Monday, October 10, 2011


We're leaving Davis for Woodland with the Heidrick Ag History Center as the first stop. The Center is dedicated to enhancing people’s education, understanding and appreciation of the rich heritage of agriculture and transportation.

The Heidrick Ag History Center introduces visitors to the marvels of agriculture, and commercial trucking through 130,000 square feet of interactive, one-of-a-kind exhibits. The cornerstones of these exhibits are the Fred C. Heidrick Antique Ag Collection, the world’s largest and most unique collection of one-of-a-kind antique agricultural equipment, and the abutting Hays Antique Truck Museum, also recognized as the largest of its kind in the world.

History Center exhibits tractors and harvesting machinery from the late 1800s through the middle of the last century. Mr. Heidrick collected rare, unusual, and historic farm machinery over the course of his lifetime. The $8 admission price gets you both museums.

We took a quick ride through downtown Woodland with a detour to Reiff's Gas Station. It appears that this guy Mark Reiff started his collection with the purchase of a 1930s Wayne Gas Pump at a neighborhood garage sale. Since then he has added a diner, gas station, general store and old time movie theater. The entire house has become an automotive museum of retro 1950s nostalgia, antiques and car culture.

Reiff's Gas Station collection includes 40 antique gas pumps that were used in various time periods from 1909 to the 1960s. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some have been restored, some not.

Reiff's Automotive Museum also has a large collection of over 200 antique gas station signs and logos. They are displayed throughout the museum, both indoors and outside. The garage and back yard are full of old time automotive signs in all shape's and sizes. The Bob's Big Boy statue is on the roof, standing up there looking over everything.

Too bad it was closed, otherwise we would have gotten a tour of the house and diner as well. Oh well. Esther and Eunice got a kick checking it out.

Time for dinner, we went to Tazzina Bistro.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Aside from Seasons Restaurant, we had our palates satiated at three other venues in Davis.

Seasonal cuisine is the fare at Monticello at 630 G Street in Davis. Brunch, lunch and dinner menus showcase seasonal appropriateness, regional resources, freshness, and minimal interference between source and plate. Rhonda Gruska and her husband Tony are the owners, while Tony is the Executive Chef. A third co-owner is Jim Eldon, "the farmer".

Lunch commenced with their seasonal soup, this one full of the fresh vegetables and a variety of beans. More of the produce as we indulged in a salad of the local greens with walnuts and bleu cheese. Needed to have some meat so we ordered the Carolina Style Pulled Bledsoe Pork sandwich with horseradish slaw. Cheated with their seasonal vegetable sandwich by added bacon. Bacon with anything tastes great!

Couldn't skip dessert with having a yummy cheesecake and I think it was called a Pot au Chocolat...a very rich and creamy chocolate pudding.

Tucos Wine Market and Cafe was just down the street from the Hallmark Inn. Pru Mendez is the owner and Executive Chef. The menu is a bit worldly but with many Spanish influences and using local producers. We shared many dishes to get an idea of the style and spices beginning with a Smoked Fish Spread acme bread followed by a spicy Grass-Fed Lamb Meatballs in a cuban mojo sauce. The Undeviled Eggs with Shrimp house-made thousand island, arugula, and tobiko caviar was quite tasty. A few other entree samplings to bring out the Latin flavor followed by some scrumptios desserts. You can check out the menu and news on their blog of

Ciocolat,at 301 B Street(530.753.3088) was the place for High Tea and you don't necessarily have to indulge at 3 p.m. I'm sure that you can get coffee, but hot tea should be part of this meal. Food is meant to be bites as you sip your tea and chat with your friends. First course included: Sundried tomato pesto in a cucumber cup; Basil, parsley, herb cream cheese with strawberries on bread; Roast beef with rosemary brie.

Second course: Cranberry and white chocolate scones served with lemon curd and red currant raspberry jam. Scones are a must with high tea.

Third course: chocolate tulip cup with white chocolate mousse; chocolate tulip cup with milk chocolate mousse; white chocolate mousse eggs on a bed of white chocolate cake; chocolate decadent cake on a bed of chocolate cake.

Fourth course: Fresh berries with chantilly cream. Viva la sugar shock!


"Farm to table" has become a cuisine in some parts of the country and with a state like California growing grapes,olives, artichokes, avocados and rice, just to name a few, Nancy, Barb and I were off to visit some of their birth places.

Capay Organic is a second-generation, organic farm that got its start in the Coastal Range's Capay Valley, 90 miles northeast of San Francisco. The initial 20-acres grew to its current size of 400 acres. Cherry tomatoes, sweet pea flowers, ambrosia melons and heirloom tomatoes are just a few of the crops pioneered at this farm. I was not able to tour all 400 acres, but did check out some of the produce being boxed as well as the peach trees.

The nearby city of Esparto is the locale of the Haag Family Farm where walnuts are their thing. We met co-owner Claire J. Haag, who gave us the 101 on walnuts and to check out the growth at the early part of June.

There are a dozen sates of these English walnuts. Flower - small green ovoid with two little oppositely curved receptors; Prayer - at tips of branches, first leaves unfold from a praying position; Catkin - 1/4 to 4" long pollen-containing structures elongate and unfold; Pollinated - Wind-borne pollen grains from catkins "adhere" to the flower; Green Pea - Unpollinated "green peas" fall of the tree, leaving the good ones; Ping Pong - Green walnut's soft internal structures delineate and enlarge; Immature Green - Almost full size (May) liquid interiors inside of soft structures.

From this point on, they can be sold. Mature Green - sold (June) full size for pickling beverage-making, food, etc.; Fresh Walnuts - sold September for eating of tasty white nutmeat inside; Wet Walnut - sold (late September)for eating of the moist tasty nutmeat inside; Inshell - sold (October) for cracking and eating the crunchy nutmeat inside; Shelled - sold (November) for baking, decorating, eating, salads, snacks, etc. Their website is www.walnuts.US.

Wanting to do a "pick your own" and one close to Davis. Impossible Acres is the name and just west of Davis (37945 Rd. 31 - Covell). I never knew how many varieties of blackberries existed! Loads of raspberries and cherries to chose from. The bing cherries get more picking than the rainier because they don't appear as ripe, but in most cases are sweeter. They also had apricots and peaches. It's a great place to bring your young offsprings as they can pick the produce that's lower to the ground while you get the higher ups in both the bushes and trees.