Monday, October 21, 2013

3 beautiful days in San Diego - October 2012

San Francisco to Napa to the Russian river and now in San Diego. What a beautiful country.

Water, mountains, wonderful old trees, vineyards and now some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We are staying at a beautiful resort called Loews Coronado on Coronado which can best be described as a spit of sand down where our resort is. You could probably hit a golf ball from one side to the other, ok maybe not me, but Jim for sure.

 San Diego has a large military contingent and a large harbour with warships and cruise ships. Sitting on the beaches or at dinner there are always lots of helicopters doing manoeuvers (or looking for sharks). Fighter jets zoom around the island, it is quite entertaining. We did lots of walking on beaches and the piers. Lots of fisherman but never saw a fish. One day we popped up to Old Town, which is like our pioneer village, with the history of San Diego. There was even a cigar shop that was started by 2 Quebecers in the 1800's. Had an authentic Mexican meal (tamales for me chimichanga for Jim) while being serenaded by two guitarists.

The next day we went up to see Torrey Pines, a famous public golf course, sitting on cliffs overlooking the Pacific, breathtaking.

From there we headed into La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya). Unbelievably beautiful, it had everything the beaches, caves and lots of wildlife, seals, pelicans, herons, coromoronts, etc. Tons of little shops, art galleries, including a Peter Lik gallery, he is a fabulous photographer who just sold one his pics for $1m to an art museum. The restaurants (our fav were on the hills and had balconies on their top floors overlooking the ocean. It was like sitting in the sky.

We had 2 beautiful meals at the Coronado, I can't say enough about. The chef is one of only 45 French master chefs in the Us and his food and presentation were delish. The first night we were sitting there overlooking the beautiful city of San Diego when we blinked and it totally disappeared. Blackness, it was totally shocking. We were thinking blackout, but thankfully it was only fog. A few minutes it all reappeared. The staff provided some of the best service we have ever had at a restaurant. 7 days have just flew by and the only exciting thing is that the Breeders Cup is here again next year. Woohoo

Heading to San Diego, lots of driving - October 2012

Up early and the packing started as we get ready to start down to San Diego. We have accumulated 8 bottles of red, 3 champagne and 2 bottles of rum. We are hoping we can bring most of this back with us, otherwise we'll have to stay until we drink it. :)

Grab a blueberry muffin and head down the highway. We pick up hwy 1 at Monterrey and the up and down and hairpins start. Our first stop is a restaurant called Nepanthe, which means "no sorrow". It is absolutely beautiful, jutting out into the ocean and a couple of hundred feet up. The sun was beaming and about 90 degrees. Lots of hawks and eagles circling overhead and woodpeckers in the trees.

Back on the road we head to Avilia Beach, a little gem of a place right on the pacific with 2 large piers and a wonderful boardwalk.

Our room is at Avila La Fonda, a block away from the beach with a full kitchen and a coffee machine that grinds your coffee beans before it perks your coffee. Jim is very excited. And they provide the coffee.

We are both a little tired so decided to walk down and grab a pizza to have ith our sangiovese. A perfect night now we just need the tigers to win a game

Good luck tomorrow aurora with the frankenstorm coming your way.

Good night moon

An Adventure and more Wineries - October 2012

Up and about by 9. Over to Yountville for breakfast at the Pacific Blues cafe. French toast with bananas and walnuts on the deck. Absolutely civilized, the people beside us brought their own champagne in a cooler to put in their OJ.

We decided to find our way over to Lake Berryessa, back over the mountain but the other side of the valley this time. Again lots of hairpin curves but this time we had to share the road with a bunch of cyclists competing in a race. I can't imagine how they made it up the hills from a stamina point of view never mind that they didn't get run over by the cars being driven with budding Mario Andretti's. It was crazy. With all this going on we ended up missing our turn and ended up on the southern part of the lake with hardly any gas. Quick look st the map and we headed over to the town of Winter. (why would you name a town Winter in California). Filled up on gas and headed back to Napa.

First stop Mumm's winery and our first buy of the day. A beautiful old fashioned winery with beautiful gardens and great atmosphere. I asked if they were hiring anyone as I had my resume with me but no luck. :)

Our next stop was Opus One. This winery was built by Baron de Roschild and Robert Mondavi and they basically only make one wine a Cabernet Sauvignon which sold for $225 a bottle. Luckily for us they also had a small release of a much cheaper wine for $75 a bottle. Yes we had to buy one bottle.

Next stop was a grocery store for a baguette, cheese and some olives. Yum

Castella d'ambrosia was our last stop. This is a full fledged medieval castle which took 12 years to build. It is owned by V Sattui, he basically made so much money from his first winery that he decided to build his castle up on a hill north of St Helena. It was the busiest winery we visited so Mr Sattui has another huge success. It amazes me that he can be that financially successful from just selling wine through his wineries. He does no exporting or distributing. If you want his wine you go there or join his wine club. If you live in the states and join his wine club he was hosting a pagan night for 250 members last night at the castle. Looked amazing.

Back to the resort (Silverado) and get ready for dinner which as at Ristorante Allegria in downtown Napa. To go with their great wines, Napa might have some of the best food in the world.

Ps to Mary Jo and your martooni nights, discovered a lemon drop martini and a French martini which has champagne in it.