How time flies when one is well fed! A mud spa treatment and massage, a gorgeous sunset wedding ceremony, and a helluva party later, our time in Calistoga was over.
Of course, we couldn't leave the Napa Valley without one more stop in Yountville. After all, my husband and I reasoned, it's on our way back to San Francisco and why would we waste calories on the airport McDonalds when we could be blissfully stuffing our faces (and taunting fellow passengers) with goodness from the Bouchon Bakery?
Even at an early hour on a Sunday morning, a queue of hungry Keller-philes were waiting. Bicyclists in racing gear, knowing locals, and inquisitive tourists stood around trading tips on what to order (everything, naturally!) and where to eat it (the beautiful bakery courtyard, or in our case, a plane).
When we finally made it through the line and into the bakery, I just couldn't stop gawking at all the treats. My husband, who knows just the way to my heart, asked the woman behind the counter for the largest box. (That was just about the hottest thing he could have said.)
And when that charming pistachio-colored box came out, my inner Violet Beauregarde did as well. Chocolate bouchons, madeleines and financiers, homemade oreos and nutter butters, coffee cake, lemon tart, strawberry croissant, and pain de chocolat . . . I wanted it all, and I ordered it all.
My husband, the macaron aficionado, got super excited at the jumbo-sized macarons and asked for one of each flavor. And ever supportive of my blogging, he suggested we get a real Keller chocolate chunk cookie to compare with the ones I made from the Ad Hoc cookbook. All in the name of scientific research, of course.
I showed some restraint in skipping over the foie gras dog treats (Jellyby doesn't know she's a dog anyway), but I had to get the fleur de sel caramels after hearing a woman raving about them in line. (They were, by the way, heavenly. Easily the best candy I've ever eaten.)
And how could we leave the bakery without trying the bread, especially after that cute baker winked at me as I photographed him taking the ficelles out of the oven? We asked for two of their pressed sandwich specials, one with wagyu beef on top of Keller's famous pretzel roll and a Waldorf chicken sandwich on a gorgeous sourdough. They were so fantastic we ate them in the car immediately.
This is embarrassing, but I think we spent over $85 at the bakery! Oink oink. Sure, we could have gotten some bottles of Mondavi or a vat of Calistoga mud. But when we got up on Tuesday, we were downright giddy to have Napa souvenirs that we could enjoy with our morning coffee.
And those macarons? They're still in our fridge, waiting for that perfect moment this week when we can savor them and our Napa memories.