A Night Never To Forget

by jenna on October 7, 2009

Gahhhhhhhh tonight was just one of those nights that photos and words can’t even do justice at all. Susan and Jeff, the executive chefs and owners of Zin Restaurant invited me to their home for a dinner I will never forget.

Here it is, y’all….straight from organic garden to table. No frills or ingredients you can’t pronounce….just good, local food, awesome wine and great friends.

This is why I moved to California.

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Wow. How often do you ever get to eat an egg that was just laid that morning…..or eat beans that had just been shelled a few hours ago? At one point during the consumption of this massive amount of food, Hardy and I just looked at each other and were like “californiaaaaaaaa!!!!!” It’s like that moment where, despite it all, you just KNOW that this is exactly where you are meant to be. I feel so incredibly lucky.

Jeff and Susan sent me home with a HUGE box of fresh produce, olive oil and sea salt to “start me off” in Healdsburg. I almost cried!

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Seriously?

I’m about to pull on elastic waist pants, simmer water on the stove for tea and thoroughly enjoy my first night in my new attic. It’s not really an apartment…or a house….an attic is most fitting. Pictures to come—I just need a few days to settle in first!

Thank you so much, Jeff and Susan, for such a wonderful evening. Totally worth the “California 40″ (like the freshman 15…but more) hahahaha ;)

Goodnight!

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{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) October 7, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Wow, look at all that tasty food!

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Julia October 7, 2009 at 10:41 pm

It’s so amazing that you have made such good friends already!
Enjoy the produce and other goodies! I can’t wait to see pics of the “attic” lol!
Have a great Thursday!

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Michelle October 7, 2009 at 10:47 pm

I hope that you’re enjoying everthing to the fullest. I remember being in Timor and I actually shelled Lima and Kidney Beans. I had never seen those before in my whole life..they were AMAZING. Fresh tofu bought off the street vendors..it’s honestly amazing. I also used to live in an attic..I loved it. I kinda felt like a cat. Enjoy Jenna. May God continue to bless you. ~M

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Kristin October 7, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Sounds INCREDIBLE! Northern Cali is really the place to be. It’s much harder to find things like that in So Cal. Looks like you’re having a great time. So happy for you!

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maria October 7, 2009 at 10:57 pm

The food they sent home with you looks so good and fresh. Local food always tastes better, if you ask me! :)

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Kristine October 7, 2009 at 10:59 pm

what an amazing experience! and how great they gave you a to go box full of goodies!

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Diana October 7, 2009 at 11:00 pm

That dinner looks delicious! And fresh produce.. lucky! :)

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Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) October 7, 2009 at 11:05 pm

ya know there’s something about the wine country that is totally magical. Every time I’ve been to someone’s HOME there (not a restaurant or a hotel or B&B, but someone’s home) it is almost indescribable. Not to mention you must be drinking the highest quality wine you ever have. Just doesn’t get better. Happy for you! Speaking of restaurants…when are you going to French Laundry…tell your boss that one of your readers thinks that he needs to take you there! Do iT!!!!

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Lindsay October 7, 2009 at 11:06 pm

I totally understand that photos and words aren’t enough for such an amazing meal – and a memorable outpouring of kindness. Glad people are taking care of you up there!

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amber October 7, 2009 at 11:15 pm

OMG I cannot THANK you enough for giving a BIG shout out to my beloved NorCAL! It is an amazing place, hence why I cannot leave. Thank you for the LOVE!!!! Can U please arrange a wine tasting soon??

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Fattie Fatterton October 7, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Wow!! That is so amazing! Love all of the food to start your kitchen :-)

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Gab* October 7, 2009 at 11:46 pm

The fresh produce looks amazing!! I’m about to plant my tomatoes this weekend (it’s spring here) and I can’t wait until they’re ripe!

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Marina October 7, 2009 at 11:52 pm

sounds like you’re having a really good time. It’s nice to read your posts, they are filled with happiness and enjoyment :)

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Cara (Cara Craves...) October 8, 2009 at 12:13 am

What a lovely present! Those veggies look fab!

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Marie October 8, 2009 at 1:39 am

sometimes i forget how spoiled i am to be a californian, it truly is an amazing state to live in.

but i might have to move out of state for a few years, and then move back just so i can experience someone giving me such a beautiful box of ‘getting started’ food! holy veggie cow!

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Jac October 8, 2009 at 2:17 am

hope you settle down soon!

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Katie S October 8, 2009 at 2:31 am

Ok, that’s it, Jenna… I am moving to California TODAY! Hehe sounds like an amazing night, you are one lucky girl!! Good luck with the rest of the move!

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Ellen @ peaceinmotion October 8, 2009 at 2:51 am

fab food in a fab state!! so jealous of you California loving!

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Kirsten October 8, 2009 at 2:57 am

That looks amazing! Great to have fresh produce to start you off too, I spy heirloom tomatoes!

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Julia October 8, 2009 at 3:00 am

Looks so delicious! I’m really happy for you that you’re enjoying California!

xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

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Pam (Pamcakes and Eggs) October 8, 2009 at 3:24 am

That is the most amazing thing ever! If I ever own a house (instead of a one bedroom apartment), I seriously want to get chickens so that I can have fresh eggs all the time. Cage free….to the max. haha

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Stephanie October 8, 2009 at 3:40 am

I LOVE that t-shirt!!! Can you order those somewhere, they are fantastic???? My mom/sis would adore this :) Din looks amazing, and quite the take home goody bag too wow!

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 8, 2009 at 3:45 am

OMG all that food looks incredible. I’m dying over the figs!

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alex @ happy go lucky October 8, 2009 at 3:51 am

what a beautiful life- thank you for letting all of us live it vicariously!
can’t wait to see your apartment/attic/cozy nook!

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Still Life in South America October 8, 2009 at 3:52 am

What a gorgeous meal with good people. That box would make me cry too!!!

I’d love to see pics of the attic. I’m glad you are enjoying life there so much and hope everything blooms beautifully for you in your new soil. :-)

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Shannon October 8, 2009 at 3:58 am

It’s a great feeling when you know you are right where you are supposed to be! Dinner looked fabulous…and fresh!

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Marisa (Trim The Fat) October 8, 2009 at 4:05 am

It looks all so amazing, fresh and delicious!

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Kailey (SnackFace) October 8, 2009 at 4:16 am

Oh my gosh, this all sounds like a dream! You have to be in foodie heaven. Everything looks succulent and amazing, and that box of produce is seriously ridiculous. The tomatoes are going to be so good!

I laughed aloud to the California 40. This definitely happened to me over the summer! Well, not 40, but there was an increase. The food is just too good to pass up!

Hope you have a lovely Thursday!

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Megan October 8, 2009 at 4:39 am

I toyed with the idea of moving to Cali for two seconds after this post. I love nothing more than fresh produce… well, maybe my husband ;). Indiana doesn’t have year round growing conditions, but where I live there are lots of farms and markets where you can get fresh food. I feel really fortunate. Plus, my best friends family has their own farm… so I usually get to take home a few seasonal gems. Nothing like your bounty though, lucky!

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Lara October 8, 2009 at 4:40 am

That would be my dream dinner! You sound so happy, this is definitely the right place for you. See one door closes (MG gig) and another one opens.
I doubt you have gained 40 lbs :) I do notice however that you have mentioned weight/gain in several posts lately and this is something I don’t recall ever reading on your blog over the past year or so. Do you really think you are gaining or are you maybe reverting back into some old habits (the body image issues you have written about from college days, etc) Would hate to see you go down that route again…

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Matt October 8, 2009 at 4:42 am

Local food is so much more satusfying isn’t it?

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Lauren October 8, 2009 at 5:10 am

Jenna, it all looks so amazing. Really makes me rethink my job as a project manager (boring).

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Kristen October 8, 2009 at 5:11 am

I’m insanely jealous of that “starter box”. I need to move somewhere warmer…

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Daria @ Daria Can Cook October 8, 2009 at 5:21 am

How wonderful! You’re a lucky girl. :)

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Meg October 8, 2009 at 5:24 am

So happy for you! And what a welcoming gift – that box is stuffed with goodies :P

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Coley October 8, 2009 at 5:26 am

I am so jealous! Seriously a foodie heaven:) I’m so glad you are enjoying northern cal, I hope you get settled down soon!

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Anais October 8, 2009 at 5:30 am

What an experience!!! It is so sweet of them to have invited you over :) And the food looks so good and fresh!! I so want to move to California now… or at least visit :P

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Sarah @ See Sarah Eat October 8, 2009 at 5:36 am

What a great place and wonderful experience! Live it up girl :)

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Abby (Abbys Vegan Eats) October 8, 2009 at 5:37 am

Nothing beats fresh, local food. Absolutely beautiful! Im quite jealous! :)

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Isabelle October 8, 2009 at 5:38 am

Intersting point Lara.
Jenna,take care of yourself in this time of change and upheaval.
Moving is one of the big stresses in life(no matter how joyful!),and top that with a new job,far from family and having such a dramatic year….finishing school, your family’s huge and unthinkable loss, the breakup of a long relationship….
You have been through a lifetime of highs and lows this past year.Take time to settle into your new home and life quietly-hope you can have a few more meals at home,more soothing cups of tea,more yoga,more time for your writing,and just more time for YOU.I know you will have a wonderful year ahead.
The best thing you could do for yourself is book an hour long massage.Massage is so releasing for us all-it does wonders .
Hope you might treat yourself soon .Thanks for sharing all your adventures with us all -we enjoy your blog tremendously :)
Namaste.

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Madeline @ Greens and Jeans October 8, 2009 at 5:40 am

All the posts you’ve done since your big move have been totally drool worthy! Enjoy your giant box of produce!

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brandi October 8, 2009 at 5:40 am

so beautiful – and what a great dinner! That’s so nice they gave you some produce and olive oil – great way to stock up your kitchen :)

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Danielle October 8, 2009 at 5:42 am

It all just sounds so magical!

But this is real, Jenna. This is your life, and I hope you know how much you truly deserve every single moment of it. Enjoy! :)

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Danielle October 8, 2009 at 5:43 am

It all sounds like a dream!

But this is real, Jenna :) this is your life, and you deserve every moment of it. Enjoy! And good luck settling in!

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Katrina (gluten free gidget) October 8, 2009 at 5:55 am

That box of produce is a work of art! I’m so happy you are so happy! Enjoy California!

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MelissaNibbles October 8, 2009 at 6:17 am

Wow! What a day! Enjoy it all Jenna!

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Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers October 8, 2009 at 6:19 am

what a wonderful evening!!! the food looks amazing and it sounds like the company was just as fantastic. what a special place to be.

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Mellissa October 8, 2009 at 6:20 am

I would like some of the produce please :) I love seeing such fresh and vibrant colors!

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Paige October 8, 2009 at 6:21 am

What an AWESOME night! Sounds heavenly.

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Denise October 8, 2009 at 6:27 am

Wow!!! I’m impressed! Love farm to table…..what a great night you had. We’re on vacation & I was just at my grandparent’s NC mountain house. We were picking peppers & tomatoes out of grandpa’s garden. I then made potatoes and eggs with potatoes right out of his garden! So tasty and fresh!!

I am very blessed to get free range, farm fresh eggs from one of my good friends on a regular basis….and at the bargain price of $3 a dozen!! They are amazing!!

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Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) October 8, 2009 at 6:30 am

It sounds like you are living the dream girl! Savour every moment of it – each sip of wine, each ray of sunshine … soak it all in and enjoy every little thing you do :-)

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j October 8, 2009 at 6:33 am

That has got to be the best housewarming gift ever! Everything looks so yummy. It makes me want to head west!

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Morgan @ Life After Bagels October 8, 2009 at 6:37 am

Oh Jenna, that looks like the most fun night in the world. Don’t worry your pics did a pretty good job, it does all look amazing.

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Madelin @ What is for breakfast? October 8, 2009 at 6:38 am

Jenna your work place looks amazing, so sunny and bright! And that food – the figs, wow! Glad you are enjoying yourself :). Have fun settling into your new place!

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Jenni October 8, 2009 at 6:39 am

I would say your world has done a complete 180 this past year, bar none! What a whirlwind…but you’ve definitely come out on top and I know He had a huge hand in it! I also know you feel John with you like the sun shining down in that California sky!! You deserve ALL of this good stuff!! :)

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Jenni October 8, 2009 at 6:41 am

I would say your world has done a complete 180 this past year, bar none! What a whirlwind…but you’ve definitely come out on top and I know He had a huge hand in it! I also know you feel John with you like the sun shining down in that California sky!! You deserve ALL of this good stuff!! :)

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Meg @ Be Fit Be Full October 8, 2009 at 6:42 am

Jenna- let me just say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog for the past few months. But I must say, now that you are in CA with your new gig I get so, so excited to check your blog everyday to see all the exiting things you are up to! I could be in the worst mood, and then I read your blog and instantly perk up! Thank you!

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Meg @ Be Fit Be Full October 8, 2009 at 6:42 am

Jenna- let me just say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog for the past few months. But I must say, now that you are in CA with your new gig I get so, so excited to check your blog everyday to see all the exiting things you are up to! I could be in the worst mood, and then I read your blog and instantly perk up! Thank you!

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Allie October 8, 2009 at 6:43 am

That produce looks so fresh it may jump out of the screen- just beautiful! you inspire me to eat just a little bit fresher and closer to the earth everyday. thank you!

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justrun October 8, 2009 at 6:53 am

Happy for you! That sounds fantastic!

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emily October 8, 2009 at 6:55 am

That is unbelievably sweet, those tomatoes look mouthwatering!

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BethT @ Pretty By The Bay October 8, 2009 at 6:58 am

How exciting to see their farm after eating at Zin. You are a lucky lady! Those tomatoes they sent you home with are to die for. And don’t worry about the CA 40 – it’s so nice here, year round, you actually WANT to keep exercising :D

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 8, 2009 at 7:05 am

This is SO exciting!!!! Gah…I am so thrilled for you Jenna.

PS- Love your brown jacket! I could pretty much wear anything in your closet and love it. haha

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Becky October 8, 2009 at 7:05 am

I am DROOLING over your box of produce! You are so blessed to get such tasty homegrown goodies well into the fall (and winter!). We here in the Northeast are back into root vegetable season. So glad to hear you’re settling in so fast. Your story only solidifies my belief that everything always works out exactly the way it’s supposed to!
Enjoy!

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Tina October 8, 2009 at 7:47 am

Oh my goodness…all that fresh food looks so good. It’s amazing seeing you have all these great opportunities in your life! You definitely deserve it! Seriously, watching all you bloggers live your dreams makes me excited for my own future :)

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Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life October 8, 2009 at 7:58 am

Looks like a fantastic night!

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Genie October 8, 2009 at 8:01 am

OH WOW! I’m am loving this new adventure of yours!! WOO HOO! Sounds like Cali is going to be a great fit!

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Meryl@Operation:...Confusion October 8, 2009 at 8:02 am

wow- how neat! God is relly providing for you, lady :) I love how He gives us comfort in ways that are specific to our passions. Love to see that you are having such a wonderful time!

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Lindsay October 8, 2009 at 8:07 am

That all looks amazing! I’m so glad you are enjoying your new California life!

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Nicole October 8, 2009 at 8:12 am

You are very blessed! Looks like a fab time with great people, wine and food!

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kristina October 8, 2009 at 8:13 am

hey jenna! wow, that food and atmosphere looks amazing! i too, like someone said, forget to appreciate california because i’ve lived here practically my entire life ~ so i clearly need to stop and smell the roses ;)

you need to write these two restaurants down (i’m sure your currently bogged down w. a ton of eateries already,) but sometime when you get settled you must go to the boon fly cafe ~ they have the BEST donuts, here’s the link: http://www.thecarnerosinn.com/thecarnerosinn/restaurant_boonfly_menu_brunch.aspx & you must head on over to berkeley and check out alice water’s famous, world renowned chez panisse. you will LOVE berkeley i think ~ another foodie haven!

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Sara October 8, 2009 at 8:16 am

Looks absolutely fantastic and just what you were hoping for. Beautiful produce “goodie box,” too. Glad to see your dreams coming true!

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kristina October 8, 2009 at 8:17 am

sorry, forgot to post the link for chez panisse, you probably have already heard of this place, bill clinton was here when he was in office along w. many more famous faces i’m sure ;) now you want fresh and local? this is definitely the place for you!
http://www.chezpanisse.com/reservations/

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Sara October 8, 2009 at 8:17 am

Looks absolutely fantastic and just what you were hoping for. Beautiful produce “goodie box,” too. Glad to see your dreams coming true!

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Sara October 8, 2009 at 8:17 am

Looks absolutely fantastic and just what you were hoping for. Beautiful produce “goodie box,” too. Glad to see your dreams coming true!

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skinnyrunner October 8, 2009 at 8:23 am

WOW! love the pictures and completely jealous of all that fresh food. this seriously sounds like the perfect job for you!

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Jil October 8, 2009 at 8:25 am

Oh.My.Gosh. That just looks…phenomenal. The food – the experience – everything. Those peppers look AMAZING!! Glad to see that you’re having such an amazing time!!!

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Cynthia (It All Changes) October 8, 2009 at 8:32 am

Food that fresh just tastes better. Great memories for you. Reminds me of the way I ate in Germany by shopping at the markets almost daily. So fun. Thanks for the experience :-)

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christie @ honoring health October 8, 2009 at 8:44 am

Wow, it looks amazing!!! You are really going out there and seizing the day. You have really inspired me!

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Stephanie October 8, 2009 at 8:48 am

What did they do with those figs? They look beautiful. :)

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FoodCents October 8, 2009 at 8:51 am

Jenna, looks absolutely fantastic. I am thrilled you are loving your journey already and thank you for sharing the beauty and experience with your readers. Life is about living and taking risks and I am stoked this is just what you did – it seems to be treating you well. ENJOY!!!

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angieinatlanta October 8, 2009 at 8:53 am

That food looks amazing! Fresh tastes best!

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gina (fitnessista) October 8, 2009 at 9:18 am

that has to be the best gift i’ve ever seen!!
your experience has been so amazing thus far, i’m so happy for you :D

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Jenna October 8, 2009 at 10:14 am

glad you enjoyed your night jenna!
jenna

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Amanda @ Cakes and Ale October 8, 2009 at 10:39 am

Oh my goodness – those figs and cheese look so divine. That produce box is like a gift from the Gods too!

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~carolyn~ October 8, 2009 at 10:52 am

Welcome to California! I grew up on a farm with walnuts, cherries and peaches. I now appreciate the fresh produce that we have hear in California after travelling around.

I have included a link to a great little place I went to in Santa Rosa and I think they have one in Healdsburg as well. Not to promote the CA 40, but the truffled French fries with the aioli…worth the trip to the place alone…and the calories!

http://www.starkrestaurants.com/menus/willis_wine_bar_dinner_menu.pdf

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Marcia October 8, 2009 at 11:53 am

yum yum yum yum!! I have to admit, I moved to California and gained almost 40 lbs.

But it was pizza, beer, chips and salsa. Not yummy local fruits and veggies (those were what helped me lose 50…)

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Alicia October 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm

The attic is so cute, kind of a fort or treehouse feeling to it! How awesome is that farm and the food!? I’m definitely going to check out Zin next time I get to wine country.

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WendyF October 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Once you have a farm fresh egg you will never go back to storebought :-) . Its nice to see the resturant owners are about local. It makes all the difference. Those peppers(padrons i think) looked great.

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Kristen October 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Oh my goodness! Everything looks so tasty!
By the way, love your jacket! Where did you get it??

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Kerrie October 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm

mmm, all that fresh produce looks amazing! I keep looking for figs at my grocery store but they just don’t have them!

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Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl October 8, 2009 at 5:54 pm

That is seriously some DELISH looking food, girl! Lucky you!! Wow. How awesome that you’re getting to live this fantabulous life????!!!! :-D

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Suzanne de Cornelia October 9, 2009 at 2:01 am

Fabulous! What a terrific night and starter gift. We’ll have to call you ‘Jennarella’ …the girl who came to the great ball/dream.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tfjuc-pLU4

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Bev October 9, 2009 at 3:23 am

Thank goodness for this blog. Even though your a long way from Fla. We still feel like were close to your exciting new and beautiful life :)

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