Monday, August 2, 2010

Napa & San Francisco

We took a little vacation this summer.... an important one, in fact: Our Honeymoon. I know what you're thinking.... we have been married for a year and a half. But the truth of it is, we couldn't go anywhere after our wedding, due to some work training and other friends' weddings. So we decided to take it this summer. We still told people it was a delayed honeymoon, since we got married in January... of LAST year (we left out that minor detail). So off to California we go!

Napa Valley and a little town called Yountville were our first stops. The grapes and vines were in full bloom, and the countryside was so lush.

We went to several vineyards: Silver Oak, Grgich Hills, Merryvale, and Cakebread. All were so beautiful and it was so cool to learn about how they cultivate and age their grapes, and end up with such delicious wines. We tried lots of different types of wines, even though the standard Cabernet Sauvignon is our go-to wine. We may have even come home with some bottles, to open only for special occasions.

Napa Valley is not just about wine though. The food there is equally amazing. We went to Ristorante Tra Vigne, a recommendation from some friends, and I have to say that their fresh mozzarella changed my life! They make it on site, and it had just been pulled out of pasteurization that day. Then they place it in a small bowl with a little fresh olive oil, and warm it up just enough. They bring it to your table and slice it for you, and then you spread it over their freshly baked and toasted sourdough bread. It is HEAVEN! Here's me with what was left of it:

We also went to Mustard's Grill for dinner.... I had their famous Mongolian Pork Chop, which was delicious. However, my husband got the New York Strip, which was even more amazing!! Lets just say, we didn't leave hungry!

Our next stop on our trip was on our way to Monterrey/Carmel. Fifteen years ago, when I was last in California, my family stopped in a little town called Gilroy, the "Garlic Capital of the World", and tried some amazing garlic delicacies. So on our trip this year, we happened to be in time for their Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. I insisted that we go. While it was ten times as large as any festival we have here in Florida in all its craziness, it was definitely a great experience. I made my husband try Garlic Ice Cream (I have had it before and liked it a lot!), since he is a hugs ice cream lover. Here he is, trying the Praline Pecan Garlic Ice Cream:

It was pretty delicious, but we wish we had ordered it like seasoned festival-goers scooped into half of a cantaloupe. A new idea for summer!!!

After Monterrey/Carmel, we drove up Big Sur and Highway 1 up the coast of California to our last destination: San Francisco. There, we saw the redwoods at Muir Woods, took a tour of Alcatraz, and hung out with the sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf.

There were also so many great restaurants, but here were our favorites:

Bobo's: The Steak, The Crab. This restaurant certainly lives up to its name. We met some of our California friends at their favorite steak joint on Lombard Street. They have a bone-in filet mignon that is out of this world, and with an iron skillet roasted mussels, crab, and shrimp combo to start with, they made the restaurant live up to its name. Their sides are served family style, with amazing pancetta brussel sprouts and a twice baked potato the size of my arm. While it is not the most well-known or popular restaurant in San Francisco, it is definitely one not to miss!

Our last stop before heading home was Scoma's seafood restaurant on the Wharf. While it doesn't have the best view, it does have some of the freshest seafood right off the dock! Order the LazyMan's Cioppino for a real treat (recipe to follow).

Between the wine, restaurants, and amazing sights, our honeymoon was certainly worth the wait!

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