Sunday, March 19, 2017

Snow, Beach, Wine and Runs

In the last month or so I've been to the Bradley Lodge to spend time with family (and find snow), to Santa Barbara for some time at Bacara, and have been able to enjoy some pretty spectacular wines while also keeping up with my cardio goals ... running lots.

It started at the Bradley Lodge for President's Day Weekend, a family tradition that I haven't been able to go to for the last couple of years. Although we got we didn't have any fresh snow at the lodge, it was was nice to enjoy a beer while looking at snow out the window (it was a blizzard) at Bear Valley, and we had our share of wine and food throughout the weekend, including a trip to Murphys. With no snow I was able do some of the mountain runs that I love the most and was even greeted by my youngest nephew at the end of a couple of them.

Back in Napa there were wine tastings, nights out, and some long runs. As part of our winemaker dinner series I often get to go to the wineries in advance for a tasting with our F&B/Culinary teams and I am never disappointed. We tasted amazing wines and got some exclusive access to the wineries, the wines and the winemakers that many are not able to. We started in Sonoma County at Paul Hobbs, then had to stop next door at Merry Edwards. The following week we drove north, past Calistoga to Peter Michael Winery and again made a few extra stops, including an impromptu tasting with the winemaker at Crocker & Starr, followed by lunch at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. We finished our tastings at Schramsberg, where I've been before, but this time got to see more of the spectacular caves that house hundreds of thousands of bottles of sparkling just waiting for the right moment to be riddled, corked and brought back out to see the light of day (and our glasses). Beyond tastings, I was also invited to attend a fun event at Raymond Vineyards.

There was also a trip south to San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara. We were able to take some time to go to one of my SLO favorites ... Splash Cafe, I ran to the Oceano Dunes (somehow I never actually made it there while in college). Before getting to Bacara we stopped at Hollister Brewing ... I had some very yummy Fish Tacos, then we were off check-in. They always treat me well and this time was no exception. We had a suite and a double queen guestroom awaiting us with a beautiful view of their magnificent pool and the Pacific Ocean. The next day we had the pool (and a cabana) to ourselves as my niece and nephews swam for almost the entire day ... and I was able to experience a Natura Bissé Facial in the "Bubble." The bubble is filled with ultra pure air to help the skin even more ... and even your lungs. It was 50 minutes of Bacara Bliss for sure. It was also fun to get a quick tour of their new fine dining restaurant, Angel Oak. My entire family had a great time and I hope that we're able to make it back again in the future for a quick getaway.

Back to my "normal" life in Napa ... there were also some very long runs including a 10 mile run and a half marathon (I beat my previous solo half marathon time by 16 minutes ... I credit pretty views for that), tried out Tannery Bend Beerworks on opening day, and we moved offices. I love my new office and I think I've already been even more productive since moving in just 5 days ago.

See all the pictures here.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Beach, Awards, Runs ... and Cake

I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Huntington Beach in January for work. I love our Orange County properties and this trip gave me the opportunity to stay at Pasea for a week, then head to meetings a few miles south at the Balboa Bay Resort and Newport Beach Country Club. I took full advantage of staying across the street from the beach with a quick run with my account manager from a new advertising/marketing firm, spent some time in restaurants at Pacific City Mall, and just enjoyed time with co-workers and hearing the waves crash on the beach from a distance. I also won an award, so that was cool ... small issue, didn't know I was even nominated for the category, so I wasn't in the room when they were looking for me.

Back in Northern California I spent a day getting all the paperwork together for my tax guy, ran a lot, went to the gym (loving InShape Napa), enjoyed a tasting with Trinitas, learned about what makes Napa so special for wine grapes from the Napa Valley Vintners, and headed to Sacramento to celebrate my grandma's 91st birthday.

See all the pictures here.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Wine Tasting in Napa

One would think that living in Napa I would go wine tasting a lot more than I actually do. It's actually a pretty rare event for me to go to wineries on my off time. Yes I go sometimes for work, but on the weekends I stay home, go to the gym and otherwise avoid leaving home. That said, when friends are in town, I take the opportunity to visit new places, head to my favorites, and check out some of the ones that I help send our guests to. With friends in town I headed to Clos du Val, Robert Baile, Luna, Silver Oak (and toured with the winemaker as part of the Napa Valley Vintners "morning in the winery" program), Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, Bourassa, Jessup Cellars, Peju and Delectus. All were fabulous (although I'm partial to ones that include cheese ... so if you're in Yountville ... Jessup is a great tasting ... with a few days advance reservation Bourassa also does a food pairing). I also don't normally go out to eat alone, so this was a good opportunity to go to Soda Canyon, Southside Cafe, Gott's Roadside, Foodshed, Dean and DeLuca, and the Napa General Store.
Wine and food pictures.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Cruising South

It was a cruise meant to check items off the bucket list and it was amazing. Before the trip I had dinner with my brother and sister-in-law in Napa at the new CIA Copia Restaurant. It's a fun "tapas style" concept, they bring every menu item to your table and you decide what you want to try and what you want to pass on for each course. The next morning I woke up early and headed to SFO for a my flight east. Although it wasn't the original flights scheduled (mechanical issues) and my bag didn't quite make it with me, I did make it and my bag followed me a little while later.

We got onto the cruise ship, the Celebrity Infinity, and our journey south began. We took a really fun galley tour ... saw them making all the fresh breads, pastas, salads, pastries and much more, spent lots of time relaxing and there is nothing better than watching the sun rise and set from a cruise ship. There was also a little bit of learning, I really enjoyed the guest speakers including "Panama Bill" who spoke extensively about the Panama Canal, its history and how it worked; and MickeyLive who made learning fun throughout the journey with talks on many of the ports and he hosted a morning sunrise club. At the end he made CDs of pictures for everyone that wanted them (complimentary if you gave three or more pictures) and was always available to answer questions.

Our first stop ... Cartagena, Columbia. My parents and I have been there a few times on different cruises, but this was my first time going to the monastery on the top of the hill for some great city views, plus their port is just fun to walk through with beautiful parrots, peacocks and flamingos.

Stop two ... Colon and the Panama Canal. I'd been to the Panama Canal, but this was my first time going through it on a ship. It was amazing. I didn't know what to expect, but it was fascinating and I think I walked the entire ship multiple times just to get views of every point in the journey from a different vantage point ... the upper decks, our balcony, the outdoor deck around the middle of the ship, the bow, and even the back of the ship.

Stop three ... Manta, Ecuador. After sailing into the Southern Hemisphere we made it to Ecuador. The city was still recovering from a large earthquake, but in most parts that we visited it seemed to be business as usual. We headed to the best fish market I've ever been too (they literally pull the boats onto the beach about 100 feet away from the market), then took a taxi all around the city, up into the mountains/rain forest, had a beer on the beach, and saw where they make "Panama" hats ... yep, Panama hats aren't really Panama hats, they're Montecristi hats.

Stop four ... Lima, Peru. We skipped some of the typical tourist things (I want to go back to see some of them) in favor of spending time with a longtime family friend. She took us to her house where we met her son and husband, then we went to a local fruit/vegetable market ... she let us try some things and also they have the largest carrots I've ever seen in my life. We kept walking through town to another shopping market, then took the bus back to her house and headed to lunch. El Bolivariano Restaurant was a great choice, we let her order for us and she picked some very tasty main dishes and drinks.

Stop five ... Arica, Chile. The driest spot on earth ... they 0.03 inches of rain a year, which is great for seeing some of the archeological sites of the area including geoglyphs and the oldest mummies on earth (older than the ones in Egypt).  We also had a fabulous lunch, before heading to the coast and walking through beautiful seaside caves. We then headed up to the top of a hill to see a very large Chilean flag and sweeping views of the coastline.

Stop six ... Valparaíso and Santiago, Chile. It was sad to be at the end, but Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Casablanca and Santiago were a very sweet ending. First ... the coastal cities are beautiful, we took a walking tour through Valparaíso, saw the graffiti (it's famous and well done) along many of the streets, took a funicular up to the top of one of the hills, then headed to Viña del Mar for lunch at Fellini's after seeing the only Easter Island Moai that has made it off the island. Next up we headed inland to the Casablanca wine region of Chile for a stop at Indomita. I wish I had more room in my suitcase ... the wine was great and it was only $6-$9 per bottle. We kept on heading inland, saw the Andes mountains in the distance and made it to Santiago for a quick city tour (due to some safety concerns we didn't get out too often, but we did walk to the top of a hill inside of a park to see the city from the center) and then headed to the airport for our trip home.

All of the cruise pictures here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Thanksgiving and Snow

It was a fun Thanksgiving at the Bradley Lodge. I took a few very long runs through Big Trees State Park (had to run off all the great food), we had fun at the Dorrington Christmas Tree Lighting, and we played in the snow. It was the perfect way to spend time with family before heading back to Napa for more runs and to decorate Fort Bradley II for Christmas.
Link to photos.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dinners Out, Running, Balboa and Wine

Dinner with reporters in Siena. Wine Tasting at B Cellars, Chimney Rock, Artesa (led by the winemaker), and Domaine Carneros? Meals in the Estate Cave with reporters, wedding planners, and a wine dinner with Silver Oak? A trip to Newport Beach filled with tours of an industrial oven/kitchen manufacturer, butcher (well they cut and age meats), and more wine tasting? Wine Blending at Paraduxx? Wine tasting at a Robert Parker event (some of the top wines in the world)? Yep, all those questions pretty much sum up my life over the last few weeks. Thankfully the last few weeks have also included a minimum of a five mile daily run (in some cases eight or nine) and were balanced by a couple of meals at both my house and much better cooking at my parents' house.  Plus the fence wrap is up for my "little" construction project, learn more here.
Link to photos.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunrises, Wine, and a Little Fun

I've been running a lot lately. 167 miles in September and 133.5 so far in October, it gives me a chance to get outside and away from a computer screen for an hour ... and most importantly it allows me to see sunrises and the beauty that is the Napa Valley (it may also allow me to eat some really good food and have a few glasses of wine every so often). Beyond the running over the last month or so I got a new TV (it's huge), went to Bouchon Bakery for the first time, headed back to Roseville for the first time since I moved (tacos at Chandos were a must), went to CANVAS events at Ehlers Estate and the Napa Valley Museum, headed to check out the Napa Wine Yacht and saw the sunset at Kieu Hoang in Carneros. My parents came to Napa for a winemaker dinner with Robert Mondavi Winery, then we headed to Healdsburg for a tasting at VML (great Pinot Noirs) where one of our family friends works. As we headed back to Napa we did a quick drive by Trefethen Vineyards (we'll have to taste there soon) and had a lovely lunch along the Napa River at The Pear Southern Bistro. In the last week I went to see my brother and his family in Santa Cruz, had a wine tasting and tour at Luna Vineyards (they specialize in all Italian wines), helped our culinary team for a special dinner with Veuve Clicquot, and helped Napa Valley CanDo with a little trash cleanup project.
Link to photos.
Related Posts with Thumbnails