carbs just beckoning for our immediate consumption. Add to that the pressure of having a gazillion Yountvillains behind you, all clamoring for an edible start to the morning, TK style. So, Julyanne went for the unadulteratedly-blue blueblueberry muffin, while I went for a currant scone. The scone was buttery and crumbly, though I think Citizen Cake's buckwheat scones have an edge--those are simply delectable.

She also got a macchiatto, and get this: I order a single cappuccino, I am given a double, but I pay for a coffee. Can this place get any better?

Yes. Because, outside in the seating area, one does not need Saturday morning cartoons. Yountville is a place of many dogs, but even more rampant are dog molesters. We begin with two senior citizens, let's refer to them as Bill and Sue. So poor old Bill and Sue are trying to enjoy their pastries and coffee in peace, when a family of three and their dogs appear.

"I hope they don't see us," Sue mutters.

Too late. The family pulls up many a chair up to the small table and tie down their dogs. So within five minutes, we witness about four passersby come to pat the two poor canines.

"The dogs have bitten people," stammers the uncomfortable mother of one. More esoteric amusement ensues, but I'll just leave it at that.

So we continue on our journey, and come across a french laundromat, of whorehouse origin.

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To be continued.

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