lulu, hillsider companion

lulu, hillsider companion

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Yep, Farmers' Markets are back in season, preparing for the coast, and a remarkable effort from New Clairvaux...

No question about it, it's springtime in the West. I know that for a bunch of reasons, but the one that has my full attention at the moment is the fact that I've spent the best part of the last three Saturday mornings wandering aimlessly around my little town's farmers' market, just checking out who's back from last year and the year before (pretty much everyone, even though it's still a little early for the folks who farm higher up in the foothills). I'm really happy to say that my friends from Colima's Tamales are already dealing steamy happiness from their tiny booth, even though its location has been moved some 20 or so yards to the south and now butts against an outer wall of City Hall, and is definitely harder to find. The pie lady (For the Love of Pies) is also back, thankfully (bought a small cherry pie last Saturday and letting it age out a bit in the refrigerator), as are the people from the alpaca ranch. Strangely,  I find myself being drawn, slowly but surely, back to their booth each time I'm at the market; the stuff they sell, all kinds of alpaca wool clothing, like socks, scarves and mufflers, caps, and other hokey stuff, just feels like it's reaching out to me more and more every single time,,,it just looks so damned comfortable...

I'm really happy to say that we're in the midst of preparing for our first road trip of 2015, and of course we're headed back to the coast...Trinidad/Arcata/Eureka to be exact. We'll be sleeping/cooking/drinking wine/pondering life's mysteries at our usual spot, the Emerald Forest Lodge most of the time, but there'll still be plenty of opportunity for field trips and checking out local restaurants and dives. There are also several vintage bookstores in Eureka that warrant browsing, as well as fascinating little surrounding towns (like Ferndale and Loleta) that need more exploring. Those of you who love the lore and history of your states (Texas and California in particular) will know, remember and venerate folks like Ray Miller (Texas) and Huell Howser (California), who were certainly the most revered of the modern "populist" travel writers/television personalities in their respective venues (and, at least in the case of Ray Miller, the most historically precise) of the last several decades, and their work has inspired many hundreds more of us to get out and see what we've been gifted. I urge you to join us, if you haven't already.
I also urge those of you Californians (or folks who wish you could be) who haven't seen PBS's broadcasts of Huell Howser's "California Gold" series of road trips around the state to visit their website and buy copies; I know they were offering them for sale not long ago, and probably still are due to the series' huge audience; if so, pay whatever you have to pay, and be happy to have them. You won't be sorry.

Before I go, I want to  acknowledge another very fine example of imaginative (and delicious) winemaking from New Clairvaux and, I assume, Aimee Sunseri, that being their 2014 Nouveau Tempranillo. True enough, it's nouveau as it can be, with the fresh, yeasty-strawberryish nose you expect from nouveau Beaujolais, only spiced in the center with the metallic leathery scent of the tempranillo grape rather than the roundness of gamay. Too, on the palate the wine is crisper and more authoritative, and not as friendly, as its Beaujolais inspiration, and it finishes with a little bite, but it is very enjoyable and could be a good friend to grilled salmon, chicken, and burgers of all description. We recommend it for summer wine lists, especially for those looking for interesting by-the-glass alternatives to the usual boring light reds and coarsely made roses. Give it a light chill and enjoy with your cold chicken salad...

Okay, that's it for now, but we're pretty much recovered from our OR and recuperative adventures now, and ready to get back to it. Thanks for sticking around, and we'll be back soon.

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