Full Of It

Whoa, the day almost slipped by without me getting a blog post in.  Big thanks to my friend BJ for jogging my brain.  Today’s post is full of recommendations.

Sweetie Pies Bakery 520 Main St. Napa, CA

If you like flour, butter, and sugar stirred into divine pastry, cake, and cookie creations, then you must go to Sweetie Pies in Napa, Ca.  They’re located at 520 Main St., and they produce the finest baked goods I have ever tasted.  My contribution to the Thanksgiving feast was three pies from Sweetie Pies: Pumpkin, Apple, and Pecan, and they totally rocked the house.  If you live far enough away from Napa that it might take, say, an hour to drive there, then you must give it a go.  You will be glad you did.



Oxbow public Market 644 First St. Napa, CA

While you’re there, remember to visit Napa’s version of San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza – The Oxbow Public Market.  I actually haven’t been there yet, but every foodie I talk to about Sweetie Pies tells me I’ve got to get to the Oxbow.  I hear they have a bakery that specializes in English Muffins!  That would be a first for me – to find fresh baked English Muffins.  I have no doubt that a vendor in the market will be carrying every kind or butter there is: fresh butter, French butter, Irish butter, etc.  And jams?  I’m sure they will be there in every mouthwatering variety imaginable.  Yum! Yum!




Gott's Roadside Burgers, Napa, CA

And if those two recommendations aren’t enough to get you driving up this way, then perhaps burgers at Gott’s Roadside  will juice up your taste buds and seal the deal.  Gott’s knows what it’s doing when it comes to drip down your wrist burgers.  Sinful!  Yes.  Delicious? Absolutely!  Not only that, but they’re right next door to the Oxbow.  Oh, did I mention to come hungry?



The Good Daughter by Jasmin Darznik

O.K.  So you return home with bags full of delectable goodies from Napa.  Now here’s a suggestion about how to enjoy them: with a cup of great tea or coffee and a good book.  This week I read The Good Daughter by Jasmin Darznik.  Jasmin was in the first writing class that I took at Book Passage.  As I remember, she was debating as to whether or not to finish her doctoral thesis at Princeton, or write this memoir.  It’s been a few years, but today she’s done both.  She also holds a law degree, and I don’t think she’s even celebrated her fortieth birthday yet.  Super accomplished woman and a beautiful story-teller.  Because I like to post book reviews on Amazon, here is what I had to say about The Good Daughter:

If it weren’t for the fact that I’m reserving my five-star vote for absolute perfection, I’d give The Good Daughter five stars.  This memoir is superbly crafted and exquisitely captures the inextricable threads that link mothers to their daughters.  Like the variety of flowering vines that entwine themselves along her mother’s modest garden wall, Pagol, Kobra, Lily, Sara, and Jasmin are also interlaced.  Their personal histories, told with measured restraint, reveal a lineage of brave, intelligent women, their fortunes and their crushing misfortunes. 

Iranian culture and history provide fascinating context for this unique memoir, but it was the mother piece that kept me up late into the night reading.  Jasmin Darznik, almost as if by slight of hand, captures the fact that a mother’s influence in her daughter’s life has little to do with proximity.  Near or far, known or unknown, mother is part of who we are.  The more we understand her, the more we understand ourselves. 

The title, The Good Daughter, caused me to question what such a phrase could mean.  Is there a good mother, a good man, a good life, good food, good fashions, etc.?  Define “Good.”  It quickly became complicated, and thereby worth pursuing.  I’ve decided this multi-generational account is too dynamic for the title to be anything less than a thought-provoking kōan.  It pushed me to think beyond notions of good or the implied opposite, bad.  I wanted to read about these people to discover what existed between the two ends, and Darznik delivered.  Page after page builds texture and nuance into a personal narrative that claims truth over appearance, fact over falsity.  The author held my attention by deftly weaving universal themes of family, friends, rituals, dignity, wisdom, sorrow, joy, ambition, failure, love, and loss into a personal story of discovery—discovery of self, discovery of family, discovery of motivations as well as limitations.  I’m grateful to Darznik for giving so generously of her experience.  A terrific read that goes beyond simple story telling to get to the endlessly powerful influence of natal legacy. 

If any of you end up reading The Good Daughter, please let me know what you thought.

I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving day?  I’m pleased to report that this year’s day of gratitude went off without a single glitch.  Lutrell and I enjoyed a fabulous walk in the misty rain yesterday.  The air was so still that the mist hung in it almost like snowflakes, truly enchanting.  And then today, we did one of my favorite mountain bike rides – up to the top of Mt. Tamalpais.  It was cold and cloudy, but we certainly were not alone.  The fire-road path was full of hikers and mountain bikers.  That’s because the place is amazing!  And that would be my last recommendation for the day, find a way to hike part or all of The Railroad Grade trail on Mt. Tamalpais.  Whether you drive to the top and walk down, or start from the bottom at the parking area at “Blithdale Park,” or begin in the middle of the mountain where Fern Canyon Rd. meets the fire-road, the trail and West Point Inn as a destination are Bay Area gems.

I hope your week is a good one, and I’ll look forward to posting again next Friday.

West Point Inn, almost to the top of Mt. Tamalpais

2 Responses to “Full Of It”

  1. Terry Sue says:

    Thank you Patricia! I agree that The Good Daughter would generate a lot of interesting discussion in a group. I did share my review with Jasmin via Facebook, and she expressed gratitude.

  2. I’m reading The Good Daughter right now, and am hoping to convince my Book Group to put it on our list for the coming year. I give your review five stars, Terry Sue. Beautifully written. I hope Jasmin has seen it!

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