We experienced the perfect reason-to-escape storm earlier this month: a wedding of a dear friend, Todd’s birthday and a grandmother all-too-willing to take on our toddler for four whole days. As an added bonus, we were returning to wine-soaked Sonoma, where we had spent a long weekend following our wedding. Our first trip as Mr.+Mrs., and one that kicked-off our year of sporadic travel (everywhere from northern Wisconsin to Japan) that we classified as our honeymoon.
Years ago we stayed at the mod cottages of the Duchamp in Healdsburg, a town that has been significantly built up in the last seven years. This trip was also coupled with a work jaunt (I know, tough gig) and we bunked at the charming Farmhouse Inn. Here’s a little dispatch/postcard from our weekend among the vines, and a few pics we snapped, too.
Local bounty at Shed.
Winery picnic with friends. I could do this every day.
Just your average Friday afternoon.
Gorgeous couple, gorgeous setting. Congrats Julie + Ben!
Birthday swim in the Russian River.
The towers of dark berries have returned to the farmers market and that calls for berry crumble. I will take chocolate anything over a fruit pie, always. But, there is something about the jumble of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries with that buttery oatmeal cookie-like topping that I can’t pass up this time of year. Oh, and it’s super easy to make too, which only helps the cause.
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
Preheat oven to 375°. Adjust oven rack to upper third. Rinse and drain berries. Toss berries with sugar, lemon juice, and 2 tsp. flour and pour into 9″ glass pie plate. In medium bowl, blend remaining flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and oats with fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over berries. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until fruit is bubbly and top is browned. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
The season of the last minute barbecue, patio drinks and front stoop hang is on. So, in an effort to keep the good times rolling, remember to arrive with a little something. While most people get this idea of basic contribution and general thoughtfulness, I’m always surprised by people who show up empty handed. And then go on to knock back a six-pack leaving the hosts with zilch.
Last summer, I watched a group of legitimate adults swoop in on a party, wipe out the contents of the cooler and then make their leave. So, perhaps this concept of adding something to the party isn’t one that’s so well understood.
It was once considered in poor taste for a host to serve a bottle that guests presented as a gift. But, that would also imply that your host has a generous stash on hand, and I don’t know too many people with a deep wine cellar in their one-bedroom apartment. So, if you plan on drinking wine or beer, stop off and grab an interesting local brew, bottle of wine or cider that you’d like to share. If you really want to get fancy, come with the fixings for signature cocktails, like white sangria or negroni punch.
If a teetotaler, pick up a bottle of sparkling lemonade or fizzy water. And, if you want to go the extra step, flowers are always lovely too, especially for a dinner party. It’s just the idea of adding something to the party other than your lovely self, of course.