Sunday, June 22, 2008

mange* among the vines

A lovely day in St. Helena yesterday. It was very, very hot ~ 100ยบ+. First stop, as always, at the Napa Valley Oil Company for a big jug of olive oil.

This funky little store is located at the end of Charter Oak Street. It is chock-full of Italian goodies like dried salami, tinned and bottled delicacies, about 50 different dried pastas, all sorts of herbs, cheeses and, of course, three different grades of olive oil. It's all found in this old frame building with wooden floors and an air redolent of years of housing good things to eat.

Then it was on to Tra Vigne. The first time I went there was probably 15+ years ago, when it was among the first of its kind in the Valley, but soon to be followed by many imitators. Olive oil in a dish on the table into which you sop bread? Who would have thought. Ravioli stuffed with goat cheese? What a brilliant idea. A big open kitchen where you can see what's cooking? Great theater. So there we were, amidst the bustle of a weekend lunch, tossing back luscious wine and carefully prepared food. I opted for a lamb dish with pasta and arugula with a sprinkling of peccorino cheese on top. (It was such a generous serving that I brought the remains home for the Patient's dinner. I'm always looking for ways to enlarge his waistline!) Others ordered the above-mentioned ravioli stuffed with goat cheese, a beautiful shrimp salad with romaine instead of the dandelion greens as advertised (2 orders). Iced espresso for dessert. I was hoping we could eat in the garden but, as you can see, it was not set up because of the heat.

I got back home about 5 and it was still mighty hot here. I paid a "sick room" call on my neighbor who has just had knee replacement surgery and is doing nicely, thanks. Quick, cool dinner of salmon salad for me, then into the pool for an evening cool-off. The sky darkened to the most beautiful shade of deep blue velvet, the stars came out, and I marveled ~ yet again ~ on my great good fortune.
*I just realized when reading the headline that it sounds like a disease (mange) instead of the Italian word for Eat! (man-jay). But you probably figured that out already.


At 6:16 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

Great post ~ glad you don't have the mange. I was afraid it would be too hot to eat outside, but it sounds like a lovely time. It's cooling down here in SF for our Museum Marathon on Thursday...can't wait!


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