Anyone else a vacation photo stalking addict? I confess to being a huge creep when it comes to pouring over friends/acquaintances/celebrities/ complete strangers vacation photos. And so I figured that I might as well barrage you all a bit as well.
So be prepared for a photo heavy post.
(Let it be noted that I did warn you).
I spent this past weekend in Napa / San Francisco for my friend Teresa’s bachelorette weekend. So I’ve put together an unofficial guide slash here’s-a list-of-the-things-that-I-did-so-that-you-can do-them-too post. 😉
(P.s. isn’t Teresa the cutest?)
Living in California I am able to make it up to the Bay Area somewhat regularly. Also it helps that my best friend and yet-to-be-compensated hand-model/ voice behind the scenes at The Gourmet Gourmand, Emily, lives in Silicon Valley. So needless to say I tryto get up to the Bay as often as humanly possible. At this stage of the game I’m pretty over the drive- it’s about 7 hours on a good day and 9 hours when LA is intent on ruining my life.(Just FYI, this is Emily).
So I’ve discovered that flying is most definitely the way to proceed. It’s typically a breeze, costs anywhere between $100-175, and I can leave after work on a Friday and be hanging out by 8pm.
(Normally it goes extremely well, however I have to admit that this time I missed my flight on the way home due to a 1 hour line at security, but was fortunately able to hang-out with and rant mutual distaste for Southwest with a Men’s European Tennis team. That was my silver lining on Sunday, but I definitely would have preferred an evening watching Game of Thrones with Dave. Alas.)
This photo collage begins on the fateful Saturday, April 23, 2016.
We arose bright and early (read: 6:00am) to drive from Silicon Valley to San Francisco, to collect friends and co-wine-imbibers, and traverse the shockingly traffic-free highways to Napa.
And thus we commenced on our wine tour.
Castello di Amorosa was the first winery on our tour and it was quite charming and quintessentially Napa. As its name suggests, it’s literally a winery that looks like a castle. I *almost* felt like I was in France. It helped that there were sheep and goats outside and some absolutely stunning views of Napa for our viewing pleasure. The wine here was very good, but not my absolute favorite of the day.My review? It was a great place to enjoy the outdoors and get to see some fabulous Napa scenery with a backdrop of a beautiful castle. However, I’d definitely recommend getting there early, like we did, as it appeared to be set up to anticipate large crowds. That affected the atmosphere and my experience. Customer service was only OK and it felt like they rushed us through the tasting. Wine was good, but not my favorite. Also vaguely cheesey and kind of reminiscent of Disney, i.e. clearly made to look old in a place where Medieval castles really don’t exist…
V. Sattui Winery This winery I really enjoyed. We had a personalized tasting and a tour of the winery. If you come to this winery I would highly recommend signing up for a tour as they describe the history, wine-making process, allow you to taste wines at various stages of completion/fermentation. This was definitely a wine-geek type of tour in a beautiful setting.
They also had a lovely picnic area set up in the center of their property that was lined with rose bushes. The food was spectacular, especially from their fresh mozarella bar. As a foodie I definitely appreciated the attention to detail – fresh garlic toast and mozarella that was sliced fresh, topped with roasted peppers, tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic.My review? Great food, great wine, gorgeous property, and a very informative tour. However it was *really* crowded. We were a large group and we were unable to find a table to eat our lunch so we had to gather around an old wine barrel. It didn’t really bother me, but if you don’t like crowds consider coming here off-season or on a weekday.
The Terraces Winery This winery was definitely my favorite of the day. Note that if you are interested in going here for a tasting it is a place where you will need to plan ahead and book a tasting in advance. The reason being is that the actual building is tiny and they have a small patio where guests can sit comfortably and sip and drink wine. The house itself had a very Pacific Northwest feel and was decorated with charming artifacts that had been collected by the owner, Tim.
We had a great experience here and a very personalized tasting where we chatted with a Harry-Potter-Look-Alike employee who told us all about the winery, the history of the growers, and the flavors of the wine. Definitely a wonderful and relaxed atmosphere and the wine was fantastic. I purchased the semi-dry Riesling and a Zinfandel from this winery.My review? I personally loved this winery because of the charm, relaxed atmosphere, and personalized approach. It was a refreshing break from the typical pretenious Napa-ness which I find annoying. It reminded me of sitting on a friends’ backyard patio except with some truly gorgeous views and exceptional wine. While I’m sure it’s not the most exclusive wine Napa has to offer, I thought it was some of the best we had all day and the prices were, by Napa standards, quite affordable ($30-60 ranges). I would definitely stop here again.
Emily and I stayed the night in San Francisco at a hotel after a night of debauchery and promptly began imbibing coffee and food once again on Sunday morning. At least 4 shots of espresso were consumed by me alone and one of the best experiences was the Gibraltar drink (in SoCal we call it a Cortado). It’s basically halfway between a capuccino and a macchiato, and is typically served in a small glass cup that’s convenintly referred to as a “gibraltar glass.”
You can’t tell from the label on Emily’s iced coffee, but the spot we stopped at was called Trouble Coffee, which is a coffee spot that was opened by a woman who suffers from Schizoaffective disorder and appropriately named after her lifelong battle with mental illness. She couldn’t have come up with a theme more near and dear to my heart. I love this place.
(Read more here).Anyway, the coffee is not roasted on site; I believe they use Intelligensia which is out of Chicago (and freaking awesome if you haven’t ever had it). But the toast is uniquely Trouble- a thick cut slice of bread mounded with a pile of butter and cinnamon sugar and lightly crisped but melting with buttery sugary goodness.
It’s a flavor I’d return for over and over should I be fortunate enough to live near Trouble Coffee.
They now have 3 locations- Ocean Beach, Bay View, and West Oakland. We went to the Ocean Beach location.
After Trouble Coffee cured us of (most of our) hangovers, we went for a walk in Golden Gate Park. I was shocked that having been to San Francisco as many times as I have, I had never made my way to Golden Gate Park (or if we did come here as children, I definitely don’t remember it… sorry parents!)
The cutest old couple watching the Golden Gate Band play a free concert.
And glorious views of the city from on top of the deYoung Memorial Museum.
It was absolutely an amazing weekend and I kept reminding myself over and over again how lucky I am to have such amazing friends. 10 years with these girls and my life has been made all the better for it. 🙂 The only snafu of the weekend was that after this last photo was taken I attempted to make it to my flight on time and was firmly denied, and I had to wait until 10:15pm to fly back to San Diego.
I am freaking exhausted people.
However, I will exhaust you, no further. If you are reading this, fear not- you’ve reached the end! And let’s pause to note… if you came this far, I deeply admire your tenacity. (Of which I truly need to make it through the rest of this week…)
Until next time!