I love new neighbors. As Forrest Gump would put it, "you never know what you're gonna get." My zeal for meeting the people around me has undoubtedly weirded out a few folks, especially when I lived in the heart of Boston and San Francisco. I think showing up at people's doors with a plate of cookies + a smile is often interpreted as naive or Pollyanna-esque. But I didn't care then, and I don't care now. The people who get it have become some of my sweetest friends, with an added benefit - they're right next door.
A couple of years ago, I penned, "It's easy to put on armor in my city life, to buy into a dog-eat-dog mentality. But I'm not chained to that. Neighborly kindness is my choice, and I want to have a small town heart wherever I roam." (Couldn't have said it better myself.)
Now that I'm back in a small town, it's still challenging to grow relationships with those around me. I'm not running into the same faces in the apartment hallway, the laundromat downstairs, or the corner bodega. So I loved meeting my new downtown neighbors at Kitchen Collective, a membership-based cooking club, who not only welcomed Pollyanna in, but also invited me to join them for a dinner featuring Hudson Valley foie-gras. Chef Itamar (pictured below with Chef Antonia) prepared some gorgeous food, but parting ways friends with my neighbors - that was the best stuff. If you're local or just love visiting Napa, check out their membership options, it's a great concept!