Wine Tastings, Picnics and More…Our Trip to Napa

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If we hadn’t gone to The French Laundry and we’d just gone to Napa we still would’ve had a most memorable trip.

The place is just obnoxiously beautiful. If you could bottle beauty and sell it, you could do a lot worse than to bottle Napa: with its lush hills and crisp, clear blue skies and perfectly temperate weather. To experience it more fully, we all agreed, at the car rental, that it’d make sense to pay a little more for a convertible.

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Rancho Gordo’s Good Mother Stallard Beans with Lamb Sausage (By Way of Echo Park)

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The best dinners are the ones that have a story. This is one such dinner.

It started on a typical day: I was driving to Silverlake to eat lunch at Forage (one of my favorite places to grab a bite here in L.A.) and to have coffee and do work at Intelligentsia. Only, it was street cleaning day which means half of the normally available spots were no longer available. I circled and circled and started to go a little crazy. Trying to find a parking spot isn’t something I had to do in New York; here, it can be a totally maddening experience, especially as you pass the same landmarks again and again, not one car budged, not one person dangling their keys.

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Bäco Mercat & La Casita Mexicana

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Two things are making me more of a restaurant adventurer here in L.A. than I was in New York: (1) nicer weather and (2) a car. In New York, on the bitterest, most miserable days of January, I would stick to a very specific loop that involved lunch at Hummus Place, coffee at Joe, and a slushy trek home. Here in L.A., it’s just a matter of unlocking my car door, rolling down the windows, cranking up the Original Cast Recording of “Next To Normal” and hitting the road.

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