Deb and Scott got married this weekend! Thanks to the four day weekend that Ashland always gives for Labor Day, I was able to make the trip out to California to celebrate. Today's post will, of course, focus on food, but it will also comment upon the fantastic weekend that good friends were able to spend together.
We arrived in San Francisco late on Thursday night, and immediately went to bed in our hotel by the airport, as it was about 2 AM according to our internal clocks. We enjoyed breakfast in the Hyatt restaurant, where they had three delicious oatmeal choices. I went with the one that offered pineapple chutney, coconut milk, and macadamia nuts. That would have been amazing on its own, but an entire spread of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit was also brought to the table - yum!
We picked up our rental car after breakfast and braved the San Francisco traffic so that we could drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. Our goal was to get to the Meritage Hotel in Napa by noon to attend a tea ceremony given by Deb's family. Had we realized that the hotel was in Napa and not Sonoma, we would have been on time. Luckily we figured out our mistake quickly and were only about twenty minutes late. There was still plenty of delicious food on the buffet table, and I enjoyed a variety of fruits and vegetables, including my new favorite food - fresh figs! They had just been picked from the tree and were amazing!
After the tea ceremony we had some time to enjoy the pool at our hotel. We left plenty of time to get ready so that we wouldn't miss the bus to the ceremony, which was in Sonoma (hence my earlier confusion). The ceremony took place on the lawn of the vineyard just before sunset - it was beautiful! Cocktail hour was on the terrace as the sun began to set, and we were able to enjoy the beautiful grounds as we sampled their wines. Dinner was delicious - salad with more figs to start, and an eggplant dish with Israeli couscous for the main dish. It provided the fuel I needed for a night of dancing, picture taking, and catching up with friends.
On Saturday, we boarded another bus for our winery tour. We began at Domain Chandon, where we sampled three of their champagnes. Most of us decided that the rose variety was by far the best. Though there was enough champagne for each person to have half a bottle, we kept it to two small glasses each and strolled the scenic grounds as we sipped our wine. Our next stop was V. Sattui, where we were given a tour before our tasting. They had set up three tables in the shade and we sampled two whites, a rose, two reds, and a dessert wine. We were then able to choose one to accompany our boxed lunch. I chose the Riesling to go with my roasted veggie wrap (which turned into more of a salad since it was hard to pick up the Romaine leaves that wrapped the veggies), sauteed veggies, and fruit salad. Our final stop was the Franciscan winery where we enjoyed a sampling of four wines in the shade. We were exhausted by the time we returned to the hotel, but after a quick power nap, we headed downtown for dinner. We chose a bistro that offered a delicious homemade black bean and barley burger along with cajun spiced fries. We ended the evening by the fire pit at our hotel.
On Sunday we headed back to San Francisco after breakfast to drop Lori off for her flight. Erin and I then headed downtown and walked the Embarcadero from the Bart station. We decided we wanted Mexican food for lunch, so we stopped at Mangos on Pier 39. Since it was busy and there was a bit of a wait, we sat at the bar and enjoyed complimentary chips and salsa (watery but good and spicy) and a delicious veggie burrito on a whole wheat wrap. After lunch we boarded the ferry for Alcatraz. What a great experience! We did the audio tour of the cell block where we were able to view numerous cells, "the hole", the dining hall, the recreation yard, the warden's office, the library, and the visitation area, all while learning about the history of the island and how the jail was run. Afterward, we walked the property for a bit before catching the last ferry at 6:30. We ended our evening at the Mission Rock Resort, where we met Amy, Colleen, and Justin for dinner. Once again, I had a fig salad (I needed my last fix before heading home!) and summer veggie risotto that the chef kindly made vegan.
To round out the eating, I made a stop at The Plant in the airport this morning. I stocked up on oatmeal, vegan banana bread, and a thai peanut wrap for lunch. And now it's back to reality. I think I'm staying put for awhile, but I'm sure I'll have more food adventures to post very soon!