February 26, 2015 – Sisters’ Weekend

Peggy and Phyllis join me in Las Vegas for the kickoff to Sisters’ Weekend. After meeting at the airport and picking up our rental car, we go to Caesar’s Palace for lunch at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. The food is really excellent and we all enjoy our lunches.

Phyllis and Peg toasting the kickoff to our Sisters' Weekend

Phyllis and Peg toasting the kickoff to our Sisters’ Weekend


Peggy likes dessert!

Peggy likes dessert!


Then we jump in the car and head off for Utah where we will spend the next couple of days. Got to stop and say hello to Arizona along the way!
Hello from Arizona!

Hello from Arizona!


On Friday we visit Zion National Park. We take a walk up the Weeping Wall Trail, visit the Gift Shop, take a look at the Great Arch and travel through the tunnel to the upper portion of Zion. We even see a wild mountain goat. Then we head back into Springdale for lunch at Oscar’s and a little shopping.
Mary and Phyllis at Zion National Park

Mary and Phyllis at Zion National Park


Peggy on the trail to the Weeping Wall

Peggy on the trail to the Weeping Wall


Phyllis and Peg near the Great Arch of Zion

Phyllis and Peg near the Great Arch of Zion


An exciting encounter with a wild mountain goat along the road

An exciting encounter with a wild mountain goat along the road


One night we go to dinner at the Kokopelli Restaurant at Entrada. Amazingly the food was not too bad!
Peg and Phyllis at Entrada with Snow Canyon in background

Peg and Phyllis at Entrada with Snow Canyon in background


On Sunday we take the long way to Hoover Dam. We are all concerned about the low level of water and the fact that no one seems to be taking it seriously.
At Hoover Dam

At Hoover Dam


Our weekend winds up with dinner at B & B Ristorante, a Mario Batali venture. We have the pasta tasting menu which turns out to be disappointing. We also catch the show, LOVE, about the Beatles.
All dressed up for dinner and a show

All dressed up for dinner and a show


Too quickly our weekend is over and we all head home. I think, though, that we all would like to make a weekend get-together an annual occurrence.

February 22, 2015 – Hookslide performs at Angelica’s

It is a busy weekend for us. In addition to our wine tasting yesterday, we have a Hookslide concert tonight at Angelica’s in Redwood City. We arrive early and get a fine table near the stage. Dinner is a part of the show tonight and we order some so-so food and a couple of glasses of wine.

Of course the best part of the evening is listening to Hookslide. They sing a variety of songs – some oldies, some funk, and even some show tunes which they’ll be singing at their upcoming gala gig in Palm Springs. We enjoy it all and espcially love, as everybody else does, Jon’s beatbox solo.

Hookslide on stage at Angelica's

Hookslide on stage at Angelica’s

Jon performing his beatbox solo

Jon performing his beatbox solo

February 21, 2015 – A trip up to the Sonoma Valley

We have a notification that our wine club shipment needs to be picked up at Chateau St. Jean. In addition there is an open house at the Eighth Street Wineries where our friend, Philippe, will be pouring some of his fine Stone Edge Farm wines. As it turns out Chateau St. Jean is also having a pick-up party so we decide to make a day (and night) of it.

After doing a tasting at CSJ we head down to the Eighth Street Wineries Open House, purchase our tasting glass and have a great time wandering among the winery warehouses tasting wine and lots of food treats. No need to buy lunch or dinner today!

After the open house we head up to the Gaige House in Glen Ellen to see if there is still a room available for the night. Luckily they have one Zen Suite left. Then back to CSJ for the pick-up party and we crash for the night. It’s been quite a tasty day!

Our friend, Philippe, pours John a glass of Stone Edge Farm's "Surround"

Our friend, Philippe, pours John a glass of Stone Edge Farm’s “Surround”


Our Zen Suite at the Gaige House

Our Zen Suite at the Gaige House


Fancy Zen bathtub!

Fancy Zen bathtub!

February 17, 2015 – Occasio Wine Maker Dinner at Posada

A few weeks ago I got an email from Occasio Winery in Livermore. We joined their Wine Club last year. The gist of the email was that they were going to have a wine maker’s dinner hosted at Posada, a restaurant serving contemporary southwestern cuisine. The menu looked really good and the price was outstanding so John said go ahead and book it. That’s what I tried to do. However, even though it was only the day after I had gotten the email, it was completely sold out. They took my name and said maybe they would host another one on the following Tuesday. Luckily for us they did have a second dinner.

Posada on Murietta Blvd., Livermore

Posada on Murietta Blvd., Livermore

We arrive and are a little nervous since we know no one there. We are ushered to a table for two in the back. It is sort of like we are not the diners they want to be seen. But we are totally okay with this because now we can chat with each other and not have the pressure of talking to strangers. We are poured a glass of welcoming Chardonnay. Soon the chef comes over to chat with us and then, right before dinner starts, the chef’s wife moves us to a table towards the front with another couple. He is a web designer and she is a school teacher originally from Mexico. They are pleasant and interesting dinner companions.

Since there are other people I don’t know at the table I don’t take pictures of the food. Here is the menu –
Steamed PEI mussels with chorizo, tarragon and pasta paired with their 2013 Chardonnay
Braised beef cheeks with pickled beets, arugula in blue cheese dressing and apple dressing paired with a 2011 Merlot

Beef cheeks and Occasio wine

Beef cheeks and Occasio wine


Churrasco lamb ribs and huitlacoche taco with esquites with a 2012 Syrah
Blackened Prime rib cubes with grilled vegetables and Dijon balsamic reduction plus a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Lemon crepes and citrus ricotta with blueberry chutney with the Occasio port

Everything is very tasty. The winemaker explains the wines and tells humorous anecdotes and Eduardo Posada, the chef, talks about why he decided on the food pairing for each course.

My favorites are the sauce from the mussel dish, the wonderfully tender beef cheeks, the terrific pickled beets, and the fabulous sauce accompanying the lamb ribs. But really it is all very delicious and I know we will be calling right away for the next wine dinner!

February 9, 2015 – A Visit with the Kendalls

Today we drive over to Corte Madera in Marin for a visit with Eileen and Jim, Ali and Eli and Vea. Eileen and Jim have rented a small house right on the bay with views of San Quentin and the Richmond bridge. It is pretty idyllic. Of course Eli and Vea occupy most of our attention as they are super cute. We’ve brought over a truck and some books that Nathan and Sam have outgrown and Eli really enjoys them and plays with the truck for quite a while. He also enjoys the little book with the different textures. He tries to show to Vea. It is sweet.

Eileen prepares a delicious lunch of various meats and salads. One thing she has is Affi’s aubergine spread. It is so delicious. I shall have to find it some place closer to home. (Later I buy it at Whole Foods) We have a little wine and do a little talking. Later we head down to Tiburon to see Ali and Van’s new place. The view is outstanding. They can see the San Francisco skyline and Angel Island from their kitchen and Van can ride his bike down to the commuter ferry to San Francisco. What a commute!

Time flies by and we have to beat the rush hour traffic so we leave mid-afternoon. They will be back in May in their little house by the bay but I am hoping that some day they will make the move permanently.

Adorable Eli

Adorable Eli


More Eli

More Eli


Ali and Vea

Ali and Vea