Jelly Belly!


Yes, I bought the commemorative photo. I never do that, but c’mon, that’s hilarious. Looking forward to our 5-day Sonoma trip, my children were probably most excited about the prospect of visiting a candy factory. Jelly belly is every child’s dream come true(and every dental hygienist’s nightmare, but I won’t be a killjoy). The whole place smelled like vanilla marshmallows and everything was candy-colored and cheerful 

 Unfortunately they are redoing the tour lanes so the the tour was self-guided and pretty disappointing -the TV screens giving the schpiel were hard to see and hear over the sound of the machinery, and while I think with the guided tour you get jelly beans at each station, they just handed out a small pack of jelly belly candy corn at the end of the tour. That said, we all loved peering down onto the factory floor and seeing the drying trays FULL of jelly beans, like a dragon’s hoard of little sugary jewels. The highlight for me was the rows of cement-mixer like tumblers that they use to smooth and glaze the beans. It was like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When we were there they were glazing lemon beans with huge pitchers of bright yellow syrup, and the scent wafted right up through the floor. I don’t really even like jelly beans (I’m a chocolate person),and it was still a pretty magical experience.

For the children, the sample bar and gift shop were the highlights. 


They got regular jelly beans, of course, but I think they had the most fun with these Bean Boozled packets 

Get the idea? Two jelly beans, the same color, one good, one utterly VILE. No way of telling until you bite down. 

 That’s a face that got skunk spray instead of licorice. I’m here to tell you that skunk spray tastes EXACTLY like it smells. As does canned dog food. Revolting and awesome at the same time.

We opted not to eat at the jelly belly cafeteria, but we did play one of the fun coin operated jelly bean games before we left.

 And we took one last picture! 


Cocoa Nostalgique


I grew up in New York City, and my parents were very good to me. I have happy memories of very indulgent times I spent as a carefree young adult, and some of my favorite involved being at Payard, back when they had a beautiful cafe and bar. In the looooong summer(it stretched from June to January of the following year!) between graduating and getting a job, I went there almost daily to do “research” but mostly for a Croque Monsieur and pot of their insanely delicious hot chocolate. The waiters were all very distinguished and snooty. I knew I had become a regular when they maintained their snooty demeanor but just brought me “the usual” without being asked, sometimes with the addition of a complimentary macaron. I was waxing nostalgic to my dear friend Natalie about their cocoa being my version of Proust’s madeleine, and how I had heard they sold the mix now. Wouldn’t you know, not a week later a box of the mix arrived in the mail, with a lovely note from Natalie, who had surprised me with this special treat, just because. Of course I didn’t wait, but followed the directions on the box, using my beloved Breville induction milk heater and frother. I used to scoff at single use appliances, and when my husband bought this I may have sneered a little but I was SO wrong. I love this thing. I use it at least once a day and it is genius for hot chocolate. 

  Look at that! Gorgeous. And having a cup while the baby naps and the big kids are at school *almost* feels like being a carefree 20-something again.