Friday, May 14, 2010

Savoring Life Slowly at the Brentwood Farmers Market and Malibu Wines

A funny thing happened the day after I indiscriminately ate my weight in lard.

Instead of using my freshly expanded stomach as an excuse to indiscriminately eat my weight in lard once again (a common happenstance since indulging seems to beget more indulging), I did the opposite of what I’d done the previous day.

I savored life slowly.

With three of my best friends in tow.

“Today will be different,” I thought as I heaved my slug-like body from the tangle of my pink sheets on Sunday morning, memories of French toast, ice cream, pizza, and duck confit still a little too fresh in my mind.

And it was different.

We idled our way through the Brentwood Farmers Market, pausing to melt our teeth through impossibly sweet strawberries and wedges of orange mangoes. We nibbled on lemon almonds, brightened our tongues with crunchy Persian cucumbers, and hesitated when asked if we wanted the full-size or half-size panino at the Arugula Gourmet Panini stand.

We all decided on the latter. And all finished our sandwiches with the distinct sense that we could have eaten more – could have pushed our stomach’s limits, but were still satisfied by our selections. My choice of the egg, sweet onion, pecorino and arugula panino ($5) was an astute way to counteract my mouth’s overstimulation the previous day. The flavors were muted, the contents bordering on paltry, but it was some how soothing after all the decadent foods I’d been consuming.
After lazily making our way out of the land of tantalizing fruits and vegetables (a cook’s/food blogger’s version of the Garden of Eden), we trekked up to Malibu Wines in the Santa Monica Mountains for the afternoon. The family-operated vineyard hosts tastings every day from 11 am to 6 pm, and invites guests to retire on their scenic grounds with a picnic to enjoy with their wine. On this particular day, we had a choice of three tastings – the Saddlerock flight featuring a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon ($9), the Semler flight ($12) and a Cabernet-only tasting. While the Semler wines are all made locally on the estate in Malibu, we opted for the Saddlerock wines from the Central Coast.

Because each pour was precisely one ounce, my friends and I took our time to sip them. Once we received our tasting, we would return to our picnic blanket to savor each glass with our spread of strawberries, Midnight Moon goat cheese, Manchego, and wheat crackers. With the sun bathing us with warmth and a band playing folksy tunes in the background, it was easy to stretch the four pours out over two hours. Even when our last glass had been drained, we were perfectly content to linger and push the limits of “the moment” as far as possible.

It was nice to pause – nice to let the day get away without a sense of obligation to check things off a mental to-do list.

There was nothing we needed to do on Sunday except savor life – and each other’s company – slowly. One laugh, one sip and one slice of Midnight Moon cheese at a time.

Brentwood Farmers Market
741 Gretna Green Way
Brentwood, CA 90046

Malibu Wines
31800 Mulholland Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
(818) 865-0605


stuffycheaks said...

Great choice of panini, that's the one I would select. Lounging and winetasting in Malibu sounds like a great way to spend the weekend, do they sell food there or is it BYOF

Ashley said...

Let's go back. NOW.

Esi said...

I'm so proud of you for going to the FM. Now let's make it a habit and stop buying insanely priced produce!!

Diana said...

Stuffy Cheaks - It came highly recommended from my partner in crime, Ashley (see second commenter). She knows her food. :)

Ashley - I'll bring the crackers - you bring the Midnight moon.

Esi - Haha, FINE. I'll buy rosemary for a $1!!

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

What an amazing afternoon! I didn't even know Malibu wines existed I can't wait to sneak away for a tasting there :) and those paninis look so good!

Nomsnotbombs said...

What a cute little picnic! Looks fun!

Anna A. said...

I've always wondered about Malibu wines! Looks like a perfect way to spend time with old friends and sip some grape juice. ..with the manchego and strawbs.

bagnatic said...

sounds like such a wonderful day.

Kung Food Panda said...

Good Friends! Good Food! Good Wine! Looks like you ladies had a blast! :)

Diana said...

Nastassia - You and your boy should totally make a stop up there some weekend! It's so gorgeous!

Misty - It's really fun - ditto what I just said to Nastassia. ;)

Anna - I'd actually never heard of it before Ashley brought it up. She's only lived out here since September and already she knows the city better than I do!

Amy, Danny - It really was a nice day! Can't go wrong with wine. :)