All of Oakland breathed a sigh of relief yesterday, as a long-awaited rainstorm cleared the air and weakened the devastating fires to the north. We awoke to the sound of falling water, and we threw open windows and doors in celebration of our re-engagement with the world.
‘Mushrooms!’ my friend Bennett shouted, as he entered the shop and dropped a dripping umbrella by the door. ‘Have you mushrooms?’ I asked. ‘Some,’ He said, ‘but the rain will bring more.’ Bennett gets very excited about Fungi, neither plant nor animal! The largest living organism! He explained to me how the thread-like mass of mycelium lies dormant underground, waiting for water to spring into action, a signal to fruit and propagate. Yes, a mushroom is a fruit. And while the mycelium waits, it forms a network of connections with the trees and plants around it, trading minerals and essential chemicals with the surrounding flora, a symbiotic parasite, maintaining worlds beneath our feet.
The ingenuity of fungi appears to know no bounds; they seem to magically manipulate the environment to promote their survival and growth. Mushrooms have their own immune system and are more closely related in DNA to humans than to plants. Perhaps it was this last fact, or a combination of wine and imagination, that led another mushroom enthusiast, a stranger to me, around a post-supper bonfire in the Santa Barbara hills, to remark that perhaps we were all, in fact, mushrooms.
‘I am NOT a mushroom!’ declared my friend Suzanne, a straight-talker from Queens who follows nonsense only so far. That ended the conversation and has served as a sort of rallying cry for me ever since. That’s right, Suzy, we are not mushrooms, and now that the rain has set us free, we are going to act like humans and eat, drink and be merry again. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
We are thankful for you, and We are OPEN TODAY from 10-4! Stop by if you need a break from the in-laws, or any last minute wines, bad puns, or big hugs. We are here for you, happily.
And join us this weekend for a tasting flight. Bring your parents, your uncle, your crazy cousins. Please, no mushroom-people.
The weekend ahead...
SATURDAY 11/24: PINOT NOIR flights - Try some of our favorite Pinots from around the world. 2-6pm $15
SUNDAY 11/25: ITALIAN flights – taste the new arrivals and old favorites from all over Italia. 2-6pm $15