Being on the road time takes on a completely new dimension.
Long days, interminable nights, loadsa travelling, but however you cut it, you arrive home in the end.
It’s like the man who meets Death, terrified he jumps on his horse and gallops to the furthest point North.
Ties up his horse, walks into an Inn at the top of the world and who should be sitting next to the fire but Death. Peeping out from under his hood Death says to the rider;
‘Didn’t expect to see you here.’
It’s a bit how I feel at the end of a shoot. However interesting, however packed, arriving home is inevitable – if you’re lucky enough to survive it.
So we are coming to the end of the run., New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and all stops in between. And now we arrive in YOUNTVILLE, pronounced, YONTVILLE. San Fran’s contribution to Michelin starred nosh.
Feels like a one horse town till you see the white flowers and the well heeled tourists.
The French Laundry, home to celebrity chef Thomas Keller, is the centre piece to the culinary capital of Napa valley.
The day we arrived it was hot. People were queuing round the block for a fancy breakfast.
We set our camera up in the Bouchon Bistro and Bakery. In the kitchen the chefs danced around each other with precision. The tall guy, Chef Ross, from England, set up his waffle machine. Filled it with batter, cooked those babies then cut off the corners and set them on a plate. A roasted chicken was sliced, and laid alongside the waffle, a jug filled with maple syrup and another with some kind of jus, was placed on the table. I sat outside and slowly sliced through the meat – guests arrived by the minute and supped their Mimosa’s ( bucks fizz ). Waffles and chicken. Chicken and more waffle.
We walked across the road and wandered through Thomas’s allotment. Rows of fresh, huge, vegetables, chickens, tunnels of fresh produce. The smell of tomatoes in the sun, the blue haze of the borage, the bus of the bees. I was getting paid to sit on a bench and drink it all in.
Then we packed up and met the rest of the team in the ‘Goose and Gander’ restaurant. Baking hot sun, iced water, exchanged stories then eleven of us piled into the SUV’s and set off to GOTTS.
People lined up round the roadside caff. Like many before them, GOTTS started out as a stall, the roadside diner is now famous for its hamburgers and milk shakes.
Now a milk shaken is simple, but imagine a huge polystyrene cup filled with iced vanilla flavoured ice-cream and milk over the top, or think of a giant chocolate milk shake that is so cool and sweet its worth lining up for and you have GOTT it.
Olly and I had enough slurps to feed an army of car washers.
And then off we trotted.
More shots of Yountville, more driving, more late night food.
I ordered chicken wings that tasted like they had been dipped in brine. I left a handwritten message atop of the room service tray saying:
Packed my bags, in preparation for our next jaunt and the flight to Portland home of the weird. Olly calls Portland ‘Beervana’.
If only I could drink…….