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Posts from May 2010

Day 4 - Healdsburg Sip & Cycle

IMAG0095Sorry for the delay, kids, but it's been a rough re-entry!

On Saturday morning we woke up and drove the winding roads to Healdsburg from Calistoga, where we met with the rest of our group for the day -- about nine in total.  Tom, our fearless leader, got everyone geared up on their bikes and off we went to Bella Vineyards & Wine Cave, for our first tasting of the day.  But first, less than a mile out, I rode through some glass, and although I tried to avoid it, I heard a hiss and -- wham -- I got a flat in my back tire.  After flagging down Tom for a new tube and a tire lever, we got it changed and were back on the road in no time.

Bella was indeed bella - the scenery was gorgeous, and I am still trying to figure out a way to host a dinner in the private room inside the wine cave.  My favorite at Bella was the 2008 Two Patch Zinfandel.  Next, after a healthy ride, on to Peterson Winery, where I loved the 2007 Peterson Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.  While we were tasting, Tom had set up a lovely lunch, filled with local produce and cheese.  After lunch, it was down the hill and riding through some chilly wind to Everett Ridge Winery (also at the top of a hill).  Now, although Bella was quite scenic, by the time we got to Everett the sun was shining, and we sat outside overlooking a stunning valley -- I could have stayed all afternoon, sipping wine and munching cheese puffs (yes, the puffy Cheetos kind -- more on that in my next post).IMAG0097

We rode a mile back into town to finish up for a total of about 20 miles for the day.  After a shower we headed to St. Helena to visit some friends for a pre-dinner drink/snack.  Their kitchen/living/dining area was laid out exactly how I'd want mine to be if I had that kind of space -- open, airy, with a big island allowing for folks to hang out while the hosts cook.  Sigh. 

We then headed back to Calistoga for dinner at JoLe.  After all that wine tasting, Dad and I opted for a beer and a cocktail, respectively (when I saw some of the booze selections, and noticed the house-made vermouth, I knew I was in good hands).  Dinner was delicious, but we were fading rapidly, and we went home for a hard-earned good nights sleep.

Day 3 - San Fran to Napa

After a somewhat fitful sleep (tiki drinks make for weird dreams, perhaps?), I woke up, packed, and met my Dad, who had flown in from NYC and driven into SF to pick me up.  We headed out across the Bay Bridge towards Napa, where we had planned a cycling/winery trip.  We stopped along the way in St. Helena at Farmstead to have lunch and catch up with Adam (my college boyfriend), who is now living full-time in Napa. 

After lunch we continued on to Calistoga, our home base for the next two nights.  A representative from the bike tour company met us at the hotel, set us up on bikes, and suggested a short, warm-up route for the day.  Despite a few sprinkles, we enjoyed the ride, and even stopped at Twomey for our first wine tasting of the weekend.


We dined at the Inn at Calistoga, and headed off to get a good night's sleep for the following day.

San Francisco, Day 2


In a sad attempt to undo some of the caloric damage from the prior day, I started my day with a run in Golden Gate Park, which was lovely.  Although Wednesday had been sort of cold and drizzly, Thursday was absolutely sunny and gorgeous.  Through the magic of Facebook and Twitter, I learned that two New York friends were actually in San Francisco, so we met up for dim sum at Yank Sing for lunch (not only was it great company, but dim sum is hard to eat alone!). 

After lunch, Doug and I wandered to the Ferry Building (again) for a shot of Blue Bottle Coffee (my macchiato is shown here sideways for some reason, but it's still pretty) and then wandered around a bit.  Doug and I know each other from college a cappella -- the Amalgamates -- and the other two friends I had arranged to meet later in the day were also from the Mates.  We totally took advantage of this.  When I met up with Jonathan at about 4, we didn't tell him that Doug was with him and took him by surprise.  We then went to Smuggler's Cove to meet up with Spike at 5:15, and didn't tell him that Jonathan or Doug were with me.  It was a great surprise to all and a truly fun mini-reunion over a drink at the diviest bar ever (the 21 Club -- Jonathan's favorite) and excellent tiki drinks.

After cocktail hour, I went to meet @M_Quinn and @CatinCal for dinner at Tropisueno where I recapped my highlights from the MCC, and they scared me to death about Tales, and we generally caught up and had a lovely time.  Finally, I touched base with Lynnette (the other aforementioned NYC friend), and met up with her and Ty and their friends for a drink at Nopa.  All in all a wonderful day, then off for a good night's sleep before meeting my dad to head out to Napa/Sonoma.

San Francisco, Day 1


I arrived on the late side on Tuesday night and was picked up at the airport by my friend Eric (who has also been kind enough to let me stay with him and his family). As a New Yorker, it still feels like such a treat to get picked up at the airport for some reason. After a much-needed good night's sleep I walked from my temporary home in Noe Valley to the Mission in search of Dynamo Donuts. Can I please mention how much I love the Mission? I had to stop myself from going into several little storefronts to buy tamales, there's art everywhere, and the taquerias look amazing. But I had my mission - the maple-glazed bacon apple donut. And yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. I washed it down with some Turkish coffee from Philz (served with a sprig of mint), then headed to the Ferry Terminal building to buy a few small gifts. Unable to resist, I had a half dozen Hog Island oysters as a pre-lunch snack. I then walked to the Civic Center area, where I wandered through the farmers market, then hopped on the BART back to the Mission, where I got to catch up with my friend Austin over a chicken mole burrito from Papalote. I walked back homeward over and through the hills in Noe Valley, admiring the beautiful houses on Delores Street and wondering how cyclists make it up the monster hills. I then went back and relaxed for a while until Eric, Bill and little miss Eva returned home. We rounded out the evening with dinner at the local Thai place, where Eva was treated like a celebrity, then caught up on LOST.

Yes, it was a food-heavy day (will pay for it later on the scale, no doubt), but just wandering around makes me realize how much I like it here. At one point I saw a guy with a special dog leash designed to attach to a bike. You're telling me I can ride my bike to get a maple-glazed bacon donut with my dog?! And why have I not moved here yet?

Lovely Lady Liberty


It's a gorgeous view regardless, but it's even better when it's from a boat on the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Three Hour Tour.  Well done, Tippling Point!  Photo credit may or may not be Ray Raymond, who is a great deal taller than I am and took some great pics with my camera.

Sorry for the crickets around here, but am enjoying/recovering from the MCC -- today's agenda includes Bar Myth Busters, the Official Bar, Into the Mystic, Tequila at Mayahuel, and the Dizzy Fizz Tastemaker's Punch.

Ups and Downs

#drop10beforetri Sure, the first few pounds were easy, but I knew this dropping 10 pounds thing was not going to be a straight line downwards.  I know myself pretty well, and there's one thing for sure -- I LOVE FOOD.  LOVE. FOOD.  This doesn't mean I eat a ton of junk, but it does mean that it is hard for me to pass up tasty, well-made food, even though I know it's caloric.  Eating at work or home is easy for me to do in a healthy fashion, but at Eleven Madison Park?  I tried, to a point, ordering a salad and the asparagus veloute, but lord knows how much butter and/or cream was in that soup, and then I got the cheese plate, which pretty much used up my points for that day but DAMN IT WAS GOOD CHEESE!  And then last night, at the Employees Only cordial launch party,  I could only ignore the truffled grilled cheese the first four times it passed by but then I had one. A tiny square of gooey goodness that I couldn't pass up.  And frankly, I'm glad I ate it, because it was tasty.  Considering how much food waltzed by me last night, I did pretty well, but I did have a snack when I got home.  This is tough stuff for me.

So, the scale has reflected my eating for the past two weeks.  Since the last update, I gained 0.4 last week and  0.4 again, so a gain of less than one pound in two weeks -- not dreadful -- but I'd like to get the scale to head back down again.  With a trip to Phoenix and the Manhattan Cocktail Classic coming up, should be a disaster cinch.

Weekend Wrapup

Drinks and dinner with the beach house ladies, including several out-of-towners, breakfast with Lisa, farmers market, long and windy run, dinner w/Mom & Stephen at the bar at 11 Madison Park, cocktails with Jenn & Emilia at Louis 649, brunch with Sara and Arlan at Sweet Afton, lazy Sunday with laundry, catching up on the DVR, mail sorting, and the Sunday times.

And overall, feeling constantly amazed and blessed about the friends I have in my life.  A good weekend, indeed.

Age Before Beauty?

There are plenty of things about getting older that I am learning to live with gracefully -- grey hair, the emergence of wrinkles (I think of them as advanced laugh lines), and the ungodly amount of thought I put into my daily fiber intake.  But shouldn't there be some sort of cosmic balance that ensures that, because of those things, I now no longer have to deal with zits?!?  Who do I talk to about getting this fixed?

Life Lessons

To add to the list of Things I Will Apparently Never Learn: If you are sick, it is best to take it easy and get plenty of rest, otherwise you will be sick three times longer than you would have if you just took it easy and got plenty of rest.  Sigh.