Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Traveling and Sporting Events

After a fun men's event at Bayside with Miles McPherson and about 2,500 others, I was off to Orange County for some business meetings. A colleague and I have both been to Newport Beach a lot, but normally we don't have the time to leave the resort (not necessarily a bad thing), but this time we arrived early and took the opportunity to check out Balboa Island and the Peninsula. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch overlooking Balboa Bay, walked along the beach, and then I got to hang out by the pool while reading a new book. As more of our colleagues started to arrive, we finished the night with some great gastropub grub in A&O.

As our meetings in Newport Beach wrapped up, we traveled to Irvine for our next set of meetings. Although Irvine lacks a bay front view, it does have the Irvine Spectrum Center, which we took full advantage of when not in meetings. We enjoyed a calorie filled meal at Yard House, while watching the 49ers beat the Vikings and headed to CREAM for custom made ice cream sandwiches.

Once back in Northern California I met up with a friend that I hadn't seen in over three years at Zocolo for Happy Hour where enjoyed watching the Sac Republic play their last regular season game at home, and then headed to Oakland. Watching the Oakland Raiders defeat the Baltimore Ravens from the 95.7 The Game suite was pretty amazing, especially with all of the food, beer, and wine provided.
Photos for those with iPads.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Fun and Food-Filled Couple of Weeks

 It has been a fun-filled (and food-filled) last couple of weeks. I've been to the Oakland Raiders training camp (takes place in Napa), enjoyed some fabulous food at The Meritage and around downtown Napa, including a winemaker dinner with Schramsberg Vineyards. Still in Napa, I also had the opportunity to taste wines at Hall and take a look at some of their famous artwork ... including the crazy jumping silver bunny (not to be confused with Sacramento's Red Rabbit at the airport - same artist though).

My parents and I headed to the Bradley Lodge. My mom and I cooked up some tasty dishes, had great wine, and also mixed up some vodka infused orange juice for breakfast. We took a couple of field trips too ... one to West Point where we helped some friends net their vineyards (so the birds don't eat the grapes), before heading to Murphys for ice cream at JoMa's. We also headed east to Lake Alpine Resort for some appetizers and to walk around what is truly one of the most beautiful (and easy to get to) lakes in northern California, even if the water level is a little lower than normal.

Closer to home The Meritage chef was on Fox40, I had the opportunity to check out the Sacramento King's preview center for the Golden One Center. I might have to go to a game now, the new arena will be amazing, plus all of the seats are padded. If you're lucky enough to go into a suite, you can set your phone anywhere on the table and it will charge. I even went to a Sacramento Cocktail Week seminar on social media for bars that was interesting ... the cocktail served was on the strong side, even for the bartenders in the room though. I also enjoyed a dinner with my aunt and cousin from Texas, had a blizzard from DQ (it was hot outside), went to a few Sacramento Republic soccer games, and may have over indulged in goodness at SmashBurger and Red Robin.

To top it all off ... I went white water rafting with some friends on the Middle Fork of the American River. One of my favorite stretches of water, I've now done it three times. No photos from this adventure, but you can see previous photos here.
Photos for those with iPads.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Food, Soccer, Old Sacramento, Friday Night Concerts

Over the last three weeks I have been staying busy with work and trying to have some fun while at it. There have been a few soccer games with the Sacramento Republic, going to two Friday night concerts at Bogle Vineyards, a wine tasting via Skype that focused on the importance of the shape of the wine glass, happy hours, ice cream, and more.

I started off with a goodbye party in Napa as one of our beloved managers left for new beginnings, taking a new position in La Jolla. The wine selection, food, and cheeses were all spectacular, including an Irish Cheddar, which is actually made with Guinness. Next up, I was in Roseville to do a "Shape of the Glass" tasting with Trinitas over Skype. I invited a few friends over and we were able to do the tasting virtually, while learning how and why the glass really can make a difference when drinking wine (or for that matter Coca-Cola), also note that in some cases a plastic cup is better for the wine than the wrong wine glass ... so if you're at a picnic or pool party with plastic cups, it's totally fine! After wine tasting, we headed to the Boxing Donkey for happy hour, which is never a bad decision.

Needing some exercise I ran a lot, went on a 20 mile bike ride with a friend riding past Thunder Valley, then went to Red Robin (we deserved it). At my house I had a whole house fan installed, which has been a great addition, it keeps the air conditioner from running all the time and is a huge help in bringing the cool night/morning air inside, keeping the entire house cooler throughout the day.

Back in Napa I had some very productive meetings, and also had some fun, including heading to an Oakland A's game, where I got to hang out in a Suite off the third base line ... bonus, the A's won!

In Sacramento I went to Bogle's Friday Alfresco wine/concert nights twice, headed to two Sacramento Republic FC soccer games, celebrated National Ice Cream Sandwich and National Cheesecake Days, tried an ice cream doughnut (amazing), had breakfast with a friend (my parents cat also joined us), enjoyed some fabulous Chinese food, and went on the Sacramento "Underground" tour. It is always fun to play tourist in your own city, the "Jacked Up" tour was a great way to learn more about the city, its problems with flooding, and what they did about it .. slowly raised each building about 1/4 inch a day until they were raised 10 or so feet. The tour allowed us to go under the buildings and in some cases see what got covered up, while also learning how they were raised. Still amazing that they lifted the entire building at once, with everything (and everyone) inside. Having lunch in Old Sacramento along the the Sacramento River at Rio City Cafe was a nice way to finish out the afternoon.
Pictures for those with iPads.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

White Water Rafting - Chili Bar

Over the last couple of years I've been fortunate enough to go river rafting with W.E.T. a few times and this year I invited a few friends on a last minute trip. We decided to go Friday afternoon and we were on the river early Saturday morning (other people on our raft flew in from Texas and drove from Oakland). It was my first time on the Chili Bar section of the American River and it was fun, adding to the excitement .... a friend falling out of the raft in some of the rapids and getting our raft stuck on a rock for a few minutes. Thankfully, no injuries and everyone had a great time. Looking forward to my next trip soon.
Photos for those with iPads.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Napa Art Walk, CA State Fair, Soccer, and Ice Cream

In two weeks I've been to the California State Fair three times, been to four soccer games, headed to Wine Country a few times, and, of course, enjoyed some fabulous food and wine along the way.

In Napa I've been enjoying some of the items from Crush Ultra Lounge that I haven't had before, including a fantastic burger and sliders. I've also headed up into the vineyards to see Veraison take place (when red wine grapes go from green to red), and took an opportunity to walk through Downtown Napa and check out the latest installment of the Napa Art Walk.

In Sacramento I took full advantage of having Sacramento Republic soccer tickets that included admission into the State Fair, with three trips to the fair, the wine pavilion and farm, county exhibits, and of course food on a stick (chicken kabobs were amazing, turkey leg too).

Other food outings included brunch at High Hand in Loomis, happy hour at Florez, lunch at Cabos, and I couldn't resist celebrating National Ice Cream Day at Sparkles in Granite Bay where the ice cream is made in a couple of minutes with liquid nitrogen and any flavor combination desired (I went with chocolate peanut butter and Reese's pieces.
Photos for those with iPads.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

A Fourth of July Tradition Continues

It's not often that my family really has true traditions, mainly because we're always up for something new and schedules often change, but Fourth of July seems to be a tradition, at least over the last few years. We continued the "tradition" again this year at the Bradley Lodge. Although we all arrived on different days and I left the earliest, the Fourth of July Weekend was a fun one. We went to the pool, enjoyed some fabulous food, went to the grand re-opening of The Lube Room, headed to the Arnold Fourth of July Parade, and went to Ironstone Vineyards to see Shane Dwight and an hour long fireworks show!

I left early Sunday to be back to see the USA Women win 5-2 in the Women's World Cup, but hopefully I'll be back to the Bradley Lodge soon, I hadn't been to the mountains since November 2014.
Photos for those with iPads.

Friday, July 03, 2015

San Francisco x2, Scotts Valley, and Lots of Pictures

In one week, I was in San Francisco twice, once for a meeting with a radio station, plus a seminar on Yelp, then again for a Giants game. Both trips had their pros, but seeing Buster Posey hit a grand slam may have helped trip two win. Between the trips to SF, I was in Roseville (tried a few new places including Four Sisters Cafe and Porters House of Draft), Napa, Sacramento, and Scotts Valley. In Scotts Valley a friend and I continued to help my brother and his family unpack and get settled into their new house over the weekend. While we were there a few days during the week, I worked during the day (my friend was able to keep helping with the unpacking), then at night we headed out for fun ... dinner at Zelda's in Capitola, ice cream at Marianne's, hanging out on the beach at Seabright, and a fabulous dinner at home.

Back in Napa, I took a few hours to walk around the property and snap photos that may end up on our social media over the course of the next few months. Although it was a warm day, it was fun to walk up through the vineyards, set up a game of bocce ball, walk inside the beautiful Spa Terra, and try a few dishes at Crush Ultra Lounge.
Photos for those with iPads.
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