March 24th, 2012

Eating, California and otherwise

Today was good day to be me.

I've been craving oysters, so we decided to head up to Tomales Bay, get a big bag of oysters, and make a picnic of it. It was pouring down rain, but that didn't stop us. I packed a cooler with ice packs, kitchen towels, an oyster knife, and mignonette sauce, and then we headed north.

First stop: Cowgirl Creamery in Pt. Reyes Station. One of the ever-helpful cowgirls offered us samples of several offerings, and after much deliberation we decided on a Red Hawk and a Challerhocker.

Next stop: Tomales Bay Oyster Company, since I'd confirmed by phone that they had some picnic tables that were under a roof-- Hog Island didn't even answer their phone. We picked up five dozen oysters (because nothing exceeds like excess, right?) and settled in to feast on oysters and cheese. When we gave up, we packed the rest into coolers, mended a minor shucking injury, then headed out.

Next stop: Point Reyes Winery, where we were greeted at the gate by a friendly-looking herding dog. He trotted ahead of us on the road, leading us up to the tasting room. The tasting room staff were friendly, and their sparkling wine was interesting, but most of the rest didn't impress me. Because I'm a sucker for dessert wines, I picked up a late-harvest viognier that was tasty if not fabulous.

While we were there, we learned that there was an artisan cheese show in Petaluma, so we dashed off to see if we could catch it. By dashed I mean that we wound our way through beautiful green hills on a twisty, windy, hilly road in the pouring rain. Really, it was quite lovely, though we wound up missing the cheese festival.

On the way home we stopped at Smitten Ice Cream for liquid nitrogen chilled deliciousness. They've recently added gianduja to the menu, and it's quite good! The final stop was Miette Pastries, where I discovered a Mast Brothers black truffle and dark chocolate bar... with sea salt. Nom! (Their website sucks, though.)

This is why I love living where I can do. I can stop in to visit winemakers and cheesemakers on my way to the coast, where I can get bags of oysters and eat them overlooking the place where they were grown. My life does not suck.

Speaking of eating, I'm one week into a two-week experiment of eliminating grains from my diet. I'm doing it for a couple of reasons-- one is that I seem to be somewhat insulin-resistant, and I want to see how this change my blood glucose levels. (I'm not diabetic, or even close, but I've been monitoring my fasting blood sugar every morning to see how different eating patterns affect me.) The second is that I've had some random joint pain for the last few months, and there's some science suggesting that this is often caused by grain consumption.

At the end of two weeks I'll evaluate, and probably continue the experiment. I'm not being completely neurotic about it, since I know that eliminating 98% of the grains that I eat is nearly the same as eliminating 100%, but I'm making a good effort.