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Adventures in Napa, Part III

Yes! There is a part 3! I meant to post it more or less directly after posting part 2, but I got distracted by studying and attempting to make French Macarons. I say “attempting” because while I get the little feet and a nice top without cracks – they’re still hollow. Lump mode. I can’t figure out how to get the egg whites inside to raise up to the top of the shell. Grump. I need Helen from Tartelette to come out to San Francisco is do a class…or three. She just did one in LA, but that’s a bit of a commute for a class. Oh well. 
I advise everyone to take out stock on almond companies. Stupid little French cookies. Shouldn’t they work for me? I am part French after all. Grump.
Anyway, on to Yountville and Bouchon.
The first stop in Yountville was Bouchon Bakery where we had a smattering of their desserts. Everything was very delicious, but in my opinion Mr. Keller makes his macarons too big. I personally like macarons that are about the size of an Oreo (the irony of comparing a fickle French cookie to a mass produced American cookie is not lost on me), but Mr. Keller’s cookies are “American sized”. There’s just too much to eat in one sitting. 
We had four macarons – a 50/50 (orange and cream), chocolate, raspberry (which was terrible) and a vanilla. In front of the macarons is a personal almond cake thing and behind them is a Chocolate Bouchon – their signature dessert. Sorry, Bouchon, I’m going to stick with Miette in San Francisco for my macarons…until I can get the hang of them. The almond cake and the Chocolate Bouchon were very good next time  I want to try their Tko – a homemade oreo…which is also giant.
They had nifty looking breads and MUST be well liked  in general because, this was the line we were met with when we arrived:
Luckily it moved quickly.

This nifty market place is right across the street from Bouchon so we decided to wander around to see what it was all about. There was salon, a little boutique, a wine store and a few other things on the first floor. I never made it to the second floor because around this time I realized I’d lost my phone. 
I think everyone would agree that the feeling of losing your cell phone is only mildly less nerve wracking than losing your keys or wallet. For me, on the weekends, this is the worst possible thing to have happen. Because Leigh is stationed in VA and currently only has his phone on weekends, I try to keep my phone near me at all times during the weekend in case he calls. Hello panic. I knew the last place I had my phone was in the car so I searched and searched the car to no avail, then I asked both Bouchon the bakery and resturant if an iPhone had been turned in. No luck. So I come back to the car near tears and pull up the back seat of our Jeep in one last ditch effort to find it. And there it was. Stupid phone. I hate this phone, not only does it have a glass screen (which I’ve broken twice now, don’t even get me started), but it’s slippery and falls between the smallest cracks. But at least I found it and about 10 minutes later Leigh called. Disaster adverted. Yay! Happy Rene again. Once the phone was found we moseyed on to other fun places.
My dad remembered this place from the 60’s and it got brought up in conversation when we did some wine tasting in the Market Place, so we searched it out. They seriously have olives of all sorts, as well as olive oils and balsamic vinegars. We ran into a lady on our way in who cautioned us – she spent $50 without blinking an eye. Yikes! We didn’t buy anything – in general this wasn’t a “lets go buy crazy food trip”, but more of a “lets go poke around!” trip. So poking we did. After seeing all of the olives, oils, vinegars and salamis (which they had just hanging around the back of the store – literally) we wandered up to Saint Helena to see the CIA.
I know, I know, this isn’t THE CIA…but it is…its the Culinary Institute of America. I wonder who gets more irked by the shared abbreviation?  Oooo, undercover chefs! OMG! Cool! Anyway, this building used to be the Christan Brother’s Winery. But now it has been run over by chefs and aspiring chefs. The campus store was awesome. They had all sorts of neat toys – and it wasn’t badly priced either.  And best of all there was THIS kitchen:
I don’t want much…just this kitchen set up in my future house. Is this asking too much? I didn’t think so.
Alrighty, that’s it for now – tomorrow will the last installment with our trip to Dean and Deluca.

1 comment to Adventures in Napa, Part III

  • Molly

    Yeees. I hate things that are American-sized. I always feel so wasteful because I cannot finish the damn things. Grrmp.

    Olive oil! I should bring you a bottle of UCDavis olive oil (because my school is badass and makes its own olive oil, which is pretty dern tasty).

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