Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Superlatives

Happy New Year's Eve!

To wrap up 2012, here's a look back on the year, pointing out some highlights.  It's only appropriate for my 200th post!

2012 Superlatives

Best Adventure

Best Meal
Winner: Our homecooked Valentine's Day dinner, of scallops, steak, and chocolate lava cake

Runner-Up: (Will's choice) Five-course French meal at Les Florets in Gigondas
Runner-Up: (Sarah's choice) Anniversary dinner at Boulevard in San Francisco

Best Blog Achievement 

Winner: Having BuzzFeed pick up my foie gras macaron post and link to my blog (see #9)

Runner-Up: Hitting my 200th post on NYE 2012

Best Photo
In the running:
Photos from: Top: Paris, Half Moon Bay hike, Muir Woods hike;
Middle: Lyon Zoo, San Diego sunset, Vacqueyras winery;
Bottom: San Diego Christmas, Lyon, San Diego Zoo

Vote for your favorite in the comments section below!

Happy New Year's Eve, and cheers to 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wine Road Event

Several weeks back, three friends joined us on a day trip up to Sonoma wine country.  We were participating in Sonoma Valley's annual Wine Road event, where we tasted wines at several wineries that had each paired a bite of food with one of their wines.


We started off at Kendall-Jackson to pick up our cookbooks, wine glasses, and the first taste.  We were all surprisingly impressed with their Chardonnay and pork sandwiches, which we enjoyed outside in their sunny veranda.

Our second stop was Hook and Ladder, where we tasted osso buco over polenta (polenta was a repeating theme!)

Hook and Ladder also paired some of their wines with chocolate.  My favorite was the cabernet paired with a mocha chocolate.

Forchini Winery paired an excellent soupe au pistou (a Provencal soup) with their red wine blend.

Next, our friends introduced us to Mazzocco winery, where they are members, so we were able to try several of their award-winning Zinfandels that weren't offered to other tasters.  They paired one of their Zinfandel wines with beef short ribs over polenta.  This was my favorite stop of the day!

Amista lured us in with their chocolate and wine pairings, but they also made a delicious shrimp and garlic-herb risotto.  Outside the tasting room, we saw this guy:

Martin Ray Winery served a flavorful wild mushroom ragout with their pinot noir in this huge warehouse below.

We ended our Wine Road tour with a stop at Truett Hurst, one of favorite places from our last visit.

The winery's logo is a red adirondack chair, of which they have several down on the banks of Dry Creek.  That day they also handed out sunglasses so we could see the Coho salmon swimming upstream.

Truett Hurst's property has a beautiful vegetable garden and lots of animals, as well.

It was a beautiful fall day with great friends, and it was a nice reminder that we are only 75 minutes south of this remarkable wine region.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Zoo Peek

Yesterday we took our nephew to the San Diego zoo.

It was a huge hit...for the toddler and the big kids!

More zoo photos to come!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to All

There's something so sweet about seeing a child's wonder at Christmas.

Hope you are enjoying a Merry, Merry Christmas!

Our sweet nephew on Christmas morning

Monday, December 24, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Sisters are here, Will is home, and we will be seeing lots more family tonight.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 

Little Sister Made Omelettes!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jacks Peak

Over Thanksgiving weekend, we explored some other hiking trails I hadn't been on in many years.  Jacks Peak sits at the top of the Monterey Peninsula and separates Monterey from Carmel, more or less.  It hosts a handful of homes, great views, and hiking trails that are much less steep than our Garrapata hike in Big Sur that same weekend!

Jacks Peak has 11 trails, and we covered about half of them the day we hiked.
Click Here For Larger Map
From the Lower Ridge and Pine trails, you get views of the Monterey Bay, seen here with a nice blanket of fog.  Typical.

Monterey Peninsula and the wharfs.

The Coffeeberry Trail doesn't have as many views, but look at this moss!

The Rhus Trail boasts sea views on the Carmel side.  There's Carmel River Beach, and Point Lobos is in the distance.

Somewhere in there is Mission Ranch!
There was no lack of poison oak signage.  Will's gonna learn some day what it looks like.


It was a festive Fall color that weekend.

Jacks Peak is particularly special, because that's where my family lived until I was one year old.  This is the driveway to our old house.  I have no true memories of the place--just a recollection of what our house looked like based on photos from when I was tiny.  But that location sure is a sweet place to live!

I think the highlight of the hike, though, is that I got to visit the site of my very first camping trip, which was in our previous neighbors' side yard (oh, the views!).  I was probably 4 years old, and my Dad took me camping right over that hill below, with the trees.  My Mom and little sister hung out with us until dark, but only I was old enough to camp with Dad overnight; I probably felt so brave.

It was good to be back.