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The Super Bowl looms out of the blue, and the end of one season, just like New Year's Eve, closes, only to welcome the imminence of Spring Training. It has been a fun following the gridiron action, and I am glad to say I watched more football this season than I have in many years, but I really can't wait for baseball season.
Of course, this false spring gives us much to anticipate, aside from the Niners meeting Baltimore at Superbowl XLVII, and while I probably won't make my killer wings or Boston baked beans, I will hopefully be up for at least some guacamole or mango-shrimp salsa.
Anticipation is, of course, a primary feature of winter. We are really spoiled here in the North State to have such a bounty of naturally raised produce and meats. Winter greens and eggs are still plentiful at our Downtown Chico Farmers' Market, and spring lamb from Wookie Ranch is just around the corner as well, making the anticipation of what's to come a bit more bearable: waiting to start a new job, reestablishing roots, building and rebuilding relationships- all of these things have made this period of incubation incredibly precious.
Of course, dormancy is as important for the soul as it is for the grape vines and chickens that give us so much joy. Not being a part of Community Plate and Walnut City Kitchen with my great friends has made me feel a bit like an exile, but I feel as if this spring will be more fruitful due to the respite, and I look forward to enjoying afternoons on the Handlebar's patio, dinners at The Pour House and meeting with friends at Nash's.
And while some old favorites have passed along the wayside, It is important to note that there is always a new beginning: While 33 1/3 Jazz and Blues was reborn as a BBQ joint tha has also faded, an ABC sign in the window of what was once Caffe Malvina promises a new wine and tapas bar. Bustolini's has faded into the sunset as well, but that site also has an ABC notice in the window, giving hope that this spring will give us even more goodness.
This hope in spring renewal helps us focus on those most important elements of life, friends and food: I'm able to look forward to the joys spring will bring, eagerly anticipating the finale of this year's San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition, as well as Valentine's Day and the return of Wookie Ranch to our local markets.