Make that 1st day and a half. Zipped to Berkeley to pick up ginger shortbreads at the Cheese Board. Thought of friends long gone. Longed for pizza. Were the two connected? But instead of calling the friend, an old college roommate, I made the wrong choice, Chez Panisse. Struck out on a morel pizza. Sandy. Tasteless. Bread and butter however delish. On to visit another Feiring, our dads were brothers. We commiserated. He took me to a Bing Crosby's piano bar, flat screened televisions, bad cheese. Keith asked me to pick ot a chardonnay for him. I forced myself to drink inoculated Gruner Veltliner that had sibling rivalry with sauvignon blanc. Alice was not in Kansas anymore. When we had enough, we headed back and I had some ginger shortbreads for dinner. Had a good night's sleep sans Ambien and then sped to Napa for a good cup of coffee and check in. After a fun interview with Randy Hall of winebiz.com, I went shopping with my host at Readers Books, the authentic independent book seller in the town of Sonoma. I forgot! I forgot what a real book store felt like. One that didn't even look like a Barnes & Noble. Can you imagine a book store where the owner and staff love books? I mean, Lilla, the owner and her husband Andy LOVE books. They read them and recommend them. They are to books what wine stores like Chambers Street Wines are to wines. Lilla took me wine shopping. We walked out of two stores. The wine out there is so damned expensive! We finally ended up at the Sonoma market where I could find the Noellet muscadet, a Chalonnaise Bougogne, Chaumont? $14! 2004, and delish. (I really do love those 2004s ). To show other's how bad California can conceive of the grape I picked the more expensive Bogle and to show a good zin, though too ripe for me, the Dashe 2006 ($26) They loved the Bourgogne. They hated the American oak chipped Bogle. Really, I hadn't had such a misguided wine in a long time. Who could possibly pass it off as wine? On to a party in Napa. At the end I was introduced to a local wine writer. She said Alice Feering. (They all get my name wrong--except Randy who pronounced it FIREing right off the bat). Then she sneered. "How often do you actually get to California?" she asked. Lip curl to the moon, lifted up to her left nostril. I knew I should have brought the protective vest. Dinner? A treat. Ubuntu. The veg place in Napa (can someone please tell me why there is are Burgundian-type spires in that town?) Frank Bruni called that one. A smarl looking urban industrial post holocaust restaurant but in the open kitchen performed three very anal and precise chefs. I was reminded that one of the marks that grab me in food is fresh coupled with surprise. Like a wink across a crowded room generating spontaneous smiles. This is the food here. one that can surprise me. Not with the uniformity of taste but with a surprise in Plenty of herbs, spice, texture, and taste. Watermelon and coconut soup with slabs of mint and shiso? Yes. Sardinian flatbread with peas, mint, greens (brilliantly red hummingbird flowers) and hints of heat. Yes. Earthy golf ball dense dumplings in an intense morel broth with pebbles of sweet morels? Its taste was winter but...yes! (also the ramps, with but the size of radish. Hmm) Had a great talk with a man in love. Made up for the the wine list. Greatful for the two glasses of '04 Bott-Geyl riesling. Nite.