As we prepare for Ireland travel adventures and seriously discuss a VERY exciting winter trip, I guess it’s time to wrap up my writing about our last Sonoma County trip. Sure, there will be Wine of the Week posts featuring Sonoma wines we brought back, but I am just about out of photos and stories to share. It must be time to go back.

Our last day in Healdsburg was a sad one, as it always is. We checked out of our rental house and then wandered around trying to decide what to do until our red eye flight from Oakland. Wine tasting was on the cards, of course.

Longboard tasting room Healdsburg

We passed by Longboard Vineyards several times throughout this trip and past Healdsburg visits but never made it inside. A leisurely last day in wine country seemed like the perfect time, and we were glad we stopped in this bright, fun tasting room.

Longboard tasting room

Owner and winemaker Oded Shakked traveled and surfed around the world after surfing from a young age in his native Israel, and the tasting room decor, which includes vintage surfboards all over, reflects that passion.

Shakked brings his surfing passion together with wine in Longboard Vineyards, and while the vibe is laid back, the wine is seriously good stuff.

Longboard Vineyards

wine tasting in Healdsburg

We arrived at the tasting room’s opening since we wanted to make the most of our last day. As a result we had the tasting room to ourselves and had a fun time tasting with our lovely hostess.

Longboard Sauvignon Blanc

We decided to share a tasting (always a great option), and went through the list.  Favorites included their 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, which made the trip home with us. Tart, fresh, with nice acid, notes of pineapple and grapefruit, and ever-present minerality, this wine is summery and refreshing, perfect with a grilled seafood feast.

Mavericks Red Blend

We also loved the Mavericks Red Blend (killer label) for its deep, dark fruit flavors and luxurious weight. This wine is a big one, but it still worked on the warm day that we were tasting on.

Longboard’s Rochioli Chardonnay is also a memorable wine, with baked apple and honey notes and a light hint of vanilla, an easy Chardonnay that has enough depth to keep it interesting. Lovely.

We loved all of the wines we tasted at Longboard, and we felt so welcome. It’s a wine club we are definitely considering joining once we figure out what our next year looks like. And there you have it, our magical Sonoma and Napa trip is wrapped up. It’s one I will never forget; our travels were full of good food, wine, people, and time outdoors, great weather, and relaxation. As I sit here finishing this post, I am longing to be canoeing on Russian River again in the August heat, that’s for sure!

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Tags: Healdsburg, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Travel, wine, wine country, wine tasting, wine travel, wineries

Do you ever have one of those weeks months where everything seems to fly by at lightning speed, when you rarely have a night free, and where you’re constantly going over plans for days and weeks in advance just to make sure you’re not missing something?

That’s how life has been lately. House stuff, work photo and TV shoots and events, travel planning, family, and more house stuff have made me feel like I am being spun around in a game of pin the tail on the donkey. During that time though, there were so many fun and delicious moments that I thought a rainy, dreary week could use a roundup of happy; that’s what today’s post is all about.

roast with red wine gravy

Slow cooked meals on weeknights – For some reason the kitchen is like therapy to me, and coming home after a busy day is made better by working on a comforting meal. This roast was absolutely incredible. It involved me searing the meat on all sides, then seasoning with garlic powder, pepper, and thyme and deglazing the pan with Travessia Jester red wine and beef stock. After that, the roast went into an oven at 400 with lots of vegetables and an entire head of crushed garlic. The end result was heavenly, the meat even better served cold with horseradish the next day. If you live in Massachusetts and haven’t tried Travessia wine, a visit to their tasting room is a perfect cold weather activity!

photo 4 homemade French toast

Visiting family and hanging out in pj’s on a cold and dreary Saturday with my mom’s French toast is just the best. I can’t wait until Christmas!

stray cat house  A yard full of cats – a stray mama cat and her kittens adopted us. While we try to catch them to bring them to a rescue, they have a little home to live in, along with two meals a day. I am constantly stressed about their wellbeing and hoping a rescue will get back to me soon!

Boston Cream Pie Day

The Massachusetts Governors Conference on Travel and Tourism – My work is so intertwined with Massachusetts travel, plus I love this state, so being at the JFK Library for the day with other tourism professionals was interesting and inspiring. The food at the library is delicious, and it happened to be National Boston Cream Pie Day, so the Parker House contributed the real deal.

JFK LIbrary The JFK Library has such an energy about it. It is also a great Boston day trip.

EF building opening event Speaking of energy and inspiration, the EF Education building opening was another beacon of light on a rainy day. They pulled out all the stops to celebrate their brand new building, and the event included fall cocktails, a flash mob, and the Landfillharmonic, a group of children from a Paraguayan slum who play instruments made from trash recovered from a landfill. The kids played “Imagine”, and there was not a dry eye in that tent. Beautiful.

Atwoods Cambridge We savored the outdoors while the weather was still fine, with beers on Atwoods’ patio and a day out at the Head of the Charles.

Head of the Charles And we played tourist in Harvard Square, checking out beautiful architecture in the First Parish Church. In all of life’s chaos, I sometimes crave the peace that faith brings, and it was nice being in such a beautiful, faith-filled space.

church windows

Head of the Charles cocktails at Grafton Street have been a tradition since we went on one of our first dates, and it was a nice enough day to sit by windows open on to the street. Along with sipping drinks, we made friends with a handsome pitbull named Hudson. It was love at first sight.

cocktails at Grafton Street I have to admit that our dining has been indulgent, and our exercise nonexistent. Lunches on-the-go have included a burger topped with lobster and guacamole at the Legal Sea Foods at Logan Airport. My goal is to join a gym the day we return from Ireland and to try to once and for all get back in shape and lose some of the weight I have gained this past year. It’s definitely been getting me down, and it’s been hard to turn around while so busy. Still, choices like this don’t help!

lobster guacamole burger Finally, we’ve been loving the natural beauty of the season, including the changing leaves in the views from our home.

autumn views Chilly days are still fine for beach trips, and Duxbury Beach sparkled one windy Sunday.

Duxbury Beach And my garden is still hanging on! While the vegetable garden has been turned under and mixed with compost for the season, my little “cottage garden” as I call it, still has flowers and greens sprouting. It adds a little cheer to those dark mornings and evenings when we come and go. I don’t love that we almost never see daylight this time of year!

cottage garden

Are you feeling the  busy-ness of this time of year?

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Tags: blogging, Boston, cambridge, cocktails, cooking, events, Food, head of the charles, lifestyle, roundup, wine

This cozy little Dorchester spot is perfect for this time of year. Our recent visit to Cafe Polonia was a celebration with great friends, delicious food, and really good beer. November 6 would have been my nana’s 100th birthday, and since her background was Eastern European, we decided to celebrate with Polish food. It was perfect.

Cafe Polonia Dorchester

Cafe Polonia has a large menu and it’s a good spot to visit with friends so that you can order and share a bunch of items . We started with the kielbasa and smoked salmon with caviar. I liked that the salmon was a lighter dish as I knew our main courses would be heavy and involve a good bit of meat. The kielbasa is the perfect bite, dunked in spicy mustard for a little bit of a kick.


salmon and caviar We decided to share entrees as well, the Polish plate for him and the potato pancake with smoked salmon for me. We ate potato pancakes often while I was growing up, so this was a nice little trip down memory lane. They were perfectly crispy and excellent with the smoky, salty salmon.

The Polish plate is a sure bet and a must-order for at least one person at your table. The plate includes sausage, Hunter’s Stew, pierogis, and stuffed cabbage with a delicious side of braised cabbage. Whatever you order, expect a lot of food.

salmon potato pancakes We washed our meals down with hearty Polish beers, a dark Zywiec for me. As the rain poured down outside, we had a lot of laughs and enjoyed the company of our friends as well as that of our warm and lovely server.

Zywiec My nana, pictured below on her wedding day, was definitely smiling down on us and knew we were there to celebrate her, I am sure of it.

my nana

I highly recommend a trip to Dorchester this winter to check out the comfort food at Cafe Polonia.

Do you have favorite food memories that bring you back to your family and culture?

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Tags: beer, celebrations, Dorchester, Food, friends, Polish food, Polish triangle

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