Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sonoma, CA

We have a special place in our hearts for the Northern California wine country. We've made a few trips, but I don't think we'll ever get enough. It is one of those places that I know we will be revisiting for the rest of our lives. On our most-recent trip we hit a bit of Napa and Sonoma, but we spent most of our time in the Russian River & Alexander Valley area.

Oxbow Market was our first stop of the day. I got a delicious taco and Mexican coffee at C Casa and Jason got a burrito at Five Dot Ranch. This place has a ton of different options - we're already planning our trip back so we can hit Gott's Roadside and Ca' Momi.

Our next stop was at Mumm for some bubbly! It was our second trip here and we loved it just as much. If you go in the morning, it is so laid back. You really get time to enjoy the tasting and the scenery. The 3 full glasses for a tasting don't hurt either.

Beaulieu was such a fun and unexpected stop. Our server was so nice and really took the time to explain the wine - it was very un-Napa and we loved it!

Fieldstone Winery was a recommended stop and it was a quick, but nice one! I loved how the tasting room was underground.

Stryker Sonoma kind of made us a little angry to be honest. We were told it was on the "Visa Signature" free tasting group, but NOPE. I don't mind paying for a tasting, but just don't advertise that it's free. Truthfully, I don't remember the wine, but driving through Alexander Valley was beautiful!

Simi Winery was delicious and one of our favorites. I would definitely recommend this place!

We ate a late lunch and grabbed a wine tasting at VJB. We went here 3 years ago, but the pizzeria wasn't set up yet. Thankfully it was this time, because OMG it was delicious. What a great place to sit on the patio and grab a glass and a slice!

We relaxed in Sonoma square for a bit and took a bit of a wine nap!

The next morning, we rose bright and early to get some grub from Fremont Diner. This place had a funky vibe and I could definitely see myself hanging out here if I lived in the area.

We drove on up to the Russian River Valley and our first stop was Lynmar Estate. This was probably our favorite wine of the entire trip, but it was expensive! We did bring back a bottle to drink on a special occasion.

Hook and Ladder was next and the wine was great!

If we are to become a member of any wine club, it will be Taft Street Winery. No pictures though, oops. We were enjoying our wine too much! They do sell some bottles at Spec's, so I plan on grabbing a few bottles here soon.

Next up, we had WAY too much food for lunch at Sushi Tozai in Sebastopol. Yum!

We drove along River Road for a while and took in the amazing views. We decided to stop at Twomey and it was our last stop of the day. We really liked this wine! The tasting room was beautiful and I would love to come back to this place to enjoy at picnic lunch on the patio.

What an amazing trip! We were able to fly nonstop both ways, so it was so quick and easy. We were even able to check our bags on the flight home and bring back quite a few bottles of wine. 

Next time we go, we're hoping to base ourselves in Sebastopol and go kayaking down the Russian River. We also hope that we can go to Bodega Bay and, of course, visit more wineries! We LOVE California!

Next up: More California! I'm heading to San Diego this weekend/week for a work conference. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Toronto, Canada

We have friends that are currently living in Toronto and I'm so glad we were able to make a trip up to see them! 

We grabbed a surprisingly quick flight from Dallas to Toronto and arrived Friday before noon. Once we got settled and had some lunch, we walked around our their neighborhood (Liberty Village), popped into some cute shops on Queen Street and grabbed some coffee and macaroons at Nadege. Even though we were in a big city, I loved all of the charm the houses, stores and restaurants had. When we started to get chilly, we stopped in at The County General for some delicious cocktails!

For dinner, we had an amazing meal at Momofuku Daisho. Thanks to our friends, we got the royal treatment. All courses were amazing, but our favorite were the the Crispy Chicken buns, squash salad, Muscovy duck, and the beef tartare. It was a really wonderful meal!

Saturday, we were treated to a home-cooked breakfast. Afterwards, we drove an hour or so up to Niagara Falls. The falls were in all of their winter-glory! It was really beautiful to see. The town itself was a bit of a tourist trap (and that's putting it mildly), so we didn't linger long. It was also freezing!

 Afterwards, we warmed up at Ravine for lunch and a wine tasting. The burgers (and wine) were delicious! Next, we stopped at Tawse Winery where we tried sparkling, white, red, and ICE WINE. This was a first for us, and while I couldn't drink it every day, we really enjoyed the intense flavors of the Cabernet Ice Wine.

That night, back in Toronto, we watched 21 Jump Street (loooove this movie) and chatted for hours. Jake cooked us a delicious dinner and we played many hilarious (yet offensive) rounds of Cards Against Humanity. It's a good thing we've been friends for so long! We definitely made a dent in their extensive wine collection this night...

Thank you Jake for taking a break in your studying to hang out with us! And since you passed your Advanced Sommelier test (woohoo!!), I can breath a sigh of relief that we didn't mess you up or distract you too much!

Sunday, we got the chance to walk around High Park in the snow and eat lunch at La Cubana before we had to head to the airport. Sadly, the weekend just flew by, but it was so great to spend time with friends in their city. Thanks for having us y'all! A special thanks also goes out to Jason's parents for driving up to Dallas to watch our fur baby.

Up Next: We are (hopefully) heading to Sonoma soon for some more wine tasting! It is one of our favorite places, so stay tuned for this recap.