Sunday, September 29, 2013

9.20.13 and 9.27.13 weekends

We had two fun weekends. The 21st we went to a Beer Fest at our local science museum.  We had a great time. We bought the VIP tickets so we had access to a special section with food samples. One of our faite restaurants - The Refinery - made an awesome sausage dish. Our favorite beer was the Widmere Alchemy Ale and the Bold City Red Ale.  We had a fun time exploring the museum's exhibits especially the hurricane simulator.

 Toward the end of the event, a ska band made up of high school students and their dad (our guess based soley on how they looked) rocked it out. Glenn was inspired to dance after an older spry and tiny gentleman grabbed my hand and we cut a rug for a song. Glenn was a less energetic, but much better dance partner.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

9.13.13 Weekend at Fort Wilderness Campsites

Earlier this year, I read that Disney was hosting a special event at Hollywood Studios for Friday the 13th in September. It sounded like a lot of fun so I definitely wanted to check it out. Glenn had been wanting to try out the campsites. Luckily, one was available for that weekend so we booked it. 

Friday night, we left our house around 5:45 pm - hoping to avoid some of the rush hour traffic. We made pretty good time. Pulling into Disney, we noticed long lines of stopped traffic trying to get into Hollywood Studios and realized we weren't the only people who wanted to check out this event. We headed to the campsites to set up our new tent. It really did go up in 1 minutes. It is a game changer when it comes to camping. It makes a Friday night late arrival in the dark so much easier. 

After getting the tent set up, we were hungry so we headed up to the Trail's End restaurant for a buffet dinner. The ribs and the apple crisp were the highlights. Glenn said the apple crisp was the best he'd ever had. After dinner, we were discussing heading over to Hollywood Studios and braving the crowds when a fellow diner said they had reached capacity hours ago and weren't letting anyone else in. That answered that! Leaving the restaurant, we heard some music and followed it to the beach. We watched the fireworks while listening to the show. 

 Saturday morning, we took the boat to Wilderness Lodge for breakfast at the Whispering Canyon Café. 

The Café is a lot of fun. I had the spinach omelet and Glenn had the breakfast platter. Both were good. 

We went back to the campsite and decided to spend the rest of the day at the pool. IT WAS SO HOT! Around 1:30pm, the campground staff started games for the kids: dodgeball, dive for the cowboys, hot potato, relay races, and dancing. God bless those staff members. There was a group of tween boys that were very challenging. It made for good people watching! We headed back for showers in the air conditioned bathrooms. I didn't want to leave air conditioning. 

 For dinner, we went to Mickey’s Backyard BBQ.  

The buffet was very similar to the one we had a Trail's End so we were happy to see the ribs again. They also had a pulled pork sandwich that was very good. The BBQ was fun, but we like Hoop-Dee-Do better. We were a little surprised the country band played the Cha Cha slide. We were hoping they would teach a line dance with the characters. 

After dinner, we went to Chip and Dale's Sing-A-Long.

That was super fun! They sang a mix of old country songs and Disney favorites. Chip and Dale host a dance party at the end. Then the movie starts. Instead of watching the movie, we headed down to the beach and claimed a couple lounge chairs so we could see the water pageant. 

We watched the water parade on the beach and the fireworks and then headed back to the tent to sweat some more. Did I mention it was SO HOT? Sunday we had Trail’s End takeaway breakfast and then packed up and headed home. Overall, a great trip. Next time, we will wait until it cools down a little. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

9.1.13 Napa Trip Day 3

Today started early with breakfast at Black Bear Diner. Chosen because it was open at 6 am, it delivered on a hearty diner breakfast.  The 7 grain granola pancakes were the best I have ever had. We headed back to the house for one more walk through the vineyard. Then headed to our first appointment: Cosentino. Ryan led us upstairs to the new private tasting room. It is gorgeous! Ryan quickly picked up on our sarcastic laid back style so we had a lot of fun tasting the wines. We were so impressed with all their wines:

2011 The Novelist - A well balanced Sauvignon Blanc.  Good fruit but not too acidic.

2011 The Zin - We called this a Zin for Florida. It had the great characteristics of the Zinfandel grape without the heaviness.

2009 Bacigalupi Chardonnay - This reserve Chardonnay is fantastic. It is creamy with just slight notes of oak. It almost unseats the BV Reserve Chardonny as our favorite...almost. The interesting note about this wine is rhat it is from the vineyards that created the wines that put California on the map in 1979 as told in the movie Bottle Shock. 

2009 Poet Meritage - We love how every winery has a claim to be being the first for something. Here they claim the first "meritage". A contest was held to come up with a new name for American Bordeaux blends. Meritage - a mix of heritage and we think merit. It is a fantastic wine. Smooth, fruity. Again, the balance really impressed us.

2010 Reserve Merlot - Another great wine. They smoothed the edges without losing the Merlot characteristics.

2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc - Best wine of the trip hands down. It is single vineyars. Unique, well balanced.

Cosentino also has a gorgeous barrel room for private events or barrel tastings. We are definitely going to try one of those in the future.

We had about an hour before our lunch reservation so we headed up to another favorite: Provenance. We had loved their blend last time, but this time the 2010 Merlot took the cake. We wound our way back towards Mustards' Grill with a brief stop at Silver Oak to try their 2009 Cabs - one from Napa Valley and one from Alexander Valley. The wines were very good. We liked the Napa Valley ones slightly better.

Lunch at Mustards Grill was fantastic. The service was superb. We had the corn tamales and ahi tuna chips for appetizers.  The tamales were excellent - soft, well seasoned and full of corn flavor. The ahi chips were good, but the wasabi alioli was very strong and overwhelmed the tuna flavor. For entrees, we had the pork chop and rib eye special.   Both were good. The star of the meal was the chocolate dessert: a bittersweet chocolate tart, espresso ice cream, caramel sauce and hazelnut brittle. Itnis the best dessert I have ever had. The lemon-lime tart with a huge meringue was also delicious. The service was fantastic. A great meal.

After lunch, we headed to Charles Krug.  I never knew Krug was part of the Mondavi family.  It was the original winery. Robert and his brother Peter had a falling out over the future of the business and Robert left to start his own winery. In his nineties, Peter still runs the Krug winery. We enjoyed the white wines here - especially the 2010 Chardonnay. They are in the midst of a major renovation of their tasting room. They are adding a deli and a lot more space.

After Krug, we headed back to San Fran. Thankfully traffic was a little better. We met up with Devon (nephew) and Nick at Hillside Supper Club. The food was very good. However, it was sadly comical that everything Nick tried to order had just run out. The best dish was the King Salmon. It had a fantastic crispy skin, but perfectly cooked with a great pesto sauce. One of the best salmon dishes I have ever had. It was an awesome dinner filled with lots of story telling and laughing.

We headed to the Marriott near the airport. Monday we had the long trek home.

Overall, the trip was amazing. We knew we would have great wine.  We weren't expecting all the great food.  We have a great life.