Deirdre Bourdet: November 2010 Archives

Mushroom Hunting in Mendocino

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Mushroom - Edible Boletus.JPGBy Deirdre Bourdet

If, like me, you missed this year's Wine and Mushroom Festival in Mendocino (November 5-14th) don't delay your shroom-hunting expedition until next November.  Many other opportunities to stalk the wild mushroom await you in the coming months! 

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg maintain an unbelievable variety of flora on their grounds.  In addition to the meticulous formal gardens, dense pine forest, fern-covered canyons, camellias, magnolias, heathers, and flowered coastal bluffs on the Pacific Ocean, there are wild mushrooms galore.  Every wintry Monday afternoon through January 31, 2011, the Gardens' staff mycologists lead off-trail Mushroom Walks through the funghi's favorite growing areas, and instruct participants about mushroom myths, biology, and identification.  Tours run every Monday from 1:30pm to 3pm through January 31, 2011, and are free with admission to the gardens ($10 per adult, discounted rates available for seniors, Mendocino County residents, and kids). Come prepared for wet weather and messy tromping through the wilds.  18220 North Highway One, Fort Bragg, 707.964.4352x16.

Crab & Wine Days Ahead In Mendocino

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By Deirdre Bourdet

I'd choose crab and wine over roses and song pretty much any day of the week.  Unfortunately, the highly acclaimed "Crab & Wine Days" festival in Mendocino County only happens once a year--at the cold, wintry peak of local Dungeness crab season.  But what better excuse do you need for a winter getaway than the promise of days and days of crustacean revelry and local wines, hosted by California's greenest wine country region?

Those heady Crab & Wine Days will take place January 21st through 30th, 2011, at a variety of locations around Mendocino County.  Events range from classic crab feed fundraisers for local community groups to crab-themed cooking demonstrations, wine dinners, and open house winery tastings celebrating wines that pair with the crabby festival hero.  And because this is Mendocino, everything comes at a very affordable price.

Healdsburg Shopping Hit List

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winetasting.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Healdsburg is the shopping capital of California wine country.  An astonishing number of sophisticated and worldly shops call tiny Healdsburg home, selling all manner of home goods, accessories, clothing, furniture, paper goods, jewelry, and action figures, in addition to the food and wine products one might expect.  Thanks to some excellent city planning, visitors can experience some of Healdsburg's best shopping simply by strolling the main square and surrounding blocks.  Here are some of my favorite places to peruse the wares:

The Grape Leaf Inn: Not Your Grandmother's B&B

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By Deirdre Bourdet

grapeLeafInn.jpgI am not a B&B person. Victorian frills, lacey linens, antique bathtubs, old-fashioned plumbing and electrical systems, and sterile grandmotherly ambiance do not feature prominently in my ideal vision for romantic or restorative weekends.  And yet, B&Bs across America seem cast in that same Victorian mold, irrespective of price or location. When I accepted an invitation from Richard and Kae Rosenberg to stay the night in their Healdsburg bed and breakfast, I thought I had a pretty clear idea of what was in store.  Being proven dead wrong has never felt so good.

Richard and Kae acquired the Inn in late 1998, when they "retired" to Healdsburg after successful careers in LA and Colorado.  Not ones to kick back and relax during retirement, they completely overhauled and redecorated the three dormer Queen Anne structure, and added five new bedrooms, a dining room, state of the art kitchen, lobby area, and a "secret" underground wine cellar concealed behind a bookcase in the dining room. Richard's grandfather ran a real speakeasy during Prohibition, and evidently the apple didn't fall far from the tree.  

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