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!