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.
Pictures for those with iPads.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Winery Visits, Halloween, and a Concert

For the first time in all my Napa visits, I actually went wine tasting and it wasn't as part of a tour. I was able to go with my parents and aunt to Robert Mondavi, Trinitas Cellars, Round Pond, Artesa, and Castello di Amorosa as we traveled up and down the Napa Valley.  The experiences at each were truly memorable from looking at the beautiful vistas and mountains at Robert Mondavi, to enjoying a wine and food pairing at Round Pond, and exploring the castle that is Castello di Amorosa. Beyond the wineries we had a spectacular dinner at Siena and saw the history of wine openers at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone.

There was also a trip to Kenzo Estate, one of the most pristine vineyards and wineries I have ever been too, everything was perfect from the manicured vines to the barrels in the cellar and even the ground below the olive trees. The wine as great too and it was interesting to learn that a majority of their wine is shipped and sold directly to consumers in Japan where there is actually a three bottle limit per purchase.

Back in Roseville ... I baked a Pumpkin Pizza from Papa Murphy's (I added bacon bits) and passed out candy for Halloween, went on a few runs, and met my parents in Folsom at Powerhouse Pub for a concert by Shane Dwight and dinner at Q'Bole. Finally, I met a friend at ASR to try out their happy hour and we were not disappointed, the mac and cheese was spectacular, steak skewers were cooked to perfection, and the burger and fries were classically prepared.
Pictures for those with iPads.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wine and Burgers

Another week of wine and food ... I kind of like the life I lead. Friday evening I was fortunate to attend a winemaker dinner at The Meritage featuring Joseph Phelps Vineyards, the four courses paired with excellent wines and 100 people in the Estate Cave = spectacular. Saturday I continued the wine theme with a trip to Lodi's Oak Farm Vineyards, a quick stop at Wine & Roses where my brother and his wife had their wedding reception, and Chinese food from Chop Chop at my grandma's. On Monday I was back in Napa and got to try "Burger Monday" at Fume Bistro, spectacular burger and fries with a nice bottle of Merlot.
Photos for those with iPads.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Crop to Tabletop Dinner with #PlacerGROWN

It's not very often that I specifically go to a "Farm to Table" dinner. Typically they're expensive and crowded. but when I heard about the Crop to Tabletop dinner that was being put on on PlacerGROWN for just $35 a person, I figured I would go. I bought two tickets and went with my dad (my mom is in Texas, so he didn't want to cook for himself). The dinner was hosted at the top of the peak at Twin Peaks Orchard. We started with a bottle of Popie Wines and some Goat House Brewing beer (alcohol was not included, but $20 a bottle for wine was very reasonable), before dining on farm fresh produce, meats and even dessert. The setting was spectacular, especially as the sun went down. We even made new friends and I was able to see people I've gotten to know at other PlacerGROWN events.

There's still a whole week of activities to go, so be sure to head out to the farms and enjoy the bounty provided by Placer County's many family farms.
Pictures for those with iPads.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

A Trip to California's Central Coast

I hadn't been to the Central Coast since February 2010, so this trip was a long time coming. It started with a quick wine tasting stop in Paso Robles at Halter Ranch Vineyard, then we headed to San Luis Obispo for lunch at Firestone Grill and to watch the Giants beat the Nationals in Game 1. After lunch and shopping at the Cal Poly Downtown store (I needed some things like a wine glass, trailer hitch cover and hat), we headed to our financial advisor's office and then with him to dinner at Novo Restaurant in Downtown San Luis Obispo. My mom picked the perfect wine, Anniversary Blend from Sterling Vineyards, since their wedding anniversary was the day before, and we enjoyed a fabulous dinner along the San Luis Obispo Creek.

After spending the night in Morro Bay, we did some quick picture taking at Morro Rock and got some great photos of the harbor before continuing our trip by driving through the Cal Poly Campus (a lot has changed in the 10 years since I graduated) to Pismo Beach and then stopped in Solvang to check out California's version of Denmark. Our next stop was the Embassy Suites in Lompoc, but once we figured out that our hotel didn't get the station the Giant's game was on, we headed to Applebee's ... Lompoc's only known "Sports Bar." Our plan was to stay until the end of the game, but we ended up leaving in the 9th inning ... good thing we did, the game went for another nine innings, we ended up closely monitoring our phones for play-by-play information. The decision also meant that we could enjoy Happy Hour at Embassy Suites and a few games on Pinochle.

On Sunday we were off to our final destination, Santa Barbara and the Bacara Resort & Spa. We first drove to the beach in Santa Barbara and then took a quick driving tour of the area (we were just in Santa Barbara during our last cruise, so we actually knew where things were). After our Santa Barbara sight-seeing adventure we headed north to Bacara. It was beautiful from the moment we drove up. I started with a lunch meeting and then we headed to our private cabana at, what I would say is one of the best pools in California. The rest of our trip was pretty amazing too ... wine tasting in the Foley Wine Tasting Room, two dinners on the Terrace of the Bacara Bar, lunch at the Bistro, a 7 mile run for me, and a spa treatment for my parents as a gift from my brother and I for their anniversary.
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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Napa Valley Rocks and a Sac Republic Championship

In late August I rushed to Napa after the South Napa Earthquake and, less than a month later, the community came together to help those who lost so much. I was able to attend the opening night dinner for Napa Valley Rocks, Nourish Napa! From Morimoto sushi by the pool to a multi-course dinner prepared by Napa's top chefs, it was a great evening of food, fun and moving forward for a city that was hurt, but began to heal very quckily.

After a baby shower and a quick dinner at Pocket Bistro before the game, my family and I headed to Bonney Field at Cal Expo where Sacramento Republic FC also continued their quest for MLS by winning the USLPRO championship in their inaugural season. In front of yet another sold out crowd (although this was also standing room only). With a 2-0 win, great crowd, great time, and amazing city I'm pretty sure Sacramento is #BuiltForMLS.
Photos for those with iPads.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#PlacerGrown Week is Coming Soon

Over the last year or so I have been able to get more involved with Placer Grown. It's interesting to learn more about all the items grown in Placer County, once one of the top grape (yes, that means wine) and stone fruit agriculture regions in the world. Now the biggest export is actually rice, but walnuts, grapes (for wine), fruits, vegetables and hops (for beer) are all making a resurgence.

I started my afternoon off with the official event at Wise Villa Winery, where I, along with a few other bloggers and members of the media enjoyed a fabulous lunch with wine pairing. The farm fresh arugula and beet salad was a highlight, but the steak, pork chop, pasta, tuna and wines were all spectacular and enjoyed by all. I even bought a bottle of Wisdom of Wise (their red wine blend) for "Wine Fridays" at my office.

While at lunch a few people had mentioned Goat House Brewing Company just down the road, so ... not being one to miss out on opportunity ... I decided to make the three minute drive to enjoy their beer flight. It was a good decision, eight beers for $18, while talking to great people, including the husband and wife brewery proprietors. I'm looking forward to going back with my dad so he can taste the beers too.

Placer Grown Week is October 11-18, 2014. It includes a variety of events, including a Crop to Tabletop Dinner (I already bought my tickets ... limited quantity available and it's only $35/pp), family fun, farm tours and much more (see below).
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Family-Friendly Events Offer Farm-to-Fork Fun and Award-winning Wines 

AUBURN, Calif.—The third annual Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week, October 11th through the 18th, will showcase the more than 100 family farms, 20 Placer County Wine Trail wineries and 9 farmers’ markets in the Placer County region.  Families should mark their calendars for family-friendly activities, farm-fresh eats and award-winning wines.

“This is the best opportunity throughout the year to experience the Placer County region’s abundance of farm-fresh food and wine,” notes PlacerGROWN Executive Director Carol Arnold.  “It’s a great way to meet local farmers and ranchers, and experience unique Placer County activities firsthand.”

“The Placer County Board of Supervisors proclaimed Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week in 2012 and the commemorative week has since grown in scope and popularity,” said Placer County Agricultural Commissioner Josh Huntsinger. “We look forward to welcoming back families and friends to join in the celebration.”

The 2014 “Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week” includes four, fun events:
Auburn Wine & Food Festival: Saturday, Oct. 11th from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Enjoy Placer County wines and dishes sure to delight the palate. Tickets are available at at $45 each; designated driver and food-only tickets are $20 each.

PlacerGROWN Farm & Barn Tour: Sunday, Oct. 12th from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Take part in a free, self-guided tour that includes farms, ranches and vineyards, all spanning the beautiful Placer County countryside. Visit for details.

PlacerGROWN Harvest Festival: Saturday, Oct. 18th from 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 19th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin.
This family-friendly fest includes a pumpkin patch, scarecrow-building contest, farmers’ market, free family movie at dusk and more. Visit for details.

Placer County Farm Bureau Hoe Down: Saturday, Oct. 18th with dinner held at 6:30 p.m.
The 25th annual event includes dinner and a live auction benefiting agricultural students. Call 916-663-2929 for tickets and more information.      

Supported by Placer County, PlacerGROWN is the information source dedicated to educating residents about the freshest agricultural products the region has to offer.  Through its website, social media channels, and other outreach programs, PlacerGROWN connects community members with the farms, orchards, ranches, wineries, nurseries, farmers’ markets and specialty food stores in one of the most diverse growing areas in Northern California. To discover the bounty of agricultural products produced by farmers who call Placer County home, or for more information about PlacerGROWN, visit

Lunch and wine tasting was provided by Wise Villa Winery and PlacerGROWN. I purchased my own bottle of wine to take home and beer tasting. All thoughts are my own.

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