If I am impressed with a restaurant or have mapped out a travel itinerary which exploded past my expectations…you will hear about it.
But when you land on a show, which happens to be filmed in the wine country of California with co workers who have been returning to this location for seventeen seasons. Well, you sit back and follow.
The places we will go…
The photo is us on both sides of the frame…cool right!
During the nearly two-week run, filming was broken into day and night shoots which enabled us to explore on either ends of our day.
So, one morning we opted for a hike through Hood Mountain Regional Park where the crisp air was infused with native sage and evergreen. We snaked up the trail, crossing over streams and ducking under wooden arches to breathe in this layered view.
A snack followed (rather a casual feast) with local ingredients so fresh, the garlic charged tomato puree hugging the Chili Rellenos glowed a deep red. They must be doing something right at El Molino; Alice Waters regularly picks up tortilla chips from this post stop.
My office for the run wasn’t too bad either.
Another morning before work, we made our way to Healsburg, a charming town peppered with antique shops, cafes serving up artisanal fare, your pick of stylish coffee houses, and loft-like galleries.
Bravas, good enough that we returned for our last supper
On our first full day off, they showed me an epic chain of adventures…
Point Reyes station was our first stop, a small town on the western part of Marin county where the farmer’s markets are as bustling as the affluent bicycling community.
I have tasted the infamous Mt. tam and the Point Reyes blue but to experience this creamery first hand was as treasured as the story behind the legendary establishment.
With our seeded breads, cheeses cased in butcher paper, spiced olives, cured meats, and grapes that tasted like sweet melon–we headed to Tomales Bay to pick up our oysters and get our picnic on by the bay.
Minus the sun burn that snuck up on my back, our afternoon felt like a dream…We danced, snapped photos, listened to tunes and drank rose while we food styled a picnic on a log….
It didn’t stop there…
San Fran was fueled by shopping, a little street weaving, and eating. We satisfied our sugar and caffeine fix at Tartine Bakery, retail therapy at Thread Lounge, our fair share of szechen peppercorns at Mission Chinese and we shimmied at the Tiki bar in the Fairmount hotel.
It is rare to get two days off in a row when filming a show but we did….
With wine tasting, road tripping, cafe hopping and trekking around one of the most majestic beaches, we sucked the marrow out of our second full day off.
A late lunch at Goose and Gander
A few crazy cats at Peju Winery with Richard Cooksey, our wine ambassador, a funny and knowledgable man
Throughout our days working on set we squeezed in a few more highlights…
Antiquing at Antique Harvest
Some more wine tasting…
A lunch at Bouchon
And there might have been an In and Out Burger in the mix…
I have visited the wine country for both business and play prior to working in the culinary production world. But, it is the people, the team you work with who shape your experiences. These once strangers become your family for the time you are away. There are limited barriers, as you eat every meal together and work twelve plus hour days– forming a comradery like firemen in the station. There is so much talent behind the scenes. I have worked and watched and learned from the best—from coast to coast.
And this Guy, under those platinum spikes and signature lingo…watching his passion for the Sonoma fare and his support for the team he has grown up with and close to is inspiring and a peek into his humbleness.
I was once called a hunter not a gatherer, by my boss, but if these are my troops I will follow the leader once again.
Photo Credit: David Clancy @clancyphoto