San Francisco: Take two, fancy restaurants and big ol' trees.

A belated round up of my trip to San Francisco this past December. B and I had dinner at Alice Water's famous Chez Panisse. Their dinner menu is prix fixe and you eat whatever the chef found at the market that day and/or decided to cook. We had crab souffle with a salad, duck with turnip greens and cake soaked in savarin with sour cherries. We ordered 2 different wines, one for each course and had some coffee with dessert. It is a fancy (read: expensive) restaurant and we dressed nicely because it was a special event for us but it is in Berkeley and wearing jeans would not be amiss. I think it was a great experience. The wait staff was friendly and willing to answer our questions and recommend wines and take our picture and then invite us to explore the kitchen and take pictures there too!

The dining room is small but you don't feel crammed in. Actually, you feel like you are in someone's dining room. I thought the food was great. crab and duck are not B's favorites so he was nonplussed but he did think that the duck was better than he thought it would be and we both loved the dessert. I think the coffee was to die for. It has been ages since I have had coffee that I thought was really good. They also have a cafe up stairs that serves lighter, less expensive fair. I would definitely go back and have dinner again and I highly recommend it for one of those once in a lifetime experiences. Just make sure to plan ahead and make your reservation at least a month in advance. If that isn't possible at least stop in for a coffee and a cake.

I (heart) blood oranges.

We also spend a day at Muir woods.
It is an old growth redwood forest. That means it has old trees, 600-800 years old and little baby saplings as well. The land is untouched. nothing has ever been cut down. The land was bought in 1905 by William and Elizabeth Kent. William is quoted as saying "If we lost all the money we have and saved these trees, it would be worthwhile, wouldn't it?" in response to the expense of purchasing the land. In 1907 the Kent's donated portions of the land to the Federal Government to prevent it from being destroyed by a company wanting to dam Redwood creek. In 1908 Theodore Roosevelt declared Muir Woods a National Monument. The 7th to be named under the Antiquities Act of 1906 and the 1st to be created from land donated by a private individual.

Just for scale.

A fallen tree. it will be left to decompose and feed new life right where it fell.

This is a burl. Burls are a collection of dormant buds that allow the trees to reproduce after they have been damaged or have fallen. I bought a bookmark made of burl wood. It is a little thick but it is really pretty and definitely one of my favorite souvenirs. You could also purchase small burls to bring home and sprout so you could have a mini redwood forest. They were very cool. We would have bought one if we lived uh...closer.

I was also rather mycologically inclined while I was photographing. I actually wish I knew more about mushrooms as there were several varieties. There were also a lot of ferns which I have grown quite fascinated with since my botany class. Maybe they are so old.
I highly recommend going to Muir woods in general but the beauty and serenity that it has to offer would best be enjoyed not during a school holiday when families with small children are there in abundance. Though it is a great place to bring children and learn about nature and hunt for banana slugs.

1 comment:

Amanda Atkins said...

You guys are adorable!
Those trees are insanely gorgeous, too. Wow.