We woke up around 9 and shared a long, grazing breakfast with N, who was also staying up there while he got his bike fixed. N is a photographer (which is how he and D know one another) and he primarily works on movie sets. I was confused by this at first, but then it was explained that all those photos you see of actors on set and all the promotional posters, etc.? Those were taken by N, or someone else like him. Later, we introduced ourselves to our hosts and then E and D went down to check out the area where the wedding would be held and R, N and I hung out in the kitchen.
When E came back, he and I went for a walk around the property. R and D own 60 acres of land, which they built their current home on. They came to Ashland when their daughter was young after escaping from LA. The wedding ceremony will take place under an old oak tree and then the reception will be in an open-sided barn. One logistical issue is that all the cooking will take place up in the house and then it will have to be carried down to the barn, which is some distance away. But E isn’t planning a delicate menu – the food will be rustic and able to stand up to all the transporting and August heat. We continued down the hill to the neighbor’s horse ranch and then down a bit further to their neighbor’s sheep ranch. As we walked down the path near the sheep, a dog came bolting across the field to let us know that those were his sheep and that we should keep our distance.
After our walk we had some lunch and then drove into town. It was threatening to rain again, so we walked up and down the main street, popping in and out of different stores. They had a lovely yarn shop and the two remaining record stores in America. We stopped for a couple of cookies at a bakery and as we were leaving E said that it was nice that this was the kind of place where you could actually hire teenagers and trust them to do their chores and clean up the store and be polite to customers. It did start to rain after that, so we hurried back to the car and then headed back up the hill. Still tired from the day before, we took a nap before dinner.
D treated us to dinner at New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro, which doesn’t sound like a fancy place to eat, but it really was. R and D are friends with the owners – I think the head chef worked for Chez Panisse here in Berkeley and her husband has worked with wine for a long time. The restaurant got its name when everyone in the family took turns saying one word. Sammy, their son, and a young kid at the time, chose the word “cowboy.” The food was amazing – green garlic flan, lamb chops to die for and a fabulous goat dish. The wine pairings were perfect and we had lemon almond cake and chocolate brownie with espresso ice cream for dessert. Afterward, D introduced us to Charlene, the chef, and she and E ran around the kitchen talking shop. We returned happy and satisfied both by the food and the good company.