Just came back from a brief visit to San Francisco, hanging with Cousin Tom and family. What’s not to love?! Left a cold Canadian winter behind only to find myself a few short hours later wearing nothing but a sundress and shades. Spring is in the air, flowers blooming, and everyone was out and about enjoying President’s Day weekend and the unseasonably warm temperatures.

Highlights for me included a glorious, relaxed lunch at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse. In a world of over hyped food, Chez Panisse lived up to, and even exceeded its reputation.  Delicious. Unique. Fresh and Simple. Some of the best food I have ever had.

Next down to Oakland. I loved Novella Carpenters endearing, quirky book Farm City and had the Cousin drive me around until we located it.  Alas Novella was out of town but new curbside plantings were in evidence (was that a fruit tree and artichoke plant?) and the garden was being prepped for spring. The colourful graffiti that adorned the nearby buildings was really cool.

At sunset we also wandered around Berkeley where students scurried around in sundresses and shorts (talk about an alien culture – I went to one of the coldest campuses in Canada where our regular attire was parkas and snow boots, leaving only our eyes exposed). Had drinks in the beautiful, tree house like Faculty Club with friends from McGill now on staff.

But it was the flora, the fauna, the sun, the sand, the ocean – although still cold – that stole the show. However in the end there is really no place like home.