Plinyland®

While in Sonoma County recently visiting my mother for the holidays, my surrogate dad, adventure pal and winemaker extraordinaire Bruce Patch invited me to go pick up some samples at the local wine storage facility in Windsor.

“It’s right across the street from the new Russian River Brewing Company brewery!” he announced excitedly.

Beer aficionados and IPA nuts will recognize Russian River as the brewer of the difficult-to-source double-IPA-of-legend, Pliny the Elder, of which I have done several posts in my own Quixotic pursuit of. More

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Taco, I Can’t Quit You

Bruce was having trouble posting a comment on my “Goodbye, Year of the Taco” post.

“What did you want to say?” I asked, being that I was now standing beside him in person and could simply accept the comment first-hand.

“I was going to ask why the Year of the Taco has to end.”

“Well,” I replied, “It doesn’t really end. That was more for the narrative and thematic purposes of my blog.”

He looked puzzled, but the answer seemed to comfort him.

The kids and I on the hunt — the prized lion's mane!

The kids and I on the hunt — the prized bear’s head!

As it happened, we were at Bruce and my mother’s house deep in the forest of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley for our annual holiday visit, and there would be tacos on the menu. Our second evening there, we had a crab feast. The next day, the leftover crab made for a perfect lunch of one of my favorite tacos. More

Matsutake Memories

Fungi is a fickle kingdom. Predicting where and when a particular mushroom will grow is like betting on the stock market.

Willa with amanita coccora — the only edible mushroom in a family of deadly beauties

Willa with amanita coccora — the only edible mushroom in a family of deadly beauties

Some mushrooms appear only in years with late soaking rain, others only when there is an early rain followed by a dry spell followed by another rain. Some mushrooms only grow where there is something dead under the dirt, while others cannibalize nearby poisonous mushrooms, transforming them into prized edibles. More

In Vino Veritas

As many of you know and some have tasted, my family has a wine business. Specifically, we make a zinfandel called Wine Guerrilla.

Forestville from the Wine Guerrilla tasting room

Downtown Forestville from the Wine Guerrilla tasting room

It began as a project of my mom’s longtime boyfriend, Bruce, but soon many of us were involved. Our main contribution from Southern California, besides being avid proponents and consumers, has been the marketing. The labels feature my artwork and my wife’s graphic design — a brand that we have extended with some success to merchandise, marketing materials and promotions. More

Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Sonoma — Tearing Down Thanksgiving

As my mother, who is sitting in the next room, can attest, I’ve always been a bit of a rebel. If you knew my mom, you would realize I come by it honestly.

Turkey confit on the stove

Turkey confit on the stove

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’ve certainly got her to thank for my rebelliousness. After years of bucking the standard Thanksgiving traditions — particularly turkey, stuffing, gravy, et. al. — we were dragged back into the fold by partners and family members who favored a classic approach to the holiday. I did manage to produce an interesting German Thanksgiving dinner one year for my wife’s family, who at that early stage in our relationship were already confused and confounded by me. More

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