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One of Those

San Francisco is very cool today, and the wind is blowing the sun all around its tall buildings. After a whirlwind trip to the West Coast, my guests are gone — and I miss them already. We ate and drank our way through many of San Francisco’s most delicious spots — Nopa, House and Chow, not to mention my mother’s kitchen — lunched on perhaps the yummiest Whole Foods sandwiches ever created in Sebastopol, and had Saturday supper at the Willowwood in Graton. We braved the rain to go to the redwoods, swung by Bodega Bay (still in the pouring rain), and Occidental. Luckily, our Pt. Reyes visit was unmarred by the weather, and Limantour Beach shone in the sunshine as beautiful and deserted as always.

We saw lots of this.

And this.

And this.

I especially love visitors because I get to show off my beloved Northern California — and I always fall in love with it a little more. But when they leave, especially when we’ve had such a lovely time together, I feel a little lonely.

So after they left, I decided the only thing to do would be to tidy up the apartment and cook (I tend to turn to the kitchen for solace when I feel a bit forlorn; in this case, it was particularly hard to not to screech “come baaaaaaaaaa-ack” down the long-distance line to Rochester, but I persevered). I had my book group meeting the next night so I thought I’d bake some vegan chocolate cupcakes (indulging in one beforehand myself, of course) and decided to roast some asparagus and make a chickpea-tomato-spinach soup by way of Orangette.


I didn’t have liners and didn’t properly oil the muffin pan, so the cupcakes were irrevocably stuck, e.g., no cupcakes for the girls! The asparagus was as delicious as always, but the soup wasn’t as good as I had hoped (I think the tinned tomatoes contributed to this). The recipe made up a big pot so I’ve been eating it all week for my lunches — and I do think letting it rest overnight helped — because I can’t stand to let food go to waste … and it’s growing on me. But the cupcakes were a lost cause, and so I sniffled my way through the toasty baguette-with-cheese that accompanied my mug of soup.

It was definitely one of those days. And they do come on occasion — when a cook who has previously moved through her kitchen with ease and grace is struck unable to bake even the simplest of cakes (and one she’s made many times before!). I tried not to let it get to me (and a bit of HBO and organic chocolate managed to sweeten the disappointment), but I haven’t cooked again this week. Yet just like shaking off a bad run, I’ve got to pull myself up by my proverbial boot straps and delve back into it.

This weekend, to commemorate my home town’s Apple Blossom Festival, I think I’ll bake pies. Lots and lots (and lots) of apple pies. Perhaps they’ll entice the Greeks back for another visit …

[pretty Bodega Head]

*Reminder: Chez Nicole is always open and ready for visitors, including newlyweds and those who would like to bring along their animal companions (Louie, hint, hint, Truman).



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