“Napa” ~ ‘nuf said.

Peel me a grape ~ in November, but not now.

Friday has been a whirlwind of a day…which really never stopped from last night, Thursday.

For the next 10 days I am going to be all over the San Francisco area, as far north as Napa and Sacramento, publicizing my book Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family. On very little sleep and lots of miles later, I am going to keep you up to date on my daily adventures here on the West Coast.

[frame_left]https://www.beyondthepasta.com/wp-content/uploads/Mark-at-Birmingham-Bake.jpg[/frame_left] Thursday night started with a cooking class at Birmingham Bake & Cook Company in Birmingham, AL.  It was great fun to cook for everyone and show them how simple true Italian cooking can be.

Handmade Orecchiette

Group-eating-orecchiette "Beyond the Pasta"

Enjoying handmade orecchiette

It was all do to owner Susan Green inviting me to come up and do a little cooking – Yum!

"Mark Leslie" and "Susan Green" Beyond the Pasta

Mark Leslie and owner Susan Green

After the class, I ended up typing some recipes for the upcoming Cavallo Poiint cooking class in Sausalito, CA on 4/16. That put me in bed at 2:00 a.m. only to get up at 4 a.m. to catch a 6:00 a.m. flight to Sacramento.

Once landing in Sacramento, I headed over to Napa for a wine tasting event at the beautiful Calistoga Ranch, actually in Calistoga. It was great fun and I really had a wonderful chat with Eric Fleury of Fleury Estate Winery … while he served a Pinot Noir, a Cabernet, and a surprise wine that was really terrific, but I never caught the grape varietal.

Also, a cheese monger was there giving samplings of the cheeses he offers. I wish I could remember his name, but at the moment, his business card is in the car and at 11:33 p.m. I am in the bed typing this – so his name comes tomorrow.

It was an evening spent talking about wine, cheese, and the story of food and family in my book. Fun!

But what struck me as odd as I left the ranch to get back to Sacramento to go to bed before getting up at 4;45 a.m. to drive to Oakland for an early morning TV guest appearance on KRON-TV, is that all this talk about food today found me in line at a drive-thru window.  I had just been to the center of what some might say is “food nirvana” – French Laundry, Mustards Grille, Tra Vigne, Dean & Delucca (for some nice already prepped), but all I had time for was “Can I take your order?” “Yes, a #1 with no cheese and no onion, please.”

I had only found time for a “burger doodle.”

Sometimes my inner fast food laziness gets the better of me.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Buon Appetito, but please not at a drive-thru window~