Thursday, January 27, 2011


While on my whirlwind tour of the California Central Coast, I saw as much as was possible from Paso Robles to Santa Rosa. We traveled the coast via the PCH and visited several vineyards/wineries. We saw elephant seals, sunsets, sunrises, San Fran w/ it's hills and bridges, the wharf, ate delicious food, drank amazing wines, and of course... indulged in some serious sugar. Basically when all was said and done, I was looking for property for sale in Yountville down the road from Thomas Keller and his French Laundry, and begging the hubby to pack up our children and head west. I absorbed as much as humanly possible, and slept as little as humanly possible. Don't get me started on the quality of coffee that basically came out of someones garage... Alright, Alright... point. Sugar! We ate a metric ton of delicious desserts and pastries. I believe the sugar intake began with blueberry scones at Amsterdam Coffee House (no, not THAT kind) to accompany my Lavender Latte. Now that I think about it, I had some sort of delicious scone EVERY single morning I was there, and almost all of them were made with seasonal, fresh fruit.

My eyes nearly popped out of my head when dining at The Slanted Door, I ordered the confectioner's plate and a massive cloud of green apple flavored cotton candy arrived as the center of the spectacle. It was fluffy, slightly sour, and absolute perfection. In fact; it was so good that I refused to share it with anyone else at the table.

But, nothing compared to the banana cream tart that I purchased at Tartine (quite possibly one of the best bakeries I've ever been to). The pastry dough was flaky perfection, drizzled with bittersweet Valrhona Chocolate, and filled to the brim with caramelized bananas and the silkiest pastry cream I've EVER tasted. I've tried to recreate the pastry creme, and I'm not there yet... but, I'm determined. Oh, PS. Shaved Dark Chocolate to top the whole thing off. I resolved to wait until I could actually sit down and fully enjoy my treat (as Tartine was packed -- it was Sunday morning after all). About a block or so in to our trek back to our accommodations I decided I couldn't stand it anymore, and dug in. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty sure that there was pastry cream all over my face and I looked ridiculous. I scarfed my banana cream tart and quite honestly had a really hard time not offering a bite to those that passed me on the sidewalk. It was that good. I was beyond impressed. Quite honestly, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy the west coast, as I've been an east coast girl my entire life... but, you know what? I fell in love.

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