Monday, September 14, 2009

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival Year 2

After last year's parking debacle, I was a little reluctant to park at Ghirardelli Square for this year's chocolate festival - but since we had a baby in tow, we went for it. The garage was better organized by an order of magnitude this year - entry and exit were smooth. Yes, it was a little pricey, but hey - super convenient.

Alas, the weather was not as cooperative as last year - it was a strange weather weekend in SF - muggy, not quite cold and it started raining part way through the afternoon. The format for the Chocolate Festival this year was the same as last year - we bought $20 tickets that had 15 tastings each.

The tastings were good - we had Ciao Bella gelato (Chocolate Hazelnut, Alphonso Mango and my younger daughter's favorite, Blood Orange Sorbet - the latter two clearly having nothing to do with chocolate!), more gelato from Gelateria Naia (Straciatella and Chocolate Hazelnut), various toffees and best of all, handfilled mini cream puffs from Pacific Puffs. These were lovely - and one of the longest lines we stood in - a mini version of Beard Papa. Alas, by the time we made it to the Kara's Cupcakes stand, they had run out :(

The most fun was the special Chocolate Tea at Crown & Crumpet. I've blogged about this tea room in the past - it's a wonderful experience especially if you like have afternoon tea like I do! The Chocolate Tea was a plate of chocolate goodies and a selection of tea tastings. On the plate were chocolate banana sandwiches, tea-infused truffles, chocolate hazelnut tarts and a chocolate chip scone served with jam and clotted cream. The tea tastings were for chocolate tea, chocolate mint tea, chocolate banana tea (not as disgusting as you might think!) and chocolate orange tea. I like the last one the best but frankly, don't think that chocolate should be paired in teas as a rule!

We were a little "sweeted" out by then - and the craving for something savory kicked in. So we ordered some plain scones, some sausage rolls, a baked potato and some crumpets as well. Sitting on the terrace with a grey and overcast view of Alcatraz and the Bay, it was pleasurable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back home... kinda

O.K. it's been a busy month. We returned home from Thailand, stayed for 36 hours, then left on a roadtrip to southern Oregon for a wedding.

On the way up north, we toured the Ave of the Giants, drove through a giant Redwood and stayed in Eureka at the lovely Carter House Inn. Our room was in the attic which was charming and atmospheric, but a drag (literally!) with the luggage.

We spent a few days on the Oregon coast in Bandon, attending a family wedding. Where the advertised internet access in the beachside house rental was non-existent. I was reduced to sitting on the sidewalk in front of a nearby motel...

On the way home, we stopped in Mendocino after a harrowing drive on Highway 1.

Note to self: Mendocino is really far away from everything. DO NOT make it a stop on your way home unless you have a lot of spare time.

We stayed at the McCallum House Inn where we had a lovely dinner and an even lovelier breakfast in their dining room. Our attic room here was exceptional - I'd stay here again in a heartbeat.

I hadn't been to Mendocino is over 15 years and had forgotten how charming it was. Still, must remember previous note to self about the drive...

Then we finally got back home with 5 days to spare before the start of school. Phew - can't you see why I haven't been blogging?!