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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 ~
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