Back From San Francisco or I Left My Heart In, pt. 1

    Well we're back from a week visiting family in San Francisco.  It was delicious!  That city has the best food.  The first few days my parents were with us so we made a point of going outside of the city.  We spent a day in Napa and it was amazing.  It was so beautiful there, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to convince my father that he should buy a winery and retire there.  I don't think he went for it.  We visited Trefethen and tasted yummy wines and then went to Botegga for lunch.
    Botegga was a complete surprise.  We were aiming for Bouchon, without reservations, but we did not have time to wait 2 hours for lunch.  We had resigned ourselves to the chicken caesar and quesadilla joint across the way when I say a cheeky little orange awning peeking out from behind the back of a huge brick touristy-looking Napa souvenir area.  While the family waited for the boring looking place to seat us, I ducked around the corner and through the building to find Botegga, not at all knowing whose restaurant it was and am I glad that I did.  It was fantastic!  Check out the menu.
    The calamari was the best I've ever had.  Ditto for the gnocchi – they quite literally melted in your mouth with a little "poof" of goodness.  Of course, I had to go for something a little more interesting and I was rewarded for it.  The wild nettle tortelli was phenomenal – light, lemony, pine-nutty, brown-buttery goodness.  Everything we had was outstanding. 
    We did manage to get a take away assortment from the Bouchon Bakery.  The standout item had to be their signature little chocolate cakes, called simply Bouchons.  They were dense, rich, almost smoky, fudgy and delicious, but ultimately, they were brownie-like.  Which is fine, but not amazing.  They are quite pretty though.
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All in all, Bouchon was good, but everything pales in comparison to my favorite bakery, Tartine.  Sure, Tartine is all attitude where you have to fight for a seat and hunt for parking (my two least favorite things), but it is always, always worth it.  more on this later in the series.

I have pictures of Napa, but not yet.  Actually, my mother has pictures of Napa and she's in Vancouver, so we must wait. 

Next time, in part 2 of our on-going series on San Francisco, Muir Woods and Alice Water's Chez Panisse!

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