Live! From the [sodden] Napa Valley!
Napa is jammed with visitors. Fortunately the rains appear to be holding off today, Friday, but will return this evening, and tomorrow looks doubtful for the auction itself. I haven’t been there for years, but when I used to go, in the ’90s, Napa Valley actually experienced summertime. The ladies would stroll Meadowood’s green lawns in billowing white summery frocks, and if it got too hot there were umbrellas beneath which one could take shelter from the June sun. I don’t think heat will be a problem tomorrow. I ran into Heidi Peterson Barrett during dinner at Solage’s Solbar restaurant (she was with her hubbie, Bo), and we were talking about the weather which Heidi described as “wrong on every level.” I liked that. Not just “wrong.” We all know it’s “wrong.” But “wrong on every level”–meteorologically, viticulturally, spiritually, emotionally, historically, biologically, morally, intuitively. I think it’s even wrong theologically, although I can’t prove it.
On Wednesday I visited with Jayson Woodbridge, the owner of Hundred Acre, whom I’d never met before. I’m usually reluctant to say I’ve never met someone before, because I tend to be forgetful about these things, and if it turns out I actually did meet the person, it’s embarrassing. But I’m sure I’ve never met Jayson, because if I had, I wouldn’t have forgotten. Besides, we have a mutual admiration for Winston Churchill, after whom Jayson named one of his English bulldogs who does look remarkably like WSC without the cigar.
Now here I am sitting in the Oxbow Market, taking advantage of their free wi-fi. I’m early for lunch at Morimoto. I don’t know how much of an appetite I’ll have, because I got hungry as soon as I got to Oxbow (such a marvelous place, a sort of copy of Ferry Plaza but not as grand) and had a rather filling breakfast of huevos and chorizo with fried potatoes and tortillas at C Casa, the little Mexican place right next to Hog Island Oyster Co. That filled me up, especially following last night’s dinner (crispy poached lily egg with asparagus, piquillo peppers, prosciutto in a lemon garlic dressing for appetizer, followed by grilled ahi tuna stir fry of brown rice, snap peas, gingered carrots and black sesame and the most delicious green mystery sauce). Eating and drinking too much is one of the biggest challenges of being on the road, and of course you never have the time to do anything aerobic to burn it off, which is why you’ll see the occasional protruding tummy in the wine and food biz. When I finally get back home to Oakland after a couple days on the road, I can hardly wait to get to 24 Hour Fitness. Stairmaster, treadmill, ellipticals, recumbent bike, and then abs followed by upper or lower body–that’s the ticket to repair the damage done by the road. Bo Barrett, by the way, seemed in fantastic shape, trim and buffed. I bet he works out.
Anyhow, this weather really is evil. I know I keep harping on it, but really, this is getting ridiculous. Tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) forecast now calls for heavy rain. Not just showers; not just light to moderate, but heavy. Continuing into Monday. After that, the remainder of the week looks dry, but still unseasonably cool. At least we don’t have tornadoes.