A rainy day and a beautiful day

Our third day in California was a rainy one, so we planned as many indoor activities as possible. We started with ANOTHER  amazing breakfast at the Farmhouse and then relaxed a bit before heading to Korbel.

The brandy tower was modeled after the tower that Francis Korbel saw from jail in Czechoslovakia. He was a criminal! (Not really, he was protesting or something)

The tour was ok, too much history and too little champagne-making explanation. Our guide was an older gentleman whose favorite phrase was, “Really think about that for a minute.” Then he would immediately start talking about something else.

I was insulted at one point by what I considered to be blatant sexism but Matt says I’m overreacting. The tour guide was explaining why the bottom of champagne bottles have a concave bottom (it’s for reinforcement) and he said, “Ladies, you’ll know this, when you drop a mayonnaise bottle with a flat bottom, what happens? It breaks!” Ahhh right, our small hands and fingers have trouble holding the jar while we’re at home making sandwiches for our husbands.

After the tour we grabbed lunch at Willow Wood Market where I spotted salt and pepper shakers that I really want.

Unfortunately, they weren’t for sale.

I needed a break from wine so I ordered a chai tea latte and was confused to receive this:

Yes, that’s a bowl of tea. For the sake of my bladder, I didn’t finish it.

That night we drove to Santa Rosa for dinner and we ate at Syrah. Wow! This was the first time I did a tasting menu with a wine pairing and it was amazing. Great food, delicious wine, funky decor, good stuff!

The next day was absolutely gorgeous so we tried to get as many outdoor activities in as possible. We visited Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve which was muddy but beautiful.

Many people describe me as tree-like, what with my never-ending legs that hold up my 5’1” body. You can imagine then how large this tree is.

We tried (unsuccessfully) to time a picture but my camera focused on the branch it was balancing on instead. Oh well.

A friendly passerby took this one for us instead.

Being the beach lover that he is, Matt really wanted to drive to the coast. I was lukewarm about it because I thought, we live on Long Island! We’re surrounded by beaches! Yeah so the Pacific Coast is pretty different. My bad.

Sure, that looks just like our beaches…

This rock reminded me of the final scene in The Goonies when they’re on the beach and One Eyed Willie’s boat sails by.

Anyone who knows me knows that I typically avoid places that have danger signs. Once again, Intrepid Matt bullied me and I’m grateful for it.

That’s not a cool new hat, it’s my hair being whipped by the insane wind.

This is how we got back and forth from the car. I get winded just looking at it.

Hey, Matt!

I had no idea that everything in Sonoma closes really early. All the vineyards’ tasting rooms close between 3:00 and 5:00 which was kind of annoying! We were able to stop at Iron Horse Vineyard and Hartford Family Winery to get some tastings in. Hartford looked like a beautiful private residence but it’s primarily a tasting room and wine processing facility.

For our final night in Sonoma we visited Healdsburg and were disappointed to see that all the stores and tasting rooms also closed before 5:00. Annoying! We were able to shop in Lime Stone which had really cool home accessories and jewelry. I bought myself a vacation gift:

Dry Creek Kitchen was the destination of our final dinner and it was fabulous. I feel like I’ve said that for every meal but the food everywhere was just so good! It’s a Charlie Palmer restaurant so I’m interested in trying his places in New York, Aureole and Astra.

Stay tuned for a complete list of restaurants, vineyards and places to visit!

California, here we come!

Matt and I are settled in to our California trip. We’re spending this week at the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, about an hour north of San Francisco. Aside from some rain and a dash of traffic, getting here was a breeze!

This was our first time flying on Virgin America and overall, it was very pleasant. I was disappointed to see that the movies were $8 a piece, so instead I watched marathons of Cold Case and Law and Order for free. They also don’t offer any complimentary food so everything needs to be purchased. Boooo!  I picked up some high-brow literature in the airport:

Virgin America is like Jet Blue’s cool younger sister.  Based on previous experience and what The Bachelor tells me, I imagine all pilots to look and sound like John Edwards (minus the cheating and the love child). When the captain came  over the loudspeaker I was surprised to hear that he did not have that southern drawl and instead had some sort of accent, Caribbean, Irish, Mandarin, I’m not really sure. These are some pictures I took from the plane:

For some reason whenever I think of snow-topped mountains I think of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when he is forced to jump from the plane that’s crashing. I’m a weirdo, I know.

Before heading up to Sonoma County, we stopped at Hog Island Oysters in the Ferry Building by the Bay Bridge. Amazing! The Ferry Building is a fabulous marketplace with tons of delicious looking shops and restaurants. It’s reason enough for me to pick up and move over here.

Image: Ferry Building website

Considering that when Matt and I started dating his palate did not extend past tuna sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, and chicken parm, I’m proud to say that he ate oysters and enjoyed them! He didn’t go for the raw ones (although I did) but he was a good sport.

possibly the best clam chowder I’ve had – super fresh with a delicate creamy broth, not the bisque-ish consistency I’m used to

the view from our table

After lunch we made our way over  the Golden Gate Bridge and of course I snapped some mediocre pictures. Photography from a Kia Spectra is hard!

In addition to being a hotel, Farmhouse Inn is also an acclaimed restaurant and we can see why! We had a really delicious dinner there on our first night. Pork cheeks (way better than it sounds), halibut, chocolate beignets (fancy doughnut balls), mmmmmmhmmmm.