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.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Snow Country and Wine Country for the Holidays

I celebrated Christmas at the Bradley Lodge with good food and good wine. From fried chicken to Cioppino and prime rib, we enjoyed the food with the wine, and ... 15+ inches of snow. There was also a day of skiing at Bear Valley, a few friendly games of Pinochle and walks along snow covered streets.

On our way back to Sacramento we stopped in Roseville to visit with my cousins, then enjoy a fabulous salmon dinner (with more wine) at a friend's house. During dinner we decided we needed something to do the next day and decided on a trip to Lodi for wine tasting. LangeTwins and Oak Farm did not disappoint with their fabulous wines and friendly hospitality.

For New Year's I headed to Napa to celebrate with 450+ of my closest friends at The Meritage. I started out 2016 right with a few days of wine tasting. Napa is always beautiful and the winter is a little less crowded, meaning more personalized service, less traffic, and still great wines. There was a stop at Rutherford Ranch Winery for a wine and chocolate pairing. Quick visits to Raymond and Cosentino. Tasting where history was made at Chateau Montelena, unplanned stops at Charles Krug, the Culinary Institute at Greystone, and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, and a fun tasting at Judd's Hill. Beyond the wine there was time to watch a few movies, including Joy, the Rose Parade, and even enjoy some great food, including a meal at Tarla in downtown Napa after a walk downtown and through Oxbow Public Market.

I finished off New Year's weekend with the final 95.7 The Game radio broadcast in Crush at The Meritage, and a stop in Davis at CREAM (ice cream sandwich made from cookies). At home it was back to reality quickly when I took down and put away all of my Christmas decor.
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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Traveling and Christmas

It's not secret that I'm not at my house much, but it's a fun life for sure. This week I started in Orange County for meetings at our corporate office and was able to stay at the DoubleTree Santa Ana ... which includes the Meritage Restaurant and Wine Bar. The meetings were very productive and dinner with my marketing colleagues at Seasons 52 was finished off with a few shots of decadent desserts.

After 24 hours home, I was back to Napa for our Holiday Party at the Culinary Institute ... amazing food and some fabulous wines, all at one beautiful venue.

I finished the week at Bayside for a Christmas extravaganza, featuring the Earth Harp, Lincoln Brewster, and so many other great things focusing on the true message of Christmas. If you're in the area, head to Bayside to be part of one of the upcoming services.
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Sunday, December 06, 2015

Fun Month of Wine

It's been a fun month. There were meetings and wine tasting in Napa Valley, including my first trips to Cakebread Cellars and the Harvest Inn, and a birthday lunch with the team at Hurley's. There was a quick trip to Clarksburg and Bogle Vineyards (the best deal in wine tasting ... no tasting fee) and a birthday dinner with my parents at Scott's Seafood on the River. I celebrated Thanksgiving with family in Scotts Valley and we were able to work off our turkey dinner at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, looking at the beautiful redwoods and chasing after a few kids.

Back in Napa, I enjoyed a lunch at the Kitchen Door and a holiday party with others in the wine/hospitality industry at Inglenook, before heading back to Sacramento to walk through Global Winter Wonderland at Cal Expo.

I finished up with wine tasting in Lodi (my excuse ... had to pick up my parents wine club shipment). Lange Twins was a great way to start the day, followed by Viaggio, and, my family's favorite, Oak Farm Vineyards where we enjoyed the wine club pick up party, plus brought some of our own snacks to enjoy while looking out at the vines.
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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wine, Photos, Phone, Food

There's never a shortage of Wine, Photos, Phones, and Food in my life, but this week was a little different. I started the week last Sunday with 95.7 The Game's Raiders Opening Drive broadcasting live from The Meritage, then it was time for wine. I was able to explore the Crusher Wine District for the first time, visiting eight wineries (Avinodos, The Wine Foundry, Humanitas, Trinitas Cellars, J. Moss, Mi SueƱo, Crosby Roamann, Y. Rousseau) in about four hours, all within 1.5 miles of The Meritage. It was so fun to see all the wineries and taste all of their fabulous wines ... I even purchased a few bottles for all the holiday celebrations coming up soon. After a day of wine, Siena offered the perfect dinner and it was my first time to try the new Fall menu ... Fritto Misto, Brussels sprouts, halibut, and a pork chop (I shared).

On Veterans Day Crush held a special event to Honor Our Heroes with a special menu that included some very tasty pork ribs and short rib poutine, along with some specialty cocktails. Lots of money was raised for the Yountville Veterans Home through the food, the drinks, and a raffle. Veterans Day was also the start of a massive photo shoot. After a walk through of The Meritage and our hillside vineyards, we took some pictures of bowling in Crush, and then got ready for the big day on Thursday.

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and work started right away as I started to get everything ready for a day long photo shoot of the resort with our new ad agency. By sunrise we were already taking pictures of bikes in the vineyards, the vines, and painting on the Vineyard Deck. The rest of the day brought more opportunities to showcase our beautiful property including the spa, Crush, the pool, Trinitas, the Estate Cave, and other views and special spots around the resort.

To wrap up the day I met up with our outside reservations team for a family style dinner in Siena. Our culinary team and chef never cease to amaze me with fabulous food. Fritto Misto, duck, scallops, massive pork chops, and dessert.

Friday I was back in Roseville to finish out the work week and then celebrate my birthday with friends. We enjoyed dinner at Zocalo in the Fountains, followed by a very tasty homemade peanut butter inspired cheesecake. Saturday, I bought my birthday gift to me .... an iPhone 6s after waiting in line for a little while before Sam's Club opened, I was rewarded with a $250 gift card and my first new phone in about three years (upgraded from the iPhone 5).
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Saturday, November 07, 2015

Concert, Wine, Food, More Wine, More Food

It's been a fun last few weeks with lots of great food and wine. It started with a quick meal at Chevy's (nachos and fajitas were needed), followed by a great concert with Matt Redman at Bayside, then I was off to Napa a few times.

In Napa there were walks in vineyards, a dinner in the Estate Cave with family, friends, and 150 others paired with wines from Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars. A day of wine tasting at Frog's Leap, Castello di Amorosa, and Chandon. Food at Bistro Don Giovanni, Gott's Roadside, Hurley's, Blend, and Siena. Bowling and drinks at Crush, and even a few tours with photographers.

Back in Roseville it was all about cleaning the house ... organized the freezer, cleaned the oven, and had the carpets professionally cleaned by Valley Carpet Care. In celebration of clean carpets there was also homemade nachos (baked corn tortillas for the chips) and root beer floats.
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Monday, October 12, 2015

Everywhere But Home

I'm rarely home and I'm okay with that. The last few weeks have been filled with work in Napa, trips to San Francisco, time in Sacramento and Lodi, and yes, even a night or two at home.

After the Republic FC lost their first playoff game of the season I was off to Napa where 95.7 The Game had their first broadcast at The Meritage and Crush Ultra Lounge. I arrived at 5:30 a.m. and we were ready for the broadcast to start at 8 a.m., it was fun to see the team work to set up their mini-studio, and great to see Crush full of football fans by about 9 in the morning. There are more broadcasts through January, so I'm looking forward to more and more people finding my favorite sports bar with bowling lanes.

While in Napa, I took two day trips to San Francisco, one for a media event with Visit California, including lunch at The Boulevard, and the second to see a Giants game. While there for the Giants game I took the chance to walk through the Ferry Building, headed to Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf, then take the bus to enjoy dessert at Ghiradelli Square.

Back in Napa, there was a visit from the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, a dinner in the Estate Cave with Charbay Distillery, a second radio broadcast, runs along the Napa River, filming with a drone inside Crush and out in the vineyards, wine tasting with Trinitas, filming for a new travel show, taking pictures of the new bottle of in-room wine, wine tasting at Clos Du Val, and lunch from Soda Canyon Store.

Back in the Roseville area, I was invited to attend the AAJA's Chef Showcase, which was amazing, plus I got to see some old friends. Went to dinner at the Crawfish Factory, helped at Bayside's Serve Day, and headed to Lodi for wine tasting at Oak Farm Vineyards and dinner at Pietro's. Sunday was a little more relaxing with my first ever movie at Studio Movie Grill, followed by an excursion to the new Bass Pro Shop ... an experience for sure.
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