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WineFoodBUZZ Newsletter ~ Spring 2014

My trusty 'vertible whisks me to the Wine Country in no time. Today, for the first day of Spring, I'm heading to Point Reyes Vineyards to check out the vines.

My trusty ‘vertible whisks me to the Wine Country in no time. Today, for the first day of Spring, I’m off to Point Reyes Vineyards to check out the vines.

Welcome, my friends, and Happy Spring!

In this issue of WineFoodBUZZ, we’ll have a look at some early signs of this magical season of rebirth ~ which is in full swing here in the Bay Area.

I’ll also follow up soon with a special issue, to let you catch up on some really neat tastings.

By the way, I truly sympathize with my family, friends and followers in still-frigid parts of the country, and I feel almost guilty about the bizarre summery weather we’ve had here lately.

To honor my personal tradition for the first day of Spring, I aimed the ‘vertible toward a nearby winery to check out the vines. Happily, I found quite a few that had already started “bud break,” with tiny leaves unfurling in the sun.

These tiny vine leaves are juuuust starting to open. On some vines, the buds are still tightly closed; on others, the leaves are more developed.

These tiny vine leaves are juuust starting to open. On some vines, the buds are still tightly closed; on others, the leaves are larger.

This is a mixed vineyard of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay for sparkling wine.

This is a mixed vineyard of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Point Reyes Vineyards blends these varietals for its two sparkling wines.

You can already see the difference in the size of these leaves. Soon, tiny clusters of flowers will appear, which will become the grapes of Vintage 2014.

You can already see the difference in the size of these leaves. Soon, tiny clusters of flowers will appear, which will become the grapes of Vintage 2014.

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Check out how the floral details in this arrangement echo the painting's color elements. (Scroll down for more "Bouquets.")

The floral details in this arrangement echo the painting’s shapes and colors.

The first week of Spring also brings the annual “Bouquets to Art” to the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. For years, I’ve been going with a group of friends, and most of us dress for the occasion.

For “Bouquets,” floral designers throughout the Bay Area create arrangements that in some way mimic or complement the artworks.

(Scroll down for more “Bouquets to Art” photos ~ you’ll see why this is such a wildly popular event!)

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Karen, visiting from Japan, joins me in photographing the plates of dim sum (and each other!)

Karen, visiting from Japan, aims her lens at each new batch of dim sum as it arrives.

We start the day with a dim sum lunch at Ton Kiang, where servers parade their just-cooked “little treasures” around from table to table.

You choose the ones you want, and order the ones you don’t see ~ and your (very modest) bill is tallied by the number of plates and little steamer baskets they bring you.

It’s a great system, and a perfect way for a group of friends to share lots of different flavors.

A bite of this; a nibble of that. I *love* the variety a dim sum meal offers!

A bite of this; a nibble of that. Veggies, dumplings, fried goodies. I *love* the variety of a dim sum meal!

First came a round of pot stickers, a plate of asparagus and two of deliciously garlic-laden stir-fried Chinese broccoli.

Then a few baskets of bite-sized dumplings arrived, straight from the steamer, plus a mound of spicy fried calamari and some crisp green-onion pancakes.

Several of the dim sum specialties come with their own sauces. Otherwise, there's an assortment of condiments: soy sauce, rice vinegar, Chinese mustard, chili oil, to mix your own.

Several of the dim sum specialties come with their own sauces. Otherwise, there’s an assortment of condiments: soy sauce, rice vinegar, Chinese mustard and chili oil, to mix your own custom blends.

Next, we ordered up fried shrimp-stuffed crab claws, plus some crunchy shrimp balls topped with shredded wontons (see pic, left).

A few more dumplings, some irresistible BBQ pork wrapped in rice noodles, and we were finally ready to call it quits.

Ton Kiang, by the way, has been awarded “Best Dim Sum” from SF Weekly, “Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants” from the SF Chronicle (multiple times for both) and Zagat’s “Best Chinese.” Its small but decent wine list offered enough different by-the-glass choices to suit us all.

Karen, Ahna, Christina, Erica, and yours truly. Believe it or not, we're all Pisces gals!

Karen, Ahna, Christina, Erica, and yours truly. Believe it or not, we’re all Pisces gals!

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A toast to Spring with a smuggled bottle of Spanish cava. Cheers!

Toasting Spring with a bottle of Spanish cava. Cheers!

We wandered the gardens of the DeYoung for a while before braving the crowds inside.

To fortify ourselves, and to celebrate the new season, we’d smuggled in some chilled bubbly to savor under the fragrant white wisteria.

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Then we headed inside to check out this year’s floral displays, and the artworks they were created for. Here’s a sampling ~ you can click on the photos for more detail. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

What a fantastic match of color and texture!

Fantastic match of color & texture

Face in the tapestry; face in the fronds.

Face in the tapestry; face in the fronds

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Basket with spiral sculpture

Swirled basket & flower-laden sculpture

Elegant redhead in little black dress

Elegant redhead, dressed in black

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Very cool take on angles & colors

A cool and vivid take on angles & colors

Amazing details in vase and flowers

So many matching details

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This glass piece by Dale Chihuly is a repeat draw.

Orange & blue glass piece by Dale Chihuly

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I’ll be back very soon, my friends, with my promised update on some really fun tastings.

Until then, as always,
Cheers and best wishes ~
Rosina

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Once again,
Cheers ~
Rosina

 

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