California photo diary
They say in Texas, everything’s bigger. Well I’ve been to Texas and it doesn’t hold a candle to California.
You want big trees? They’ve got redwoods. Big animals? Grey whales. Mountain lions. Elephant seals!
Big mountains, big cars, big beaches? Check, check, check.
Big boobs, big hair, big credit limits? The biggest!
The two years we lived in San Francisco — and the countless times we’ve visited LA, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Marin, Sonoma, Tahoe, and a dozen places in between — make up some of the happiest memories of my life. Thanks to the ten glorious days we spent there over Christmas and New Year’s, I’ve got about a million more — and if you’ll indulge me, I’ve got about a million pictures to share….
Of note: in LA, we shared a Persian feast at Shamshiri Grill (when in Tehrangles…), and an inventive, inspiring meal at Red Medicine (Kathryn Bigelow sat next to us! Homegirl looks good). We made a special pilgrimage to the Claire Vivier store in Silver Lake (of course) with a stop at Bar Keeper to appease my favorite cocktail geek. We took in the holiday lights on Rodeo Drive (it was his idea! swear it!), the views at the Getty, and the terrific Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA (their bar and restaurant are also excellent).
In Santa Barbara, we took lots of long walks, visiting my dad’s open-air pottery studio, the monarchs who migrate through the area every winter, and my sister’s brand-new, beach-side, oh-so-totally-#college house near UCSB. We ate a lot (a lot!) at home, and on our last night, M. and I introduced my family to bo ssam. This will surprise no one, but it.was.a.hit.
On the drive north, we met our friends Brett and Meghan in Los Gatos, near San Jose, for a long-anticipated dinner at Manresa. We called ahead for the Grand Tasting and good lord, was it ever. Five hours of wonder, technique, and bright California flavors. Among the great meals of my life.
In San Francisco we found there weren’t enough hours in the day for all the meals we wanted to stuff down our gullets. We limited ourselves to brunches at Nopa and the remarkable Craftman & Wolves, dinners at Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen (looks like a sports bar, tastes like a high-end cocktail bar — amazing), Rich Table (go for the pastas. GO FOR THE PASTAS.), and a special NYE meal at Bar Agricole.
The trip was capped with what was easily one of my most fun New Year’s Eves ever, starring Brett, Meghan, my kick-ass cousin Renee, and of course, sweet M. What a send-out!
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