Cheers! Sonoma Food & Wine Festival

On Friday our friends and newlyweds Mark & Elise Norcini graced the Bay Area with their presence.  A group of us went out Friday for the city’s best tacos at Tacko (Mexican food + Nantucket atmosphere = amazing) followed by drinks and some competitive shuffle board at the Marina’s “most controversial spot” (according to Michael P Saign due to the bar’s “dress code” that seemed neither enforced nor controversial from my experience).  Saturday morning the group rented a Yukon and headed North to the Sonoma Food & Wine Festival.  Our group included Harps & myself, Mark & Elise, Mike & Moira, and Nathan & Shannon.  Aside from the torrential down-pour (that did not dampen our spirits), the day was epic.  Here are few highlights from the group:

1) At the first vineyard we met a real live witch and learned about how they make their wine which includes burying cow horns filled with manure on a full moon, digging them up, stirring the remains in a caldron by moon light and brewing it into a tea that they sprinkle across the land.  The only rationale reason I could garner for why they employ all of these tactics is because it keeps the bugs out…?

2) The “salmon glasses” that we all wore that supposedly made it easier to look into the water searching for salmon that were totally non-existant.

3) Getting cookbooks that eventually doubled as “yearbooks” that we all signed towards the end of the trip which produced some memorable entries

4) My wine glass jumping out of my hands and breaking into a million pieces and the entire room erupting in a collective oooOOOOOO…!

5) The invention of the “cork-bounce” game that I thought was going to get us kicked out of some places but somehow everyone loved it.

At the start of the trip after crossing the GGB



Baker & Banker = Heaven

I am so lucky that I married a romantic guy.  I didn’t really know I would like to be romanced so much but when you’re with someone, umm, permanently, it’s kind of nice.  On our 1 1/2 year anniversary (I know, major milestone that everyone celebrates, right?), Michael handed me a card before he walked out the door.  It was the sweetest note I have ever received and at the end he invited me out for a Friday night dinner-date.  Now, our anniversary was actually while my grandparents were in town, so we delayed the date a couple of weeks.

Aside from being romantic, Michael just generally loves surprises (for himself and for others), so he kept the restaurant a secret.  I am terrible with surprises (for myself and for others), so I started guessing incessantly.  Why can’t I just sit back and enjoy it?  I have no idea.  But I can’t.  So Michael made it into a guessing game.  I received hints throughout the day on Friday including: 1) I had never been before, 2) It is on SF Eater’s “Top 38 Restaurants,” 3) It is run by a husband & wife duo and 4) The name includes a past profession of mine (I was once a baker for a summer YoungLife camp — shout out Timberwolf Lake summer ’05!).  Now, I should have been able to easily guess after clue #3, but I jumped to a guess without doing much homework and blew it.  Oh yeah, did I mention I was only allowed 1 guess per clue?  Anyway, I was at the office as my clues were being delivered so I enlisted the help of coworkers (what else is there to do on Friday anyway?), and we came up with it.  Baker & Banker.

San Francisco is FULL of amazing restaurants — the entire city is like one giant culinary experience — so I am always excited to try new ones, but by this point I’m pretty used to amazing food.  Baker & Banker literally blew me away and even after just one night, it’s easily in my top 3 favorite restaurants in the city.  The ambiance was a perfect blend of cozy and sophisticated, the service was amazing (our waitress had been there since they opened and she knew the menu inside & out and gave fabulous recommendations), and the food was Out. Of. This. World.  Seriously.

We started with a champagne to toast ourselves (naturally).  Then we each had an appetizer an entree, and shared a bottle of wine and dessert.  Every moment was heavenly.

Starting off the evening with a toast - to 1 1/2 years of marriage and many more to come 🙂


Dessert! Apple Crisp TO DIE FOR!!!!! Maybe the best thing all night.