FINDING LOCAL ART IN THE SMALL COASTAL TOWN OF BODEGA

The town remains a collection of residential and commercial buildings dating from the mid-to-late 19th century that retain a good and sometimes outstanding level of architectural integrity.

The town is home to many art galleries that support local artists. I am a member of the Artisans’ Gallery who have been supporting local artists for over 23 years. Each year the town hosts the Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival on Watts ranch. It is home to many landmarks in the Hitchcock’s movie The Birds.


ARTISANS’ CO-OP

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Over 50 Local Artisans

Near hiking trails, pastures and camping on the beaches of the Northern California Coast you will find us in Bodega, California.

come to the Artisans’ co-op art gallery and explore each room filled with surprises, from hand-tooled leather bags and sand dollar earrings to sheepskin slippers.

Find unique pieces for your home, gifts, or a remembrance of your visit to where Hitchcock's film "The Birds" was made.

Our fifty local artists will delight you with their inventive handmade art.

Textiles: Felt, Leather, Wool, handwoven and hand knit and crocheted wearables and pieces for your home.

Ceramics: Dishes, Wall Hangings, Sculpture

Glass: Functional & Decorative

Wood: Bowls, Unique Boxes, Garden signs

Jewelry: Gems, Rocks, Glass, Sterling Silver

Photography: Landscape, Wildlife, Black & White

Painting: Oils, Acrylic, Watercolor, Collage

Upcoming Showcase Event, Artisans’ Day August 31st. The showcases are a gallery wide sale, artist demonstrations and raffle. Artisans Day on Labor Day weekend has over 15 artists demonstrating their craft in celebration.

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BODEGA LANDMARK STUDIO

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The Bodega Landmark Studio has fine art and craft from local artisans. The Gallery features hundreds of one-of-a-kind pieces, including regional seascape and landscape painting (in both grand scale and miniature), fine art photography, blown glass, etching, sculpture, ceramics, stained glass, woodwork, and jewelry by local artists. Bodega Landmark Studios is also the local agent for all Christo Running Fence Project art.


CYPRESS GALLERY AND BAZAAR

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We are a locally owned and operated arts and crafts co-op. We make and carry a wide array of unique, one of a kind gifts for you and everyone on your shopping list. We currently have 4 members. April Gibson (artist, owner, co-founder) Tali Aiona (artist, co-op member) Yareen Avni (artist, co-op member) Angie Brown (artist, co-op member)....Shop small. SONOMA STRONG.


BODEGA SEAFOOD, ART AND WINE FESTIVAL

The 25th annual Bodega Seafood Art and Wine Festival showcases wineries and breweries, artists and craftspeople, as well as featuring outstanding entertainment, and of course a delicious selection of seafood vendors. Enjoy mouth watering BBQ oysters, crab cakes, or cedar plank salmon, to name just a few of the entrees served up at the festival. The wine and micro brewed beer tasting will feature over two dozen wineries and a dozen microbreweries. There will be entertainment on three stages, plus a juried art/craft marketplace, and kids' activities.

Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, August 25, 2019 - 10:00am-5:00pm

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Small Town Along The Coast "Valley Ford"

What makes the Sonoma Coasts charming? It is all of our small towns.

Coming in from Petaluma the first small coastal town is Valley Ford just 6 miles from the Pacific Coast. The main town has Valley Ford Market, Valley Ford Hotel, Dinucci's Italian restaurant, Estero Cafe and the new Valley Ford Creamery. One of the few remaining buildings dating from the 19th century, now houses Rocker Oysterfeller's Kitchen & Saloon and seven guest rooms.

You can stay at the Historic Valley Ford Hotel built by the Rein family in 1864. Owners Brandon Guenther, the chef, and Shona Campbell are down to earth folks who I have shared many a libation with over the years. Their restaurant & bar Rocker Oysterfeller is where you may find dishes like Molasses-Bourbon Braised Pork Shoulder, Petaluma Fried Chicken and Hamhock Soup. People rave about their fish tacos and of course Tomales Bay Oysters of course, either raw with Lemon-Honey-Jalapeno Mignonette or cooked up on the grill. "Southern Comfort" food is what is all about. Their craft cocktails are addictive, local beers and a great wine selection. I personally love hanging out in the bar with locals and visitors.

Karen Bianchi-Moreda of Valley Ford Creamery just opened a store in Valley Ford. It is now my regular stop on my way to Petaluma. Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery was founded in 2008 and is located on Mountain View Jersey Dairy, off the rural coast of Sonoma County, California. The Bianchi family has owned and operated the 640 acre ranch since 1918 is now occupied by the third, fourth, and fifth generations. When Karen Bianchi-Moreda decided to start making artisan cheese, it was only natural to produce that same cheese which was a staple in her family for years.

For more than 60 years, the family-owned Valley Ford Market has been catering to its residents and also the many tourists passing through town. This is a farmers and ranchers grocery, so you’ll find pretty much everything you could need It is my go to stop and have their butcher freshly ground meat for my meat sauce. They also make German bratwurst, Italian sausage and beer and garlic sausage.

Want a hardy farm to table breakfast or lunch? Go to Estero Cafe. Owners Samantha and Ryan Ramey use only locally sourced and organic ingredients, including a commitment to pasture raised eggs, local grass fed beef, sustainable seafood, local dairy and vegetables. You will see local art on the wall and their big custom grill cooking outside.

Feel like some great family style Italian food go to Dinucci's Italian Dinners. Dinucci's was built in 1908 by Mr. and Mrs. Barboni. Henry and Mabel Dinucci bought it in 1939. Some of Mabel's recipes are used to this day. The Wagners bought Dinucci's in 1968. Their menu has 9 steak and poultry dishes. Carved Prime Rib Friday & Saturday from 4pm until it's gone. Once I came later in the evening and missed out on the Prime Rib. I make sure to be there early from now on. Being near the ocean they have 6 seafood dishes. If you come for the Pasta you will have 7 dishes to make your decision even harder.

Being only 6 miles from the Pacific Coast stop in the Northern Light Surf Shop in the historic Dairymans Bank. Owners Ben and Sarah Dougherty strive to maintain a laid-back and relax feel. In addition to surf equipment they have a custom line of rad clothing. They even created a Valley Ford collection.

Interesting Fact: Northwestern Pacific Narrow Gauge Railroad that ran through Valley Ford. The railroad started at Sausalito, going to towns and resorts along the Russian River as well as to Cazadero. The trains hauled passengers, lumber and farming supplies. It was dismantled in 1929, however some of the old trestle and hillside grades remain today.

So when you see the 35 mile speed limit ahead before you enter town make a stop. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Sophie's Cellar Local Night (You Dont Have To Be A Local)

Tasting Room

Tasting Room

In the Russian River Resort Area and along the Sonoma Coast is Sophie’s Cellars Wine Tasting Room. It is only 8 minutes from the ocean in the town of Duncans Mills. The small town has 24 merchants, antique stores, galleries gourmet foods and wines. Locals night is a locals favorite hang out on Friday. I love to sit on the deck eat some local cheeses, salmon, salamis, crackers and fruit. I am excited to see John’s picks on wines by the glass and Beer from Russian River Brewing Company. I personally am not an IPA drinker but fear not they have Pliny the Elder for those of you who love an IPA. It is a great wind down into the weekend.

Tasting Room: 25179 Hwy 116, Duncans Mills, CA 95430, USA | Current Hours: Wed, Thu, Sat & Sun: 11am-5pm, Fri: 11am-7pm. Locals’ Night (you don’t have to be a local) Fri: 4pm-7pm

Bodega Bay Independence Day Maritime Celebration.

Thursday July 4th, 2019

Thursday July 4th, 2019

Bodega Bay is steep in Maritime history and traditions. Their Commercial Fishing industry provides fresh crabs, and fish including a prize King Salmon. The sport-fishing charters offer fishing, whales and bird watching, ash scatterings and custom charter cruises.
This July 4th the town will be celebrating this heritage, our Independence and the harbor and bay. There will be an entire day and evening of events for the family. The morning will start off with a Freedom Paddle, for art lovers you will be able to see local artists painting the harbor. Go to Campbell Cove and learn about tide pools and our local marine life with the Stewards of the Coasts and Redwoods Tide Pool Adventure. If you are camping at Doran Beach in the afternoon Second Wind will have monster kites blowing in the wind. In the later afternoon there will be a Maritime Celebration Boat Parade staring at 3:30pm. To cap off the day during the evening there will be live music and a dance at the Harbor Yacht Club. Show your Red, White and Blue. The Sonoma Coast Visitors Center will be given out American flags. Several local businesses will be hosting viewing parties and specials. Go here to see an entire day of events.

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Salmon Is On!

Photo: F/V Reel Magic

Photo: F/V Reel Magic

Bodega Bay has a great fleet of Sport Fishing Boats. The Fish are biting and many charter boats are catching their limits for the day.

F/V REEL MAGIC
Epic Day Today in Bodega Bay!!! THEY ARE BITING!!

LIMITS today for clients and crew. 14 Kings to 15 lbs.!!! Fished West of the head from 33 to 50 fathoms OW. Fish came at 120' and 90' OTW on Flashers and my favorite hoochie!!

Fish were feeding on Anchovies with Krill below. Whales were there too!!

Catch up with you soon!!

Capt. Merlin Out!

The Reel Magic is Bodega Bay’s only Catamaran available for charter fishing.

She is one of the fastest boats in the harbor and is an impressive fishing machine at 34 feet with a 12-foot beam. Twin 330 HP Cummings Turbo Diesels produce a respectable 21 Knot cruising speed. The Reel Magic has a full-sized stand-up head with an operational sink and a freshwater reserve tank. She is a very safe and stable vessel, especially while running and fishing. The Reel Magic is an awesome fishing platform!!

Call Now at 707-875-BOAT (2628) to make your reservation while there is still room available.

Photo F/V Reel Magic

Photo F/V Reel Magic

Valley Ford Creamery Opens A Storefront in Valley Ford

Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery was founded in 2008 and is located on Mountain View Jersey Dairy, off the rural coast of Sonoma County, California.

When Karen Bianchi-Moreda decided to start making artisan cheese, it was only natural to produce that same cheese which was a staple in her family for years.

They now have a store front in Valley Ford located on Highway 1 near the beautiful California coast. They are serving fresh coffee and danish to start the day and a lunch menu that makes the flavors of their cheeses come to life.

Mothers Day Menu:
Live Oak Farm Asparagus Focaccia - farm egg, pea shoots,
Highway 1. Farmers cheese stuffed french toast - blueberry, walnut, reme fraiche.
Spring salad - Baby lettuce, fava beans, radish, herbs.
Valley Ford Grilled Cheese. Mimosas and Bloody Beer.

Memorial Day Weekend Menu:
Raclette over potatoes, pickled onions, bread and gerkin.
A Pulled pork slide with vinegar slaw.
A grilled cheese, smoked turkey with potato salad.
A House cheese tasting for $20.

Fathers Day Menu:
Valley Ford Creamery Cheese Flight
Focaccia, asparagas, prosciutto + egg
Strawberry walnut french toast
Estero Gold biscuits and gravey with egg
Grilled cheese with meat
House cheese & Charcuterie

They also have a variety of fresh baked goods. I had the coffee cake and it was so good. The moistness and flavor of it elevated it to the best I have ever had. I love baked goods. I bake them as well. So it is a high compliment when I say it was the best coffee cake I ever had or made. What type of baked goods may you find there? Baguettes, Zucchini bread, Lemon cake, Black Bottom cupcakes, Quiche, scones and triple chocolate cookies.

Tentative hours:

Monday & Tuesday- Closed

Wednesday & Thursday 7 am - 3 pm

Friday- 7 am - 6 pm

Saturday- 8 am - 6 pm

Sunday - 8 am - 3 pm

The Epicure Interviews

The art of the table is serious here in West County. Tasty food and beverage consumption is aligned to my personal and perhaps selfish interests! As I have jokingly noted to friends, I am slightly thirsty or slightly hungry or both at any given moment. I live in a small town and like many of my neighbors, I will often buy pre-made ingredients to consume with our meals. A small round of cheese, perfectly beautiful mushrooms or a nice bottle of pinot noir - local products made in the western edge of Sonoma County are different. There is something about the food here that tastes better, richer and more wholesome. Perhaps it's the coastal influence, the skill level or passion of the producer.  Food makers here are producing interesting, artisanal foods that I have enjoyed or want to enjoy. And I want to know and understand more about what they do and why. 

To highlight my culinary neighbors, I am introducing a new series -  "The Epicure Interviews". Starting this month, I will post a new interview about a west county beverage or food producer. 

For our inaugural interview, I recently spoke with Ross Halleck owner of of Halleck Wines. Please take a moment and enjoy. Preferably with a tasty morsel or drink. 

I'll set the table,

Lotus 

Rain, Rain Go Away

We are Sonoma Strong and we will rebuild in the areas affected by the flooding. Some areas along the coast were not affected. If you are planning a trip to the area here are some links to help plan your trip and avoid closed roads, areas under evacuation or that are experiencing power outages.

To check on road conditions to those towns go to this link.
http://roadconditions.sonoma-county.org


Another resource is the Sonoma County Emergency Website


For electric outages in the areas you may want to visit go to this link.
https://m.pge.com/#outages

The 30th Annual Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest

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What fun we had at the 30th Annual Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Festival. Proceeds benefit Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s agricultural education activities, including Ag Days for over 6,000 elementary school children, teachers and parents, scholarships, 4-H & FFA, Young Farmers & Ranchers, youth leadership activities, local fair exhibitors, farm worker and management training, environmental education and Farm Bureau Institute.

We chatted with local wine and cheese makers and enjoyed a tasting. To me it is all about the personal connection with the people. They work so hard to create and share their personal taste on wine and food. I meet cheesmaker Keith Adams of Wm Cofield. They are creating proper British Cheese on the Sonoma Coast. Keith Adams and Rob Hunter, founders of William Cofield Cheesemakers, are proud to introduce Wine Country to two tasty and exciting new cheeses: a complex, Stilton-inspired blue, a lush, cloth-bound aged Cheddar. www.wmcofieldcheese.com/

In my conversation with Karen Bianchi-Moreda of Valley Ford Cheese she told me that they were going to open a new place in Valley Ford. The barnwood building used to be a wool shop. She is going to give me a sneak peek of what they are going to do. Stay tuned. By the way love their cheese. www.wmcofieldcheese.com

There were lots of great silent auction donations. In addition to supporting this great cause we came for the Sonoma Coast Dungeness Crab. It was great to see all of the Future Farmers of America and 4H club young members serve bowls filled of crab.

Will be an annual event on our calendar.

A Coastal Life

Our life on the coast is tied to the sea in many ways. Either through our local recreation or commercial fishing industry. We all know someone whose livelihood is tied to the sea. Seafood is on most restaurants menus. Crab Feeds during Crab season raises money for local firehouses or non-profits. Hotels, vacation rentals and RV campgrounds need that bump in the winter season during Chowder Day, Fisherman’s Festival and recreational crab season. One year crab season had an extended delayed and the impact on the community was huge. Some have not recovered from that season. Our local Coast Guard and their families are now impacted by the government shutdown.

Local artist celebrate the sea through their art. Local Bodega artist Maralee Wisewomyn creates baskets out of woven twisted seagrass, redwood bark, raffia, roots and buckeyes.

Available at the Artisans’ Co-op in the town of Bodega.

Available at the Artisans’ Co-op in the town of Bodega.

Certain type of wine grapes thrive in the coastal fog and temperatures along the Sonoma Coast. Hartford Wines Far Coast Vineyard is a cool site surrounded by redwood forests, almost two hours north of the Russian River on a Sonoma Coast mountain ridge. Lingering coastal fog in the valleys below yields the right amount of cool on the vines of Fort Ross-Seaview. The region rises above the fogline to occupy a completely unique ecosystem—one that’s dryer, sunnier and warmer than most. This elevated, “coastal cool” maritime climate is ideal for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Photo by Francesca Scalpi

Photo by Francesca Scalpi

We see global warming effects on marine life and weather patterns. There was a time that our tidepools were abundant with starfish. Sea stars along much of the North American Pacific coast experienced a massive die-off in 2013/14 due to a mysterious wasting syndrome. The disease, called “sea star wasting syndrome” (SSWS) has persisted at low levels in most areas, and continues to kill sea stars. Our kelp forest are disappearing. The unprecedented collapse has been observed along hundreds of miles of coastline from San Francisco to Oregon. The region's once-lush stands of bull kelp, a large brown alga that provides food and habitat for a host of wildlife species, have been devoured by small, voracious purple urchins. California fish and game commissioners extended the ban on recreational abalone fishing another two years (2021) to give the ailing species more time to recover from a near-total collapse on the North Coast.

Living on the coast also provides a good life. A way of life worth fighting for no matter what the odds. Visitors find solace and a renewal of life among the crashing ways and coastal trails. The farm/sea to table food sustains us. We come together in good times and bad.

Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delay Extended

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham announced an additional and final 15-day delay of the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season. Pending possible closures due to elevated levels of domoic acid, the season is now set to begin on Jan. 15, 2019.

Delays due to quality only affect the northern commercial fishery in California Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). Sonoma County Commercial Dungeness Crab Season is open.

It is all about the CRAB!

On the Sonoma Coast the boats go out of Bodega Bay harbor in search of that succulent Dungeness Crab. Several local coastal restaurants are celebrating Dungeness Crab on their menu’s. Here is just a sample of the local restaurants celebrating CRAB. (Please note we do not receive any compensation from these restaurants to be listed on the website.)


LUCAS WHARF RESTAURANT (707) 875-3522, 595 HWY 1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Crab Menu: Crab Cakes, Crab Sandwich, Crab Louie, Crab Boil Whole or Half, Cioppino and Steak Oscar.
http://www.lucaswharfrestaurant.com


River's End, 11048 Highwy 1 Jenner, CA 95450 | Tel: (707) 865-2484 ext. 111
Has a special Dungeness Crab Five Course Crab Dinner.
http://www.ilovesunsets.com/Menu.html


Jan. 19, Feb. 9 & 23, Mar. 9 & 23
Annual Crab Feed Series at The Tides Wharf, Bodega Bay. $59.95 plus tax & gratuity. The restaurant in Bodega Bay features chilled Dungeness crab, cocktail sauce, drawn butter, Tides' mustard sauce, clam chowder, pasta, green salad & French bread. Reservations are recommended. The series continues through March. Stay overnight! Special room rates are available at the Inn at the Tides, 800-541-7788. Located at The Tides Wharf Restaurant - 835 Coast Hwy. One in Bodega Bay. For more information call 707-875-3652.





SUPPORT LOCAL ARTIST THIS HOLIDAY

We are blessed in Sonoma County to have such a talented group of artists. This holiday support your local art community by purchasing a holiday gift for a loved one from a Sonoma artist. There are lots of holiday art fairs, art gallery pop ups, art shows at galleries and art centers.

HOLIDAY POP UP - SEBASTOPOL
156 Main Street. December 8th to December 31st, 11am to 6pm.

SEBASTOPOL CENTER FOR THE ARTS MEMBERS SHOW
282 S. High Street. December 7th to January 4th

ARTISANS’ CO-OP BEFORE & AFTER HOLIDAY SALE
17175 Bodega Hwy, Bodega. December 22nd to January 3rd

PETALUMA MEMBERS ART SHOW
230 Lakeville St, Petaluma. December 8, 2018 – January 5, 2019

Dungeness Crab

There is something about Thanksgiving and Dungeness Crab. Yes I know it is also about the turkey. In Sonoma county the bounty of the first Dungeness crab harvest is a celebration of the sea. For recreation crabers like me I love grabbing some food at Spud Point Crab Shack and going out with my hoop crab pots. Baiting the pots, placing them in the water, grab some food and wait for the crab. One year we took our SoCal friends out for some crabbing. We teamed up with each team manning a hoop. My team wanted to tease so we raise our crab pot screaming we had crab. Well in the excitement of our fake out we did not look in the pot when we raise it out of the water. To our surprise we had two legal size crabs looking back at us.

The campgrounds are filled and the boat trailers lined along Westside drive.

For the commercial fishermen and women it is their lively hood. A delay in the crab season can financially wipe them out. I wish them a bountifull crab season. Stay safe out there!

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Pazzo Marco Creamery in Gualala

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On your trip through the Sonoma / Mendocino Coasts visit Pazzo Marco's Gelato Cart at the Surf market on Labor Day Weekend. Their products are also sold at Surf Market and on the menu at Timber Cove Resorts Coast Kitchen.

Pazzo Marco Creamery - http://www.pazzomarco.com

Makers of gelato and cheese!  What a combo.  Marco studied in Italy for several years, making gelato, and has now expanded to making cheese, along with his partner Paul.

Gelato: Pazzo Marco gelato is made from scratch in small batches beginning with farm fresh, local, organic milk from grass-fed Coastal Jersey cows. The milk is collected fresh from the farm just after the morning milking.

Cheese:
Monsieur Philippe – In the style of Manchego, this cheese is typically made with Sheep’s milk, we use local organic Jersey cow’s milk.

Madrone Grove – Our Alpine / Tomme style cheese. Mendocino Coast terroir: buttery, nutty, and grassy flavors. Made with local organic grass fed Jersey Cow’s milk. Aged 90+ days.

L’Amitié (Friendship) – Our Bloomy Rind Cheese and cousin of Camembert is made with local organic grass fed Jersey Cow’s milk.

Eureka Hill – This hard rind cheese is reminiscent to Italian table cheeses of the Vincenza region in the Dolomites.

Let's Go Fishing

Hailibut, Ling Cod, Salmon, Rock Fish - Pt Reyes to Elephant Rock and Bird rock.

LAWSON'S LANDING
http://www.lawsonslanding.com/fishing-report.html
Halibut was being caught off of Hog Island and Marshal areas of Tomales Bay. Jellyfish was bad from 70 feet out. Lawson's Landing reports fleet of boats fishing between the Tomales Bay outer buoy (02) and Elephant Rock in 50 to 90 feet of water.

NORTH BAY CHARTERS
https://www.northbaycharters.com
King Salmon (Chinook)
King Salmon run from spring to fall with the season typically closing at the end of October. Peak time of year for salmon fishing is typically July.

Halibut
Although Halibut is open year round, the most productive months are during the summer months from June thru September.

Various Rock Fish
Rockfish season starts in April and will go to the end of the year.

Ling cod
Lingcod opens in the spring and is typically open all the way through December.

ALbacore Tuna
Albacore Tuna can be caught in the late summer and fall months, but only if the warm water comes in close enough and has very distinct temp breaks and blue water.

White seabass
This elusive fish can show up in numbers one year and not the next. It all depends on if we have a good squid spawn, which means a good Seabass season. July thru September being the most productive.

LINKS:
http://www.bodegabaysportfishing.com/
http://www.usafishing.com/bodega.html
http://www.bodegacharters.com/

A Wine Emergency

An hour before party guests were to arrive, the jeroboam of 2008 Melville Pinot Noir was finally being opened. Francesca expertly removed the heavy red wax covering the cork and then took a spiral corkscrew and went to work.

"Uh oh".  The cork was spongy and there was a neat hole in the middle where it had been pierced. Unfortunately, the cork was firmly in place and no standard corkscrew was ever going to get it out. "We need an ah-so". To need. That was us. We didn't have one.

Living rural, buying one from a store was out of the question. What to do? Ever thinking, Francesca recommended that we call "Rivers End", a local high-end restaurant with a nice bar. Perhaps we could borrow one. 

I was soon dialing their number and spoke to a cheerful hostess named Monica. I quickly went into 911 mode. "Hi my name is Lotus Fong, I live on xyz street and I have a wine emergency" I said emphatically. "I am in desperate need of an ah-so". After giggling a bit, she said they had one and I was welcomed to use it. Yay!

I bundled up the jeroboam in my arms and realized I had moved our cars far from our home that morning to make room for our guests. So, I went to my neighbors, knocked firmly at their door and explained the wine emergency. Neighbor Pamela did what all good thinking wine drinkers would do. She stopped what she was doing and drove me to the restaurant with haste. 

A few minutes later, with the proper tool in hand, the cork slid off and a delicious time capsule was finally opened. Success! Disaster averted! And yes, the wine was delicious and yes, we finished that bottle and several more. And yes, I've since purchased a two prong corkscrew.

Exploring the Flats

Yesterday afternoon, I gathered my new aluminum collapsible shovel, a bucket and some extra clothing and drove the short scenic drive to the Bodega Bay flats. With my new fishing license in hand, I put on my hot pink beach shoes and clambered down the rocks to the flats.  I was all ready to dig for clams.

Negative tide was still a couple of hours away but the flats were "dry". Walking on the sand several feet towards the bay, I sunk into the water-logged sand and my once dry feet were now squishy with ocean water. I loved it.

For company, there was a white egret and two chicks -a dinosaur family! A flock of godwits pecked at the water's edge looking for lunch and a few gulls patiently scanned the beach waiting for an opportunity.

Digging at the water's edge, I saw long, thin red worms, various dead crustaceans and once I found a rather odd looking worm with a dark jeweled stripe on its back. Whenever I dug a hole, it would fill with water almost immediately. A successful clamming day it was not. But what I did discover were orange tunicates, several jellies which had washed ashore and a rather large and beautiful red and black crab with arms raised and ready to fight. I found the pure joy of overturning rocks to peer into the world of small crabs. While I did find clams, I did find calm beauty and certainly, I will be visiting this world again soon. 

Remembering a Chardonnay

A month and now two has quickly come and gone since my last post. Vineyards, their fruit and most deliciously, their wine continues to absorb my attention. Feeling thirsty one afternoon, a neighbor kindly took me to the La Crema Estate at Saralee's Vineyard. From our coastal homes, we drove the scenic and windy River Road through little towns and great groves of trees that dot the riverside. Turning down one road and then another until we arrived at the winery with it's swooping vista of recently harvested vines. We entered the tasting room reserved for members with it's rich woods, old world feel, stunning views and pastoral art. But it was the tasting that was the fun. As always, we started with the light whites and then proceeded with the varying degrees of chardonnays and then to the pinots. I was undisciplined about the tasting. No notes but good conversation. And through the banter, the distractions, the pouring and the drinking, there was one wine that stood out - their Kelli Ann Chardonnay. Balanced with rich, baked fruit. It's a chardonnay with complexity and memory. That, I remembered.