For some reason, when I’m around my sister, I really get into shopping. I think it’s having a shopping buddy who is interested in stuff I’m interested that feeds into that. Gathering is a social activity. Plus, being away from home makes every shopping moment feel so fleeting so I have to get it or I won’t ever have another chance and then I’ll regret not buying it.
First stop – the Ferry Building in SF. I got these dried beans at the Rancho Gordo shop. They were labeled heirloom, many I had never heard of before and since I love cooking with dried beans, I got a couple to try. Scarlet Runner and Pinquitos. Organic dried beans are usually $2/lb. These were $6/lb. We also got a bottle of spicy chili olive oil.
So a side story about the beans. The family laughed at me for hauling dried beans up the hills of SF to the House of Prime Rib for dinner that night. Of all things to buy in SF, I buy beans! Seemingly ubiquitous little things. Then we went to Napa to some fancypants Meadowood restaurant and what do we see during our tour of the kitchen? Rancho Gordo beans!
The assistant chef guide told us they were highly coveted beans, even in the kitchens he worked in in NYC. Vindicated. I will be cooking my fancypants beans for Thanksgiving. Thankyouverymuch!
Next, Napa. I got 2 whites (sauvignon blanc and semillon), 2 reds (cabernet franc and sangiovese), a rose and rosato (same thing?) and a sparkling from Mumm.
As if that wasn’t enough, we dipped into a Beverages and More shop and got 4 more bottles of reds a couple days later. They were buy one get one! That I only got 4 bottles was a feat of self-control.
On to the Farmer’s Market for more olive oil. This trip was all about the olive oil. I got the best tasting olive oil from a vineyard in Napa years ago and have been looking for something like it again ever since. I ended up getting a bottle from two stalls as well as some olive oil face cream from one of them. Bariani. I love their face cream and have gone through many jars.
We also went to a hot sauce shop that gave hot sauce tastings. If hot sauce is your thing, you gotta check out Heat. We got a sweet potato hot sauce and a jar of chili seasoning spice mix.
On to the non-edibles. I went to this little Japanese yen ($1.50) store called Daiso. It has tons of tchotchkes galore! None of it seemed of very good quality though, I only got some needle threaders which I needed for my sewing kit. Then we went to Body Time, which is a little boutique soaps and lotions and fragrance shop. I didn’t want to get any more liquid bottles of stuff considering I already got so many liquids so I stuck to bar soaps.
They smell so nice I’m actually using some of them as drawer fresheners.
My sister’s latest weird obsession is fountain pens and after playing with her 4 or 5 pens, I wanted to get one.
I ended up taking one of hers because a free pen was the best deal I could find. Of course, you can’t walk around with a fancy pen without a fancy notebook. Everyone seems to be carrying one around these days. My coworker. My sister. Her friend. That about covers everyone. All going old school on me suddenly! Notebooks and fountain pens?? I started journaling again because I want to use the pen.
And while I’m on the subject of taking my sister’s stuff, here’s a few more items I pillaged.
Toxic-free nail polish. I love the orangey red color and got compliments from people on it! It’s called Mai Tai, made by a brand called Nailtini. I’m sporting it in the picture. I also love this Juice Beauty lip gloss which tastes good and isn’t sticky!
On our last day there, my sister and I walked by a small shoe store, Model Shoe Renew, in Berkeley which had sale signs posted all over their windows. With no intention of buying anything (isn’t that always how it starts?) we took a look and quickly spotted these very cute wingtip oxfords (OTBT Hammonds) which I’ve been coveting for months. I have shopped far and wide for this style of shoes and here they were, exactly the style I wanted, cushioned soles, and on sale.
They are made of very soft comfortable leather and make my feet look narrow.
So as we shopped I never really concerned myself too much about the packing. I figured we’ll figure it out on the last day and what I can take, I’ll take and what I can’t, lucky sister! We were able to pack everything but the sparkling wine and everything made it back home in tact. Phew!