Bryan and I took a short getaway trip to Napa/Sonoma Valley a couple weeks ago when it was still bitterly cold here in Boston. Frankly I must say, I'm a little jealous of Bryan, who's managed to pretty mush escape the depressing weather we've been having here. He's traveled a lot the last couple months.
After our trip to Argentina (where it was summer), he headed straight to Macau (where it's always hot), and then to California before spending a week in Indiana (OK, admittedly cold). Meanwhile during this time I hung out in Boston, wishing so much for just a hint of spring.
Finally, just a couple weeks ago, we hit the tail end of Bryan's crazy travel schedule. He would be spending a week in San Francisco. Would I like to join him at the end and maybe we could head to wine country again?
You must know by know that I absolutely love visiting wine country. The scenery is breathtaking, the food is top notch, and the weather is always beautiful around this time of year.
The mustard flowers are just blooming, covering the plains with a rich blanket of yellow. It's the greenest time of year for the area, where rolling hills are verdant.
It's seriously the perfect getaway from the Boston winter.
Before we drove up to wine country, we spent one evening in San Francisco, enjoying a fantastic 2-Michelin star Moroccon restaurant.
The prices were surprisingly reasonable (are certain ethnic foods just always a little less expensive?) and it was fantatic and just as exquisite as a French restaurant at twice the price.
I met an old friend at one of the few places in SF that makes its own mochi in-house, and tried several. YUM.
And then we were off! Though we ran into some snafus trying to get our rental convertible (they had "oversold" their cars and ran out by the time we arrived), we eventually got the car we needed after Bryan held his ground and fought hard (sometimes it's nice to be married to a fighter if you're on his side).
We first stopped at one of only six biodynamic vineyards in Sonoma. It was fascinating to learn about how much land is "sacrificed" for the habitat of animals that are friendly to the grapes growing on the remaining land. The wine was also delicious, and we ended up buying a bottle to bring to dinner later.
We then took a beautiful hike through a state park whose land used to be owned by a famous author.
It was a refreshing, physical break from the food and wine of the rest of the weekend.
For dinner we enjoyed an excellent dinner in Sonoma Square with a well-known winemaker and Hollywood name.
We stayed in the heart of Napa at the Westin, which was not only conveniently located, it was lovely in and of itself.
Bryan and I walked over to the Napa Wine Train station, which was right across the street from the Westin. We relaxed and had a lovely multi-course meal during a three-hour train right across the wineries.
Napa itself is a fun town to visit, and we enjoyed some excellent coffee at the local upscale marketplace just a few minutes walk away.
For dinner, we headed into Sonoma to have pizza that was (ironically) inspired by the East Coast, the famous pizzas in new Haven, to be exact.
On Easter morning we visited to a fantastic family-owned bake shop in Sonoma where we tried a number of delectable pastries as well as the best salted chocolate chip cookie I've ever had.
We enjoyed an inspiration Easter service in Petaluma where we learned some great new songs, saw several people get baptized, and were overall blessed by the warm congregation.
That afternoon, we stopped by another family winery where we enjoyed one of the best tasting menus and wine pairing values (7 mini courses for only $35 including wine!) in the area.
Finally, for dinner we had a great Michelin-starred fancy meal right in our own hotel. The food was excellent, and it was nice to just "roll" into our beds upstairs after this extensive tasting menu.
It was tough to leave after such a short trip, but it was time to go back home: back to work, back to reality. We drove over the new Bay Bridge while watching them break down the old Bay Bridge. I knew it would be the last time in a long time we could enjoy a convertible with the top down!
Stay tuned the several weeks as I go into detail on all these places I visited.
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