John and I planned a treat for ourselves and went out to lunch, dinner, and stayed over at hotel for the first time since February, 2020. I have to admit that not being able to go to restaurants for over a year probably helped a lot with staying on a diet but now that we are semi-free to do so, I have to figure out strategies to make good choices.
Since we were scheduled for a wine tasting at Imagery we decided to go to Salt and Stone in Kenwood first. For lunch I ordered mussels and John ordered octopus. Seafood, as a long as it is not fried, is always a good choice. Giving John my bread is also a successful strategy for me but probably not for him.
Our lunch was followed by a wine tasting at Imagery Winery. We sat outside and it was a perfect Spring day to do it. Flowers were blooming everywhere and the temperature was just right.
After our tasting we made our way to the BW Sonoma to check in, have a little rest, and get cleaned up for dinner. The hotel is very near the square in Sonoma and it is an easy walk to EDGE, the restaurant associated with Stone Edge Winery.
We had a four course meal paired with wines which had us eating hamachi, a salad, halibut, and buttermilk ice cream. Of course these were not simply the item on a plate but each course was carefully prepared with delicious accompaniments.
It was so great to go out again. We still need to be careful but now that we are vaccinated, we feel much safer than before. We are looking forward to more outings and travel soon.
On Wednesday, our last vacation day, we played some tennis and, for Jonathan, a round a golf. The original idea was that John would play golf too. John decided to give his weary muscles a rest and spend the afternoon doing laundry and getting packed.
We got some yummy pizza from Bella Marie’s, had a salad and drank some wine. John and I knew that we had to eat something which we haven’t had since we started this diet 1 1/2 years ago. Pizza with Italian sausage and sautéed onions and garlic, wine, and a salad with real salad dressing (inclusive of oil!) certainly filled the bill.
At 5:55 AM MST Thursday we hit the road for home and only 11 hours and 5 minutes later (4 PM PST) we were home. Jonathan and I tend to push the speed limits a bit and our stops were brief so we were home a little more quickly than usual.
We had so much fun on our trip. It was such a welcome break from pandemic living. We played lots of tennis, Jonathan went golfing twice, the hiking was spectacular even if we didn’t find what we were looking for, and mom and Jon had plenty of shopping and cooking times! I am already looking forward to doing it again!
I found some interesting looking hikes not too far from our base in St. George. The Bowl and the Vortex are mostly in a slickrock area in the Red Mountain Wilderness near Gunlock and Veyo, UT. Veyo is famous for its cinder cones and there is still a lot of volcanic rubble around. To reach the slickrock area we had to hike a very difficult downslope full of sharp basalt rocks. I needed help from John and Jon’s steadying hands.
The trail was not well marked and the hiking guide just said to follow the cairns. What cairns!? We would come across two or three close together and then nothing. So although we hiked around the area for almost 3 hours we never did find the Vortex. Luckily the area was beautiful and there were very few people about so our hike was pretty nice regardless of whether we found our goal!
Pictures from the hike-
Our reward for all the hiking was a delicious steak dinner with tater tots and collards and corn. Cooking together has been a highlight of our vacation.
After dinner we took a walk over to our old house. It appeared that someone was home this time!
John, Jon and I went on a hike yesterday up the Huber Wash in Zion National Park. Although the round-trip is supposedly 4 miles, it was a difficult hike for me since the rock-strewn trail was tortuous for my fragile knee which does not take well to any sort of twisting. My Fitbit said I went over 4.5 miles and took 12,000 steps but I did not make it to the end of the trail due to large boulders that I was unable to scramble over. John and Jon went on ahead and I sat on a rock and waited for them as they went further down the trail. (Poor me!)
That being said, this is why I felt totally deserving of my all-American dinner of a hamburger on a ciabatta, tater tots, and salad. In my less exhausted mind I would have had a small burger, no roll, half a small baked potato, and the salad.
Jonathan did a super job cooking the burgers to medium rare. I used some of the leftover fennel, onion, and red bell peppers to enliven our salad. And what can I say about tater tots other than that they were easy and yummy!
Sunday will be a recovery day for John and me. And I am planning something a little saner for dinner tomorrow night!
We decided to take a week’s trip to St. George to enjoy the sunshine, the beautiful scenery, and to celebrate our vaccines. We invited Jon to come along since he is a great lover of the St. George area. He can play tennis, golf, and hike as well as accompany me to the grocery store and cook while he is here.
We have rented accommodations at the Villas at Entrada where we know the units are fastidiously cleaned and the tennis courts are a short walk away. We have stayed here before and are always interested in how one unit varies from the other. In this one, 2502, there is a separate potty room in the master suite bathroom and a powder room for communal use. We are up pretty high in the development so the views are spectacular. The kitchen is equipped rather poorly but we have brought along things that we felt we would need and can manage quite well.
On our first day here we take a trip to Harmon’s to get our groceries for the night’s dinner. Shopping is a special mom and Jon activity. In the afternoon we play tennis. It is pretty chilly here but out in the sun even temperatures in the 50s are okay when we are running around.
After we are cleaned up we take some pictures from the little table and chairs in front of our villa. It has a great view of Snow Canyon.
Our welcome dinner is the always fabulous Kenwood shrimp. It is a group effort with Jon and me cutting the veg, me cleaning the shrimp, and John doing the cooking. I think it turned out the best we have ever made it. Could it be that adding all the cream makes a difference!?
Braving the pandemic, John, Jonathan, and I took a trip to St. George and stayed at the villas at Entrada. We stayed here in August when we were escaping the smoke and felt confident that we could enjoy ourselves here without taking undue risks. The captioned pictures narrate our visit.
We have managed to pick a very cold week to be in St. George which limits the amount of tennis playing we are doing. But we can go hiking and we have a great time exploring Gold Butte National Monument.
We had such a good time! Hopefully we will make another trip with Jon in February or March. Maybe we will be vaccinated by then!!
Today we travel over to Palo Alto to see Alex and Sam (and also Jon, Ryan, and Leigh.) We have come bearing sweet treats for Halloween. Jonathan has made a brunch and we all enjoy sitting around distanced outside while we catch up.
Today we visit Imagery Winery to pick up our shipment and I have also scheduled a wine tasting. We sit on their back patio with the tables set far apart. Our server is masked as are we except when sipping. We have our own pens and disposable water. They have taken great pains to make sure we are safe.
It is a beautiful day and we enjoy our tasting. We buy some bottles and pick up our Wine Club shipment. It is almost like being normal.
After a weekend of thunderstorms which included a lot of lightning hits, California is ablaze with wildfires. The town next to ours is under an evacuation warning and we decide to get out of the fouled air and scary circumstances for a week in St. George, Utah. We rent a two bedroom “villa” in the complex where we used to have our vacation home.
Since Sarah is coming with us we have three drivers for the long trip. This is the first time we are on the road since the pandemic started and it is a little scary to be finding bathrooms and take-out food on the road. But it all goes smoothly and we reach St. George around 6 PM after a very early start.
We have had to make two reservations – one for the first night and then move into our digs for the the other six nights. The first one seems nice but we are so tired that we hardly notice it. The second one is unfortunately less nice and has many corners cut which seem like false savings for the owners. Polished concrete floors, terrible paper products, bad noise insulation, and no non-stick cookware are nits that really effect the quality of our stay. We even go out and buy a non-stick frying pan so we can cook eggs!
Sarah spends her time moseying around, taking some pictures, accompanying me to the grocery store, and reading. John and I get up really early several days to play tennis. We walk over to the courts in the semi-darkness at 6:45 AM. St. George is really far west in the Mountain Time Zone. Although we can use the tennis courts, we cannot reserve one which makes me quite nervous as to whether our getting up before dawn will come to naught. However, although some other people use one of the courts there is always one open for us. It is warm early in the morning, usually in the low 70s but the sun does not emerge from behind the cliff until about 7:45 so the weather is tolerable. Later in the day it will be over 100F.
Our other major activity is figuring what to make for dinner without our usual pantry to help out. A trip to our local grocery store, Harmon’s, is a daily activity. It is a beautiful, well-stocked store. Even Sarah is impressed.
We also take a trip down memory lane and take a walk over to our old house. The landscaping has really grown. It definitely needs to be cut back. We look from the front and the back. We are afraid to get too close. While we are in St. George I am nostalgic for our old house and even look at real estate listings but everything is too expensive! Plus taking that 10+ hour drive is beyond what our old bones want to do.
Fortunately the fire does not reach our town and the fire teams do a great job getting it under control. By the time we get back the danger is passed and even the air has improved. I think we will consider taking another vacation to St. George, though.
Our plan today is to visit the Portland Art Museum. It is about one half mile from the hotel. Walking to attractions and restaurants is reminiscent of being in Europe where you do so much walking that it burns all the calories from all the yummy food you eat.
Along the way we come across a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Since it is his birthday I snap his picture. Since the U.S. is going to hell in a hand basket I find an apropos quote of his. “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln
The Portland Art Museum is full of welcoming people. We buy our tickets and drop off out outerwear and start our perusal. First we look at a display of photos and paintings about Mt. St. Helens. It is actually pretty close to Portland. I always thought of it as a Washington thing.
Then after some difficulty we find the European collection. There is quite a bit of 18th century French stuff (not my fave)
and some mid-19th century proto-Impressionist paintings which are interesting.
I am pleased to see that there are some early Renaissance/Renaissance pieces as well.
Unfortunately before we get to the modern wing, I am feeling not too well. The combination of eating fried foods and drinking which I am not used to is rearing its ugly head. We return to the hotel around 2PM and have a quiet afternoon waiting for my system to calm down.
Luckily I am okay in time for dinner! We walk to a place called Q for dinner. They have small plates as well as entrees. We decide on small plates and order two vegetable dishes as well as duck spring roll and rabbit pâté. Thank goodness the vegetables come first because these are the biggest small plates we have seen. I am basically finished after the vegetables. The roasted root vegetables are great.
Tomorrow morning we are meeting very old friends for breakfast. I am really looking forward to seeing them!