Sunday, January 25, 2015

From Napa to La Jolla

I'm getting used to traveling for work and the last couple weeks have been fun. I ended one week in Napa with the team from Visit Napa Valley and many other tourism pros from the area, then had breakfast at the Boon Fly Cafe. Heading back to Sacramento I met my parents at Maggiano's and went to Roseville for a run, church to hear Bob Goff speak, and then we were off to see a movie. Our goal was American Sniper, but with four hours to the next showing, we decided on Imitation Game and finished our night with dinner at Lucille's.

Then it was off to La Jolla for our annual corporate meeting at the Estancia. I hadn't been to the property since before my coastal cruise, so it was fun to be back and it great to see everything that our company has been doing over the last year and plans to do over the next few years. There was also some great food and lots of wine.

After three days in La Jolla it was back to reality. I went to the gym, headed out on a run, and went to church before seeing American Sniper and having a quick dinner at Chili's with friends.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Celebrating and Remembering

I do a lot of celebrating in my life and the last couple of weeks have been no different. I went to see and celebrate the future home of Bayside Blue Oaks (it will be nice to have an option for church that is only nine minutes away from my house). Then I headed to the Bay Area to meet my newest nephew, while another one of my nephews knew just what we needed ... a wine shop (we "paid" him, but we had to provide the wine, glassware and open the wine bottle, so he was making a lot of profit).

Back in Napa, I was able to meet up with the team from Visit Napa Valley to show them around The Meritage and enjoy a great wine tasting in the Trinitas Library with them to wrap up our tour. It was time next to celebrate my cousin's first birthday, work with my mom and grandma to hem some pants and then it was time to remember.

I met up with friends to watch the movie Unbroken about Louis Zamperini and to remember what he and many others experienced during WWII. I read the book a few years ago and the movie was a great visual representation of what I had read up to when he comes back to the USA. To hear about and see the rest of the story, we all headed to Bayside for church and to "experience the rest of the story." Louis had endured through nightmares (PTSD wasn't a known condition back then), before going to a Billy Graham event that changed his life and took his nightmares away. Watch the message here
To celebrate friendship we headed to Red Robin for dinner and the next day I knew I had to exercise. I bought some new shoes and took them out for a test run of 7.25 miles before having a healthy dinner at home while watching the Golden Globes
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Friday, January 02, 2015

The Holidays

With a few trips to Napa, spending time in Lodi for Christmas, and making time for friends, the last few weeks have been great for family, friends, food, wine and photos. I started by helping film a pilot episode for a new show in Napa and I even got to see  the new dog beds I ordered (dogs can now sleep in style at The Meritage). For our Christmas potluck at work I made peanut butter cookies with a caramel center and then I was off to Lodi for Christmas. We dined on some fantastic foods, while I provided some Napa Valley wines.

After Christmas, I was able to hang out with some friends as we went to Global Winter Wonderland at Cal Expo to tour some of the globes most famous sites re-created in lights. After walking around the world, we headed to Burgers and Brew before heading to Elk Grove to look at three houses that go all out when it comes to putting up Christmas lights.

For New Year's Eve I headed back to Napa after cooking up brownies in a waffle iron (very good fresh, not so good the day after ... lesson = eat them all quick). My NYE started out with a few fish tacos with reporters before a balloon drop in the ballroom with lots of people eager to welcome in 2015. I woke up in 2015 with a view of vineyards and the Grape Crusher Statue, then after walking through the vineyards headed to Yountville for lunch at R+D Kitchen with friends (deviled eggs, kale salad and an ahi burger). Then we walked past The French Laundry and to V. Sattui to look around.

Once back in Roseville my friends came back and we had some wine, while enjoying Bacon, Bacon, Bacon pizza from Papa Murphy's and some salad.
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday Celebrations and Christmas at Bayside

The last few weeks have been full of holiday celebrations. I started with the "Managers Holiday Party" with the team from The Meritage. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Auberge du Solei, then the managers served the rest of the staff during an 80's themed bash, complete with video games, amazing food, and lots of 80's inspired fashion.

My dad and I also were able to attend an open house for Sacramento Republic FC and got to see their championship trophy for the first time up close. After seeing the trophy we headed to Rubicon Brewing Co. for lunch (and beer). After lunch I was off to the gym, Bayside for church, the new Blaze Pizza for their preview night (free pizza), and some friends and I checked out some of our favorite Christmas Light displays in Roseville and Rocklin. Since there wasn't enough food or beer on Saturday, I met another friend in Auburn on Sunday for brunch with unlimited mimosas at Auburn Alehouse, before heading to Knee Deep Brewing for a flight of beer.

Yesterday I enjoyed a virtual wine tasting via iPad FaceTime in my kitchen to the real wine tasting taking place in Napa, then last night I really got into the holiday spirit with the Bayside Christmas service, complete with stage in the center of the room, iLuminate (from America's Got Talent), a message that reminded everyone of the reason for the season, and a candle light (well they were electric candles) rendition of Silent Night.
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Sunday, December 07, 2014

Thanksgiving, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and Ready for Rain

It's been a fun last few weeks. It started with Thanksgiving in Lodi. We went non-traditional by pulling up carpet to reveal beautiful hardwood floors, then had steak for dinner, paired with some flavorful Miner Family Wines. After a quick trip to the mall for Black Friday (not normal for us at all, but I did buy two new suits at about 75% off), we celebrated Thanksgiving a day late with three chickens replacing the turkey. Once back to Roseville, I ventured out again to the mall for lunch and to check out the Bayside Ice Rink at the Galleria.

After a few days in Roseville it was time to head to Napa to check out the Christmas decorations at The Meritage. The chef created a huge gingerbread house that now sits in the lobby for everyone to see, just before they are greeted by a Christmas Tree that reaches the ceiling. I also had the opportunity to take a tour of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and try some of their wines in their brand new tasting room. They will be our featured winery at Masters and Makers @ Meritage in February 2015 for the winemaker dinner. I can't wait to taste the wines again, especially when they are paired with great food from The Meritage culinary team.

Back to Roseville, it was time to prep for the storm of the decade ... my parents came up and helped me clean gutters that are almost 30 feet in the air, then I took them to Monk's Cellar for lunch and beer tasting before they headed home and I headed to Bayside to see the kids choir perform and check out the Christmas Tree lighting.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Birthday and Wine Country

Although it was a lower key birthday this year, having dinner with a friend at Red Robin, there was no shortage of amazing food and world-class wines over the last few weeks. My time started with a day trip to Newport Beach for meetings. Although I spent less than 12 hours in Orange County, watching the sunset over Newport Harbor never gets old and made the trip worth it (as did some popcorn with bacon, pizza fries, and a beer or two). My birthday was officially celebrated with a burger at Red Robin, but there was also my favorite wrap at Chick-Fil-A, fajitas and Texas fries at Chili's, holiday mini-golf at Golfland-SunSplash, and a few much needed runs.

Then it was time to meet with a few colleagues from out-of-state that had never been to Napa. It was my challenge to help them experience everything that The Meritage had to offer, while also showcasing the beauty that is the Napa Valley. Not one to shy away from challenges, I gladly accepted, and put together a two day itinerary that included a full resort tour, a 12 course chef's tasting menu at Siena, the launch party for Napa Smith Brewery's West Coast IPA on day one. Day two started with breakfast and a few presentations, then a winery/barrel room tour and tasting with Trinitas Cellars,  a tour of Oxbow Public Market, the Napa Riverfront and Napa Valley Welcome Center, downtown Napa, and a sparkling wine tasting at Domaine Carneros. Obviously, we had to wrap up the night with bowling and a few extra drinks at Crush Ultra Lounge, before heading to Siena for dessert. After most of the group left early Saturday morning our client advocate had planned to stay through the weekend, so I was able to extend my reservation with another team member and we all enjoyed Saturday and Sunday touring a few of the wineries and restaurants that make Napa so special. We started with breakfast at Jax White Mule Diner, then were off to Peju, Miner Family Winery, Paraduxx, and lunch at R+D Kitchen. We headed back to Domaine Carneros for one last wine and sparkling tasting, before getting back to downtown Napa. As my co-worker had to go back to the resort and get his dog, I took our client to Tarla for a few appetizers (you can never go wrong with flaming cheese), then we were back to The Meritage to try what has quickly become one of the favorite menu items ... a $24 burger. We split it in 1/4ths and still had trouble finishing our part. Sunday we took it easy by heading to Round Pond Estate for their wine and small bites pairing, plus were able to walk around their gardens and enjoy the picturesque views from their deck and second floor tasting room.

Then it was back to Sacramento and reality ... Beach Hut Deli for lunch (okay maybe I hadn't quite adjusted to reality), and a six-mile run before heading to Bayside for Sunday night church and the grocery store. Monday night I decided to put up my Christmas lights and tree (normally I do it the weekend after Thanksgiving, but it's supposed to rain). Fort Bradley will be festive for an extra week this year.
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Birthday Celebrations Begin at the Bradley Lodge

My birthday celebrations began a little early this year with a trip to the Bradley Lodge. After using a coupon from Dickey's BBQ Pit for a free meal on Thursday, I headed up to the Bradley Lodge Friday evening with my parents and grandma. My dad and I were able to help the Big Trees Village Rec Center prepare for winter (and spring) by helping to rake pine needles and do other pre-winter preparations, then we all went to dinner at Sarafina's, our favorite Italian restaurant in Arnold. As always, dinner did not disappoint.

When we got back to Sacramento we did yard work at my parents house' and went to Florez for Mexican food and a margaritas. Now, off to Newport Beach for the day before heading to Napa later in the week.
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