I am home! The last day of my culinary tour was just as wonderful as the others. Marty had arranged two very special events before sending us on our way.
Again, it was simply scorching in Sonoma today. We checked-out of the hotel, loaded everything into the van and headed south to Petaluma and then west to the DeBernardi Family Farm in Two Rock. Bonnie and Don DeBernardi have a large organic (cow) dairy. A few years ago a friend gave Bonnie two female goats. She liked them and the next year had them bred and soon she had quite a few goats and quite a bit of goat milk. Don flew off to the Swiss Alps to visit family and learned how to make goat cheese while he was there, ordered the necessary equipment from Italy and now they are producing gourmet cheeses they sell in the Napa area farmer's markets, labeled Two Rock Valley Cheese. (DeBernardi Dairy, 7955 Valley Ford Road #B, Petaluma, CA 95952-9602, 707-763-6991.)
The dried cheese was more intensely flavored and was hard enough to be grated.
The DeBernardi Family Farm is hundreds of cows (and 22 goats) on hundreds of acres. One daughter has another nearby dairy farm and yet another daughter lives across the street. The grandkids show cows in 4-H and Don hopes to bring the grandchildren into the farm life. They travel, golf and have a very open and easy-going relationship. They also have a deep respect for each other, their animals, and the organic milk and cheese produced on their farm. They are acquainted with Marty and this was the first time they had ever given a tour of their property and the first time they had done a tasting. We were very lucky to have met this family, their goats and to have sampled their delicious Two Rock Valley cheeses - and to have played with the adorable babies!Bonnie & Don de Bernardi
We headed north to San Francisco, via a drive-through tour of Sausalito. Marty dropped us off on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge and we walked across! I was prepared with a windbreaker or sweater, but it was so hot I walked in a tee-shirt. It wasn't even (very) windy. There could not have been a more perfect day to walk across the bridge.Looking south towards San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Golden Gate Bridge Golden Gate Bridge Happy Girl on the Golden Gate Bridge Ship entering the harbor with San Francisco in the distance Looking north Team Marty: Scott, Deb, Peter, Ellen, Lillian and Terry
It was really interesting crossing the bridge. Probably due to the weather, there was a virtual mob-scene of pedestrians and bicyclists on the bridge. The traffic was a bit scary, though we were well-protected from cars by a strong metal fence. We saw pelicans and sea lions in the water below and it wasn't as frightening to look down as I thought it would be. I hope to do this again! Great experience.
Next Marty gave us a driving tour of Golden Gate Park and then we had time to explore the Ferry Building Marketplace and have lunch on our own. The Ferry Terminal Market is filled with shops about food, cooking and dining. Cheese makers, olive oil producers, antique kitchen implements, salt vendors, butchers, bakers and specialty grocers. Outside is a fabulous Farmer's Market.
Slanted Door restaurant in the Ferry Market Building is over-the-top fabulous. All dishes are meant to be shared and most items on the menu are about $10. No wonder it is so popular. We had:
Japanese Yellowtail Sashimi
with crispy shallots and Thai basil
Prather Ranch beef Carpaccio
with roasted peanuts, rau ram and fresh lime juice
Five-spiced duck confit
with organic baby frisÃ©e, kumquats and sherry-shallot vinaigrette
Stir-fried Anderson Ranch lamb sirloin
with red spring onions and red chilies
Hodo Soy Beanery organic lemongrass tofu
with fresh shiitake mushrooms, onions and chili sauce
Back to the hotel and then we all went our separate ways. It was a great trip, a great week and a great experience for me. I learned so much and had a few new experiences - always good!
Pedometer: 11,724 steps; 4.98 miles.
Until my next adventure, I remain, your Oregonian correspondent.