we stayed at a lovely B&B in napa; the Inn on First
kat enjoyed the complimentary sparkling wine we found in the room along with a giant jacuzi tub.
Phil and Coco (the newlyweds) found a full sized sparkling rose' in their room. kat helped them with that as well.
we had an amazing dinner at bleaux magnolia (my brother's restaurant)
there is never a corkage fee there! feel free to bring your own wine and enjoy the food. they also have an impressive wine list and I'm sure Philip can help you find something to enhance your meal. we had a variety of mondavi reserve wines.
the oysters were great and the women easy on the eyes.
PORK BELLY!!! delicious.
the family table keeps getting bigger.
this tender portion of beef came with a bon-bon. the bon-bon is "popped" and spurts molten blue cheese and port over the meat. we fell in love with this dish.
co-owner Chef Matt Mermod working his magic in the kitchen.
the next morning we recharged with an amazing french toast prepared by chef Jim Gunther
our hosts really made us feel at home. it was more like staying with extended family. not a hotel experience but a great bed and breakfast experience.
with breakfast fresh in our bellies, it was time to get back to work. we are hosting a charity event here at austinmodhouse next month and we need to find some wine for our guests. dedicated is the word that comes to mind. we made tracks to mondavi.
our tour guide (channing) made sure we understood that no shortcuts were taken at mondavi. 100% new french oak barrels at a cost of $1500 each. used once, then sold for use at other wineries. the middle sections have been painted with wine not suitable for drinking.
hey! that is my sister in-law, chef coco in the mondavi kitchens.
more tasty treats.
we got whisked away to the reserve tasting room.
they have a Weston photography exhibit in the reserve tasting room at turnbull (directly across the street from mondavi and close to screaming eagle)
we attended the wedding of richard and patrick, congratulations!
kat found a big bottle of champagne somebody flew in from france. she quickly got into the flow of things. likes her sparkley juice, she does.
the next morning found us craving a savory breakfast. ok, I wanted migas. this turned out to be a greater request than I had anticipated. I searched all over yelp but it seems the only breakfast emporiums I could located were pancake places.
my plan, get on the el camino real and drive till I find a likely candidate. I found downtown burlingame to have the correct balance of sofistication and down home goodness. we were very happy to arrive at the crepevine. no migas, but juevos rancheros came close enough. funny, they have no salsa (we're not in austin any more) and they offered tobasco with the eggs. I think fresh jalapeno would have been out of the question; not a complaint, just an observation, we loved the breakfast and their patio.
kat found a persimon vendor at the burlingame farmer's market. she was so happy with her purchase she gave us a single item juggling demonstration, she's good too.
kat was very excited to visit her younger brother's apt. he appears to be less thrilled (sorry for the crappy iphone pic)
she was also very happy to see he has a car and can drive. I finally asked her to quit taking pictures. yes, he can drive. he was very patient with her paparazzi impulse.
when I had been searching for migas I found a yelp review of chef woo; it promised a taiwanese style breakfast. she could not resist.
what you see above is a doughnut like item wrapped in a tortilla type thing... yes, it's like a do-nut taco. the food was good and cheap. luckily I let kat order the things she wanted, those are things I'll taste but not fill up on. we had tickets to day of doon in santa cruz and they promised gourmet eats along with great quantities of juice samplings.
keeping the blues out old school style and driving over hwy 17
the drive over 17 is amazing. for kat, it was a reminder of how happy she is living in austin with a 5 mile commute and not driving hwy 17 to get to work.
the summit, all down hill from here.
our good friends matt and darcey were waiting for us at day of doon.
we had a private tasting in one of their new "pods". my brother offered some challenging questions.
can you say nebbioloooooooh
we really liked the bonny doon nebbiolo and the cigare volant. we had a barrel sampling of the 07 cigare volant (won't be released till 2011) along with the 02, 03 and 04. sign me up for all the above. there was also a great abundance of food this year. nobody went hungry. and lucky for me, I didn't eat much at chef woo so I was ready to consume the gourmet treats being ushered out on huge serving plates.
it was time for an impromptu blues jam. a harmonica was used to provide a background as we traded turns providing blues lines expressing the inner pain of human existence, or something like that.
matthew and the girls
the theme of this years day of doon involved the four elements. people were encouraged to dress up. I found fire.
I found water and had a peek.
downtown santa cruz. more harmonica blues to be distributed. I held the hat for the pedestrians to consider a contribution.
SOIF! we really miss this unpretentious wine bar with constantly changing menu that never fails to offer something new and interesting.
there is a cheese plate and sweet breads and boquerones and...
then we stopped off at el palomar. after philip gave them a serving of the restaurant owner blues, they served us up a pitcher of margaritas.
no trip to santa cruz would be complete without a stop by our old home. we found our neighbor tom out front having his morning coffee in his robe, ozzy slippers and led zepelin pajamas. it was like we never left. this time, kat was very happy to see our old home was being well cared for (the previous visit was an expression of an absent owner who let the plants die). we were so happy to see that much of what we had planted there was now flourishing! that flax was maybe 10" inches when I dropped it into the hole I dug, look at it now!
a giant palm tree made a nice addition.
it was nice to see that so much of what we did to the house was just as we left it, the pergola that I made with a gender bending assistant (paula the handywoman), the chandelier we got at a yard sale still hanging from it, the side gate I made, the front house numbers kat hand painted... it was all there like we had just left for a short time.
breakfast at linda's seabreeze cafe
they have the best scrambles there. somehow, I was seduced by a daily special that was described as "insanity" and didn't get my scramble. the special was too heavy on the artichoke hearts and too light on eggs, it was insane. I'll just have to return to get my scramble on. the cinnamon roll did not disappoint.
#4!!!!! my daughter and I used to walk from our house to our beach and then we'd walk along the beach until we could touch #4.
gray skies cheated us out of the usual aquamarine colored waves, typical rainy season, morning marine fog bank, overcast weather.
the dude observing the sand beneath his boots.
and the usual mad dash to check out, drive to airport, return rental car (get gas first) shuttle and run to the gate where you find your flight has been delayed to the point where you can no longer make the connecting flight in denver. HA! we got home just a bit later than scheduled. it was great to hug the kids before bedtime. a HUGE thanks to my mom for watching them. now it's her turn, she left for napa this morning. hey mom! bring us back some juice!