Last summer one of my favorite people was in town for a visit. We were out to dinner, catching up and I told her that I hoped that Ryan Adams would go on tour and play a show near Memphis, TN (where she lives) so I could visit her and see him play. Fast forward to February when he announced his tour dates (no Memphis) and I get a text from her listing the California dates of his tour. A few months later we were meeting up at the airport, catching a ride to our charming bungalow in Berkeley. It was a perfect 48 hours away from home. Courtney and I have been friends since we met in Freshman English when we were 14. She is an effortless friend, like the sister I never had. (She is also a great writer; check out her books here and here!) We walked and walked and walked, chatting the whole time. The only research I did, other than buying concert tickets and finding a place to stay, was food related and it really paid off. The best meals we had were places I had recommendations for. On our first night we had a late dinner at the Chez Panisse Cafe. The food was exquisite. That apricot galette was tart and such a good contrast with the ice cream. We were staying close enough to the restaurant that we walked home in the warm night. We spent the rest of the night listening to Fleetwood Mac records that happened to be stashed in a drawer in the house. The next morning we had breakfast at La Note. Soft scrambled eggs with cream cheese on levain with roasted tomatoes - could there be a better breakfast? The cinnamon brioche with lavender butter was crazy good too. We took the train into San Francisco where we spent the day walking, 13 miles overall. The weather was perfect, clear and 74. That evening we walked to the Greek Theater, had a beautiful night outdoors (look at that sunset!) listened to great music, and I started my Ryan Adams merchandise collection.
For our 10th wedding anniversary we finally decided to take a trip without our kids for the first time. I have travelled without them and Vincent has travelled without them, but we haven't left at the same time. My mom stayed at our house that weekend and was a super champ, taking them to the end of year celebration at Gianna's school (Dean announced that he had eaten TWO snow cones there!), made pancakes for dinner, and took them to a 5 year old's Star Wars themed birthday party. They had such a great time with her that Gianna cried when my mom went back to her house Sunday afternoon. We enjoyed the four hour train ride to Seattle and arrived in time for the complimentary wine hour at our hotel. Then we had a short walk to get dinner. Like my previous trip, I really only did research on restaurants and a place to stay. I follow a few food bloggers who live in Seattle, so I went back through their accounts to see where they liked to eat and it did not disappoint. I still think about the meal I ate at Oddfellows Cafe. I tried a Negroni for the first time (loved it) and find myself wishing I could get that hanger steak, salty mashed potatoes and garlicky green beans at least twice a month. The next day we ate breakfast at the hotel, which was quite good, and walked over to Pike Place Market. The peonies were gorgeous, the fishmongers were loud and there were tons of tourists, ourselves included, and that was enough of that. With nothing on our agenda, we caught a matinee of Wonder Woman (which caused me to unexpectedly weep tears of joy when the Amazons were on screen). Later we had drinks at Essex (with the fantastic whale wallpaper) and met up with my cousin at Delancey for some of the best pizza I've ever eaten. I have no pizza photo from that night because I was having such a good time that I left my phone in my bag, which is just as it should be. And then just like that it was Sunday and we were back on the train heading home.
The Sunday after school ended we packed up the truck and headed for the beach. It was Father's Day and camping seemed an appropriate celebration. After realizing we didn't camp enough to justify the storage fees for our camping trailer, we sold it and now are strictly yurt and cabin campers. That first day was sunny and gorgeous. Beverly Beach State Park is one of our favorite campgrounds. Sleeping in the forest with the beach one block away is pretty magical. There is this lovely passage to the beach with an archway formed by the highway overhead. Once the sun went down it got quite cold and we shivered through the night, so much so that the next day we bought a wool blanket to get us through another night. The next day we did a little whale watching, went out to lunch and, of course, ate overpriced, mediocre beach town food. Next time I'm packing lunch. On the second night I woke up in the middle of the night to Vincent, nauseous from a migraine, and rain coming down outside. We both got back to sleep, thankfully. The next morning we packed up and stopped for pancakes before driving home. Camping is always a mixed bag for me. I look forward to it, then realize how much work it is while we are doing it, never sleep well, am always ready to get home, and then think back fondly on the handful of great moments we had. The kids unconditionally love it and are never ready to go home. I'm hoping it will get a bit easier the older they get.
The month of June was bookended by Ryan Adams concerts, one on June 2nd and another June 29th. It was such a busy month that we missed strawberry picking season entirely and I basically didn't do any gardening, other than occasional watering. It's nice to be back home in the lazy days of summer, tending the garden and letting the grill do the heavy lifting for dinner.