All posts by lexyfridell

Avid Bubble Enthusiast.

Butter is Better

Butter sit down for this one (pun intended). Until I turned the ripe old age of 30, I had never in my life cooked with butter.

Yep! You heard me.

Now that your shock and horror has ceased and you can stand again, let me explain.

My mother (a former dancer and therefore a former health nut) was so anti-butter that it did not even have a presence in our kitchen when I was growing up in the 80s/90s. I Can’t Believe it’s NOT Butter sat decidedly on the refrigerator shelf, pronouncing proudly from it’s little yellow package: Butter is Bad! I am Better than Butter!

Sometimes we had Country Crock, or Smart Balance, or some sort of margarine. Globs of buttery imitation substances glimmered on top our slices of ancient grain 7-seed wheat toast. Then I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter was released as a SPRAY. In college, I recall, in an attempt to cut calories, my girlfriends and I would squirt this substance on toast and top it with a Splenda. Ew.

Hellooooo chemicals! Welcome to my body!

I assume I’d probably tasted butter millions of times in restaurants on pasta, fish, and meat. But because it was banned in our house I automatically assumed it was a wicked log of heart-clogging material, so I rarely attempted to spread it on bread in a restaurant. Despite it’s universal presence outside of my childhood home, I never realized one could cook with it and STILL be healthy…until the girls in my dressing room at Avenue Q one night peered into my insanely-boring, nightly scramble. Either from the smell or simply the look of it, they wrinkled their noses at my broccoli/tofu/quinoa jumble I had sautéed in Olive Oil Spray. Then someone said, “You know, Lex, that would probably be so much better if you cooked it with butter.”

I replied that I’d never owned, never bought, and never cooked with butter. I was met with wide eyes and stunned silence. Then gasps pervaded the room! “Lexy OMG everything’s better with BUTTER!” “You don’t even put it in your EGGS?!”

I was ordered to go to Trader Joes immediately (well, after the show), buy a stick of butter and start cooking with it. Then I was to report back.

For my first experiment, I made some gluten-free pasta and melted butter on top, with a little parmesan, salt pepper, and lemon. OKAY. YUP! I could immediately taste the difference. This is what I’d been missing my whole life! Who needed a boyfriend when there was BUTTER?!? The rich, creamy, delicious butter won over my heart (in it’s potentially heart-clogging way). I began adding butter to my eggs, pasta, even gluten-free English Muffins! I then discovered Ghee (clarified butter) from my Godmother, and that also has become a condiment staple.

As I make my way through the world (and current food/gut-related issues) I have come to believe in balance (and NOT Smart Balance). I believe in making things taste delicious. I believe in whole and wholesome foods. I also believe in moderation. And butter in moderation can elevate a dish into something much more special. (And I am happy to report there is now a stick of butter in my parents refrigerator, too!)

Here’s one of my favorite (and easy!) recipes that pairs perfectly with a (NON!) buttery Chardonnay from GlenLyon Winery. ENJOY!

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Shrimp over Pasta with Parsley, Lemon, and Garlic (for two!) 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb raw shrimp (fresh if possible, we like 26/30 size)
  • 2 cups dried fusilli pasta (gluten-free for us!)
  • 1 cup of Italian parsley when stripped off stems
  • 1/2 cup Chardonnay
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp BUTTER (REAL!)
  • Shredded Parmesan (Lexy says: as much as you WANT!)

Directions (to multitask!):

  • Pour yourself a glass of Chardonnay
  • Fill a stock pot with water a bring to a boil
  • While the water boils…
    • Strip the parsley from the stems and finely chop
    • Press half the garlic through a press
    • Zest and juice the lemon
    • Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pressed garlic, chopped parsley in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper
    • Slice the other half of the garlic into thin slices; reserve for shrimp
    • Start to heat skillet over medium-high heat
    • Add the butter to the skillet, allow to melt
  • Once the water boils…
    • Salt the water, add the pasta, and start the clock (about 7 minutes for our glut)
  • Once the butter is melted and starting to sizzle…
    • Add sliced garlic to skillet, cook 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant
    • Add shrimp to skillet then leave them alone
    • Give the pasta a swirl
    • Have a sip (or two) of Chardonnay
  • After 3 minutes
    • Turn the shrimp
    • Give the pasta a swirl
    • Have a another sip (or two) of Chardonnay
  • After another 2 minutes (the shrimp should almost be done)…
    • Sprinkle as much crushed red pepper over shrimp as you want
    • Deglaze the pan by throwing in the Chardonnay with the shrimp, allow it to bubble and reduce by half for the next minute
  • While the Chardonnay is cooking down and the shrimp finishes…
    • Check the pasta (it should be done after 7 minutes)
    • Drain the pasta and return it to the stock pot
  • Now bring it all together…
    • Add the olive oil/lemon/parsley mixture to the pot
    • Add the shrimp and wine sauce from the skillet to the pot
    • Toss it all together
  • Serve with heaps of grated Parmesan cheese and a glass (or two) of Chardonnay
  • Enjoy!

Vinomoon: a Retrospective.

It’s been a year since my husband and I took our magical trip to France for our Vinomoon (ahem, our HONEYmoon). This week I happened to be doing a little spring cleaning in our apartment and found a notebook we kept throughout the trip, a compilation of the best and worst of our experiences (because we knew we’d forget them later.) So the timing couldn’t have been better for us to open the notes and relive aloud our spectacular journey to Paris, Champagne, and Bordeaux.

Before taking the deep dive down the notebook’s memory lane, we (obviously!) decided to pop open a special bottle that we lugged back with us from France: an Emmanuel Brochet 1er cru Extra Brut. (P.S. if you plan on buying wine on a trip…bring this or this lifesaving apparatus.)

The bubbly was just as we remembered it (though in France we did get to enjoy it alongside the most delicious, melty triple-creme brie cheese I’ve ever tasted). This time, we paired it with a Petit Marin breakfast cheese, which didn’t have quite the same effect. (Side note: I still consumed the 7/8ths of the wheel.) Despite our lack of gooey cheese, the Brut showed all the character that made us love it the first time, with its nose of vanilla, butterscotch, and toffee. It’s quite rich for being extra dry (with only 4 grams sugar per litre), and full-bodied without feeling over indulgent. Flavors of brioche, pear, and – with the cheese – I got baked apple cheesecake (Is that a thing? If not, it should be). It was low in acid, yet lively and fresh, with a superbly clean finish.

Whilst sipping our delicious bubbly, we ambled through the “Vinomoon” notebook, chortling and reminiscing about the trip. The most magical part of the little notebook was discovering the “interview” we gave each other on the plane back home to California.

So here it is, in all it’s glory: our fake Vanity Fair interview on the “highlights and lowlights” of our Vinomoon:

BEST/WORST TAXI EXPERIENCE:

HUSBAND: We were in the Champagne region in Reims and we missed the last train to Epernay (that sounds like a movie title.) No Ubers. No Lyfts. So we took a taxi home. Which cost a whopping 80 euro!

LEXY: BUT…it ended up being the best cab ride EVER! I got a free French lesson from a true Frenchman. (Well, I guess it wasn’t free, it was 80 euro. But, STILL!) I was crabby to have missed out train, but our Cabbie’s sweet musings about his Petite Chien (or was it his Petite Girlfriend? I’ll never know) turned my red glasses blue. It could have been the bubbly at dinner, but Cabbie and Moi really connected over the ride home.

I speak incredible French after a glass (or two) of wine.

 

CRABBIEST PERSON:

H: Lexy.

L: Moi. What?!? I’m owning it!

PERSON WHO GOT SICK THE MOST:

G: Lexy.

L: Moi. I’m owning this too! TWO separate colds, 1 stomach bug, and 1 ear infection. I couldn’t hear out of my left ear for 16 of the 17 days. SEE??? THERE WAS A REASON I WAS THE CRABBIEST PERSON!

H: I got sick one time. I re-infected Lexy for her 2nd cold. Sorry, Lex!

L: What? I can’t hear you.

ON FOREIGN COUNTRY DRIVING:

H: I only stalled one rental car once. I also got a parking ticket and didn’t even know! It was mailed to California. How did they find me? 

L: OMG did you ever pay that? We can never go back to France unless you pay it! PAY IT! Anyway, I was very impressed by Husband’s stick shift driving, but my resting heart rate in the car during the many round-a-bouts was close to 150. (Is that bad?)

H: Lexy forced me to pull over about 7,000 times to take pictures. This cow was pretty cute, though.

 

MOST LOST:

L: Gosh, it happened SO many times. But the biggie was we were unable to find the entrance to Y’quem (if you don’t know of it, Y’quem is the one of the most famous wineries in Bordeaux, and somehow I had managed to procure us a tour.) So I was having full on panic attack that we might miss our coveted appointment. Thanks to our trusty GPS guide (who I deemed “Claire Voyant”) we finally entered the vicinity of Y’quem, but ended up circling inside the vineyard for about 5 minutes till we found our way. No signs. No one spoke English. “This can’t be right” I kept repeating, over and over as our car was turning the middle of a vineyard. Heart rate: 180.

H: Lexy’s an awesome back seat driver.

L: Is that a compliment?

 

FAVORITE CHAMPANGE TASTING:

BOTH: Tarlant! With Micheline!

H: She was the sweetest older lady – the mother of the current winemaker – and it was the longest and most personal tasting we had. They are like 13 generations deep!

L: Our other favorite was at Moussé et Fils with Cedric. It was a gorgeous facility, and he really took the time to endure our (many) questions.

WEIRDEST DINING EXPERIENCE:

L: Epernay. We were sitting studying the menu at a completely EMPTY VERY LONG bar. A tipsy frenchman entered and plopped down RIGHT next to us.

H: We had asked if it was okay to eat at the bar. They had said “non.” So while we waited for a table, the drunk man was served food immediately. AT THE BAR. Before they even managed to get us a glass of wine.

L: The drunk man proceeded to ask my husband if he wanted to taste his “pig insides” and when he politely refused, Drunky forcefully shoved pig insides in my husband’s face, and continually asked us why we didn’t want to taste them. Mon dieu!

H: We were (finally) moved to a table, and asked the waiter why the Drunkard was allowed to eat at the bar while we weren’t. The waiter said: he was “an exception.”

L: Then his shoe fell off and he broke a glass. l’exception, indeed.

STINKY CHEESE MISHAPS:

H: We went to the most incredible farmer’s market in Epernay, right before leaving for Bordeaux. We bought a few things to eat on the train, one being an easy peasy normal Camembert. About half way to Bordeaux…Lexy (who has a ridiculously amazing sense of smell) got a whiff of…TRASH.

L: Something was rotten…and it was in the state of our train compartment. We started sniffing around…feet? No. My purse? No. The Frenchman across from us? No.

H: Food bag? OUI! Meat? no. Artichokes? No. Olives? No. Moldy Chevre? Like the kind that is actually covered in mold? No! Lexy’s right armpit?

L: (It’s a notoriously stinky armpit.)

H: NO! Ah HA! The “mild” camembert?

L: OUI! Nightmare New York City Subway Garbage Cheese Camembert. Even the Frenchman across from us looked faintly ill. 

BEST CHARCUTERIE (AND ACTUALLY, PERHAPS BEST OVERALL EXPERIENCE COMPLETE WITH CHAMPAGNE WINEMAKER ‘CELEBRITY’ SIGHTING).

B: Au Bon Manger in Reims!

L: Everything about this little shop was magical…the hard-to-procure Champagnes lining the walls, the perfect Charcuterie plates, the people…and in waltzed Emmanuel Brochet. (Remember the bubbly I described in the beginning? That was his!) We had seen his picture in our “Grower Champagne” book (he’s very handsome!) so we recognized him immediately. He hadn’t responded to our pleas to come visit his winery…so we asked him in the shop. While he was “way way way too busy” that week, I still managed to procure his email for our next visit!

H: I was too nervous to speak so just sat there grinning like a fool. But at least I didn’t ask to have my photo taken with him like the folks at the other table did. We had just bought some of his wine so I pointed at it and gave a thumbs up. There you go! Ha.

 

MOST FRUSTRATING HOUSING:

L: Epernay: our Airbnb smelled like chocolate poop. When we arrived (on a Sunday) there was no TP or soap…and all the stores were closed since it was…Sunday.

H: Bordeaux: our Airbnb was up at least 10 flights of the tiniest castle stairs you could possibly imagine. Guess who carried our SIX bags (one of which was a full case of Champagne).

L: They were missing a WINE OPENER (this is BORDEAUX, people!), paper towels, dish soap, and hand soap, and the sponge was so mildew encrusted we had to buy another one. I was so mad about it I took all the items we had to buy back to California with us (out of principle!). Anyone want a used sponge and a roll of paper towels?

But omg: the view from our little apartment balcony!

 

MOST PLEASANT SUPRISE:

L: Underground wine museum in Paris (that Husband thought would be “too touristy”). 

H: General availability of rotisserie chicken.

MOST ROMANTIC MOMENT:

L: Ugh! So many.

H: Paris, in general. The restaurant Le Soufflé. Locking our love lock on the Pont Des Arts Bridge> 

L: Every time it rained. (I love rain!) So, definitely the picnic we had in Ay after visiting Pierre Gimmonet. We were on the grass next to a river in Ay with our picnic and a split. All of a sudden it looked like they sky was about to open up, so we bolted to the car just in time, and enjoyed the rest of lunch safely ensconced during a thunderstorm. I thought it was romantic! Scientific Fact: French rain is definitely more romantic than American rain. 

H: Mine was when bought an (overpriced) bottle of Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé, walked to the base of the Eiffel tower, found a fountain with some rocks to sit on, and toasted each other as the tower lights flashed away. 

L: It rained that night too! Sigh. Also, If you want to know how to pronounce Billecart Salmon, just ask me. I have a recording of our tour guide. So it’s official. Side note: like those in the know, you can just say “Billie.” Pronounced: Billy. As in Billy Baldwin.

H: That’s so weird, Lex.

 

BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED:

H: Trust Lexy’s gut.

L: Trust my gut.

 

The Best Brunch Ever (Every Week.)

Ahhhh…BRUNCH!

How I love thee. Brunch and brunching might be among my top-5 favorite things on the planet. Here’s to the ladies who brunch! What’s not to love about a lazy weekend tradition of a combination breakfast/lunch (but let’s face it: mostly breakfast) in which we luxuriate over all things eggy? After staying up a bit later than usual on Saturday night, one likes to sleep in a bit, and no one wants to miss breakfast (or the chance of bottomless mimosas)! So thank heavens for late-morning brunch!

This glorious weekend tradition originated in England in the late 19th century and was aptly proclaimed “brunch” in a 1895 Hunter’s Weekly article by Guy Beringer where he states “Brunch is cheerful, sociable, and inciting…talk-compelling. It puts you in good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

I highly agree with all of these sentiments.

Brunch then became popular in America in the 1930s. People were looking for a new “social scene” outside of church, as attendance was low after the 1st World War. Hotels began providing “brunch” as many restaurants were (shock!) closed on Sundays. Restaurants eventually caught wind of this and began providing brunch (and morning libations). And thus…the tradition of Sunday Brunch was born. (YAY!)

My only caveat with brunch (yes there is ONE tiny caveat) is that along with this delightful and enticing eggy goodness comes a great cost: the cost of “fancy” eggs. Like Anthony Bourdain rails about in his book: it’s hard to knowingly fork over $15 for eggs and potatoes. He describes it a “horribly, cynical way of unloading leftovers and charging three times as much as you ordinarily charge for breakfast.”

So instead of trekking to our favorite San Francisco brunch joints, my husband and I made the decision early in our relationship to create our own lavish weekend brunches. Sunday has since become our leisurely cook-brunch-at-home day…and it couldn’t be more tasty! (And inexpensive!) One of our favorite (and easy) recipes is below. It’s gluten-free, sugar-free, and oh so darn darn delicious paired with a lovely Sparkling Wine. (Bottomless, because bubbly always happens be in our refrigerator.)

So put on some Sunday Brunch Radio (yes, this exists on iTunes) and start cookin’!

Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Chives:

 

 

Ingredients for 2 servings:
– 4-6 eggs
– Chives (we grow these in our mini herb garden.)
– Goat Cheese
– Gluten-free English muffins
– Butter

Directions:
Prep chives. Pre-heat non-stick pan. Whisk eggs together. Melt 1 tbs. butter. Add eggs. Pop muffins in toaster. My husband insists this is the only way to scramble eggs anymore, continuously stirring to give them that “French” fluffy look. Add goat cheese (to your liking – I like a LOT). Cook to desired level of done. Top buttered muffins with eggs.

Enjoy! 

And don’t forget to concoct your own bottomless mimosas…in the comfort of your own home!

We humbly suggest Lexy’s Toast Brut Rosé…with a teeny splash of grapefruit juice. (Need we say more?)

 

 

 

 

Full disclosure: We here at Lexy’s Toast produce Lexy’s Toast Wines Sparkling Rosé. 

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things: Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

We’re getting excited as Valenwine‘s Day grows closer…errr…I mean, Valentines!

In lieu of individual gifts, my husband and I are going in on a gift together…a wedding album! (Finally.) However, I’m still expecting a card, some flowers, and some bubbly.

(Hint, hint, husband.)

Here’s our top Valentine’s Day gift picks, for the loved ones in your life, below:

 

1. Yes, real men indeed wear pink. Loving this silk dot tie!

2. For those that don’t imbibe: Strawberries & Champagne Lollipops!

3. This pretty Silk Pillowcase promises to do all sorts of magical things for you. Better skin and hair while you sleep? And machine-washable? Yes, please!

4. Use this mini bottle of bubbly as a keychain, or just hook it on your purse for a daily dose of sparkle.

5. One of my most favorite things on the planet is husband bringing me some sweet yellow flowers (I’m not really a rose kinda gal)…and a bottle of bubbly! Get ours, here.

6. For the kiddos in your life: sweet flower cookie cutters!

7. My husband and I are gifting ourselves this beautiful Layflat Photo Album with our favorite wedding photos. After some extensive research, we landed on Artifact Uprising. Sometimes they have 10% off codes right around holidays if you get on their mailing list! I like this company for a couple reasons: they use sustainable paper, recycled fibers, and provide jobs for adults with disabilities. Check them out!

8. It’s always the right time for…Champagne! And it’s definitely time for this adorable bubbly watch.

9. Well, this couldn’t be a sweeter gift package: Sugarfina bubbly “wine” candies, complete with a set of Champagne glasses? We’ll toast to that!

 

P.S. Except for our Sparkling Wine, we here at Lexy’s Toast are not affiliated with any products listed here; we just covet them. 😉 

P.P.S. Cover Photo by Melania Mahoney Photography.

 

 

The Monthly Nine: December’s “It” List

FA LA LA LA LAAAA! I’m so in love with the holiday season…and it’s HERE! I’m finally  allowed to start practicing Christmas songs on my ukulele (much to our neighbors’ dismay). Sonoma and Napa Counties have been through a lot these past few months because of the raging wildfires, but there’s so much to be grateful for. We had an incredible “Thanksgivingmas” with my husband’s family in Chicago, and now we’re looking forward to our extended family reunion and subsequent “Hootenanny”. It’s not often that we can get our whole gang together in one place (my head has been photoshopped into our family holiday photos on multiple occasions), so it’s an extra special celebration.

In preparation for the Holidays: here are some of Lexy’s Toast Wines favorite gift ideas for December 2017!

1. Tom Ford Lipstick: For the Beauty Queen. I was gifted this lipstick for “Thanksgivingmas” with my husband’s family, and it is AMAZING! It’s creamy, moisturizing, and long-lasting, all the way through dinner (and dessert.)

2. The OG Bag: For your favorite Jetsetter. There’s a pocket for absolutely everything, and coming in at just under 2.5 lbs, it’s light enough to pack to the brim, waterproof, and slides onto your rolling suitcase. It’s on the pricey side, but Lo and Sons sometimes puts items on sale…and that time is right about NOW!

3. Stemless Wine Glasses: For the Hostess with the Mostess. These pretty wine glasses absolutely scream holiday cheer.

4. Champagne SHOES!: For the Champagne Lover. Ugh! How I wanted to buy these! (I produce Sparkling Wine after all!) Sadly, these just didn’t fit quite right…but maybe they’ll fit YOU! Or your BFF. Or Cinderella. Anyway, I hope someone gets to wear them.

5. Thank You Notes: For your Pen Pal. I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned thank you notes! Lately, I’ve been spoiled not having to buy cards since my Mother-in-law makes and sends me beautiful handmade (and unbelievably professional!) looking cards, but these would be a nice stocking stuffer for someone who loves to express gratitude the old-fashioned way.

6. 2018 Planner: For the Organizer. January is right around the bend, so let’s write down our New Year’s Resolutions, and start to plan the best year EVER!

7. To The Moon Trinket Dish: For the Teen in your life. What a sweet little dish for baubles, rings, and things!

8. Skull Cuff Links: For The Coolest Dude You Know. (This would be my husband.) He wore these on our wedding day, and I still think they are completely and utterly cool. (I still think he’s pretty cool too.)

9. Lexy’s Toast Brut Nature: For Everyone (over 21, that is)!! The holidays aren’t complete without BUBBLES! Our Lexy’s Toast Brut Nature is bone-dry (and I swear possesses a hint of Orange Creamsicle). Yum!

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Happy Gifting!

P.S. If you’ve anything left to spare during your holiday shopping sprees, Redwood Credit Union is taking donations. Fire relief efforts are still underway in Northern California, and RCU is donating 100% of the proceeds directly where they are needed.

P.P.S. On a personal note regarding the fires: check out my last blog post. #SonomaStrong: Ignited By Fire.

P.P.P.S. Except for our Sparkling Wine, we here at Lexy’s Toast are not affiliated with any products listed here; we just covet them. 😉 

Featured Image by Jon McPherson Photography.

Sonoma Strong: Ignited by Fire.

It was a warm evening, the kind of Indian Summer night that makes it absolutely divine to dine outside in in wine county. I stood on my parents porch with a few of their friends and neighbors sipping wine and watching my dad throw slabs of steak on the BBQ. It was like any typical dinner party in Sonoma Valley: good food, good people, and, of course, good wine

Only this night was different, immensely different from any other “normal” Sonoma night, at least in the three decades we’ve lived in this Valley. We were a week into the devastating fires that had engulfed Northern California, our County, and parts of our little hamlet of Glen Ellen. The fires were still only partially contained at this point, about 7 days in. My parents and I were sitting on our ash-laden porch for the first time in a week with friends who were able to get into our area past the National Guard checkpoints. National Guard. In Glen Ellen! Our guests of honor were Henry and Diane Mayo, our close neighbors who had just lost everything. 

Only their fireplace was still standing.

Their home went up in flames and burned down in fifteen minutes that first night of the fire. We know this because their son, Jeff, who lived on his own property next door, helplessly watched it burn to the ground. His home, just a stone’s throw away, still stands. Fortunately, Henry and Diane were safely out of harm’s way on a vacation in Cuba when the fires began the night of October 8th. They had just arrived back into town to assess the damage.

So in true Sonoma Valley fashion, even in the midst of the most massive and devastating fire in California history, with National Guard stationed at the bottom of our road, and with the only power coming from a tiny generator, we managed to have: a dinner party.

Also in true Sonoma Valley fashion, the Mayo’s came bearing wine. Like my vintner parents, they like to drink their own wine. My Dad always says “life’s too short; I wanna drink my own wine” (or some such missive). We shared in their wonderful Cab Franc, a luscious, fruit-forward version of a grape my husband happens to love. They told me to make sure take the rest of the bottle home to share with him.

It was delicious.

There we were, sitting on the porch (since the house smelled like someone had been chain smoking in it for 1,000 years), talking about my wedding the summer before, their recent trip to Cuba, their wines, our wines, wine in general, their family, our dogs. And then we’d all be hit with the fact that their home had just burned down.

It was bizarrely matter-of-fact. They talked about rebuilding their cottage – the original structure on the property – by next summer. They still had the plans, they still knew the architect. The strength and amazing fortitude of this couple was absolutely mind-blowing. I can only hope to have half their courage if I ever face such a challenge in my life.

We sat there chatting on the porch of my childhood home, a home their son Jeff helped protect while we were evacuated. Jeff stayed in his powerless house all 13 days we were evacuated, putting out spot fires, checking the area for looters, and (with our coercing) raiding our pantry. He protected our neighborhood, our neighbors’ homes, and our home. 

A home is that still standing, due to the mercy of the wind, a random, ferocious wind that caused so many other homes to catch fire and burn to the ground. We were spared namely because by the time the fire hit the base of our property on October 10th, the wind had died down and changed direction, and a fire truck was able to get to us just in time. The 60 mile-an-hour winds that lashed out the night of October 8th sent embers flying up to a mile, causing random patches of properties to melt. Seeing the burned areas doesn’t even seem to make sense in parts of our hometown. House after house on both sides of a road will be completely flattened, and then you’ll see it: one random structure still intact, while on an adjacent plot, just a brick fireplace remains. It makes no sense. The random nature of nature on display.

I won’t go into detail about what happened in the days and weeks after that first night. The bottom line is our family is safe and our friends are safe. The same can’t be said of their homes, their cars, their possessions. It’s easy to say the words: “you can replace things, but not people.” I’m pretty sure I repeated them over and over in the wake of the disaster. And there is some truth to that statement.

But I can’t even pretend to know what it is like to lose…everything. As much as it is “just stuff”, there is indeed emotional attachment to our objects. They carry our pasts within them. How many times have I “remembered” a Tea-Party Birthday and later wondered if I actually remembered the Birthday or if I just remembered a photo of the Tea-Party Birthday? The objects themselves can be the memory triggers, our memories manifested. Some “things” cannot be replaced. We need to let our friends grieve those losses, be they material or not. 

In 2007, I had the distinct pleasure of being in a magical off-Broadway show called GONE MISSING, written by Steve Cosson/The Civilians with music by the recently-late Michael Friedman. The show investigates how things become lost, the meaning we attribute to objects that are lost, and the way we process and are impacted by these losses. 

And so I think of the lyrics to the last song of the show, “STARS”, and raise a glass of Cab Franc to our neighbors, the Mayo Family of Mayo Family Winery, as an example of true grit and true #SONOMASTRONG strength. We are here for our friends and neighbors in any way we can be, knowing our friends and neighbors will be there for us when we need them. When the fires began, there was a saying coined which read: “The Love in the Air is Thicker Than the Smoke.” That is exactly what Sonoma Valley is about. No wind, no fire, no rain can tear this community of helpers apart. I hope you’ll raise a glass too, by buying local (and direct!) from Sonoma and Napa wineries, and come visit us all soon. 

There are so many stories to tell and so many feelings to explore surrounding these tragic fires. I want to hear them all. It’s been over a month and I’ve had a hard time deciphering my own emotions on the matter, but I keep coming back to the night that we had a dinner party…in the middle of a wildfire. 

And we shall keep having dinner parties.

 

“All we see is stars, falling from so far away, the things that we see, are just memories of the things that used to be.” -Michael Friedman, GONE MISSING.

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Henry, Diane, their Cab Franc, and my Dad.

The Monthly Nine: October’s “it” List

Hello October and all things Pumpkin (will we EVER tire of the pumpkin trend? I don’t think so.) Here are our picks for the month, paired on a Sunday morning with a Lexy’s Toast Brut Rosé Mimosa (i.e. fresh squeezed OJ and Sparkling Rosé! Try it…it’s delightful!)

 

 

Pumpkin Candle: It’s every bit as delicious and pumpkin-y smelling as you think. And how adorable is the copper top and pumpkin shape?

Pumpkin Spice Tea: The whole pumpkin spice latte situation has too much sugar for me. I’ll settle for this lovely pumpkin spice tea with a little almond milk and stevia.

Greta Apron: A darling gift for a host! (There’s a matching oven mitt too, if you’re so inclined.)

Ginger Mango Laundry Detergent: I’m a huge fan of Method products, and I love this detergent. Our clothes always smell so lovely, and there’s nary a chemical to be found.

For The Birds Scarf: I’ll never tire of putting a bird on it! Such a cute fall outfit topper.

Power Up Keychain: How often does your phone run out of juice? (Mine: All. The. Time.) Fix that immediately with a quick and easy solution (complete with a fun tassel.)

Habit Journal: This is a journal specifically for improving habits! (Daily journaling, anyone?)

Le Creuset Mini Cocottes: Whip up something spooky (and delectable) for guests in these adorable mini cocottes.

Pumpkin Enzyme Mask: I have yet to try this, but I love everything I’ve ever tried from Peter Thomas Roth. (And…pumpkin?!?) Exfoliate away to reveal a more youthful complexion.

 

Enjoy your pumpkin-filled October and your Halloween, and, if you can, please don’t forget to donate to help aid hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico.

Disclosure: Except for our Sparkling Wine, we here at Lexy’s Toast are not affiliated with any products listed here; we just covet them. 😉