On my way to Slow Food Nation, a celebration of “sustainable and just” farmers, foods, and lifestyles, I found myself, well, being a typical, fast-paced American. Running a bit behind schedule, there I was, mobbing up Highway 101 in my S.U.V. blaring John Butler Trio’s Grand National Album in attempt to get stoked for the Slow Food Rocks concert. Whining about our growling tummies and in a hurry to essentially hit Bay Area traffic, my boyfriend/travel partner suggested In-N-Out. Besides, since when was a Number 2 Combo not a good idea?
Twenty minutes later, satisfied and feeling the onset of food coma, he says to me, “Ha. That’s funny…fast food…and you’re going to Slow Food tonight.” Wow. Did I just betray my purpose for the weekend? Aren’t In-N-Out french fries made fresh anyway? I watched them make my food? At least I wasn’t at a fast food giant, whose announced entrance to Italy sparked the initial Slow Food Movement.
Before we left we learned that the San Francisco Bike Coalition was hosting FREE bike valet for each event. How awesome is that? Thanks to the Coalition, we were totally inspired to explore the city streets on two wheels all weekend from Union Square to the Wharf.. When we got to the hotel, we sent the car with valet, re-assembled our bikes and began a 30-hour, 2-wheeled urban adventure.
I must say, I felt rather smug manuevering around the cars and rolling up right to the front of the event entrance while others were circling for parking. I know that just 5 hours earlier I was commuting up the 101 in my SUV. But before you post a less-than-friendly comment, how else was I to transport two bikes on our 4 hour roadtrip?
But this is Slow Food Nation – back to the point. Inside the event, I went straight to the Sustainable Wine Bar, where 450 sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines were poured by their assigned number from a dozen sommoliers. Displayed around the Wine Pavilion were wall-sized posters on sustainability, California’s wine regions, and more. The highlight for me? Seeing the Central Coast Vineyard Team recognized on a poster for being a pioneer in growing California’s sustainable winegrowing movement. Very cool!
Before tackling the line for samples of cheese, gelato, and charcuterie, I spent several of my so-called “slow dough” on a glass of Halter Ranch Syrah, the only winery at the wine bar to represent the Vineyard Team’s pilot certification program for sustainably grown winegrapes. This, I had to inform my sommolier.
At the end of the night, sneaking a baguette covered with pork confi and a miniature honey-pistachio muffin in my Central Coast Grown tote bag, I checked my bike out of valet and was glad I was coming back to SLO, where things can be quite SLOW.