As many of you may know, I’m back home in California visiting my family in the Bay Area. It’s been mostly family time here in Vallejo, a solidly working-class former shipyard town.
In the decade I’ve been gone, there have been some changes, or maybe I just never noticed before. While visiting my favorite taco stand I realized it’s possible to visit a huge Filipino seafood market, eat Phở, lunch on “the best lechon” in town, grab a killer burger from a local landmark joint, and feast on $1.25 tacos, all with a quarter mile stretch of Hwy. 29.
If you kept on driving another 15 miles on the same road, you’d find yourself in Napa and from there, epicurean possibilities are endless. We made a short venture into Napa County yesterday, visiting the Boon Fly Café at the Carneros Inn, and the relatively new OxBow Public Market, which holds under one roof delicacies like Ritual Coffee Roasters, Taylor’s Automatic Refresher (get the Wisconsin burger) and Hog Island Oyster Company (their Kumamoto oysters are beyond excellent).
Conversely, I’ve already made note of the drawbacks; seeking to obtain the necessary ingredients to make orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage, the produce guy at the local market told me he could special order the vegetables for me if I was going to be around next week, but that broccoli rabe would be “a hard sell around here.”
And hot and sweet sausage? Forget about it.
POST SCRIPT: I’ll be in San Diego for a couple of days and then back up north, in-and-around the Bay Area and San Francisco. Drop me a line if you have any foodie suggestions.