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Showing posts from 2014

Holiday Celebrations and Christmas at Bayside

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The last few weeks have been full of holiday celebrations. I started with the "Managers Holiday Party" with the team from The Meritage. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Auberge du Solei, then the managers served the rest of the staff during an 80's themed bash, complete with video games, amazing food, and lots of 80's inspired fashion.

My dad and I also were able to attend an open house for Sacramento Republic FC and got to see their championship trophy for the first time up close. After seeing the trophy we headed to Rubicon Brewing Co. for lunch (and beer). After lunch I was off to the gym, Bayside for church, the new Blaze Pizza for their preview night (free pizza), and some friends and I checked out some of our favorite Christmas Light displays in Roseville and Rocklin. Since there wasn't enough food or beer on Saturday, I met another friend in Auburn on Sunday for brunch with unlimited mimosas at Auburn Alehouse, before heading to Knee Deep Brewing for a flig…

Thanksgiving, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and Ready for Rain

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It's been a fun last few weeks. It started with Thanksgiving in Lodi. We went non-traditional by pulling up carpet to reveal beautiful hardwood floors, then had steak for dinner, paired with some flavorful Miner Family Wines. After a quick trip to the mall for Black Friday (not normal for us at all, but I did buy two new suits at about 75% off), we celebrated Thanksgiving a day late with three chickens replacing the turkey. Once back to Roseville, I ventured out again to the mall for lunch and to check out the Bayside Ice Rink at the Galleria.

After a few days in Roseville it was time to head to Napa to check out the Christmas decorations at The Meritage. The chef created a huge gingerbread house that now sits in the lobby for everyone to see, just before they are greeted by a Christmas Tree that reaches the ceiling. I also had the opportunity to take a tour of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and try some of their wines in their brand new tasting room. They will be our featured winery…

A Birthday and Wine Country

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Although it was a lower key birthday this year, having dinner with a friend at Red Robin, there was no shortage of amazing food and world-class wines over the last few weeks. My time started with a day trip to Newport Beach for meetings. Although I spent less than 12 hours in Orange County, watching the sunset over Newport Harbor never gets old and made the trip worth it (as did some popcorn with bacon, pizza fries, and a beer or two). My birthday was officially celebrated with a burger at Red Robin, but there was also my favorite wrap at Chick-Fil-A, fajitas and Texas fries at Chili's, holiday mini-golf at Golfland-SunSplash, and a few much needed runs.

Then it was time to meet with a few colleagues from out-of-state that had never been to Napa. It was my challenge to help them experience everything that The Meritage had to offer, while also showcasing the beauty that is the Napa Valley. Not one to shy away from challenges, I gladly accepted, and put together a two day itinerary …

Birthday Celebrations Begin at the Bradley Lodge

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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.

Winery Visits, Halloween, and a Concert

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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 Ja…

Wine and Burgers

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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'sOak 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.
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Crop to Tabletop Dinner with #PlacerGROWN

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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 wi…

A Trip to California's Central Coast

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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 Bea…

Napa Valley Rocks and a Sac Republic Championship

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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.
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#PlacerGrown Week is Coming Soon

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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 t…

Food, Wine and Soccer

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So I am not sure it can really get any better than that. Great Food, Great Wine, Great Soccer.

From a Masters Winemaker Dinner with Duckhorn Vineyards at The Meritage, featuring an excellent menu, to a run in West Sacramento and two soccer victories, it was an amazing eight days. There were also home cooked meals (salmon with vegetables, and shrimp pasta), a clean oven, harvest of the vineyards behind The Meritage, dinner (well margaritas with a little bit of food) with a friend at Chevy's, a Farm to Fork dinner at River City Brewing Company, happy hour at Florez Bar & Grill, church at Bayside, and something I never thought I would see in Sacramento (but I'm very glad I did) ... a #BuiltForMLS rally with thousands of soccer fans in attendance (and dirty duck fat fries at Low Brau).
Pictures for those with iPads.

Catching Up - Earthquake, Soccer and Camp Out

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I haven't been home much over the last few weeks, but it has been fun. I started out with a cooking segment on Fox40 to promote a winemaker dinner with Grgich Hills Estate at The Meritage. Went to Orange County for a few days and got to see all of the hotels that PHG operates in the area, including a construction site in Huntington Beach that will soon be the Pasea. Once back in Napa I enjoyed meeting with Mike Grgich and a fantastic multicourse dinner in the Estate Cave.

Then there were trips to Bayside, a bike ride in Folsom around Lake Natoma, dinner at Trademark Pizza, a 30th birthday party, lots of meals with friends ... and the unexpected, an earthquake in Napa. As soon as I heard about the earthquake I headed to The Meritage, even doing a radio interview with KGO-AM on my way. Although there was not major damage at The Meritage, I and the other staff were busy the day of the quake and for the week after reassuring future guests that they could keep their travel plans. Beyond…

Hitch, Helicopter and Soccer

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I would say it was a busy week, but I think they all are nowadays. I started off on Monday by taking my car to the dealership to get a hitch installed (so I could attach my bike rack) and got the car windows tinted. Wednesday I enjoyed dinner at Flame and Fire in Roseville. Then, beginning Thursday I was in Napa for two days full of pretty exciting meetings talking about new projects and initiatives, plus dinner at Goose and Gander, and I got to see a helicopter land in our parking lot.
On Saturday I took it easy with a five mile run, trip to the gym, church, dinner at Dos Coyotes and saw the Sacramento Republic FCwin another game at home. Now time to clean my house, do laundry and pack for another week of fun ... Napa, Newport Beach for two days and more Napa.
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Cave Man Diet, Wine and Friends

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I started the week off with my last visit to the California State Fair and an amazing soccer game, Sac Republic won 5-0! It was fun to see with my dad, brother and nephew, he also enjoyed pizza while I went with a giant turkey leg.

My trip to Napa this week involved helping film a show that will air in the Bay Area before the Napa Valley Film Festival. The food our culinary team made all looked so delicious that I stayed for dinner too, always a good decision.

Once back in Roseville and Sacramento a few friends and I ended up heading to my parent's house to use their pool, celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day and eat dinner, and then I hosted them for dinner the next night .. rotisserie chicken is always a hit.
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The Crazy Life

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In the last few months I'm not sure if I have spent more than four days in a row at my house .... and I'm not complaining at all. I've spent a lot of time in Napa, been to the Bradley Lodge a few times and over the last few days I was in Newport Beach.

The Meritage Resort and Spa has been keeping me busy as I work on a variety of marketing projects, including a lot of print projects as we implement a new version of the logo. With events for 4th of July, Latin Nights with the trumpet player from Santana's band and many other events and activities it's been a lot of fun so far ... including going to see the chef (I needed a fork) ... he wouldn't let me leave without a spoon and pint of ice cream. I also got my official work laptop ... bringing me up to a total of three laptops that I use on a regular basis and two that I will be traveling with.

When not traveling out of the region I was able to have friends over for a BBQ'd chicken dinner, go to church at Baysi…

Playing Tourist at the Bradley Lodge

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After buying a new car on Tuesday I put it to the test beginning Wednesday. I started my nearly 500 mile "test drive" to Napa on Wednesday morning and ended today after spending time with friends at the Bradley Lodge. After two days in Napa, I met friends on Thursday evening at my parents' house and headed to the Bradley Lodge to play tourist for a few days.

Friday we drove down to Murphys for the day, visiting Mercer Caverns, downtown Murphys, and Ironstone Vineyards. The caverns are always impressive, lunch at Firewood was tasty, and Ironstone was a great place to finish out our day with a little bit of wine and I got to show my friends the giant piece of gold they have in their museum, while also showing them the beautiful grounds of the winery and amphitheatre.

On Saturday we took a shorter drive down to Big Trees State Park to see big trees and drove down to Beaver Creek for lunch and exploration. Once back at the Bradley Lodge we decided to go to the pool and then …

Giving, Photos, Party and Fireworks

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In the last two weeks I have been at my house for about 72 hours. I've given blood at BloodSource, been to the downtown Napa and Arnold 4th of July Parades, seen fireworks and Shane Dwight Band at Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys, gone to two Sacramento Republic FC soccer games at Bonney Field and I've been working for (no longer just with) The Meritage Resort a lot. Last week I was busy with the resort's photographer taking photos of all the newly remodeled guestrooms, suites and ballroom, plus helped with their first "Red, White and BBQ" party on 4th of July, and got my new desk all set up. To top off my last two weeks I headed to Future Ford of Roseville to get my brakes worked on and instead of paying for new brakes ended up driving home a new 2014 Ford Escape. It wasn't exactly in my plans for the day, but I love the new car smell, amenities and it's brakes seem to work great so far.
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Soccer in Napa and Sacramento, Plus Golf Lessons

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It was a week full of sports ... I started out at Crush Ultra Lounge at The Meritage Resort and Spa to help film a promotional video. Luckily it was during the Wold CupUSA v. Ghana game, so I was able to watch a little during our filming. Later in the week I started golf lessons at Woodcreek Oaks Golf Course in Roseville, after four hours of lessons I think I'm nearly ready for the PGA tour (maybe watching more than playing). I also had the opportunity to head to Bonney Field at Cal Expo, the new home of the Sacramento Republic FC. It was awesome to be able to sit so close to the field and to see our team win with a last minute goal on their new home field! There was also eating with friends ... we went healthy, mixed greens with rotisserie chicken (and maybe a little ice cream for dessert).
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Running in Napa and the Lady A Concert at Ironstone

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I've worked in Napa for about five years, but last week was the first time I went on a real run in Napa. I went with a few employees to Skyline Park and we ran to Lake Marie... 2.5 miles up hill to start and then 2.5 miles downhill to finish. After working in Napa for a few days I headed to the Bradley Lodge to be with family for Father's Day Weekend and for the Lady Antebellum concert at Ironstone Amphitheatre. The concert was amazing and the wine flowed too. Once back at the Bradley Lodge we were able to spend time at the pool, eat great food, I took a run into Big Trees State Park and we headed to a community Father's Day Pancake Breakfast. While my parent's are still at the Bradley Lodge I headed to their house and cooked up some of their vegetables for my dinner.
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Good Day Sacramento, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and a Day on the Farm

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It was a great week to hang out with friends. It started of with a trip to Good Day Sacramento as Chef Krisztian Karkus from The Meritage Resort and Spa showed how to make "Cured Gravlax with Scandinavian Mustard Sauce and Arugula." After lots of the work I love, by Saturday it was time to get outside and exercise. Some friends and I went to the Sac State Aquatics Center at Lake Natoma. We rented two stand up paddleboards and one kayak and we were off. It was a fun way to spend time, get outside, exercise and learn a new skill (for me at least), stand up paddleboarding. Since we were all in swim suits our next stop was Beach Hut Deli for sandwiches and, for me, beer.

On Saturday night we stopped for McFlurry's (it was 100+ degrees outside) before making our way to the last Sacramento Republic FC game at Hughes Stadium. I wore one of my new shirts, and we found shade, actually staying pretty cool for the entire game as temperatures dropped into low 80s at the end of the g…