Tag Archives: California

Thanksgiving 2013

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. I had an awesome holiday and an absolute shit-storm of a week to follow (see Week 18 + 1), hence this being just a bit belated. The good news is that rattling on and on about good food never gets old for me, so I’m perfectly happy sharing all of the delicious details re: my Thanksgiving over a week after the fact 🙂

To begin, everything is yummier at a balmy 65 F with the sound of the ocean in the background. (And no, I do not miss the cold and snow during the holidays one damn bit, they do not make it feel more festive and Thanksgiving/Christmasy, they just make it feel cold and snowy.)

Next, everything is yummier when it is prepared for you by a personal chef and his first mate…

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To acquire the strength to get through this most strenuous day, we first made a batch of homemade mac-n-cheese for lunch. That’s exactly what one needs for lunch on Thanksgiving day, right?

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mmmmmmm 🙂

Then it was on to the more serious tasks of the day…

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You can never have too much stuffing!

This is the vegetarian's  assignment?

This is the vegetarian’s assignment?

Before...

Before…

...and after!

…and after!

Dr.T: Maroof, can you beat two eggs for me please? **five minutes later Dr. M: Maroof 2, eggs zero! Dr. T: sigh

Dr.T: Maroof, can you beat two eggs for me please?
**five minutes later**
Dr. M: Maroof 2, eggs zero!
Dr. T: sigh

Never-the-less, our beautiful tripple berry and pumpkin pies

Never-the-less, our beautiful triple berry and pumpkin pies

Can you guess whose is whose?

Can you guess whose is whose?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you negate 18 weeks of marathon training!

In addition to a most gluttonous Thursday, we took the next 3 days to do nothing but eat and drink our way through Napa Valley. (See above comment.)

We managed to hit 4 wineries on both Friday and Saturday and two on Sunday before heading home in our understated vehicle…

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Out of character at all?

1. Laird

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That’s a little more like it!

Laird is small, family owned and operated estate vineyard and winery. You get a very nice tasting for $20 and a list of recommendations that should be taken with a grain of salt.

2. Domaine Chandon
Domaine Chandon was an over-commercial, over-plastic, under-authentic, non-appreciated experience. We tasted 4 sparkling wines here for $20, all of which I could have done without. I would not suggest visiting if you are looking for good wine or interesting vineyard/winery experiences. I would however recommend stopping here to survey both employees and clientele for who NOT to trust with your next cosmetic surgery.

3. Turnbull
Turnbull is a medium-sized family owned and operated vineyard and winery. For $20 the tasting was great, one of the best of the weekend, and the self guided vineyard tour was a pleasant way to sober up before getting back behind the wheel.

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Turnbull

I kid.

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Given the chance to ride a Ditch Witch, you’d be stupid not to!

(Just not now.)

4. Cosentino
Cosentino was a great way to end the first day of tasting. It’s a relative new (1980) but has quickly become regarded as a top winery in the valley. And for good reason. Again, they offer a very nice tasting for $20.

5. Mumm

Mumm Winery was the first stop of day 2. We took the ~1 hr long tour and tasted 3 wines. The tour was very well done with the right amount of info and entertainment. It kept moving without feeling rusehd or lagging. Plus, we got our glasses refilled 3 times en route, which didn’t hurt I’m sure. Regardless, not half bad for $25 each.

6. V. Sattui

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V. Sattui

V. Sattui was great. We got to taste just about everything on the menu for our $20 tasting and had fantastic help. This is the one place that we ended up purchasing something, to be cracked open next time I’m in CA. Here’s to hoping it lasts that long!

To complement the fun tasting, there was a retail shop with a bunch of chocolates and cheeses to pair with the wine and a BBQ outside for lunch if you were hungary and around during that part of the day. We were and got a lamb sandwich + a margarita pizza. Both were super good.

7. Prager Port

Prager was maybe my #1 pick of the weekend. It’s a little tiny family owned and operated port winery. Now I love port, so this might be skewing my opinion just a titch, but they had really great Port.

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Prager

AND, their back tasting room was covered in dollar bills from around the world. (This totally makes the wine that much better…even when you buy it to drink at home…) Of course we signed a dollar and hung it next to the Zimbabwe dollar so we could hang out with Master David and the Fresh Prince of Delaware for eternity in the port cellar. Or until we get stapled over…

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Evidence that we were here! (Until we get stappled over by the next port-loving drunk…)

8. Castello di Amorosa

Now the Cstello di Amorosa is very new and a bit over the top for me. It’s an (admittedly beautiful) replica Italian castle. But, it is a replica castle. In California. Maybe this objection makes me a bit of a Italian castle snob, but it just isn’t my deal. (And of course my deal is the right deal….right?) That being said, we took some really nice pictures and had a great time walking around the castle grounds…

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Castello di Amorosa

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Our new dining room.

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Yummy 🙂

The wine tasting was in a cellar tasting room and while the ambiance was great, thea assistance left something to be desired. We split 2 tastings and sampled all of the reds and all of the desert wines…none of which I can complain about.

4x dessert wines

4x dessert wines 🙂

After all of these adventures, we found some feathery and/or furry friends and gathered our strength for the drive back to Napa.

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The week’s survivors…

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…and their goat and sheep friends.

9. Hess

The Hess Vineyard, Winery and Art collection was a bit off the beaten trail and came to us upon the recommendation of Laird (one of their better suggestions). The grounds were beautiful, the 3 stories of modern art were super fun, the free personal vineyard (with 90 yr old vines!!) and winery tour that we went on was most informative and the wines we tasted (for $20) were delicious. This is another top hit of the weekend for me.

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Cold Hess

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Pretty Hess

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PSA: Every vineyard/winery should also be an art museum.

10. Domaine Carneros

Now for some reason I wasn’t nearly as offended by Domaine Carneros as I was by Domaine Chandon, but it had the same vibe — oversized, plastic and commercial. On the bright side here, we had a table to ourselves on a patio with a beautiful view on a beautiful day. The tasting menu was also sparking wines. The three that we tasted were definitely not my top wines of the weekend, but a hell of a step up from Domaine Chandon.

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Domaine Carneros

And with that it was back to Berkeley and then back to the reality of NJ and my F32. Joy.

It was a wonderful 5 days holiday regardless of what was waiting for me. For next time we have learned to scout out the small, less advertised and less traveled options. We will also have to incorporate sections of both Sonoma Valley and the Russian River Valley. There is so much wine tasting yet to be done!! 🙂

Cheers!

 

 

 

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Filed under Food & Restaurant, General, Travel

Week 16


Mon 10/28 – rest

Thank you.

Tues 10/29 – 6ish mi 

A lovely early morning in lab lit the fire under my ass to get the run done early. The cooler weather is nice, but it does necessitate a bit more though to go into dressing and a bit more time to get the stiff joints and tight muscles all warmed up. That, and I’m old. 😦 Now I’m probably the only one saying this, and I will probably eat my words later, but it’s nice that the winters here are still rather damp. I can feel even this very modest drop in humidity (coupled with the cooler temps) through out my lungs. MN, how did I ever survive you?!

Wed 10/30 – rest

Thurs 10/31 – 8ish mi 

There is something very satisfying about bailing out of work from 8-9:30 am to get my run in during daylight hours. Although I felt like I was working harder than I really should’ve had to, it was a beautiful morning, I didn’t get lost and I finished the run all toast warm in my ruffled skirt and tank top. Once again, my complaints are unwarrented…I suppose…

Fri 11/1 – rest

Off to AICHE for the annual (oversized) national chemical engineering conference! (And some serious mischief-making around San Francisco of course.) For example…

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…early on the first evening of the conference…

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…and a bit later in the evening. (Don’t worry, we were all seeing double at this point.)

Dr. Maroof and Queen Penny were absolutely gracious hosts for the two days that I spent in Berkeley before heading into DT SF for the conference. They made me a most fantastic dinner for me when I arrived on Friday night.

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Making

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dinner.

They also gave me a most totally perfect belated birthday gift – a purple marathon Camelbak!

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My super sweet new purple marathon Camelbak (and me on the side)

What a great way to start off my pre-conference weekend! I could get used to CA!!

Sat 11/2 – cross – 20 mi biking – HILLS!!

On Saturday morning we got up and turned dinner left overs into an awesome brunch of south Asian seasoned rice + beans and shrimp + potato + cauliflower + cheese quesadillas. We might be kinda into weird fusion foods. Maybe.

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Fusion Brunch

Then, we got all suited up

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Us…all suited up…

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…and a close-up of my new glorious compression socks from Aki. Happy Birthday to my feet!!

and took out the bikes (thank you Noem for lending yours to me, it was awesome!!) for a leisurely 10 mile ride along the north coast of the bay, 

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bike trail + SF Bay

and then a grueling 10 mile battle up to the top of Berkeley, to Tilden Park

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Tilden Park

and then back home.

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The climb up was honestly the most challenging and treacherous bike climb I think I have ever done. The perpetual gradual incline wore you down while the wicked steep sections totally blew out your quads in no time. And then the switchbacks. Ahhh yes, the switchbacks (at this point, why not?). They made everything super precarious, just to ensure you were actually being challenged.

Also, once we conveniently arrived at the farthest point from home in our route, we had an unfortunate spat between Dr. M’s ankle and his bike pedal clip.  (Apparently frantically trying to clip in before you roll backwards down the damn hill is not the safest.)

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Booboo!

Luckily there were some EMTs in the area (originally called to help with “a dog that was having a problem in the lake…” WTF?!?!…) who helped us bandage things well enough to get home. Thank god it was 5 miles DOWN the mountain to get back. :-/

So (of course) this was not the most ideal Saturday workout to do two weeks out from marathon weekend, but who is going to pass up on a day long SF Bay Area biking expedition? The only people who come to mind are total idiots and professional athletes. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t find myself fitting well into either category.

Sun 10/6 – 10 + 3 = 13ish

I started the day with a beautiful early morning run along the bay, taking the same route that we biked yesterday.

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Good morning San Francisco and SF Bay!

In case you’re interested, there is a positive correlation between ones amount of Facebook posting while running and the likelihood of appearing to be still drunk from the previous night. I may (or may not) have been both one of those…

After getting back from these first 10 miles it was time to dash off to SF for the first day of the conference. In contrast to Drs. S & M, my talk was not until Tuesday afternoon, so I did the only rational thing upon arriving at the hotel – I dashed out the door for 3 more miles through Golden Gate Park and then a 3 mile walk home. (I sadly don’t think I get to count these last three towards my daily mileage though…)

Total mileage =  27 mi

So obviously this mileage is quite low, even for the beginning of the pre-race taper. On the bright side, was able to take advantage of the northern Bay Area and get a beautiful, and extremely challenging, bike ride in (yes, I am telling myself that this counts for something) as well as my long run for the week (albeit only 12 miles and broken into 2 segments, but never mind…) On an even brighter side is that there are only two more weeks until the marathon!! (Ok, fine, there is really only one more week now that I’ve finally gotten this damn thing written x-(

Threads – tanks or tees (+/- arm warmers), running skirts or capris for the chilly mornings, + compression for the long runs and Mizunos (Wave Creation 11s and Wave Elixer 6s)

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Filed under Food & Restaurant, Marathons, Travel, Trotting, Work out