Toast and Wine bar - I found out a local restaurant that burned down in July is continuing their delicious food by "popping" up in places all over the warehouses and coffee shops etc.  What a great idea! and what a positive outlook on such a tough time for them! 
My cousin and I made our trek there and at 5 minutes till 7 we popped in to see if they were ready and they were setting up quickly.  As we sat down at Bradford coffee house - a beautiful snow started to fall......Here was the menu

I    texas toast

pulled pork, muenster, apple, pickled, 

II    potato bread toast

duck confit, cream and egg custard

III    miche

summer sausage, mustard, kimchee

IV    rye

pickled trout, creme fraiche, pickled ramps, fried lemon

V    garlic toast

kale Caesar salad, anchovies

VI    brioche

boozy French toast, blood orange marmalade, clotted cream

I got the Duck Confit toast and my cousin the pulled pork....then a glass of Rhone red to share....WOW.  FLavor and deliciousness.  I like the pork one the best - the apples gave it a great crunch and the pork was tender and flavorful. 
The Duck one was like a piece of double dipped french toast (pretty eggy for me) and then served with a huge duck leg.....
The wine was great for $4 a glass!

as we left at 730 there was a line out around the block for this delicious toast.   I overheard someone say that a lot of the madison students follow them around on twitter and fb and its like a little cult......A new experience and  grand one at that....
Off to Nostrano we went for dinner - An amazing shaved celery salad with chicory and pisatchios...then a homeade fennel sausage pasta.
Madison never disappoints - like the "underground food collective" on fb and follow th
So Another normal Sunday morning - go to church with Gram and Gramps....
Go back to their house for Instant Coffee
Grandpa comes in from taking off his church clothes and eyes up grams hand
He says "what are you eating Gram?"
She ignores him
He tries to walk up and look and she swings her arm under the table so he cant see
Now hes upset
"Gram what do you have under there?"

Now before I go any further I will digress.....All they do most of the day, everyday, is drink instant coffee and eat cookies (usually from Aldi) and toast.  Its crazy and not healthy but who am I to stop them at this point.

Just so you know - she has an english muffin hiding under the table which she now holds up to show him.
Gram - "This is mine!"
Gramps - "why cant I have one"
Gram - "No its mine"

Gramps starts looking all over for one of these muffins-  which he doesnt find.
He goes back to Gram who has been watching him look for something that she knows he will never find.
She laughs at him.  He slams the table with his fist, spilling her coffee.
Gramps - "Gram I want one"

Gram says "fine you old goat I will get you one"
She waddles over to the pot and pan drawer (knowing he will never go in there) and she opens it up and pulls out a half eaten package of english muffins. 

Gramps - "why are you hiding all the good stuff from me?"
Gram - "you dont like these"
He grabs it and shoves it in the toaster. 
"Who says I dont like them - I love them"

We all go sit down at the table.  He butters his barely toasted english muffin and then puts on jam.  He starts eating it.  Halfway through the first one he says
"Gram what is this?"
Gram - "its an english muffin like I told you?"
Gramps - "Why do they call it an english muffin?"
He looks at me and I have no idea - I shrug and shake my head
Gram says "I dont know- cuz thats what they ate"
Gramps says "those damn Limeys"

I stop reading the paper and look up - Limeys?  What does that mean?.

I ask Gramps - Gramps whats a limey?
He continues eating and says "the damn english - all of britian if they were sailors in the war they were called limeys"  And he said it like I should have known that.  DUH AMber. 
I didnt really get my question answered though as to WHy? they were called that but I honestly dont think he knew so I disregarded.  

 Gram "What did they call Americans that were sailors on a ship in the war"  
She waited 2 seconds and then said.........and I kid you not-
Oh my gosh....she didnt. I shot a look at her and scolded her saying "Gram we just got out of church"
She started laughing and of course......because she started laughin so hard she couldnt catch her breath and started coughin and weezing.

I look at Gramps and he looked at me and said "see what I put up with"

Gramps "No gram they called us Gobes"
Now again -" What is a gobe?" I ask as Gram finally starts to catch her breath and calm down..
She doesnt let him reply because she interrupts him and says - "a gobe of shit - thats what it means" 
Now I tried not to laugh the first time - kind of like when a 2 year old swears and you have to try to keep a straight face otherwise if you laugh - they will continue to swear......Welll I couldnt help it this time.  I started laughing and laughed for what seemed like 5 straight minutes.  Gram was coughing, laughing and weezing too.....Gramps didnt find it funny. 

He finished his english muffin and turns to Gram

"Gram I dont like those english muffins - why do you make me eat it?"

And thats the rest of the Paul Harvey would say

Ahhh food, wine and favorite three things.
Zoom in my Fiat 500 rental to pick up Kila and we are off to, bubbles, rain, relaxing baths, dinner with my favorite winery owners, food, food, mustard, Redd, Market, Bakery, big lips, bubbles again and back to san fran.  I love Wine country quick trips.....
   The Ferry building Farmers Market was full of color, intoxicating aromas, delicious food (slow roasted pork with carmelized onions and this gorgeous egg and sausage sandy) and people scurrying trying to get the best fruit and vegetables before they are gone.  You see local chefs with their baskets or carts, the trendy couple with their gucci "grocery" sacks, the hippies with arms loaded, the 'woke up late and didnt brush my hair woman", and there was us......2 hungry girls who wanted to buy EVERYTHING but had to be realistic for our dinner party.  We got brussels, oranges, apples, leeks, carrots that smelled so delicious (like dirty summer) kale and thick cut bacon and tulips and eggs and squash...blood oranges.
     We loaded Pepps (our Fiat) and headed north to Point Reyes....twisty drive that leads to the salty ocean air with the sun shining just for us.  We stopped at the Pelican Inn, a homey English b and b for some bubbly then back to the city to start our food for the dinner party.  Which was so amazing. 

Im crazy about bananagrams, Elka, Amber Pie, the view of the Bay Bridge from my bed, Marts love for Kila, Pepps the Fiat, Mustard in the Vineyards, Korean pork Buns at Redd, the handsome John Buehler, abbreviations, big juicy lips at Chandon, Ken and Jings gracious gift and conversation, the deviled eggs at Park Tavern, the bloodiest oranges you ever ate, the warm fire on a rainy night, my new German blazer I scored at a vintage shop, and all of the smiles and laughs I owe to my newest most favorite friend Kila....You dont find people like her.  I scored.....Im the lucky one....Hugs
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Have you ever been somewhere on vacation and you think......I could surely live here.  I feel that way all the time.  Portland or Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and eastern Washington or NOCAL wine country?
   This last mini trip I took made me look at things very differently.  I walked the streets of San Fran, went to the farmers market and looked at all the FRESH and IN SEASON fruits and vegetables....I had coffee, ate delcious meals, went shopping and found some smokin deals.  Then drove up to Point Reyes and went to the ocean and cowgirl creamery....I went to Napa Valley and drank wine and bubbles....All in the same day!
    I love SF. I love my girlfriend Kila, her amazing man, Mart.  and Elka, her puppy.  I love Telegraph hill and the picturesque view of the Bay Bridge from the very bed I slept in.  I also love Bananagrams.  PEEL
I think someone has snuck in my house and started me on prozac drips at night or maybe they are secretly blowing prozac smoke in here.  I try to breathe heavier in here. 

Maybe I finally have found my way. 
Maybe instead of thinking I had to close the chapter I really had to close the book and start writing a new one.  Whatever it is, I havent felt this good in.......I really dont know. 
ANd no I haven't met a boy or got a new job or won the lottery.  I feel good.  I did the tango this morning in my living room to Argentinian music on Pandora.  
Its about time I forgave myself and everyone else. 
What a relief. 
Ive been carrying all this for way too long. 

Hello Sunshine on a cloudy day. 
And if oneo f you did come in here and exchange salt for prozac- thank you!!

I am a daily wine drinker.  I almost never drink more then 2 glasses a day. 
I like drinking wine.  It tastes good.
So as of the start of 2012 I decided to slow down a little bit and skip some days to see what happened - not that I have a problem- more to see how I would feel and if my mood would change.
    Well here are the results so far. 
Since december 29th I have "skipped" almost half of the days.  That means no wine (I did taste wine for work but spit-in my rules that does not count)
1. First of all - I feel better in general emotionally.  I don't know if that is alcohol related or life related.
2. I got on the scale this morning and have lost almost 5 pounds.  HOLY SKELETOR- now I don't also know if thats the absence of wine, or the fact I eat less because it is hard to eat dinner at night without wine.  It feels not normal and like my meal is missing something. 
3. I have had nights of better sleep and nights of worse so that has stayed the same.
4. Eating is not as fun.  I ate sushi the other night with hot tea instead of wine.  It was sad.  The sushi looked at me wondering where its sauvignon blanc moisturizer was?
5. I have gotten more done in general, as far as work, household chores etc.  Again this could be because it is the new year and Im trying to be pro-active.
6. work has seemed more tolerable lately.  now that may be because I know changes are on the horizon.
7.  Mornings are less cloudy
8.  My tolerance has gone down, meaning I get a buzz off one glass now - weird.

My conclusion- I lost weight and didn't even try to.
I dislike eating dinner without wine.  It feels like an unseasoned soup - missing something. 
I am not going to make a conscious decision anymore to drink wine or not to drink wine, but I may continue the slow down as I think its healthier for me in general.  Maybe I will go down to one glass a day (and no it won't be a pint glass!)

wine is good people - drink it
A spicy blend, a velvety finish, lingering flavors - sounds naughty

Well - it is tasty anyway

Red blends have been exploding in the wine world for the last  year.
THey take a bunch of different red grapes - either ferment them together or ferment them seperately and then blend.  I have even seen some white varietals get blended in! (mostly for the aromas)
    The pioneer of this red blend craze I think started with Menage A trois red blend (Zinfandel, Cabernet and Merlot blend) It is jammy and fruit forward with cinnamon spice and vanilla creme finish.  Sounds lovely.  It definately brought white wine drinkers into the red wine world with its "easy to drink" characteristics. 
   1. Apothic Red is the "hot" red blend now - The label is really trendy and cool - the wines is easy to drink as well and its very affordable.  
Some others worth mentioning
2. Cellar #8 Red Blend - it has 8 different varietals blended in
3. Gnarly Head Authentic Red Blend - fuller bodied and more dryness then the others noted
4. Red Rock Red Blend - My favorite of the bunch - A red wine drinkers style - hearty and chewy but still seductive on the tongue. 

And all of these wines are $15 and under!

    Most red wines we drink today are part of some kind of a blend - we just dont know as it only has to have 75% of the grape thats listed on the label in the USA - So the bottle of cabernet you usually buy from california may only have 75% cabernet and then maybe merlot, syrah or cabernet franc blended in.  The famed Bordeaux from France is usually a blend of cabernet and merlot.  
    These wineries are tricky BUT differnet grapes give off different flavors and hits you at certain places in your mouth and tongue so it can make a wine more balanced!  Blending has been going on forever in the wine world - so just like bell bottoms - its become "cool" to do it or "retro".  

So go out to your local and favorite wine shop and ask them what kind of new red blends they have.  I bet there is a lot of new ones available and also at a value price!
And as for menage a trois?! - sometimes 3 is better! especially in wine!
You get to a certain point.... maybe its your breaking point, a boiling point, or just to THAT point.
Your ready, your done, your walking, maybe running. 
you turn on the light, you turn off the light
You push a button, maybe three
white turns to black
thoughts stop running through your head
you feel relief, sadness, anger, happiness
theres no more fog
no more flirting with danger
it takes THAT point - that one certain point

cour·age [kur-ij, kuhr-]  noun -
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
This is what courage means in the dictionary.
I was thinking about that word 2 days ago and trying to relate it to my life.  Not my personal life - but my extended.  Yesterday I witnessed courage so many times - I don't know if I was looking for it so it was all the more apparent, or if yesterday was just one of those days that was meant for me to see in the big scheme of things.
    I have a friend whos husband has cancer.  I look at her and see her positive attitude and wonder how scared she must be but not losing focus of how scared he must be.  She continues to amaze me and I want to squeeze and hug her and tell her how inspirational she is.
    Can you love 2 people at once?  Im not sure - I think so though.  I witnessed this yesterday and the struggle that he goes through.  wondering if you made the right decision and sub - consciously going back and forth in your mind as you flirt with danger.  I think he made a courageous decision. A strong one and one that I'm not sure I could have made.
    A restaurant owner that after many years had to shut its doors, and they did before they started to lose their personal property and what was left of their minds.  The investment of money doesnt mean anything in the long run-its the parts of their lives they invested and the time and love they put in.  THey were courageous enough to do the right thing for their family.  I respect them immensely.
    A woman going through a difficult divorce who feels like no one can possibly understand what she is going through.   She right.  Everyone is different in how they feel.  Only love and support from your friends is here even if we don't know.  Its here when you need it- I will be aggressive with you and continue to pry because your my friend and I am bossy.  Sorry in advance.
    Someone who finally said - no thats enough- Im done..... knowing how hard it had to be to say it - thats courage.  Finally realizing you can do it.  Feeling relief but utter loss.
    Remember the song from the titanic "my heart will go on" - as they clasp hands trying to get the last touches and kisses and words to each other as they know the end is near but both still carry one thing even until the last breath- and thats hope.  I had hope yesterday.  I made a mistake but was hoping to fix it. Maybe its too late to fix.
     I fell off the courage wagon.  I actually think Ive been off the courage wagon for awhile.  Im getting my ass back on it to start making small changes and some big life changes and be the courageous one I used to be.  The person that decided something and never looked back at the decision but moved forward to make it happen.  That quality in me was stonghold- I thought.   

i need you to know that we'll be ok - we can make it through another day

Moscato moscato - where are thou?
THey just keep pouring in- People are loving them!
Do you like apricots, ripe peaches and sweetness.
Pick one up today
Italy and California are the most popular - and they start from $3 to $40
Some have bubbles - some just regular white wine
I like Santi Moscato from Italy or Maschio MOscato from Pugl
Want to get in good with the wife and her friends?  think about buying a case!