Before summer ended, my husband came up with the idea of a road trip. We would drive up to Northern California on a cookbook tour. We would promote and sell the new olive oil cookbook I cowrote with Mary Platis/California Greek Girl, Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil. We wanted to visit San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Napa, Sonoma and end our trip with a cookbook signing in Sacramento. Hubby and I knew that the kids would go nuts if we took them on this crazy trip. Luckily, we had family who could look after them and fabulous neighbors who would take care of our pup. So a week ago, the hubby and I hit the road.
My husband likes to sell. I loathe sales. My husband likes shooting the <<bleep>> with people, I hate idle chit chat. Hubby likes wine. I can barely finish one glass. I wasn’t as confident as my husband about this trip.
When we married 15 years ago, hubs and I decided to buy a house instead of a honeymoon. Then we decided to purchase furniture for the house instead of a honeymoon. Then came baby 1. Baby 2. Baby 3. We never did take that honeymoon.
I joked to my husband, “Is this the honeymoon we never had? A road trip selling my cookbook?” I made it quite clear that he was not off the hook.
From our home in San Diego, we hit the road at 4am. This is the strategy for bypassing LA morning rush hour. On our way to the Bay Area, we made quick stops visiting stores in the We Olive Stores in San Luis Obispo and Paseo Robles. My husband’s energy and enthusiasm pushed us onward.
I delivered cookbooks to a fabulous olive oil store in Santa Cruz, The True Olive Connection. We spent the night at my cousin’s house in Los Altos, where we mapped out the rest of our adventure.
Day 2 of our whirlwind book tour brought us to San Francisco. Another batch of books delivered to the fabulous ladies of Olive This, Olive That. A quick visit and pitch to the infamous Omnivore Books. Stopped by the iconic San Francisco market, Bi-Rite.
For lunch, we hit the Ferry Building (our first time here) where we chatted with two olive oil stores and a book store, Book Passage. I admit, by now, I was losing steam. I saw the book store and told my husband, I’m not feeling it. He shoved me in. I found the manager, gave her my cookbook, my pitch and braced myself for the typical runaround.
She loved the book. I mean, she really LOVED the book. She begged for me to keep a copy and promised to pass it on to her store’s buyer. I thanked her and moved on. Little did I know that her enthusiasm for our book, got us into their two bookstores.
Our second day ended with a trip to Ghiradelli Square and one final olive oil store. We were exhausted.
We wrapped up the day with an outstanding Japanese Barbecue dinner with Nami/Just One Cookbook and her husband. For the past two years, Nami and I have chatted via emails and social media. We finally got to meet in person and talked all night long like long lost friends. (You’ve got to check out Nami’s beautiful blog and her amazing Japanese recipes)
Day 3 of our road trip took us over the bridge through Oakland to Berkeley. We delivered books to The Pasta Shop, pitched and got our cookbooks into Books Inc. We were on a roll. A few more stores and we headed out to Walnut Creek where we delivered books to We Olive and into Rackstraw Books in Danville. We wrapped the day with dreamy a steak and shrimp dinner with dear old friends from our college days.
Day 4? Napa or bust! Did you know that the olive boom is hitting California’s wine country? Many wineries now produce premium extra virgin olive oil. Napa and Sonoma is surrounded by wineries and olive groves. This was heaven for my husband and I.
We visited almost a dozen stores that day in Napa, St. Helena and Calistoga and gazed at the landscape around us. I may not be a wine connoisseur, but I certainly can appreciate the beauty of wine country.
We had just enough time to visit a castle, Castello di Amorosa. What a gem! This castle was built by stones and ruins from castles all over Europe. For $20, you get to wander inside the castle and have a wine tasting. Hey, we didn’t have our kids with us, so why not?
Day 5 brought us to Sonoma and several wineries surrounding it. On our back to San Francisco, we visited The Olive Press, Sonoma’s first and oldest olive mill in Sonoma. This is a site to see. The owners of the Olive Press also own a fabulous winery, which surrounds the press. Yeah, our cookbook is going to be sold there.
We spent the night in Sacramento, because the morning of Day 6 I had a cookbook signing at Chef’s Olive Mix in Old Sacramento. What a cute little area. Old Sac is historical and resembles an old western town. Cobblestone streets, wooden buildings, horse drawn carriages – you were transported to the old west.
The book signing was a great success. Everyone loved the poached tomatoes and onions, and the two hours flew by as I talked to everyone about olive oil and good food. This was the most fun I had a book signing!
After my book signing and a long lunch, the hubby and I drove the 7-hour trek back home to our kiddos. This was the longest I have ever been away from them. As much as I adore them, I had to admit that it was a peaceful 6 days. The long days on the road, weren’t as painful since there wasn’t any bickering or fighting going on. But nothing beat coming home to endless hugs and hundreds of kisses. And not to forget, an extremely happy little pup thrilled to have his family back home.
But I still want my honeymoon. I’m thinking the vineyards and olive groves of Italy would be nice.