THERE ARE SOME SPRINGS... that have to be teased into being, like pulling thread through a needle's eye. Winter has been far too bitter, or indecisive, or all of the above, and the lover of seasonal transition just can't tell if the next chapter to come shall truly arrive on schedule. This, however, is not that year. Spring caught an early train into town, in many parts of California, making outdoor stroll-around-and-sup events especially tempting. It's always a bit dicey, planning those in March, because you're never sure if you're going to get the lamb or lion end of the stick, in terms of weather. (Very often, it's the one with the bigger roar.) But Taste of Yountville, one of wine country's easy-breeziest eat-and-drink saunter-abouts, is perfectly timed, to the very day. It's happening on the Ides of March -- also sometimes dicey -- but this March 15th couldn't be any more amenable to a free street fair.
YEP, WE TYPED "FREE" THERE... and we meant it. Attending the daytime wander-look-imbibe costs no admission, but what will cost you? Taste tickets, which are a buck each. So stock up on those and call upon local and regional purveyors of food, brews, and wines. Bouchon Bakery, Domaine Chandon, Hurley's Restaurant & Bar, and Cliff Lede will all be in the house, or, er, along the street scene. Also festooning the day? Culinary watch-and-learns, art on display, tunes, and garden tours. There's a passport, too, for stamping, so if you go, and you're committed to doing the full day, then look into it. Taste of Yountville, by the by, stretches from March 14 through 16, but the Saturday street party is the big, juicy, flavorful centerpiece. High temp for March 15, in case you're curious? A perfect 77 degrees. No seasonal transitional guessing game to that; that's walking-outdoors weather.