Last Friday we left our green scape and blue scape to go visit our sons in California. We drove 900 miles, staying overnight in Northern California wine country, then in Central California wine country, and then down to Los Angeles where we stayed by the airport.
Every time we visit our family down in California we look forward to the shopping and the restaurants. This last item includes fancy places as well as simple fare.
On my list was a stop at In-and-Out Burger. It is the quintessential burger, in my book: pure beef, grilled on demand, layered on a toasted bun with special sauce, leaf lettuce, beefsteak tomato, onions. McDonald's burger does not come close. I added fries that had been freshly cut from Idaho potatoes bigger than my hand, and freshly fried. We found our first burger joint in Salinas.
Before that, we spent a half a day having lunch in Healdsburg, in the Sonoma Valley, north of San Francisco, at Dry Creek Kitchen, a Charlie Palmer restaurant at the Hotel Healdsburg, where we had the sit down chef's tasting menu that included different wines for different courses.
The first course was pea soup with minty creme freche and a sauvignon blanc to put us in the right mood. The second course was house-made fusilli with a creamy sauce and a variety of zucchini squash, paired with a lovely rose. By the time the third course arrived, pork tenderloin on rapini served with a robust cabernet, we were ready for a nap. But, we forced ourselves to sit through the dessert course as well, with yet another drink.
After all this we needed a nap for sure. Fortunately for us, the shops in Healdsburg are filled with distracting objects and clerks dressed right out of Vogue. We chatted, we strolled, we bought a couple of cook books. (As though I needed more!)
When we got back on the highway and crossed San Francisco's famous Golden Gate Bridge, we swore we would never eat that way again.
After we arrived in Salinas, and we settled for the night, I spotted the In-and Out drive-through an easy walk from the hotel. I couldn't pass that up.
Living in Oregon has taught us simple, green living. But we have muscle memories that have not disappeared.