My Birthday Weekend
Getting older can be a little bit daunting, but luckily I have some amazing friends, family, and the BEST husband in the world, who made my birthday really special!
Oh, and my dad sent me two stellar bottles of wine… that guy totally gets me! You are the best, dad!!!!
Our adventure started out Saturday morning when we road-tripped it up to Sonoma, CA. I’m really starting to appreciate Sonoma. Though, Napa will always be my favorite, I’m intrigued by the rustic charm and smaller-family owned wineries. As we meandered deep into the countryside, to start our wine tasting, we came upon hot air balloons hanging high above the rolling hills. It was pretty magical! I’m still kicking myself for not jumping out of the car to capture the moment on camera.
Joseph Swan Vineyards
When we first pulled up to Joseph Swan, I was a bit alarmed. Our first tasting hadn’t been a group favorite, so I was worried we were facing the same fate. This place proves that you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover! Between the building exterior, interior, and labels, Joseph Swan may not be the belle of the ball, until you sit down to taste one of their wines.
Focusing mainly on Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, each wine is unique, and unfiltered. I love the structure that’s maintained when a wine doesn’t go through that final filtering process. It doesn’t produce as beautiful of a wine, but it’s seriously good!
I would highly recommend stopping by this winery if you are in the area… or go out of your way. You won’t regret it! If you’re lucky the wine maker, Rob, will be hanging out behind the counter. Make sure to chat with him and pick his brain. He has some amazing stories.
If I didn’t have to go racing back to my little fur balls, back in the Bay Area, I would have stayed here late into the night – relaxing and drinking their wine, and eating their truffle popcorn! Oh my goodness, truffle popcorn, you are my new weakness!
The atmosphere at Lynmar Estate is really well thought out. I love the effortless transition from the inside tasting area to the vast patio outside. My future house has to have one of those full glass walls that open up, I’ve been lusting after such a thing for years – that and a huge kitchen with a Viking stove. A girl’s can dream, right?
Specialties of Lynmar are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and they do a solid job with these grapes. Every wine I tasted was delightful and easy to drink. The friends that took us here are members, so I’m hoping they will let us join them the next time they come up this way. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here!
Sunday started off slowly with coffee and serious snuggles with my fur babies, in bed – I had to make up for leaving them home all day on Saturday. Worst mom ever!
I didn’t have any specific plan for my actual birthday; just that I wanted a citrus tree. Preferably a blood orange. I didn’t end up finding my blood orange tree, but we had some fun along the way.
On my mission to find some sort of plant for my deck, I decided I wanted to visit Los Altos. I’ve had a certain garden shop/ artsy store haunting my mind since our last visit a year ago.
It’s embarrassing to say that it’s taken us a year to get back to a town only 25 minutes away from our house. On top of that, the shop I couldn’t stop thinking about was closed – permanently. It was such a cool place! My heart is broken; I waited far too long! Actually, a lot of places were not open that day. Sort of alarming for a Sunday, right?
The 7 month old Cetrella made up for the serious lack of shopping options. It had a wonderful wine list, full of local favorites, and a yummy brunch menu. Adam and I started with the Snake River Farms American Beef Carpaccio with arugula, fried capers, pecorino and dijon-worcestershire aïoli and of course, mimosas.
For the main course, I devoured their Pitman Farms Duck Confit with le puy lentils, organic mixed greens and a red wine gastrique. The duck meat melted off the bone – so good!
Le Puy Lentils are something I fell in love with when I traveled to Paris years ago. I brought home a large bag and seriously sat with a bowl of cooked lentils and a spoon. I know that sounds strange, but I was in heaven eating these lentils – a simple salt and pepper seasoning!
Adam got ate their Good Morning Los Altos breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage and potatoes. All of these yummy brunch items and he goes with a basic breakfast. It cracks me up every time!
I’m a huge fan of open kitchens. Watching chefs as they cook is like watching a ballet. A good kitchen is fluid and in sync, moving and working together as though they are one mind. They are focused and precise. I fall in love with the kitchen every time I see it and I miss it even more.
Big Basin Vineyard
It’s hard to go most weekends without a stop at Big Basin Vineyards, so why should this weekend be any different? Their wines are solid (I’m currently crushing on the Homestead red – a Rhone varietal blend – so freaking amazing!) and we love the people there!
On top of this, a new restaurant across the street has started serving directly to Big Basin’s tasting room and they have Foie Gras! The chef will delivery a beautiful plate of Foie Gras to your table, while you sip wine out on Big Basin’s patio. How can you top that? Relish Gastrolounge and Big Basin Vineyards, you have found the key to my heart! Thank you for making my birthday truly delicious!
Well, that was about it for my birthday weekend! I can’t believe I’m another year older. In my head I still feel like a kid, but these tiny freaking wrinkles around my eyes are telling me otherwise. Someone please discover the fountain of youth already, so I can focus less on getting older and more on the next bottle of wine I’m going to enjoy. Here’s to growing up and hopefully aging gracefully with something yummy in your glass. Cheers!