Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tea at Crown and Crumpet

It's February and Munch and I are on Mid-Winter Break, or as I grew up calling it, "Ski Week". So she and I grabbed the opportunity to get to one of our "must-visit" destinations: Crown and Crumpet Tea Room in Ghirardelli Square. Snow White joined us for the day. We saved ourselves a drive by taking the ferry into San Francisco.It was a tiny ferry- very new (not even 2 weeks in service) and as plush as a ferry could get. It even had heat lamps hanging over the outer decks! Munch loved chatting up the ferry workers on board and spent most of time battling the bay breezes-
We had a little time to spare, so we wandered around the SF Ferry Building Marketplace. First stop was Miette, where Snow White and I picked out a couple of macarons- chocolate, rose, and grapefruit.
I was glad to see several merchants that were new (to me, at least- it's been a while since I've visited the Ferry Building). This one, Boccalone Salumeria, caught my eye-
as did the mushroom place, Far West Funghi, where I was able to show Munch what real truffles look like (and which reminded me to hunt down a new jar of truffled honey)

Knowing we had a few treats ahead, we passed on the doughnuts, although the flavors looked interesting-
We met up with my cousin and headed to Ghirardelli Square for our lunch reservation-
where Munch was so excited to find Crown and Crumpet that she didn't quite hear me say (several times), "Yes, this IS where we're eating!"
We spent several minutes oohing and aahing over how darling everything was- especially the table of sweets at the entrance

We were seated in the middle of the tea salon, next to the service area
I ordered the nursery tea for Munch
and tea service for myself (this serves one), but I think my cousin had the right idea ordering an extra plate of tea sandwiches as Munch worked through her three tiers very quickly!
All our orders came with a generous pot of tea- Paris for me, a decaf Muscat for my cousin (which smells AMAZING!), and Peppermint Chamomile for Munch. Munch's little teapot was just the right size for her and she was delighted to find a couple of heart shaped sugar cubes in the sugar bowl to nibble and add to her teacup-
While we finished our tea, Munch and Snow White explored the sitting area
and made friends with some other girls who were playing in the shop.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin Vacation- Antique Tractor Pull, Old Symco, and Thresheree


A few days into our visit to Wisconsin, my uncle mentioned that he might like to check out a tractor pull. I jumped at the chance to take Munch- when would we ever do something like THAT again? It was a fairly wet day, so the fields were a giant mud pit. After purchasing some hot dogs and nachos, we were able to find a dry spot in the bleachers under some trees and I could take in the local crowd.
The tractor pull itself was fairly anti-climactic (this isn't a monster truck rally, after all) as they spent a bit of time with weigh-ins and chugged along slowly, probably due to the mud. But it was interesting to see the antique tractors.
Munch quickly picked out a favorite- a green Oliver 66 (not to be mixed up with the 88, she pointed out) and had fun watching for it both in the tractor pull and in the rows of tractors on display.
After the tractor displays, we came upon an old steam engine
which was powering the machines in the saw mill-
Hanging from the beams above was a collection of antique chainsaws
Next to the saw mill was another structure being built. It had a fairly new water wheel-
In the next demonstration area we saw the threshing machines and an old log cutter-
In another area of the showgrounds was a cluster of small buildings. I'm not sure whether it is called old Symco or Unionville.
It was a really interesting and memorable day. And on our way home, we stopped in at the Wittenburg Dairy King for a chocolate dipped frozen custard. Yum!

Nibbling through Napa

AudioDad's sisters are celebrating birthdays this week, so we thought it might be fun to have a family day with them in Napa. We decided to meet up at Oxbow Public Market and I was glad to see how popular it has become. I remember taking Munch there when it first opened and was so concerned that it would quickly close due to lack of foot traffic. My last couple of visits though, Oxbow has been as crowded as the SF Ferry Building Marketplace, and it looks like a sit-down restaurant is now in the works where the Wine and Cheese Merchant used to be. Now all it needs is a great kitchenware store!
First stop was a peek into the pastry case at Ca' Momi Winery and Enoteca-
we haven't eaten there yet, as it is a fairly recent addition, but the aroma of their wood fired pizzas puts them as a must-try on my next visit. Another merchant I haven't yet purchased from is Five Dot Ranch, but I imagine we'll also bring something home from there soon-
Next, Munch made a beeline for her Dungeness crab friends in the tanks at Kanaloa Seafood Market-
She loves to talk to them and I'm not quite sure she has realized yet their fate as someone's dinner!
Having arrived before the rest of the family, we had a little time to kill so the next stop was Oxbow Cheese Merchant-
As always, we found plenty to taste and buy!
Everyone arrived soon after that-
so it was time for lunch- Gott's Roadside for them, and a pabellon cachapa (shredded steak, black beans, and plantain on a corn pancake) with yucca fries from Pica Pica Maize Kitchen for me- After lunch, we wandered through the market, tasting chocolate sauces at Anette's Chocolates and olive oils from The Olive Press, where I bought a jar of olive oil salve- just right for my winter-dried hands, before buying ice cream for the kids at Three Twins and some cold cuts from Fatted Calf Charcuterie (MUST go back for more bierwurst!)-
Next we crossed the Napa Valley Wine Train railroad tracks and the First Street bridge over the Napa River to get to the downtown area.
We passed a dirt lot with Dim Sum Charlie's food truck,
which is also the location of Napa's Food Truck Fridays (I hear that Spencer On the Go, from Food Network's Great Food Truck Race, can be found here occasionally- my to-visit list is quickly getting longer!)
At the Napa Riverfront
we peeked into kitchen window at Rotisserie and Wine hoping for a Tyler Florence sighting, but it was too early for dinner serviceso we took a few more pictures and wandered up and down Main Street, popping into a few boutiques,
but not finding Sift Cupcakery which seems to have recently moved to another shopping area a few miles away, so we hopped into our cars for a quick stop-
and left with a half dozen cupcakes
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