Mission Cheese – San Francisco, CA

The last stop on our anniversary trip was the perfect spot for the proverbial cherry on top. We went to Mission Cheese in San Francisco where we tried a selection of excellent domestic cheeses, wines, beers, and salumi. The duck and pork pâté with cherries and pistachios was an excellent salty-sweet treat. However, by far the best part was the service by our incredible waitress Sarah. She was knowledgeable, thoughtful…and oh yeah, she is family.

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Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream

It was a crazy line, but well worth the wait to get some amazing ice cream. Kathleen had balsamic caramel and Tahitian vanilla, while I had balsamic caramel, mushroom, and peanut butter curry. They might sound different, but they were all delicious.

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Crab at the Franciscan

We made it into San Francisco this morning and stopped at The Franciscan for some delicious fresh crab for lunch.

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Glen Ellen Inn Grill and Oyster Bar

Glen Ellen Inn is a very special place for us. This is where I proposed to Kathleen two-and-a-half years ago. The place remains a remarkable family-run hidden treasure. Nestled is sleepy Glen Ellen the Inn has hidden cottages overlooking a creek behind the restaurant. The restaurant serves the best of fresh seasonal local cuisine with a homey touch.

For our appetizers we had a roasted garlic fondue and dungeness crab pot stickers.

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Next we had some incredible grilled oysters in a lemon dill cream. For the main course Kathleen had a mustard crusted duck breast with wild rice and I had the cioppino. For anyone that doesn’t believe that love is an essential ingredient in great food…please come try this cioppino broth. It is perfection. The best cioppino in northern california is not is San Francisco…you need to drive about an hour and a half north to Glen Ellen.

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Although we hardly had room left, we forced ourselves to have dessert since we were celebrating a special occasion. Kathleen had Glen Ellen Inn’s famous sundae with toasted coconut. I had the buttered popcorn ice cream. Well worth the extra calories.

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Figone’s Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

What a find. Tonight on our drive to Glen Ellen we stopped at Figone’s Olive Oil. We did an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting. We tried more than ten different oils and six different vinegars. Terrific stuff. When tasting olive oil you sip the oils right out of the cup letting it coat your palate. Of course this would not work with the store-bought $9-per-gallon stuff, but when you are tasting oils this deep in flavor it is really a wonderful mouth feeling. We would highly recommend Figone’s for anyone looking for some very high quality olive oils and 20-year aged balsamic vinegars.

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Breakfast at Haydon Street Inn – Healdsburg, CA

How many bed and breakfasts serve homemade cranberry scones, followed by fresh fruit in raspberry jam, and then follow that up with strawberries and cream stuffed French toast with homemade smoked apple sausage? Not many. But our bed and breakfast is run by a chef…not too bad. Oh yeah, the juice…fresh squeezed from the grapefruits picked from the backyard of this 100-year-old house.

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Picnic at Ridge Lytton Springs

Today we stopped by the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market and picked up some beautiful local cheeses, cured meats and honeycomb. We packed it up for a picnic and took it up to our favorite winery – Ridge Vineyards. Here is us with our 2006 Ridge Monte Bello. Not too shabby…

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