Ll and I love to plan trips around food! It’s a great way to not only discover a new favorite spot, but a great excuse to get out and drive! Today’s roadtrip was planned out by L, and the destination was in the north Bay, around Fairfield and Pinnole, CA. It’s cherry picking season so we went there with the aim to get some early season stone fruit, cherries, apricots and a big box of strawberries, too. On the way, we went to Little Knopp’s Bakery at the suggestion of a friend. This just might be the find of the year! Arguably the best ice cream I’ve had in the last year. . . or ever?
Before I get to that, I should say the Little Knopp’s is a charming roadside spot, the kind you’re LOOKING for on a foodie roadtrip… unpretentious, off the beaten path, frequented by local folk, serving up authentic, good food. Surrounded by kitsch, one just has to stop to check it out! Located just along the border of the cherry orchard, listen for the sound of geese as you get out of your car… there’s a gaggle near the front door of the store. Inside, you’ll find jars of fresh honey and cherry preserves, vinegars, candies and nut mixes. . . and a bakery case of gorgeous, clearly house-made apple pies and cheesecakes. As the ownership is Greek, you’ll also find greek pastries like spanakopita, baklava and dipple, a gorgeous, thin wrap of filo dipped in honey. Then there’s the ice cream. . . it comes in a shallow but wide plastic dish, covered with an aromatic waffle pulled off the grill when you place your order. Cinnamon wafting, you plunge your spoon into the waffle to get to the ice cream underneath, now slightly softened by the warmth of the waffle. Mine was peaches and cream. . . not too sweet, with big pieces of fresh fruit stirred through. . . a well-balanced and creamy sweet milk cream which really set off the freshness of the fruit. Perfection.
After picking up our fruit at the orchard, we stopped by another roadside spot and pulled off the road for lunch- A bbq truck parked in the lot of a local winery on Suison Road in Rockville, called BJ’s. Run by a lovely family we ordered smoked tri tip sandwiches with their own home made bbq sauce and potato salad. Everything was incredibly good, with the nostalgic goodness of a firehall dinner back home. . .
All in all today was a triumph of a road trip. Now I can say I’ve been to Fairfield and hope to make this drive through gorgeous country a yearly tradition.
Standing 30 feet tall and weighing in at 15-tonnes, “Three Head Six Arm Buddha” by Zhang Huan was installed in Civic Center plaza on May 5th, 2010. The sculpture is a gift from Shanghai, our “Sister City”, and it commemorates the 30th anniversary of the relationship.
The artist derived his inspiration for the piece upon his discovery of Tibetan artifacts for sale at a market in China, remnants of original works of art plundered during the Cultural Revolution.
Quoted from the article in the SF Examiner:
“The sculpture’s theme is based on the story of the three-headed, six-armed prodigy Nezha, according to an artist’s statement.
“Its figure implies surpassing spirit of the challenge to self-limit, the challenge to the human limits,” Zhang wrote. ”
For more information about this inspiration, check out this detailed article on SF CITIZEN. As you’ll discover there, “The artist, having been deeply moved by the sight of the desecrated statues, believes that by recreating these fragments on a grand scale, he is able to alleviate the pain caused by their destruction.”
A flower that has bloomed on the Plaza, the sculpture is a joyous and beautiful expression of that motivation! Already drawing a crowd, I have no doubt San Francisco will embrace the Buddha. The scale of the piece matches the scale of the place, yet doesn’t overpower it. And, the space around it is electric! No matter which way you approach it, Three Head Buddha will make eye contact with you, while the tentacular arms invite you in. . . in a good way. The feeling of peace and harmony is palpable here, and the Buddha offers a loving embrace that inspires a smile!
My day, week and year were made this morning when I opened my email to find a message from the New York Times. Two weeks ago, I entered their travel photography contest and today I was informed that my photo of the Greenland landscape made it to their shortlist. If chosen, it will be printed in the Sunday Edition Travel Section!
I am soooo excited. It’s the TIMES! Watch this space for exclamation marks –
While my photo did not make it to the print edition (only 4 did) my submission WAS chosen as part of an online gallery on the New York Times Website here. The number associated with the photo changes ever time I log on, and I have no idea why. (Still, the number always seems to fall between#270 and 290.) I loved the feel of the flow of images, united in theme and point of view. The passage of one to the other was gentle and even a little hypnotic. I was inspired to dig up all my window seat photos and create a slide show of my own. Enjoy!
The New York Times recently collected entries for a photography contest, and I’ve submitted my entries. The theme? ‘Shots taken from the window seat of an airplane’. This is right up my alley. I always take the window seat; watching the world float by represents a huge part of my enjoyment of a flight. (Well, that, and the complimentary drink.) I’ve had a Flickr album of my shots for a while and I invite you to check them out!
For my submission, I chose two photos. One, a shot taken while flying over Greenland, on my way home to San Francisco from a summer trip to Greece. Having just left the sun drenched, hot and dry isle of Mykonos, this aerial tour of Greenland was a total counterpoint, and an arctic fantasy. The clarity of detail was stunning. People around me were sleeping; they truly missed a show!!
My second submission was a photo of Kermit looking out the window. Kermit is a constant companion when I travel and ..I had to include him.
just one of the things I adore about living here. . . the view from home is gorgeous; a new show every time I look out the window. Sigh.
The only good thing about going to the doctor, and I ‘ve had to go once every two weeks since last August (!) is that I can follow this painful little visit with one to Japantown. Jtown is an immersive experience; walking the neighborhood, one truly feels they’ve taken a step outside the US. Japantown is the oldest Japanese community in the United States, and the special relationship between these two nations is memorialized by the Peace Pagoda which is the heart of the neighborhood.
My usual haunts are the japanese grocery, Nijiya Market, and the shopping mall, which includes the manga & stationary store, bakeries and antiques. At Daisu, you’ll find everything for $1.50 and yes, there’s always a find;-) Across the street from the mall you’ll find Super 7, which has a killer selection of fun tshirts and toys, and New People, a complex of Japanese movie theater, gallery space and Japanese pop houseware & clothing. But no trip is complete without a trip to the Soko hardware store, which has a great selection of glazed dishes. Even though I only get one or two bowls and plates at a time, by now I’m stocked up;-)