In this story, yours truly is forced to visit the Bay Area and celebrate a family birthday for days on end. We started out a Boulevard, a beautiful Belle Epoque era restaurant where the food and service are equally stellar, then a bit tipsily onto the Balenciaga exhibit at the de Young Museum. As much as I love beautiful clothing, I still did not expect my strong response to this show. The designer had such an understanding of his craft, he was able to create nothing short of wearable sculptures with fabric. The exhibit was sinfifcant as it demonstrates the influence of Balenciagas Spanish heritage- the Catholic church, bullfighting and traditional Spanish clothing, directly to his designs. The exhibit continues through July 4th. You must go up to the observation floor of the de Young and see the dizzying views of the city and Bay.
The following day took us to the area known as the "gourmet ghetto" in Berkeley, an area of top notch food shopping and restaurants that brings back the European experience. Need cheese? Of course, the Cheese Board, for meat on to Magnanis. Our carb needs took us to Acme breads. A small line forms outside of the unassuming doorway. While two ladies efficiently fill orders a step away from the bakers , a larger doorway opens up to whisk away deliveries all over the city by truck. Must have- the cinnamon bread and ham and cheese turnovers. On an earlier visit one of these turnovers did not survive the short walk across the parking lot to the car.
Our produce shopping took us to Montery Market where the selection was unbeatable. I think you could make practically any dish you wanted shopping here. There must have been twenty types of fresh mushrooms. Fresh tamarind was at home here as the Napa cabbage, and buying several varieties of mangos for a tasting seemed as natural as buying apples.
We loaded up our groceries into the car into waiting coolers and went on to our next meal at Chez Panisse, where 40 years ago Alice Waters launched the birthplace of local sustainable eating in America.