Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy Hours, Vineyard Runs, Art, and Wine

The last few weeks have been filled with friends, family, food, fun, and work. It started with the announcement that I would be moving from Roseville to Napa over appetizers at Lucille's. From there I was back in Napa for work (and found time to run in the mornings), then back to Roseville and Lincoln for dinner at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants after one last bike ride through my neighborhood.

After selling my house in a day, my parents and I headed to Napa to look at my options. After a morning of looking at houses, and some liquid courage at Applebee's, I purchased a brand new townhouse about 10 minutes from work, shortening my commute by over an hour in each direction.

Since then I have been in Napa consistently ... filmed a video with DoNapa in our vineyards, enjoyed some great cuisine at Siena with media, helped with an amazing art class on the Vineyard Deck, and had dinner with Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the Estate Cave.

I officially move in a few weeks, but between now and then will be in Napa, Newport Beach, and even a quick trip to Canada.
See all the photos.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Playing Tourist in Napa

Although the title is a bit misleading since there were very long days of work involved and very little sleep, the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of new experiences as I've been trying to see more, walking (and running) in areas near The Meritage and filming with a video crew from Black Tomato all around the stunning Napa Valley. The fun a conference at Napa Valley College's St. Helena Campus, where I was able to hear from some great speakers from the hospitality industry and enjoy a fabulous Asian inspired meal prepared by their culinary students.

After a quick trip back to Roseville for Easter celebrations and dinner at Cibo 7 (luckily I go to a church that has Easter services on Friday and Saturday), I was back in Napa for Easter Sunday as we transformed our outdoor spaces into a great spot for an Easter Egg hunt, then welcomed 400 for a spectacular brunch (Mother's Day is coming up soon).

Then the fun began ... there was a Visit Napa Valley meeting that included an invite to Yao Family Winery (yep the Houston Rockets player has diversified after his retirement). Although we didn't see the basketball star for industry night, we did love the wine and the tasting room (granted the white couch might not last). For the next three days I played tour guide and chauffeur as a team film crew from England and Black Tomato came to Napa to film a video for us. We filmed all over The Meritage, plus got to see (and do) some fun things in Napa Valley. We drove around to get scenic shots as the fog that makes Napa so special was hovering over the vineyards and as it cleared, drove by Joseph Phelps, tasted sparkling wines at Mumm Napa, had a quick lunch at Oakville Grocery, interviewed Cindy Pawlcyn at Mustards Grill (and then went back and ate there the next day), and, although I didn't get to go up this time, went up in the air with Balloons Above the Valley for some breathtaking views of the vines below (it's also fascinating to watch them as they prepare for launch with giant fans and some very large flames). We finished up with a tasting at Etude.

Once back in Roseville I rested for a bit, before heading to the Sac Republic home opener ... our cheering helped them win and start the season 2-0, followed by lunch at GB Alehouse and a long run near my house. I'm looking forward to a great season and many more adventures to come.
See all the photos.

Friday, March 18, 2016

From Napa to Roseville to SLO and Santa Barbara

Sometimes life is a drive. First there was a run though, my longest one ever, 13.1 miles with a brand new pair of shoes ... I quickly got those calories back with dinner at Monk's Cellar and dessert at Rita's. Then I was off to Napa where I gave a property tour to some guests. I always love a good reason to walk around the property and in our vineyards, it's pretty no matter the time of year. The next day I was off to Arkenstone Vineyards, it was beautiful and their wines were really good too. Back in Roseville there were dessert waffles and my first meal at Moo Moo's Burger Barn after a run, visit to the gym, and church at Hillside.

Then my official road trip began ... my parents and I began in Lodi before heading to Paso Robles for a little wine tasting and a tour (and beer tasting) at Firestone Brewery. I think we should be the new quality control team. We then spent a couple of days in my college town, San Luis Obispo. It was fun to be back, eat at a few great restaurants, including Giuseppe's, get a run in, and head down to Pismo Beach and Avila Beach for a little relaxation.

We kept driving south to Bacara, where the work began. There were lots of meetings and lots of emails, but I found some time (and some good meeting locations) to enjoy some food, meet new people, see the entire property, and enjoy the beauty that is the Pacific Ocean ... and maybe a little wine tasting in the Foley tasting room.
Check out all the pictures here.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Lobster, Bacon, and Opus

It's odd to say it was a typical week when you work 16-18 hours a day, but still get to do some amazing things. It started off with lobster and brownies at home, then progressed to brunch at Sacramento's Bacon & Butter, followed by wine tasting at Bogle Vineyards. There was church at Bayside with a guest speaker from Duck Dynasty, Korie Robertson, a few long runs, and even a spur of the moment dinner with friends at the new Old Town Pizza in Roseville.

Napa also had its share of fun ... a trip to the magnificent Opus One Winery for a tasting and tour with the winemaker. Dinner at Siena to try a few of the new menu items, our new culinary team continues to amaze me. Lunch at Crush to try out the new wings (tasty), and even a little cocktail testing.
Pictures for those with iPads.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Wine, Wine Country, Mexican Food, and Snow!

I've been doing what I do best, enjoying life, while also working a ton (about 10+ hours on my day off the other day). Driving up to Calistoga for a meeting was so beautiful that I had to pull over to the side of the road and take a picture of the mustard growing up between the vines, plus on the way back to Napa I decided to enjoy a quick meal at Buster's Southern BBQ. I also checked out our new laundry facility, it's amazing, even folds and irons everything.

Back in Sacramento ... I took a photo of a few wine bottles for National Drink Wine Day (I may have also opened one) and it was the start of the Sacramento Republic FC pre-season as they played the San Jose Earthquakes at Bonney Field. I don't think I'll ever get bored watching the games or the sunsets. There was also many bottles of wine to be purchased (almost like shopping at Kohl's while at Grocery Outlet ... spent $200, saved $482) on a few cases of wine.

Then there was exercise ... a few long runs, skiing at Sugar Bowl (including trying out my new GoPro) with a friend ... and ruining all that exercise with quick meals at Chipotle and Garcia's.
Photos for those with iPads.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Biba + the Third Annual Masters and Makers

As always, it's been a great few weeks. I've been making the time to run while I'm at home (even got up to 10 miles on Super Bowl Sunday), enjoyed fabulous food and wine, celebrated with friends and family, plus have been in Napa.

My family celebrated my grandma's birthday at Biba in Sacramento with a beautiful lunch. Plus Biba came by to sign a cookbook for her, chat, and take a few pictures. We also had a great dinner cooked at home with a bottle of Napa Valley wine from Rutherford Ranch. Lunch and dinner at Red Robin and Chili's weren't a bad thing either.

After a 10 mile run on Super Bowl Sunday we continued a food tradition ... homemade nachos! They were so good, I think after three years, we're figuring out the right way to make baked tortilla chips.

The Third Annual Masters and Makers did not disappoint. With an opening wine tasting with HALL Wines/St. Helena and Trinitas Cellars, followed by a winemaker dinner that began with a poolside reception and finished with dinner in the Estate Cave.

Saturday began with breakfast with a friend in Siena (the French Toast was tasty). Breakfast finished at about 10:50 ... lunch started at 11 a.m. on the Vineyard Terrace, I accepted the challenge and enjoyed the three course "Opposites Attract" lunch with a wine you would and wouldn't expect to be paired with each course. After lunch was (is) my favorite class every year ... Shape of the Glass with RIEDEL. This year we tried two white wines and two red wines, all from Etude. It always amazes me how the shape of a glass really can make a huge difference in the taste of the wine (or for that matter even water and Coca-Cola).

Saturday night was the Grand Tasting. 40 wineries, 2 breweries, an author, RIEDEL, and more amazing food from the culinary team, plus a live band that added to the ambiance. It may be stressful to plan, but knowing that everyone had a great time makes it all worth it.

Sunday morning started with a Valen-Wines Day Brunch (February 14) on the Vineyard Terrace and ended with a Meritage Blends and Chocolate Tasting. I'm looking forward to 2017 now (as well as a few upcoming Winemaker Dinners).
Pictures for those with iPads.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

3 Weeks of Wine, Food, and Travel

It's odd to say that the last three weeks have almost been "normal" ... wine tasting, enjoying great food, great friends, and a little bit of travel. Although it might get stressful and there are some downsides, life overall is pretty darn good and I know I'm a lucky person to live it.

I did a fabulous wine tasting with Etude in preparation for Masters and Makers @ Meritage in February. There was a flight down to Newport Beach for our annual conference at the Balboa Bay Resort (and stayed in their newly renovated guestrooms). So much fun, great food, and great wine was had ... in addition I learned a lot about some new things coming in 2016 that I'm looking forward to learning more about them, and sharing about them in the coming weeks and months.

There was also food closer to home at Lucille's in Rocklin, the Boxing Donkey in Roseville, and both Siena (for Napa Valley Restaurant Week) and Crush Ultra Lounge at The Meritage in Napa.
Photos for those with iPads.
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