The mackerel sky was low, almost touching the tops of the trees. Two leaves narrowly missed my hand, catch one and make a wish.
The Beech leaves are turning a crispy brown, the Oak’s a mustardy yellow. The Rowan trees are stacked with berries and the avenue is ankle high in wet leaves.
The woodland near my cottage is typically English. The wind was up today, shiny brown conkers blown to the ground, the Horse Chestnuts flapping their big, crispy hands together.
Two families of ducks cackled and squawked their way back to the pond.
I’m off on November 4th to San Francisco, although Oregon is still lingering in my mind.
We visited a little town call McMINNVILLE, all the foodies know about Mcminnville, the largest city of Yamhill County, Oregon.
Third street has more restaurants, on five blocks, than the whole of my Twillage. I met with ERIC and CARMEN who run ‘NICKS’. It’s been there since 1977. For years Carmen’s dad, Nick, ran the joint; a simple place with a big back kitchen and a head waiter with more hair than Harry Styles and more style than Hairy Redknapp.
He made me the first good cawfee of the trip and supplied me with a big white linen napkin should I need it.
Eric makes hand chopped Pork salami – to rhyme with whammy – in their salami making factory three blocks away.
Eric and Carmen, between them, keep Nick’s name, restaurant and reputation alive.
Carmen has a Japanese mother and an Italian father so what’s not to know about a noodle of two. Using a cheap little chopper she cuts the sheets of fine pasta, that she’s rolled through her big pasta rolling machine. She’s a neat machine herself, looks like she’s been doing it all her life. Which she nearly has.
She’s young and beautiful, with two kids under five, a complexion to die for and the demeanour of woman who has been modelling since 16.
After cooly cutting A4 size pieces of pasta dough, she lays them on top of each other leaving a little gap at the top of each new sheet. Carmen then calmly rolls them up, chops the ends off and rolls them into perfect, well rolls… Grabbing the end of each little roll she whisks them up into the air, and flaps around the tagliatellie like fronds of yellow seaweed. Brilliant. She works wearing a sweater and a pair of jeans, carrying them off with the panache of the model she was. Knowing that modelling had a limited life span she learnt what she learnt, and along with Eric, her handsome husband took to the boars and boards instead. Thats chopping boards and piggy boars I hasten to add.
The restaruant was full of a party of carousers who glugged down crates of wine and laughed loudly .
Eric made the sauce for Carmen’s pasta.
Gently cooking down the home cured salami, in a battered pan on a six burner stove, he added onions, garlic, oregeno
(Say it the American way O-Regggggin-Oh! Not orry-garknow.)
Tomatoes, plopped in the pasta and some pasta water.
We ate outside the restaurant at a little table opposite an old Art Deco cinema.
It was good to sit down as I had been out with Chris and Kate taking GV’s ( general views ). To make it more interesting I sent Kate off to an ice-cream emporium which sold rivetting flavours. She turned up with a crunchy cornet filled with lavender ice-cream. Unfortunately we had taken all the shots we needed so I licked for myself not for the camera.
The food movement in America is interesting, all the small producers help each other, and the public enjoy helping them. Long may it last and grow.
San Fran – as the producer calls it -will use more green, fresh veg, which is terrific as I practically live the life o a Gorilla.