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Took this photo from out the window of our rental car, just driving along
Confession: I've never made gnocchi before. This likely doesn't shock you, dear reader, but for those who know I once called Rome home and extensively traveled, ate and drank my way around, it's a little "whoa." Dumping vacuum-packed bags of frozen store-bought gnocchi into a pot of boiling water is typically dinner, or was, as today I made gnocchi from scratch in the kitchen with chefs and co-owners Tyler Rodde & Curtis Di Fede of Downtown Napa restaurant Oenotri.
This is actually something Oenotri offers on the regular, hosting both gnocchi and pasta-making classes every other week for $75 per person. This week it's a little magical, however; November 14-18 is the Flavor! Napa Valley Festival, which bills itself as a "celebration of food, wine and fun." So, while Di Fede is telling a story about how they taught 'Iron Chef' Morimoto to make a proper Neapolitan pizza, Morimoto himself may be walking by outside, heading to personally shave truffles over the entrees at the Napa outpost of his eponymous restaurant empire.
Barrel room at a Madera winery
The Central Valley region of California is lesser known than its stately Napa counterpart, but its products aren't any less stellar, and the wine flows like, uh, wine. That is to say, there's wine, wine everywhere, and more than a drop to drink along the Madera Wine Trail. Lined with Cabernet-Franc and Merlot grapes galore, the area will play home to a Holiday Spirit Weekend, a pre-Thanksgiving and Chrismahanukwanzakah rev up celebrating local wineries, including newcomers like the San Joaquin Wine Company and Idle Hour.
Taking place from 10:00-5:00 on November 14th and 15th, attendees can get their cup to runneth over with vintage offerings, sample special food pairings, and enjoy local art and live music. As you can probably guess, this is hardly a "drink to get drunk" beerfest, but its organizers aren't naive, either. With all of those quick sips and wine flights, they're keeping guests grounded by letting them know about special travel packages courtesy of Touch of Class Limousine Service, and a shuttle for those traveling form the Fresno/Clovis area. Stumble responsibly if you're planning on taking advantage of all the wine-related revelry that weekend.
We love any activity that blurs the line between sport and a genuine freak show. Take a thousand people, most of them in costume, many covered in tattoos and maybe even some in diapers (it's a family event) then dump the whole beautiful mess in California wine country this Saturday, June 7, and you have the 6th Annual Roshambo Winery Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship.
With a $1,600 purse on the line this year, people come from all over the world to compete in Sonoma County's premier sporting event. While the idea of strategy may seem silly, die hard RPS enthusiasts swear by psyching out the competition whether that means trash talking before the first of three throws or wearing a distracting man-baby costume.
The event takes place outside of the new Roshambo Winery tasting room located at Cornerstone Place, a landscape architecture center just 45 minutes north of San Francisco. It costs $20 to compete and it's just $10 to hang out, booze it up with the cats from Roshambo and take pictures to bulk up the quirk-factor of your Facebook page.