Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Drivecation 0-11: Day 12: Unexpected Detour

This morning we retaliated like Twisted Sister when we awoke to more gray skies, white foggy blur, and cold, wet weather.  We're not gonna take it...anymooore!  We ate our hotel's complimentary full breakfast, which included the following: B&G, a pancake machine, scrambled eggs, potatoes, cereals, some pitiful pastries, bananas that looked half beat to death, a variety of juices, milk and coffee.  It's part of your complete hospital breakfast.  We selected some of the least offensive items, and picked at them until we realized, "who are we kidding?"  We threw that shit away and left.  A for effort, but we had new plans for the day and were excited to get going:

Our ultimate destination for today was San Francisco, and since our dinner plans with Joshy changed to breakfast plans tomorrow, we had the rest of today to adventure. We decided to leave the miserable coast, who just didn't get the memo that it's summer, and headed inland toward the Napa Valley and wine country, USA.  Sorry coast, it's not me, it's you.  You need to work on your issues, and I'm going to go get blasted.

We were sad to discover the road from Fort Braggamemnon to the Napa Valley was another windy road, but this time, I can use the adjective treacherous.  The speed limits on many of these roads was 55, which was very generous and possibly daring, as if the highway department were given the job of population control.  There were some seriously dangerous blind turns and descending S curves where if you made a turn just a little too wide while another car was coming the other way--or as we encountered many times, a giant truck with highway-fixin' gear--blammo.

We managed to make it to the northern part of the wine country without dying or vomiting.  We would have to be content with living healthy lives.  Ugh.

So one of the things which most excited me about the wine country, aside from EVERYTHING!, was there was one particular winery whose wine I had at a tasting at Palermo back in January or so.  The winery was one of the oldest and the only made one thing: Petite Syrah, and this is the most amazing wine I have ever had.  It just stood head and shoulders above all the other wines we tasted and I was excited to travel to the winery and see it for myself.  A little research showed they only do tastings by appointment, and it was pretty expensive.  I was apprehensive to spend $45 per person to taste the wine, especially since Gregory isn't very interested in it--though I felt he would like this.  And it was our anniversary... he talked me into it, saying, "Let's just do it.  Who cares?"

We tried the 2006 and the 2007 and the even let us try a barrel sample of something they call the Sweet Petite, which is a port-like wine that was just fabulous and interesting and plain delicious.  We also joined their wine club and bought a few 375's.

After that, we stopped at a lunch place that had over 600 Yelp reviews and still had 4 1/2 stars.  Amazing!  And it was!  The key lime pie was something special there.  Our food was really good, but that pie was spectacular.  Our waitress was really nice.  I wanted to take her home, but apparently kidnapping is frowned upon.  Besides I really couldn't think of what I would need a waitress for.  I decided to let her stay and she seemed very grateful to be let out of the trunk.

We decided to cruise quickly into the city of Napa and then over to it's rival Sonoma.  The war between them must have waned, because it appeared they had stopped firing canons at each other.  That must be what happens when the wineries close at 5:30.  We frantically searched for the slutty wineries that stayed open later and we found a black-laced Nicholson Ranch that wooed us in with some pinots, but sealed deal with their merlot, a surprising move I didn't expect to like.  We also bought a clock from them.  Because.

After that we headed in to San Fran over the Golden Gate as the fog was rolling in.  Oh great.  More fog. Well at least here, you can expect shitty weather year round.  We had scoped our our restaurant of choice, with the help of the lovely couple a few nights prior, and parked.  Gregory had the idea to swing on over to the Disney store for some merch, and insisted it's not that far.  Oh, sure only a couple of miles in the freezing cold wind.  And to make matters worse, we elected to head down Market street, the urine-soaked homeless crazy magnet.  And they were out in full force.

We made it to the Disney store and I ducked out to make a quick loop through the Macy's clearance racks--meh, it was a very quick loop, and we reconvened.  I have decided that I hate San Francisco, or at least I was all set to, when, as Gregory and I met up on the street, some trumpet player was belting out some jazz somewhere up the street and it echoed off the buildings and sounded so haunting and so "city."  We set out for our anniversary dinner at the gourmet restaurant recommendation: Absinthe.

We had a 9PM reservation and were there exactly on time.  Steak tare-tare was on the menu and was irresistible and delicious.  Gregory ordered the Hawaiian Opah (Sun Fish) with Blue Prawns.  I had the Lamb Shoulder Confit, and a wine that was a Cab-Merlot-Syrah mix (like a transformer).  Everything was delicious, amazingly delicious.  The Opah was flavorful and unlike anything I had in recent memory.  The lamb was so delicate you didn't even need a knife.  For dessert, I ordered the Manjari Chocolate Mousse, which featured raspberries and a rooibos tea sauce.  Gregory had buttermilk Panna Cotta with a basil meringue, and a layer of strawberry and some crunchy shit.  Oh my god.  It was BEWILDERINGLY amazing.  I just wanted to cry it was so delicious.  The flavors were flying!  The sensations of a delicious meal just enveloped our entire being.  It was a wonderful end to our vacation and a beautiful anniversary dinner.

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