Monday, September 05, 2005

There's No Place Like Home

We're going to be home owners! After five failed attempts and a good dose of emotional drainage, we're finally under contract on a place in the Castro that is three blocks away from Sumi! To celebrate, we headed to Napa last weekend to add to our wine collection and to get some good eats.

We stopped at Joseph Phelps, a winery about which the authors of the Wall Street Journal's "Tastings" column have written good things. Rather than offering a tour, the winery offers a seminar to folks who want something more educational than a straight-up tasting. The seminar itself was not so great. The seminar leader's knowledge was rather limited, and rudely pointed out throughout the seminar how incredibly young we (well, Aren) look. I'm trying to expand my appreciation and knowledge of reds, having finally realized that Napa Cabs don't equal all reds in the world. We came away with a nice bottle of Merlot, which is about 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlots are often seen as easy reds to drink, but not particularly complex. A small about of Cab, however, does wonders for the wine. The Merlot we selected is soft, yet structured.

We also toured the Taittinger family's place in Napa. The tour was pretty touristy, but we learned some fun sparkling wine trivia. For example, do you know why sparkling wine bottles have the foil wrapping? Before degorgement was invented, peeps decanted their wine from one bottle to another to get rid of the dead yeast, oftentimes causing a lot of spillage. To mask the less than full wine bottles, wine makers topped their bottles with foil. We came away with a bottle of Brut Rose, which you can only get at the winery. We thought it would be fun to drink with some sushi one night.

On our way back to SF, we dined at Bay Wolf, who is celebrating their 30th anniversary with a duck menu (duck duck duck...DUCK!). I had their duck liver flan, sole, and a berry pudding. The flan was pretty tasty, sole was boring, and berry pudding scrumptious. We had brought along a bottle of Donnhoff Spatlese, which was light, perfectly sweet, and very gulpable. All in all, Bay Wolf was decent, but we'll probably never go there again, as there a way too many better places to go in the city.

We ended the weekend with a meal at Chapeau! We had our favorite table in the back corner, Phillipe brought us a great red Burgundy, and Aren had a kick-ass rabbit main that was just added to their menu. There is really no place like home.