The Good Wine Ending

We woke up rested, refreshed and ready to explore Sonoma. I made reservations for tastings at four different wineries. We started strong at Anaba, the weather was absolutely perfect. We sat outside and really enjoyed everything we tried, it was a fantastic start to the day.

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Next up was Buena Vista Winery. This place has history which was interesting to learn about.

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We were charmed by the look of the grounds but our like quickly dissipated. The man pouring our just OK wines took his sweet time coming back for each taste. What should have been an hour tasting, for 5 wines turned out to be 5,000 hours. Allowing too much time for us to worry about the possibility of ticks falling out of the trees and burying themselves into our skin. Our window for lunch came and went and we couldn’t get out of their fast enough. We made it back into town with just enough time to drive thru a place and grab some fries before our next reservation.

Our next tasting was in an old Sears catalog home which was intriguing in itself. I didn’t know one could purchase a house from a catalog, that is how it works right?

We had a private reservation and it was a really fun experience. The lady pouring {I wish I remembered her name} was a close friend of the wine maker and she made it very personable. fullsizeoutput_df4

Here we tasted three chards and four pinot noirs, not exactly a horizontal tasting but the same varietal from three separate vineyards, does that make sense?

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The chardonnays were delicious and I think our favorite haled from Mendocino, that needs to be a wine trip in the future.

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Our last tasting for the day was held in a cute outside patio and was founded by three former football players. Three Fat Guys have a laid back approach with some pretty decent wine.

{I may have finished a bottle of their rose before we left Sonoma.}

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Dinner reservations were made at LaSalette a recommendation that I would most definitely pass on. qiKnqxcpR5+LfWsrWkc3Lw7uO3q64SQ9qANGAWL9gi%A

Sorry for the blurry photo, we had been wine tasting all day.

I ordered the Feijoada which I haven’t had since I was in Brazil and it was delish, not as good as my moms though.

{Hint, hint mom, next time we are up there maybe I can help you make it}

We finished with a dessert wine tasting and then walked back to our hotel room for a good nights sleep.

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The next day we planned on checking out Napa for lunch and hopefully a tasting somewhere. Every winery we wanted to visit had no availability but as luck would have it, we found a place right in town that had an opening for us.
We picked a restaurant that had open outdoor dining. We ordered wine and the most amazing peach and prosciutto salad that may have caused inappropriate food moaning.

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After a wonderful lunch and fantastic people watching, we headed for our tasting.

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Roots Run Deep tasting room was in an old house in downtown Napa. We were seated on a couch on the front patio.

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The one upside to the new winery protocols is that we get special one on one attention and this place ended up being my favorite of them all.

They are the ones behind the wines Educated Guess. You’ve probably seen the bottle at BevMo or even the grocery store, I know I have but never actually tried it. Their chardonnay was phenomenal and so were all the other wines. I liked everything they poured for us and if we lived up there would easily consider becoming wine members. It was such a fantastic ending in wine country.

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Once our last sip was gone we hit the road heading down to San Ramon for the night. We enjoyed a nice evening catching up with old friends. Unfortunately our plans for the next day were halted once the governor shut down certain counties again and we were all so disappointed. We were really looking forward to seeing a friends band play and to catching up with people that I haven’t seen in years. Alas, there is always next time right?

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We enjoyed a nice lunch outside before we chose to drive south for another night on the coast. But before we hit the highway we took a swing by my old house. So many memories held there.

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Our last night of a great Cali road trip we chose to spend one more evening in Morro Bay.

We had a really nice meal, perfect weather with sea lion company and relished in what a fantastic trip we had as the sun sank low.

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Side note- This martini had anchovy stuffed olives which sounded so good but in reality tasted like something the sea lion would like a lot more than I did.

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The rest of our drive was uneventful and we couldn’t wait to get home to our girls, human and furry.

It was such a great break from the mundane and even though everything was held outside {who complains about that?} we had amazing weather, pretty darn good food and wine.

Oh, and the clam chowder award goes to Moonlight Beach Bar and Grill in Cambria

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I will be back for another cup on another day.

 

Car Tripping

Our motel in San Simeon was right off of highway 1 which was most important. Unfortunately we were met with loud upstairs neighbors. I am not sure if it was children, dogs or grown men but they weren’t sleeping when the rest of us were hoping to. When the noise finally calmed down we were able to get some sleep. The next morning we grabbed a to-go bag of breakfast items from the front desk and then we hit the black tar, not that kind, jeez.

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While this guy pondered his next to-go meal, we headed ten miles north to the vista point to see some elephant seals.

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We planned on being in the car for most of the day so we hoped for the best {open restrooms and photo ops} when we did pull off of the highway.

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We crossed the famous Big Little Lies bridge however the photo cred goes to my brother, I just stole it for the blog.

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Once we hit Carmel by the Sea, we parked for some browsing and wine tasting. We lucked out with Manzoni Cellars. Winery tasting rooms were told minutes before we arrived that they were closing all indoor operations again. This place had two tables outside, luckily. The wine was good and we left with a bottle of Syrah.

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Ready for lunch aka clam chowder, we continued north to Monterey.

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The place we really wanted to eat at had a long wait so we stumbled into the nearest place and ate a mediocre lunch. The weather wasn’t quite warm enough to stay and walk around outside so we decided to continue our drive up the coast heading for the Golden Gate Bridge.

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We left the cooler weather behind and drove into Sonoma. I called a local pizza place at the square and we picked up our dinner before hitting the hotel. It was a long day in the car so we were ready for a good nights sleep, we had wine tasting to do the next day.

Road Trippin {nor cal style}

One Monday morning we packed up the car and headed north. We zoomed through LA aiming for lunch in Pismo Beach but apparently we weren’t the only ones with that idea. Downtown Pismo was insane, especially for a Monday during a pandemic but I guess everyone was ready for a break. Not wanting to wait, we kept driving making our first stop in Morro Bay.

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We checked into a little motel and went looking for a decent meal. I made a deal with myself to get a cup of clam chowder at each coastal town we stopped in so I could be the sole judge of what town gave me the best one. A little known fact about me, chances are if I order clam chowder, there will be a glass of Chardonnay along with it. Like give a Pig a Pancake but with soup and wine. Anyhow, after hemming and hawing over menus we ended up at the Dutchman’s Seafood House. It was fine, the clam chowder was the best thing we ordered.

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After our sole meal of the day we wandered around and weirdly enough stumbled into a tasting room. Chateau Margene is parked on the main strip of Morro Bay, you can’t miss it and they had really delicious wines, pricey but good. The guy pouring was family of the winemaker, knowledgable and made the experience nice. They also had ports which had us swooning after each sip. The sleepy town slowed down with the sun so we padded back to the room to divulge in our dessert wine and chocolate.

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On the drive up we found out the new tasting procedure for wineries, and it really takes the fun spontaneity out the of wine tasting experience but alas, we are all alive to talk about it so….I made reservations for tasting at three different Paso Robles wineries.

We started at Eberle. We had a table on the patio with views of sprawling vineyards, the wine was good but we didn’t leave with anything. The highlight was the standard poodle we met as we were leaving, I may have suggested smuggling it into the car.

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Next stop was Pear Valley Winery.

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This was a nice time and the wine was pretty good. They had some sweet muscats that we just can’t find much of near us.

After a really rushed lunch and a pretty bad sandwich, we barely made our reservation at Brochelle. This was a quaint tasting room with some decent wines and a good Syrah. The girl pouring was very personable and it was fun chatting with her. Satisfied and happy we decided to head back to the coast for another round of clam chowder when we found ourselves at one more winery. Luckily a quick call from the car, Windward winery has a spot to seat us for one last tasting.

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Windward specialized in Pinot Noir’s and I am no fan of Pinot Noir’s, however either my palate is changing or we just had some really good ones. We did a vertical tasting of PN’s and they were all good, surprisingly.

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Finally back on the road, we drove through Cambria and stopped at Moonstone Beach for dinner.IMG_4613

We had a really good meal and their clam chowder was so delicious.

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We decided to end the evening in San Simeon. By the time we checked in it was time to crawl into bed and veg to the murder channel, sweet dreams.

Our next day would be a long car day taking us all the way to Sonoma.

 

 

Disneyland Day 2

I hope you didn’t think I abandoned you. Day 2 is a long one so tuck in with some coffee, wine, burritos…whatever you love.

I can’t tell you who woke up first, probably me but it was early per usual. This was our “magic” morning at Disneyland and we HAD to be in line by 7:45. Turns out they actually let guests into the park at 7:45 but you don’t get passed Main street until 8:00 and that is because all of the United States is behind you, it’s got to be a semi fair game….I guess?

All Kaili was asking for was the Dumbo ride and since we didn’t get that done day one, this was my first stop. I took both the girls and they loved it. We hopped over to another ride because it was pretty empty. Turns out the Alice in Wonderland ride was a tad scary, Averi wasn’t sure about it and Kaili asked immediately when we would be done but they weren’t crying so we were good.

The one thing we did want to do during that “magic” hour was the Nemo Submarine ride.

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Averi pretty much loved it between her bouts of concern.

We then headed to an adult ride. Thunder mountain requires riders to be 40′, Kaili is 39′. We were told by some other parents in line that they are sticklers when it comes to height and we would later find out that was true. So even though Kaili insisted Grandpa stretched her out and she was tall enough, I took the girls for a stroll  while the rest of them could have a go.

Us girls ventured over to Tarzan’s tree house, Kaili skipped up while I dragged Averi with me.

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Having just  watched Tarzan the day before,  Kaili had her eye out for that Leopard who may  was lurking in the tree tops.

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We wandered our way through Tomorrowland and it was out.of.control.

And as  early as it was, it was just a preview of what was to come.

Kaili wanted to go on a ride in Tomorrowland so we waited 45 minutes for another ride that goes around in circles, much like the Dumbo ride. I’m pretty sure we need to bring back the merry go rounds to our playgrounds so we can forgo this boring children  ride people pay thousands of dollars for.

We made our way over to California Adventure and it was a tad overwhelming. I felt like we had done so much already, I couldn’t wrap my head around what was left to do…but there was a lot. Luckily Mickey was one of the first things  we saw heading into CA so that took some pressure off.

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We also ran into Doc McStuffin’s and now they are besties.

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After a few kiddy rides in Bugs Life….

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Food was on our mind. We grabbed some pretty good clam chowder and not so great Mexican over by Paradise Pier, beer is always good.

Our hotel room looks over CA land so the Mickey ferris wheel is a fixture you can’t hide from even the littles. Kaili begged to go on and once everyone agreed,  we payed our dues in line, but the ride was SO worth it…although Shane will disagree.

IMG_8499 We got the rocking car because there was no way standing in line with two kids for a boring ride is a good idea. It turns out that rocking car is a thrill ride for Kaili and Grandpa! Averi was in tears with her head in my lap.

We dragged the tired kids, but not Kaili because she is never tired, back to the hotel. Averi went down for a nap and grandma rested along side her while Shane and I took Kaili to the pool.

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Our early bird dinner reservations were approaching, we packed up the crew and headed out to the Rainforest Cafe. It wasn’t my top pick but I thought it would be perfect to help keep the overtired kids entertained. I was wrong. The place is a joke but it’s hard to compete with a tired Averi. To sum it up, my food wasn’t good, service wasn’t good and my kid wasn’t good.

After overpaying for shitty food, we confidently headed back out to CA land to take on what we hadn’t yet mastered. In other words, we got a fast pass to Tower of Terror and Cars, Radiator Springs.

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Unfortunately, the Cars ride had a 40′ height restriction. We didn’t bother to put Kaili through the ringer but I think we both regret not trying. She would have LOVED that one!

Gramps and I were the only ones that went on Tower of Terror…”because food”  meaning no-one else wanted to ride that because they just ate. But it’s the best ride there.

After grabbing a churro we went back to the hotel to watch the light show from our hotel room. We fell asleep one by one, grandpa and Ave’s weren’t far apart.