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Sonoma, California: As I said last night, I had cancelled the early morning walk due to the heat. Four people went on the hike which turned out to be a three miler and they were able to see all way to the bay and San Francisco while I was dozing under my duvet.

We met for breakfast at Saddles, the steak house at our hotel. During the morning hours Saddles has a breakfast buffet for guests. The restaurant is very pretty and half of the "seats" in the bar/reception area are actual saddles, so you can "ride 'em cowboy" during happy hour if you desire.

Our morning activity was a tour of the Sonoma Mission State Historical Park and a visit to the home of General Vallejo. Our guide, Vaughn, was the same lady who led us through our tour of Jack London State Park yesterday.

Ancient Prickly Pear cactus in bloom at the mission

Vaughn explains adobe brick production and use

The Mission in Sonoma

Our tour guide, Marty

Where the soldiers slept at the mission. (What kind of mission needed soldiers?)

Horno at the mission - used to this day

Deb and Lillian rest outside the mission in Sonoma

A hotel next to the mission - they did not build a
second floor atop a first floor. Instead they lifted the
first floor up and placed a new first story below!
Crazy, but it worked. It did, however, lead to
interesting features.

After touring through the mission, we hopped back in our van and drove out to the home of General Vallejo (and his eleven children). It is a beautiful home and was used by the family until 1949 when it was donated to the State of California. We had a tour of the home and property. 

The home of General Vallejo

Note the inset

The home was adobe with a Victorian facade - which made the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. With most people living in cabins at this point of time, this home was a showpiece, even by San Francisco standards.

The facade was installed by San Francisco ship builders and the stair railings were installed upside-down. The railings were very short at the top to ensure a coffin could be lifted and turned down the stairwell... just in case.


The dining room buffet

Blue and white china graced the table at the home of General Vallejo

Master Bedroom

Above the home was a reservoir. The General sold water to the City of Sonoma for income.
Now turtles live in the pond and were looking for hand-outs.

Ellen and Lillian enter the beautiful carriage house at the home of General Vallejo

After our tour ended we had a free afternoon. I had lunch with Deb and Peter at The Girl and the Fig (one of Mary's favorite chefs). Chris, our waiter from last night at The General's Daughter was our waiter for lunch! It is like we are locals already! 

Smoked salmon from The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma

After a long nap - and oh yes another hotel happy hour wine tasting - we went for our "final night together" cooking class at Ramekins. Ramekins is a cooking school, but they usually do demonstrations or "team building" events for large corporate groups. Tonight they did something special for Team Marty.

At this school we were not divided into teams - we were each given a specific task and when our task was completed we could relax or join in to help someone else. Our menu tonight:

Shrimp and Andouille Crostini

Baby Lettuce with Asparagus, Peas and Prosciutto

Herbed Garlic Rolled Pork Tenderloin (or chicken breast) with Pistou

Creamy Mascarpone and Thyme Polenta

Individual Chocolate Truffle Cakes with Caramel Sauce

Since the menu was not kosher-friendly, Marty had provided a chicken breast to be "herbed" for me and they used chicken andouille on the crostini and they left off the shrimp on a few for me. Lillian doesn't eat wheat, so Marty had a gluten-free bread for her crostini. Classic Journey's is very willing to accommodate we weirdos.

I was in charge of the pistou - fresh basil (two huge bunches), parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil whirled together in a food processor. Since my contribution took all of three minutes to prepare, I was free to help or wander. I helped Ellen chop a few vegetables for the crostini, shaved a little cheese for the salad, and then became the official photographer.

My pistou - garnish/paste to be spooned over the pork and chicken

Deb making our salad

The salad, ready to be dressed and plated - fingerling potatoes, peas and asparagus

Scott made the polenta

Polenta with mascarpone cheese and thyme

The team at work at Ramekins in Sonoma

Second photo today of Deb & Lillian resting - and our dinner table amongst the art at Ramekins

Marty pours the wine

Ellen made the crostini appetizer

Deb made the salad (shaved pecorino by yours truly)

Peter plates the main course

Herbed rolled chicken breast by Peter - herbed polenta by Scott

Lillian (age 84!) serves her dessert

Lillian's Chocolate Truffle Cake - Marty made the shortbread cookies

Team Marty: Lillian, Marty, Scott, Ellen, Deb, Peter and me

With our chef, Lisa

It was a great time and great way to spend our last night together. We work well as a team (didn't need the "team building" part of the evening) and we cook well and we cook very quickly. Dinner was wonderful and Ramekins had chosen very nice wines to go with the meal. After dinner we went back to our hotel and had one last cocktail together.

Pedometer: only 7785 steps, 3.31 miles. This time, it was my choice. I am not much interested in hiking in 105-degree weather. I did walk back to the hotel from lunch and that was basically all the exercise I had today.

Until my next update - we are going to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge tomorrow - I remain your well-schooled correspondent.