A Touch of France in Yountville, California

The town of Yountville is located along California Highway 29 about 56 miles/ 90 km north of San Francisco. With Calistoga to the north and Napa to the south, Yountville is truly in the heart of Wine Country.

The town was named after George Calvert Yount in 1867, two years after his death. In the 1830s, Yount was considered one of the first settlers in the area to plant wine grapes in Napa Valley.

Public Art Walk Along Washington Street

“Chaos Pamplona” by Jedd Novatt

“48” Orange Sphere” by Ivan McLean

“Rock Mushroom Garden” by Rich Botto

“Marigold” by Troy Pillow

“Phoenix” by Andrew Carson

Award-winning Restaurants

Chef Philippe Jeanty of Epernay, France opened Bistro Jeanty in 1998:

Signs on the windows indicate they serve cassoulet, saumon fumé, bouillabaisse, paté de lapin…

soupe de poissons, crème brûlée, steak frites, moules au pastis!

Chef Thomas Keller opened The French Laundry in 1994. Since 2007, it has been a Michelin 3-star restaurant:

Can you see the restaurant sign? I can’t, so let’s zoom in:

Its unassuming exterior means that you could miss the award-winning restaurant if you blink or drive past it too quickly. Which is exactly what we did…

That’s The French Laundry to the right:

Chef Thomas Keller opened Bouchon Bistro in 1998:

V Marketplace

The Groezinger Winery was built in 1870 and operated as a winery through 1955. In 1968, it was converted into an upscale retail location. There are tasting rooms, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques surrounded by a picnic garden. A popular hot air balloon company launches from an adjacent lot near V Marketplace.

Two restaurants owned by Chef Michael Chiarello, Bottega and Ottimo:

Keep walking through the courtyard (above) and you’ll arrive at the beautiful picnic garden. Here’s my favorite flower, the white rose:

Pioneer Yount School Bell

This bell hung from Pioneer Yount School from 1890 to 1947. Today, it is in front of Yountville’s City Hall.

If you need to send someone a postcard, you can drop it off here:

For more information:

Yountville Welcome Center

These photos were taken by my older daughter and me during our family’s day trip to Napa Valley on New Year’s Day 2017. 🍇

Wednesday Postcard: Pederson Point, Alaska

Photo on postcard: B. Anderson

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features a salmon processing plant in Pederson Point, Alaska. My neighbor is a school teacher and in the summer of 2011 she worked at a salmon processing plant and brought me this postcard.

Pederson Point is located near the village of Naknek, which is 280 miles/ 451 km southwest of Anchorage.

For more information:

Pederson Point – North Pacific Seafoods website

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

Two French Bakeries and the Blue House in San Francisco

In my blog post, If You’re Going to San Francisco, Be Sure to Watch These Videos Filmed There,” I described how a blue house in San Francisco inspired Maxime Le Forestier to write a French song entitled, “San Francisco.”

I recently got the chance to see the house on 18th Street made famous by the song:

I happened to walk past la maison bleue en route from one French bakery to another French bakery! Quelle coïncidence!

Tartine (600 Guerrero Street)

Ever since my colleague told me about Tartine, a French bakery in the Castro District that he and his wife liked to frequent for brunch, I’d been wanting to go. Thankfully, I relied on my Maps app to find it.

There’s no sign on the building with “Tartine” on it, but you’ll know you’re at the right place when you spot the line out the door. Was the patisserie trying to be unassuming or anonymous? Either way, I figured it added to the mystique.

Once inside, it’s a tight squeeze. I did notice that people were pretty good about eating then promptly leaving so other patrons could have a seat. There were a few tables and chairs outside, too.

While you wait, you can read their laminated menus while you hum along to pop music they play inside at a deafening volume. (Maybe that helps clear the tables…Brilliant!)

Don’t expect service with a smile, though. I got the impression that the people behind the counter and pastry case take themselves too seriously. Fortunately, I have the superpower to tune out the ‘tude and focus on what I came here for:

The pain au chocolat was divine. A billion buttery and flaky layers with gooey dark chocolate inside. My cafe au lait was served in a bowl, like they do in Paris!

Le Marais Bakery (498 Sanchez Street)

I had read positive reviews for another French bakery called Le Marais Bakery. It was three blocks away from Tartine, so I decided to check it out while I was in the neighborhood.

This chocolate chip cookie was delicious:

On that note, have a sweet day! 🍪

Oui Oui! Macaron

la vie en rose (et verte): rose macaron sprinkled with matcha green tea

The nursery rhyme, “This Little Piggy” came to mind when I saw this macaron shop! Housed in a powder blue shipping container in the Emeryville Public Market, Oui Oui! Macaron is a good place to pick up a small dessert after having lunch or dinner from one of the food stalls.

“This little piggy went to Public Market…

This little piggy took some Oui Oui! Macaron all the way home!”

I took home a box of six:

Top row: strawberry balsamic, coffee

Bottom row: churro, lavender vanilla, vanilla, matcha rose

I was excited to try the churro macaron, which tasted and smelled like the cinnamon sugar fried donut, but I found it to be a bit chewy!

Once again, the vanilla macaron was a winner for me! The shells were crispy, but not too chewy. The filling was light like a whipped cream, but tasted like rich buttercream!

Overall, I say, yes to Oui Oui! Macaron!

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in my other posts about macarons:

Tous les Jours: French-Korean bakery in Dublin, California

This photo was taken at the Dublin, California location of Tous les Jours, a French-Korean bakery:

baguette and a chocolate flaky pastry

Have you been to a Tous les Jours bakery near you?

According to their website, “Currently, there are more than 50 stores in the United States and more than 1,500 stores all around the world.” Tous les Jours bakeries have been in the U.S. since 2004, and for the first time ever, I recently visited one! I went to their Dublin, California location (about 35 miles/ 56 km east of San Francisco).

When I walked in, it was instantly familiar. I had been to similar bakeries before where you take a tray, place a piece of wax paper on it, and take a pair of tongs. Then you walk around the pastry cases, take the baked goods that you want and place them on the tray. At times, however, the offerings looked better than they tasted.

But at Tous les Jours, I was pleased with all of my selections! I picked up a baguette, a chocolate flaky pastry, and six macarons.

The baguette was soft and delicious. I didn’t need to put butter or jam on it.

The chocolate flaky pastry (feuilleté au chocolat) was so good, I practically inhaled it!

There were around 14 flavors of macarons. In general, my favorite macaron flavor is vanilla, so I got one of those, along with coffee, blueberry lavender, rose, lemon, and Earl Grey tea flavors.

coffee, vanilla, blueberry lavender, rose, lemon, Earl Grey tea

I could tell the macarons were fresh. When I bit into the vanilla one, there was a delicate crunch. The filling was light and flavorful. It was just the right size to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Overall, I enjoyed my first taste of Tous les Jours bakery!

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in my previous posts:

La Farine: French bakery in Oakland

La Châtaigne: French bakery in Lafayette

Macaron in My Carry-On

Visiting Seattle: Where to Eat

Starving in Seattle? I recommend you grab a bite at the following places:

Breakfast:

Off the Grill: Two 2 Two, served with warm maple syrup

Athenian Seafood Restaurant & Bar

1517 Pike Place (located at Pike Place Market)

Seattle, WA 98101

Website: http://www.athenianseattle.com

Fun fact: The tiramisu scene in the movie, “Sleepless in Seattle” with Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner, was filmed at this restaurant!

This was the view from our table upstairs:

Elliott Bay and the Seattle Great Wheel on the Waterfront

Lunch:

The Madison Diner

305 Madison Avenue N

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Website: http://www.themadisondiner.com

The diner is an old steel train car brought over from New Jersey!

Bleu cheese and bacon burger

Dinner:

Phở Bắc

1809 Minor Avenue

Seattle, WA 98101

Website: https://www.thephobac.com

Phở Tôm (Prawns) | photo by Jennifer

spring rolls, egg rolls, grilled pork with salad and rice

Snack:

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

Concourse C at Sea-Tac Airport

17801 International Blvd.

Seattle, WA 98158

Website: https://www.beechershandmadecheese.com

Mac and cheese | photo by Jennifer

We originally planned to visit Beecher’s at their Pike Place location, but the line was out the door! Fortunately, we got another chance to savor their cheesy goodness at their airport location before our flight home.

So if you’re looking for tasty food in a fast-casual and family-friendly setting, these places are sure to please!

🍽

This post is #5 of 6 in my Visiting Seattle series.

How Jewel Made Me Think of Breakfast

“I got my eggs and my pancakes, too/ I got my maple syrup, everything but you…”

-from “You Were Meant For Me” by Jewel (J. Kilcher/S. Poltz)

Today (May 23) is Jewel‘s birthday! I heard this hit song of hers the other day and its delicious lyrics inspired this post about my favorite meal of the day: Breakfast!

Breakfast, you were meant for me

Any time of day, I can eat traditional American breakfast foods, like yogurt with granola, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fluffy buttermilk pancakes with butter and maple syrup, and bagels with lox and cream cheese, to name a few.

But on weekday mornings, when I’m pressed for time, breakfast is something simple. I’ll grab a fruit or pastry to eat with coffee before I head out the door.

Here are some breakfast foods I enjoy when I have a little more time to savor them.

Homemade breakfast:

My younger daughter made this Egg in the Basket

In France, I remember enjoying a tartine, or toasted baguette with butter or homemade apricot jam. I remember the sweetest Joker orange juice, too:

Le petit-déjeuner chez M. Didier

Sometimes I’ll try to recreate it:

Breakfast in restaurants:

that’s not a saucer, that’s a plate! Giant butter croissant from Piedmont Café & Bakery in Oakland, California

avocado toast from The Bistro in Rancho Cordova, California

When you make eggs, do you “break the yolks and make a smiley face” like Jewel sings in her song? 😀

I’m curious about breakfast foods from around the world!

Tell me in the comments below: What’s your favorite breakfast?

Leave the Gum, Take the Cannoli

these napkins are 100 percent recycled

First of all, I mean no disrespect to all of you diehard fans of “The Godfather” movies. I know the true quote is:

“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

But it’s a bit too violent, wouldn’t you agree? So just for fun, I changed gun to gum!

I took this picture at a Whole Foods Market in the San Francisco Bay Area. But the napkin holder, with its French message (“Save the planet and your smile, one napkin at a time”) along with an Italian chocolate chip cannoli made me think I was somewhere else, miles away from home…

I imagined I was at a sidewalk café in Paris sitting on a wicker bistro chair.

Next I imagined what cannoli in Italy would taste like!

Then lunch time ended…Back to reality.

What foods do you eat at home have the ability to transport you to another place or time? Tell me in the comments below!

Poutine in Berkeley

[Update: Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley closed on November 6, 2019.]

Poutine is a traditional dish from Québec, Canada, which consists of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds, the fun bits of whey that squeak when you bite into them.

This is the medium size

The first time I went to Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley, California was a few years ago when it first opened. I had ordered the “Traditional” (French fries, gravy, cheese curds) and was unimpressed with the cold and soggy fries that were only made warm by the gravy. It was also topped with a so-so amount of cheese curds.

Korean poutine with kimchi

I went back to Smoke’s recently and I decided to be more adventurous. I broke from “Traditional” and ordered the Korean poutine (aka The Bulgoger).

Each poutine is made to order and you get to choose either French fries or tater tots. I chose fries, which were crispy, not greasy. You could tell they were fresh out of the fryer – they were hot!

The steak appeared to have been chopped so finely that it looked like ground beef. The picture on their wall menu didn’t include kimchi, or salted and fermented vegetables, but my poutine came with some on it, so that was a pleasant surprise. It almost made me forget I came for the cheese curds, which they kind of skimped on, by the way.

Overall, their Korean poutine was flavorful and I liked it. I’d order it again.

Update: Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley closed November 2019

For more information:

Smoke’s Poutinerie

[This post was originally published on October 12, 2018.]

Since my local Smoke’s Poutinerie is now closed, where should I go to get poutine? Tell me in the comments below!

Where My Beignets At?

Closely associated with New Orleans, a beignet (“ben-YAY”) is a donut made with choux, a French pastry dough also used to make éclairs and cream puffs. Luckily, I don’t have to travel that far to enjoy these fried and pillowy sweet treats! Café Jolie in Alameda and Powderface in Oakland both make delicious beignets!

from Cafe Jolie

I’ll update this post as I discover places that make beignets in the Bay Area and beyond!

Where do you get your beignets? Tell me in the comments!