vino and queso at open room

Sara and David's dog is appropriately named Vino

I realized this summer I know a whole lot of Cancers. Two of my favorites just celebrated back-to-back birthdays. For Tori's, we had to celebrate with a picnic... the girl loves them! I suggested we check out Open Room, a public art project conceived as a "social sculpture" for people to congregate and interact with one another. Located right next to the Seaholm Power Plant, the long table is detailed with lacy cut-outs and surrounded by four upright chandeliers. More cities need more forever-installations such as this  one.

Rarely does our group get together without cheese- or wine, for that matter- and tonight was no exception. There was manchego with quince paste, there was Cowgirl Creamery's Redhawk, there was Tome de Bordeaux, there was an aged Gouda of some sort.. honestly, there was more cheese than I can remember. But my favorite- both on its own and paired with the 2011 Bridlewood Chardonnay below- was the Swiss Challerhocker.

Challerhocker is actually washed in wine (though I'm not certain what kind) and spices, then aged in a cellar for a minimum of 10 months. The creamy, nuttiness of the cheese was a perfect match for the clean, crisp chardonnay from Monterey County. Each one also seemed to bring out notes of apple and caramel in the other. I highly recommend this pairing! (I think a Challerhocker grilled cheese with apple paired with Bridlewood chardonnay might be next on the agenda...maybe throw a little goat cajeta in there...)

And what's a birthday celebration without an adorable cake? (Although we all know cheese and wine were the stars of this gathering!)

cheers to cheese, wine, and friends in public places!