Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day Trippin'

Tomales Bay is a wonderful culinary day trip. There are a few ways to arrive, I suggest heading West on Highway 12 and then South on Highway 1. The views are breathtaking and the destination will satisfy your appetite.
The Tomales Deli and Cafe should be your first stop. They make amazing sandwiches. My personal favorite is the Artichoke Pesto Chicken Sandwich...DELICIOUS! They also serve breakfast. Tomales is a small town with 1 block of businesses so make sure you keep you eyes peeled for this treasure!
Across the street is the general store and post office. Stop in the general store for any road trip needs (maps, candy, water, wine...)
Take your time heading down the road. There are oysters being harvested, fishing boats, sea gulls, fresh air and the beautiful Tomales Bay.
 Since oysters are harvested daily, you can't leave without eating some! There are many places to stop and try oysters, my top pick is The Marshall Store. Now, getting here requires paying attention, because it is very easy to pass. Luckily, I have made the mistake and have a landmark to share...across the street is the Marshall Post Office! This tiny place has a deck where you can sit and enjoy the view. If you plan on enjoying beer or wine, there is a redwood burl set atop wine barrels on the side of the road. This isn't as dangerous as it sounds. It's quite nice and they even serve you. I suggest ordering a half dozen BBQ oysters and pairing them with a crisp Anchor Steam...pure seafood heaven!
If you plan on visiting this sweet spot, let me know...I may hitch a ride ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Tale of Two Parks

This year I had the opprotunity to visit 2 ballparks. AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, is by far the best ballpark. The food and drink raise the bar ridiculously high for other parks. Where else can you get a Boudin Sourdough bread bowl filled with clam chowder or Gilroy garlic fries?? As for drink, they serve many premium beers and even sangria. If non-alcoholic beverages tickle your fancy, Coca-Cola is a major sponsor. Check out left field, there is a GIANT coke bottle with a built in slide! Like I said, this park rocks!

San Francisco also offers the timeless waterfront view. The home of the "splash hit" into "McCovey Cove" makes this park one of a kind. When a slugger hits a fair ball into deep right over the heads of spectators, the only place for the baseball to land is the water. This causes a fog horn to blare and water to spurt out of the brick walls in deep right field. Gotta love water features!!!

Even if you are not a Giants fan, you have to visit the park to see the pristine beauty. I remember my first time there, I thought it looked like it was built out of Legos. It is that AMAZING! (can you tell I love me some Giants?!)

After the games, when everyone is leaving, a recording of Tony Bennett's "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" croons over the entire park. How do you not fall in love with the experience?!

On to the second park I visited this year...
Ranger's Stadium in Arlington, TX, home of the Texas Rangers! This is the park to visit for warm, balmy summer nights. Texas' unforgiving humidity sets the stage for the famous baseball and beer duo. Upon entering this park, I searched for bottled water and ice cold beer. Found quickly, since Budweiser and filtered water flow equally in Texas, I made my purchase.

Since we were in the nose bleeds, we had to take an ginormous escalator up to our seats. I had just purchased my beverages and the nice escalator attendant informed me that I could not transfer my alcoholic beverage up a level. My only choice was to chug, even though it was against their "rules".  (note: upon entering the park, you are handed a list of rules, including no PDA or public drunkeness)

Rules aside, Texas can host like no other state! The fellow fans were hospitable and park attendants quite polite. In fact, in the 7th inning stretch, you can learn all verses to "Deep in the Heart of Texas" complete with words on the scoreboard. This is Texas hospitality at it's finest. When I told fellow fans I was a SF Giants fan they were polite and replied how wonderful it was to have a visitor.

Here's to a kind and hospitable World's Series. 
Let's go Giants! (or Rangers) 
And Yippee to visits to both parks...who woulda thunk! Good stuff! ;)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Let's Go Giants!

This is a sea of orange rally flags. This is at my favorite baseball park. This is a bunch of people rooting for my favorite team.

The San Francisco Giants are in the playoffs. They are one game away from the World Series. Tomorrow night, get out your orange and black and cheer them on!!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Scented Memories

As I was driving to work this morning, I caught a whiff of ripening grapes in the Valley. This scent brought back so many memories of my childhood, driving through the Napa Valley on our way to my Aunt's house. It's amazing how smells can take you back to specific memories. Maybe, this memory jump-started my passion for wine.

I remember sitting in between my siblings, wishing I was at a window seat so I could smell the Napa Valley. My little sister recalls getting nauseous by this scent. Not me, I even love the smell of a cellar...the wood, fermentation, maturing wine...heaven!

I was just speaking to a friend about "scented candle memories". I wish I could bottle up some of the scents from my most precious memories. I work with a sensory scientist, and I am sure she would be able to identify the chemical compounds of my scented memories and bottle them up for me. The only obstacle is relaying the scent memory. For instance, how do I describe how my favorite book smells?!

With this olfactory flashback, I was reminded how circular life can be. I never thought I'd be driving through the Napa Valley every day to work when I was younger. Driving through St. Helena and Calistoga was a treat, especially at night with the white lights on the trees. Now, it is my routine. However, whenever that scent makes its way to me, I am immediately taken back to my pre-wine days of wonder.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Veraison: A stage in the ripening process of grapes whereby the grape begins to soften and starts to accumulate colour, flavour and tannin.

It has been a cool summer, harvest will be later this year and the grapes are just starting to turn. This is an exciting time for those in the wine business. It means that soon, work hours will be longer, sleep will be less and production will be increased. The birth of wine is labor intensive and requires dedication from all involved. Although my job only requires me to supply the wine makers with their needs for creating wine, I am excited to learn everything that happens to create a bottle of wine!

I can liken this season to my life right now. It has been a slow process for me this year to "ripen" into my next level. At times, I get impatient with the process and wish things would speed up and move on. However, when I think of refining myself, I realize that it is best to let the process take it's time. In the end, I will be ready to accept the gifts life has to offer and be ready for them. If there is anything I have learned this year, it is to take my time and let things happen naturally. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friendship, Food and Fun

Today was filled with good food, amazing friendship and a city that always has something waiting to be discovered.

My dear friend, Laura and I began our day with brunch at Nob Hill Grille. I highly recommend ordering a mimosa (they are quite large) while you wait. I had the delicious pesto scramble which made it to my top brunch eats of all time!

Afterwards, we picked up her sister, Emily2 (it gets confusing when there are two of us with such a great name) and went shopping/furniture hunting. We played in the Mission looking in vintage stores with coffee from Four Barrel Coffee. They have a very simple, straight forward menu. I ordered the mocha. OH MY GOODNESS!!! Yum. It tasted it had sea salt added. I know this may sound weird, but you have to try dark chocolate with sea salt to understand this edible phenomenon! Anyway, shopping was fun, highlighted by Emily2 trying on vintage dresses...good stuff!

Before the evening set in, we went back to Laura's apartment. We sipped wine, listened to music and caught up on what seemed like forever since we last saw each other. Luckily, she is one of my few friends where we pick up where we ended, like time never passed. It was a lovely afternoon.

For dinner, we decided on Vietnamese cuisine at Sunflower. We split a large Sapporo, ordered amazing prawn noodles, pan fried green beans and pot stickers. Super amazing flavors and company.

What a lovely day!