Monday, August 4, 2008

California Country!

Here are some pics from our trip to California -- I didn't load the pictures first -- so, further explanation of some of the stuff is at the bottom!

The Hubs and I at Black Stallion
The entrance into Jarvis
Dinner @ Go Fish
Getting the baskets out and prepping for the balloons
Hot Coffee watching the airing up the balloons

I liked this pic -- our balloon is the top shadow -- we were super high in the sky!
This is the crew picking up the tarps after we had taken off

The Hubs and I in flight!
Our balloon's shadow next to an active Geyser
Our Chef during the cooking demonstration @ the Culinary Institute
Our "Anniversary" Dinner @ the Martini House
And Yes, this dessert was YUMMY!!

Ric, myself, and Channing
Ric, Hot Coffee, and Channing
The Hubs and I in the Beringer's wine cellar
This was a neat spot at Reverie -- they took you to a circle of huge redwoods for part of the wine tasting-- they were beautiful!
The owner's son took us on the tour @ Reverie. He said "Reverie" means dream in French -- which was a name his mother came up with. Evelyn was his mother, and she loved to work in the gardens. He told us she passed away 6 weeks ago -- she had been fighting breast cancer for 12 years.

We made it back from our California trip all in one piece! There were times I had my doubts -- but, each adventure was well worth it! We missed Sugar SOOOO much -- but, each time I asked about her -- she seemed to be doing peachy keen.

We packed in quite a bit in the days we were there. We arrived in Sacramento in the morning -- so we had the rest of the day to tour a few wineries and get settled in at our B & B. Unfortunately, the Hub's luggage did not arrive with us, but we did eventually get it the next day! We stayed at the Chanric Inn -- a cute Bed and Breakfast in Calistoga. It's a little further than convenient walking distance from downtown (although we did walk one morning), but the service and FOOD is worth it! We had to be up and at'em by 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, so Tuesday night was fairly low key. We had dinner in Napa @ Celadon. We ate out on the patio -- and the food was DELICIOUS! It may have been one of our favorite meals of the whole trip! Everything was fantabulous! We tried pork belly for the first time (thanks to Top Chef :) )

Wednesday was pretty much set aside for the white water adventure. We floated the middle fork of the American River. Thank goodness for our cool and responsible guide (Eli) -- he did a great job of telling us what to do and when to do it. I was pretty anxious when I had to wear a helmet to float a river -- I'm used to the Caddo and Buffalo. It really was a ton of fun. Beautiful, too. I can't wait for the next one! That evening we had dinner in Calistoga @ Brannon's Grill. I think that's the only time we had dinner inside, and even then we sat next to these huge open windows, so it felt like we were outside. Have I mentioned how perfect the weather was the whole time we were there? Well, it was absolutely GORGEOUS!!

Thursday we actually slept in and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast prepared by Chef Ric (one of the owners of the Chanric). A sample menu for one of the days was lemon sour cherry coffee cake; fresh apricots and plums with amaretto sauce and toasted almonds; chived eggs on fontina toast, sauteed spinach, mushroom duxelles, white truffle oil, fresh squeezed OJ, coffee or tea. Okay -- sorry to make your mouth water, but it was AWESOME! It was then off to a day at the wineries. Jarvis was pretty cool -- all underground. Seeing all the grapes and the whole wine making process really does increase ones appreciation for wine (even if you don't drink wine!) That night we were ready for some sushi. We ate at a place called "Go Fish". Once again -- great food; nice atmosphere; live music.

Friday -- up early. We had to call the hot air balloon place at 5:30 a.m. for a weather confirmation. Luckily, the weather was good to go -- and off we went for an adventure I've ALWAYS wanted to do! I have a lot of pictures of this -- from putting everything together to taking it down. But, I'll try to include the more interesting ones. Keep in mind -- I've ALWAYS wanted to do this! The view was wonderful. It's amazing to think that the basket and balloon alone weigh 2,000 pounds -- plus, ours had ~16 people in it! It's so peaceful up in the air -- you are traveling with the wind, so it's not windy at all. Our pilot did a perfect landing (thank goodness he waited until AFTER the flight to tell us of some emergency landings he's had to perform. We didn't go to any of the wineries on Friday. The Hubs treated me to the spa -- Indian Springs, (Calistoga is known for their volcanic mud baths) -- and it was wonderful! We visited the Culinary Institute of America @ Greystone. We were able to watch a cooking demonstration -- we learned how to make pissaladiere. We did a little shopping and had dinner at the Martini House! This was the dinner we considered our "Anniversary Dinner". It turned out perfect -- we had a table on a private balcony -- it was very nice and the food was wonderful, once again.

Saturday -- we had to start packing up at the Chanric (boo hoo). Don't get me wrong -- I was ready to see Sugar, but I could get use to the B&B lifestyle! We enjoyed our breakfast very much -- then we went to our appointment @ Beringer that Ric had set up for us. We had a private tasting with our host, Dean. It was really cool -- he gave us a tour and took us to the wine cellar where the Beringer brothers kept their private wine. It was very interesting, and I think I can speak for the Hubs and I when I say we learned quite a bit. We stopped off at a few more wineries on our way back toward Sacramento. We had dinner @ Cole's Chop House. Once again -- good food. I'm tellin' ya -- I think I put on 10 pounds on this trip!

It was so wonderful to come home and see Sugar's face light up when we came into the room. She said "HEY" -- and gave us a great big hug. I think she grew a little, and does several new tricks. I was so glad to have her back in my arms again. I had to hold onto dreams of her sweet cheeks and precious smile -- reality is much better. Thanks to Babe, Poppy C, Bebe, Big Poppa and Miss for allowing us to go on this trip -- we really appreciate ALL of your help!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like fun! We are happy that you and Trev had such a good time. Dud.