Food

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What a whirlwind the past few weeks have been! From almost a week in NJ to over a week in California to arriving home late last night from a long weekend in Puerto Rico, I feel like I have been on the road and in the air nonstop. I’ve loved it. While I do crave routine, there’s something about a change of perspective that is really inspiring and motivating. It’s good to be home though (and planning our next trip, which is to Camden, Maine in just a few weeks!)

While my husband had a conference in San Francisco, I spent my days working on East Coast time, generally 5:00 am Pacific time until around 1:00 or 2:00, then taking time to explore San Francisco on my own, which was so fun. I still have so many blog posts left, but since food is such an important part of this blog, I bring you a quick peek into some of my San Francisco food and drink finds.

Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant San Francisco

Before a very long walk on Ocean Beach and in Golden Gate Park, I fueled up with a Beach Louie Salad at the Beach Chalet. I wanted something super fresh but also something hearty and filling to get me through the day, and this delicious combination did both. The views from the Beach Chalet are stunning, which certainly set the mood for a fun day of San Francisco exploration.

Magnolia Brewery

I walked for four hours straight in the warm California sun, and my reward in Haight-Ashbury was a cold Ripple in Cloud Water beer at the Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery. This cute corner brew pub was a fun stop for me to rest my feet and refresh with a delicious beer and for some people-watching.

Magnolia Brewery  

After a long hot shower when I returned, I headed to a trendy spot, The Cavalier, for solo dinner. I really enjoy dining alone at times. And I immensely enjoyed my black cod with truffle and the incredible half an avocado with pickled fennel, beets, and red onion. It was a heavenly blend of richness and freshness. The restaurant vibe was great, and while I had a great time alone, I would love to dress up and come back with a group.

 Cavalier San Francisco

Wattle Creek Winery

Since I was in California, I of course made time to find a wine tasting room in San Francisco. On another day of walking, I made my way to Wattle Creek Winery, where I started tasting wines, got to the Viognier, and loved it so much I decided I wanted to stop there and have a glass. The tasting room in San Francisco is in the heart of Ghirardelli Square, and with the sun shining, a musician playing nearby, a delicious glass of wine and a friendly tasting room staff, I was one happy traveler.

Wattle Creek Winery

Ghirardelli Square

That night, I opted for takeout and TV. . . walking those San Francisco hills can definitely take it out of you, and the time zone change meant I was ready for bed by 9 most nights! Oasis Grill in the Financial District has been a favorite for tired takeout in the past, and I loved this falafel and eggplant wrap. I have been craving it ever since!

falafel wrap

We spent the next few days in Mendocino at the Heritage House Resort, and when I returned to San Francisco for a work event, finally had dinner at The Slanted Door in the Ferry Building. I had been to San Francisco so many times and never visited this favorite waterfront hotspot, so I was very excited.

I didn’t disappoint! Talk about cravings. . . I want to eat this food every day. Go with a group, and share as many dishes as possible. Four of us put quite a dent in the menu, devouring all sorts of rolls and noodles and crunchy, spicy, fresh vegetables.

We also polished off a bottle of Croatian wine, which was a highlight of the evening.

The Slanted Door

The Slanted Door

Some people may feel that the Ferry Building restaurants are too touristy, but I still love it. There’s some great food, and the views definitely don’t hurt!

Bay Bridge Sunset

Because of the blizzard back at home, I got a bonus day in San Francisco and was not only able to head back to Sonoma for wine tasting at Gloria Ferrer and Anaba, but we also got introduced to a very cool wine bar I almost don’t want to share. . .

High Treason is the creation of two former fine dining somms who have taken their knowledge and experience and opened up a completely chill local wine bar with ridiculously good small plates and a really interesting wine list, which they know inside and out. If we didn’t have to get to the airport, I would have stayed all night. 

 High Treason

High Treason

I’m beyond lucky that my job, my husband’s job, and blogging have allowed me to have so many of the experiences I have had this year. I am definitely happiest with a suitcase packed and travel research notes all over the place!

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Tags: Food, San Francisco, Travel, travel blog, travel media, wine

If you live in the Boston area, you probably know about Bin Ends Wine, discount wine stores in Braintree and Needham. Not only do they have an amazing selection and great prices, but they also have a true love, knowledge of, and passion for wine.  They periodically do wine dinners, and over President’s Day weekend, we got a group of friends together to go to their Sonoma wine dinner at The Townshend in Quincy.

The Townshend

wine dinner

Gundlach Bundschu Gewurtztraminer

 

scallop crudo

first course
smoked scallop crudo
served with pickled fresno pepper / pork rinds / cilantro
2013 Gundlach Bundschu Gewurtztraminer
"Estate" Sonoma Coast

This was easily my favorite pairing of the night. We love Gundlach Bundschu and have visited many times on trips to Sonoma County. Any sort of crudo is up my alley, and the wine was bright, crisp, and made the dish pop with notes of grapefruit and lemon.

croquette

second course
pork croquette
served with parsnip / gremolata / bone marrow
2014 Raeburn Winery Chardonnay
Russian River Valley

The second course paired a buttery Chardonnay from Raeburn (also a new favorite) with a rich pork and parsnip dish. The vanilla notes in the wine were lovely with the creamy parsnip, another spot-on pairing, and one that was great for a cold Sunday evening. 

lamb  

third course
braised bone-in lamb shank
served with cappellacci / golden raisin / oregano
2011 Donelan Family Wines Syrah
"Walker Vine Hill Vyd" Russian River Valley

Talk about Sunday supper food. . . the third pairing was a hearty, fall-of-the-bone lamb shank with a delicious Syrah from Donelan Family Vineyards. Spice and chocolate and berry notes made for the perfect fireside sipper and a great pairing with the very rich main course.

Buena Vista Irish Coffee  

dessert course
mini "Ghirardelli" sundae
cocoa waffle cone bowl, caramelized white chocolate ice cream, salted caramel chocolate sauce, praline tuille 
  Prepared By Pastry Chef Kate Holochick
Served with The Townshend’s Irish Coffee

At this point I could have rolled out of The Townshend, but we had a San Francisco treat to finish off the evening. A Buena Vista-style Irish coffee and a homemade Ghirardelli Sundae put me in the frame of mind to head to the West Coast and wander the lovely Ghirdardelli Square (which I did just a few weeks later). Easily one of the best desserts I have had in a long time, and the Irish coffee was a sweet and potent way to end the night.

Buena Vista Irish Coffee

After this experience, I really can’t recommend these events enough. It was so much fun, and I hope Bin Ends and The Townshend collaborate again for something similar.

Since I just returned from a visit to Northern California, I have quite a few San Francisco and other posts to share. . . stay tuned!

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Tags: California, Food, food blog, Quincy, Restaurants, Sonoma, travel blog, wine, wine blog

View past Martha’s Vineyard posts :

Our stay at the Nobnocket Boutique Inn

Dinner at State Road MV

A Day Trip to Martha’s Vineyard

We discovered a few weeks ago that Martha’s Vineyard is well-worth an off-season visit, even if that visit comes right after a snowstorm and during the bitter cold of February. Our stay at the Nobnocket Boutique Inn was absolutely perfect for a relaxing weekend away from Boston, and while on the island, we made the most of our time exploring. We were surprised to find out how much was open.

Menemsha Beach After checking in at Nobnocket, we headed straight for Menemsha Beach to catch the sunset in the area. It was incredibly cold and windy, but so beautiful.

Menemsha Beach

Menemsha Beach

Aquinnah

We only lasted a few minutes walking on the beach before heading to the Menemsha Fish Market, which was open and serving piping hot lobster bisque.

snowy lobster traps

Snow definitely added an extra layer of beauty to the Vineyard that weekend!

Menemsha Beach

Still waiting for the sun to set and the Super Moon to rise, we raced over to Aquinnah and made it just in time to see the enormous moon coming up, and the sky turning all shades of pink and purple.

Aquinnah

Bean boots and beaches

It was all so breathtakingly stunning, even if we did almost fall a few times on ice as we ran up to the highest point.

Martha's Vineyard in winter

 

We were glad that we didn’t let the whipping winds keep us from catching this beauty. Only one other couple was out there with us, and other than the wind and waves, it was perfectly quiet.

Martha's Vineyard sunset

Our dinner at State Road was the coziest way to end the day!

The next morning after breakfast at the inn, we set off for the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary with the intention of snowshoeing. There turned out to not be enough snow for that, so we ended up walking for a couple of hours, all alone in the sanctuary, except for the company of deer, otters, and other critters whose prints we saw in the snow. It was magical.

 snowy walk Martha's Vineyard

We worked up quite the hunger, and decided to head to Edgartown’s Harbor View Hotel for some snacks and a glass of wine.

Edgartown

The hotel is beautiful, and I absolutely loved the pops of color on the porch. It was a nice sight against a gray and snowy day.

Harbor View Hotel

Mini lobster tacos and the most delicious Chateau Beaulieu rosé, along with great conversation with Petro at the bar made us want to tuck in and stay for the afternoon, but we had more exploring to do!

lobster tacos

Our next stop was Oak Bluffs. . . talk about pops of color! I absolutely love all of the little cottages there and dream of spending my summer in one. They looked so adorable in the snow, and we were wishing they were year-round properties. Most of them were closed up for the season.

IMG_0297

 Oak Bluffs

Oak Bluffs Oak Bluffs

We headed back to the inn for some time chatting by the fire and then decided to check out the Vineyard Haven dining scene, first grabbing fried oysters at The Black Dog, which I know is a tourist destination, but still, I love it! It was so cozy, and the oysters were delicious.

fried oysters

We finished the night with sushi and sake cocktails at the highly recommended Copper Wok, which was really a fabulous date spot.

IMG_0311

All good things must come to an end, and due to snow on the mainland, we decided to take an earlier ferry, but not before visiting the alpacas at the alpaca farm. If you are an animal lover or have kids, it is definitely a spot worth visiting. The alpacas were cute and friendly and soft, and the store is full of beautiful alpaca fur items.

alpaca farm alpaca farm

Martha's Vineyard ferry

We left Martha’s Vineyard feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, chatting about making a winter trip an annual tradition.

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Tags: Martha's Vineyard, MV, New England, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, traveling

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