Posts in Category: Vacation

Tuesday through Friday…..

So we’re going back in time a bit for Tuesday… the entire reason for the vacation.. our big 3 year anniversary!!!!

We slept in too late and missed breakfast!! We decided to take advantage of the lunch menus at the seafood places. We ended up a Alioto’s. You can see Scoma’s from their 2nd floor dining area. I had a simple salad, a cup of clam chowder and half shrimp sandwich. Paul had clam chowder and some salmon steak. We were lucky that afternoon as we saw 3 sea lions in the little fisherman area. Apparently 1 of the lions was too aggressive for the group over at Pier 39 so he hangs out in that area by himself and a couple also may be seen near him. It’s rare for them to be in actual fishing area. Our waiter had a story about this particular sea lion and he was awfully excited and told us we were lucky. We did get at least one shot of them the last time they surfaced. Lunch was excellent!

After lunch we went downtown to pick up some things. I wanted a gift for our anniversary so we went to World of Charms and Paul got me a cable car in silver!!! We then got Paul some shoes, I went to Frederick’s of Hollywood for something special and to pick up Paul’s dinner jacket at the tailors. I took soooo long at Frederick’s that we had to call Chez Spencer to let them know we wouldn’t be there for half an hour after we were due. I was actually able to get ready in about 15 minutes and think I looked just fine. I forgot the camera so no pictures of us. We had the hotel call us a cab and they got us a nice Lincoln Towne Car. Dinner was simply magical. I had the tasting menu and started with oysters, fois gras, turbot, salad, cheeses and a warm chocolate cake. It all was accompanied by a wine chosen for each course. The last 2 were ports and I am just not a fan. So sad. Paul had asparagus with a truffle emulsion and roasted Sonoma duck with raspberry jus. He had some wine that was suggested to go with it. I also started off with a champagne cocktail and he had a mint julep that was verrry strong! We had a really special night.

The next day we had to get up on time. We had a huge breakfast at the Hilton (gave into the danish). We packed our things, hailed a taxi and went downtown for our car. We couldn’t take the Miata as we just had too much luggage. We ended up with a Honda Accord which was very nice. We drove through a bit of the city and tried to find the 49 mile scenic drive (and I do mean tried to find). We did well and drove through some of the places we went with the GoCar but eventually some of the signs were missing arrows. Hilarious!! I went on the Pacific ocean beach for the first time and touched the water. The battery in our digital camera went dead so I stopped by Walgreens (all they have in Cali.. no single CVS.. Paul was sad, CVS is his fave place LOL) We eventually found the scenic drive again and went up the Twin Peaks, with beautiful views of the city. We diverted off the route after passing Haight and Ashbury and started our journey to Sonoma.

We went over the Golden Gate Bridge on 101. We stopped to see the Redwoods as Paul’s mother really really wanted us to see them. It was rainy and misty. I thought it was the best time to actually be in the woods! We were hungry so we stopped by a place I found. The Pelican Inn. We were too late for lunch so bar fare was the best we could do. Paul and I had fish n chips. He had Pelican’s Pale Ale and I had a glass of some kind of white from somewhere pretty close (at least in California). We had a very nice time and had some great suggestions for wineries. We were told of a great barrel tasting that weekend but we left on Friday. What happens with barrel tasting is usually when you taste, you have the option of reserving some of the wine to see what it ‘s like after a few years. It’s interesting and certainly a really awesome surprise a few years later. As some of you know, PA sucks and we can’t order wine without going through the PA board of whatever and the winery has to have agreements with them. Not all do with PA and most of their exclusive bottles they don’t sell and can’t get here anyway. *sigh*

We got to Sonoma at almost 8pm. The Inn at Sonoma is a block and a half from the center square of Sonoma. Nice accommodations, much nicer and cheaper than the Hilton. Spa on the roof, fire place, lovely tile, patio and one of those really awesome sinks that is more like the original basins people use to use. We didn’t find anything to eat as we had a large late lunch at the Pelican Inn. We took advantage of the spa on the roof. It was a bit hot but so nice to relax and soak. We had a great night sleep.

We had breakfast the next day at the Inn. They had egg fritada, pancakes with raisins, muffins, bagels, english muffins, bread, orange juice, coffee and some whole fruits. I like the eggs but Paul isn’t into it b/c of the cheese.

Now the fun part. We took Highway 12 to visit some wineries. We went to BR Cohn (the Doobie Brothers manager owns it). They have wine and olive oil. We of course could buy and ship the olive oil home. Which we did. The olive oil was sooo good as well as their balsamic vinegar! Wine was just as tasty. We also went to Imagery who makes less than 300 cases of each wine (to put this in perspective, most wine you see in your local store make about 25k+) so obviously Imagery only ever needs to sell from home. We found a fabulous sweet, honey wine. So great. Paul bought some for us to have. We went to Wellington, Benzinger (where we took a tour about biodynamic farming), the oldest winery Buena Vista (turned 150 this year! and I loved 3 of their wines) and we also made it to Chateau St. Jean but we only got to take pictures. Turns out the next winery was the one in which Paul’s uncle was married (Landmark). We didn’t get to drink as much as we’d like but oh well. We tried to get lunch in Glen Ellen but nothing was open at about 2pm!!! Turns out after we discovered late lunches (after 2pm) don’t happen in Sonoma, that the places in Glen Ellen do what they want so if it isn’t open, they felt that they didn’t’ want to be open). We found this out at the cafe we went to in Sonoma. I had a turkey and tomato crepe and Paul had a turkey sandwich. Nice, simple and good. I also had broccoli soup (liked it a lot actually lol). Met a nice local woman who gave us suggestions. After our last wineries we went to our Inn for cheese and wine! Yummies. We talked about dinner and got reservations at The Girl and the Fig.

This was another amazing place. We sat at the bar as we were a bit early for our reservation. I had their signature cocktail and Paul had a Jack & Coke. The bartender used to eat at the restaurant for 5 years before he worked there (been working for 5 so really eating for 10). He made all perfect selections. We started with the fig salad, yumm. I had the roasted chicken (if you look at the description, it just doesn’t describe the tastes!!) I had a cranberry and stolli for a drink. Paul had Short Ribs that were amazing!! He had Buena Vista Shiraz to go with it. For dessert, I had the caramel nut tart with hazelnut ice cream (it was HUGE, I thought it would be half the size) and Paul had butterscotch pot de creme. It wasn’t pudding, wasn’t flan, wasn’t custard. It was in between. I had their fig hot chocolate which was nice and boozey. Perfect meal to end our wonderful vacation. I was so sad to leave.

Morning we left we had breakfast, went to UPS in Sonoma.. packed up our tourist crap and got back to the Inn to pack up everything. We then went to another UPS on the way to the airport to drop off our packages. Our final lunch was at the airport. I got some mexican soup and Paul got some chinese soup. We upgraded our seats and it was sooo worth it not to be cramped. I had a lunch box of healthful stuff as a snack.

They showed Night at the Museum on the plane (soooo good, I have to see it on the big screen). We got to Philly and were just soo depressed…… and hungry. So we went to Pat’s for a philly cheese steak! No other way to not be depressed about leaving SF like getting something that says you are home, sort of.

I miss SF and can’t wait to get back. We still want to do more wine tasting, see the museums, get some time in a real spa and see a lot more things. It is one of my favorite places for sure. I will suggest anyone to go and see for themselves. They won’t be disappointed!

Sonoma!!

We’ve made it!  I know we are a bit behind on blogging and uploading photos but our pay for internet turned off early on us 😡

 

We’re at the Inn at Sonoma.. amazing place… I’m already suggesting it and we haven’t even been here more than a few minutes… Love you all!

 

Irene

Monday..

After our long and very full weekend, Monday has already come and gone. Since Sunday’s are pretty quiet, we took advantage to catch up on some sleep. I work up around 8:30am and Paul was very hard to get up this morning. We headed to breakfast in our hotel as it is included. We’ve been having lots of fruit for breakfast lately and fresh squeezed orange juice.

We took the cable car to Lombard Street.. we walked down and then we walked up! There are 2 sides to walk up or down. One is twisty and one goes straight. It must be amazing living there. We saw 2 locals leave. They both looked excited to just be there as tourists were fascinated by what they saw.

After Lombard we walked down a steep hill where I almost killed myself. All of SF’s sidewalks aren’t really treacherous as each concrete slab is in great shape, well aligned, no jutting corners and even some stairs on sidewalks, except this one that I didn’t look at. I looked down every time we went down a hill so I wouldn’t have an accident and I was feeling more comfortable. I was looking at some flowers and homes and bam! I stepped off a concrete slab that was a little off. I didn’t fall but omg, my left leg bothered me the rest of today. We figured we’d get to Van Ness to get a cab (as the bus system is complicated). Major intersection and we only saw 2 cabs. We found the bus stop (killed 30 minutes doing all this). We went to their City Hall, arts around the area and saw the painted ladies! We went to the Alamo Park which was gorgeous. Dogs playing, children on the other side in their playground and the bathrooms I saw everywhere are nice looking with flowers and shrubbery. We then tried to check out Japantown before we did our Alcatraz Tour. We weren’t that hungry but we atleast got to see some of it. We got a cab to take over to the Pier for Alcatraz!!!

It was soooo warm today but as we found out, the bay was freezing. We went to the top deck to check out the whole bay and froze our butts off. I’d say it was in the 40s. We dressed okay but we could have had a jacket. Alcatraz is the weirdest place. The audio tour was great (although during 2 spots I got lost and one row of cells isn’t #ed). We got some post cards to send to our families, took some pictures and just learned so much. I really enjoyed it but wish we got more pictures. OOO one of the children of a guard who lived on the island came today for a book signing. I wasn’t that interested but it was still very neat!

When we got back from Alcatraz we took the F train to the Ferry Building for something to eat (last time we ate was about 10 am and it was now almost 5pm). The F train sucked. It jerked a whole lot and I almost killed 2 girls when I didn’t grab a pole in time! Ooops. We went to the Ferry Building and since we didn’t know much about it, we thought there were 2 levels. I was hungry so I got bitchy with Paul. We went to Taylor’s. I had a cheeseburger, sweet potato fries with a glass of red wine made by the owner of Taylor’s. Paul had fish tacos and onion rings with some kind of local beer (steamer?). Ferry Building’s inner restaurants without outside entrances closed at 6pm (geez, so early). We went to Caio Bella for gelato . I had pear sorbet with green tea gelato. I liked the combination. We then rushed to find the chocolate place I heard about for fleur de sel caramels. I also bought a combination box to try out later.
http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/recchiuti_confections.php

We returned to the hotel to freshen up and change. We had to get shopping. Paul needed a jacket for dinner tomorrow night as well as some new cologne and shoes. We only got as far as the jacket and cologne. He picked up a Oscar De La Renta that was a bit too large for him. We found out from the gentleman who helped us with the jacket of a tailor right across the way who was actually still opened at quarter to 9pm. He’s the only guy downtown apparently too! Paul is getting his sleeves taken up and if there is time, get the jacket taken in at the shoulders. It was actually cheaper than my mom’s seamstress! Interesting time shopping tonight. Macy’s has 2 buildings, one for women and one for men. Ridiculous.
We’re going back tomorrow to pick up the jacket, get me some new socks, maybe pick up a charm at World of Charms (I want a cable car charm). I also really want to try and get my hair done. We’ll be having our anniversary dinner at Chez Spencer tomorrow night. 3 years!!!!

I forgot to mention that in the middle of this blog, Paul went out to try In-n-Out burger. The fries are physically yellow, the burgers are physically very thin (which is obviously why they have double and triple sizes) and the chocolate milkshake was better than some other varieties (burger king/mcdonalds). Fries were average and we’ve had better burgers. The buger, fries, chocolate shake and diet coke were freakin’ $5.24 LOL. Cheapest place by far for what you get. Also, they come wrapped differently. The burger came wrapped 3/4 of the way up in heavier paper and the fries were in those paper basket things. Weirdest was the color of the fries LOL. Otherwise, good snack.

So that was our day. I think tomorrow besides shopping we’ll take a Trolley Tour or GoCar tour as well as try Citizen Cake!!!!! We may also hit up a more posh bar after dinner as we’ll be dressed very well (Jones dress, Steve madden peep toes for me). Our budget is going VERY well. I thought we’d really blow it but even after spending over $50 just on chocolate, we’re doing well ($80 total with Ghiradelli lol).

Thank you everyone for your comments and texts!

O and Tony, our flight was on time from leaving Philly… we just sat for a loooong time on the runway leaving. We still got to SF on time b/c we had a tail wind!!

Another beautiful day

Eat your heart out PA. I heard you got snow showers and we were close to 70!!!

We ended up going out to a local bar. We met a guy who has been in SF for 2 years. Fun random conversation (name is Brian). Met another local Californian guy who bought us shots and a round. He was older (name Scott). Until the end of the night, it was great. I had Strawberry Stoli and Lemonade and a Tokyo Tea (long island but instead of coke, midori is used, so it’s 100% alcohol) I actually ordered 2 of those things. We did a shot of woowoos.

We woke up late so we missed the walking tour at Golden Gate so we rented bikes. Boy, we won’t do that again. We biked from the Wharf, over the Golden Gate bridge into Sausalito. Gorgeous place. Biking was horrible. I’m way too out of shape but I’d do it again. Paul and I got into a little tiff b/c of me stopping and double checking the directions. I’m also so slow. I hate the really steep hills and after slipping once, I walked down some of the scarier ones. Sausalito is GORGEOUS. We went through it, stopped for a little ice cream and some drinks (Chocolate Macadamia nut ice cream, iced latte and paul got a smoothie of banana, strawberrry and apple juice). We took the ferry back as the tickets were included with our Bike Tour. It was great getting out on the bay and taking a real break.

Paul is napping right now and we need to get some foooooooood. I think we’ll be getting some Salvadorian food or we might go up for some Indian near Ghiradelli square called Gaylord. I didn’t get to call Natalie and that makes me sad. It’s about 8pm now back home. I hope everyone is doing well and feel free to leave some comments!

I’ll be posting a bit more later along with our new pictures.

Greetings from San Francisco!!!!!

Here is a link for our pictures that we shall be updating daily! We’ll also do our best to post about everything:

Paul posted our 1st day on Preludeonline.com:

Irene is getting ready so I figured I would post. Our first day of vacation was LONG. It was raining cats & dogs when we left Philly. The was airport busy w/ delays. Our flight boarded on time. But we had to taxi to BFE to take off and then wait in line. So we spent 45 min on the tarmac. The flight was short due to a tailwind in our favor. And the weather is beautiful here in San Fran.

We didn’t do a lot on our fist day here. We were both very tired. A busy week + getting up at 4:45am + the time zone adjustment. We got a shuttle to the hotel but our room wasn’t ready so we dropped of our bags and headed out for some food. We went to Scoma’s for lunch. Its only a few blocks from our hotel. Good seafood. I have been there before about 8 years ago on my uncle’s recommendation. Top 5 seafood I’ve ever had. I thought the food was okay. I wish we had both ordered something different. Portions were HUGE. I would have enjoyed myself more if I had a bigger appetite and wasn’t soo exhausted.

Then we went over to Ghirardelli Square and bought some chocolate to take back to our moms… and for us. Then bought some shot glasses for someone the requested them at the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf shops. So we got that out of our system.

Ghiradelli Square is under tremendous renovations right now but it was still nice to do. Shot glasses are for you, Tony! I bought 3 so you can pick one and I can keep the other 2.
“Then we went back to the hotel and crashed for a while. Later we went to dinner at a place called Blue on Market St. in the Castro neighborhood. Excellent food. Haven’t uploaded to pics from that yet.

Today we are going to be doing a walking tour of Pacific Heights and Telegraph Hill. Prob be back online tomorrow to post more pics.

Dinner:

I had the spinach salade with currants, craisins, feta lightly tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. Paul had some kind of pork (you can find the pictures in the link)

Saturday:

Cable cars!!!!!!!!! So much fun. Weather was so warm and great. Locals were all in jackets and sweatshirts. We thought it was too warm! Bought the 7 day Muni pass (cash only folks).
On the cable car:


Well.. we didn’t do either walking tour. I’m way too out of shape. We didn’t get to Telegraph Hill on time because of it. We walked up 3 blocks or so. Wow, try walking 3 blocks uphill all the way!!!
We did get to Coit Tower, paid $4.50 to get to the top. We had a great view of all the Bay Area. I was so impressed with the views. This place is truly amazing. We even saw some of the Chinese New Year’s parade floats.

We walked down another hill (it was so steep.. you can see pictures of Paul with his snapple and pictures of me with the tower in the background to truly understand)

We walked to Chinatown because their new year’s celebrations are going on!

We had some Dim Sum at The Pot Sticker. Most people probably pass by it since it isn’t on any of the major streets. Food was good but we didn’t have great service. We asked for tea but never received it. We had some pot stickers and some kind of pork rolled in pancake with onion. They didn’t have the pu pu platter so we were recommended that.

We heard from all kinds of people about the parade at 5:30pm. Well, we wanted to get back to the hotel to freshen up and use the computer to find the route. We walked from Chinatown back to the hotel through Little Italy where we passed many open air restaurants. Mona Lisa restaurant had lit up grapes all over the front. Also passed by many locations within stumbling distance where we can drink.

We are watching the Chinese New Year Parade on TV. I guess you guessed we didn’t get to the parade. We went over to Starbucks thinking they had free wireless, as most know, it isn’t. It’s the same price per day as hotel so forget it. We’ll pay the $10/day.

Tonight we’ll be going to Truly Mediterranean (trulymed.com) and probably getting some drinks somewhere. It’s Saturday night after all.

Tomorrow we’ll be going to the Golden Gate Bridge and doing a tour of Nob Hill.

Miss everyone but not really at the same time. This is a great place to be.