I took this photo on the last day of 2011. Nash and I were down at Crissy Field before Rose’s huge 30th birthday surprise party, killing time before more down and dirty kitchen work. It was a perfect day, and when this shot lined up, the cargo ship coming through the gate, Nash’s tail at attention, it all just seemed to click. Out with the old, in with the new, and onward to the next. A few things that ended the year on a sweet note:

Illegal (shhhh) Brie de Meaux for Christmas. These wheels must have gotten mixed up with the pasteurized for export Fromage de Meaux and snuck themselves in to the US unrecognized. Hooray! This piece of raw milk Brie pretty much made Jesus’s birthday the best party ever.

Briarcombe House, Horseshoe Hill, Bolinas.

A true step back in time to the 1960s, when it was built as a residency for artists and general gathering place of architects, poets, musicians, gurus, writers and their entourages. Home for the weekend for a great group of friends. There was cracked crab, there was the Bolinas Christmas Fair, there were two dogs, one baby and many old fashioneds. And it was proven that you cannot take the West Marin out of the girls…

You thought you were going to get away with only one picture of cheese in this post? Fat chance. My Christmas spread was simply too epic to be relegated to the back seat. Sarah gave me a challenge: bring cheeses that she had never tasted. I love challenges! From left to right: Hillis Peak (goat) from Pholia Farms, St James (sheep) from Holker Farm via Neal’s Yard Dairy, Rupert (cow) from Consider Bardwell Farms, the aformentioned Brie de Meaux, and in the way back, nestled between the pomegranate and the honeycomb, a chunk of Stichelton, my vote for best blue cheese in the world. Baby Cheesus in the house!

Just a ferry ride away…