There's a great little throwback restaurant about 10 minutes' walk from my house, where folks mainly of a generation previous to mine like to gather and drink and eat — definitely in that order of priority. It's in a remote enough location, even here in well-populated Marin County, that you feel you're in the country; from the patio you see only the road and a pristine hillside.
And on that patio is a trellis covered with grape vines. Earlier this past summer I surreptitiously snagged a few grape leaves for dolmades. But then I guess I forgot to go back for a few months, because when I returned yesterday, not only were most of the grapes long gone, but the ones that got left behind had turned into raisins.
I was not at all surreptitious about helping myself to a cluster.
The little shriveled things are really tiny, but luckily, I happened to grab this bunch before they had become too dried-out. In fact, even though they're a tad more leathery than those sticky, icky Sun-Maids from a box, they are just tender enough.
And the flavor? Sweet. Deep. Concentrated summer.
Man, I love finding food.