As a follow up to my Year of Valentines post, here’s the first installment of my photo journal. Since we are fairly new to the Bay Area, most of the dates I have planned are intended not only to give Hubby and I some much needed time together, but also to give us an opportunity to discover all that the Bay Area has to offer. First up, a day trip to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys which are situated just a short one hour drive from us. We have been to Sonoma before, but have always had our boys in tow. Not exactly ideal for wine tasting. I had looked up some wineries on the Food and Wine list of Best Wineries, to give me an idea of where we might go… turns out we didn’t go to a single one of the listed wineries and still had a wonderful time.
What I enjoyed most about our date is that we could operate without a plan. With kids you have to manage your schedule around when they need food or sleep, so it was nice to just meander along the roads with no real destination in mind. We could just stop anywhere along the way that seemed interesting and could stay as long or as little as we wanted.
One stop we made was at the Fremont Diner. A funky diner that elevates old fashioned brunch favorites with locally grown, organic produce. The decor is a pure delight, mixing vintage signs with rustic tables and industrial stools. Out back there’s a huge covered dining area with picnic tables. I made a mental note that though we were without kids, this would be a place to include next time we are in the area with the boys. In the front they also have a super cool photo booth clad in reclaimed wood and chicken wire. You can see Hubby peeking out of the photo booth. We took some cheesy photo booth pictures and just doing that made me so happy. $5 for two strips of photos = a priceless memento.
Yes, we did also do some wine tasting… and some olive oil tasting. Turns out to the Jacuzzi Winery was having an Olive Oil tasting. We didn’t taste any of their wines, just their olive oils, which were yum. But, of course we did do one wine tasting. We stopped by the Tricylce Wine Partners tasting room and had a lovely time tasting their wine while sitting by a cozy fire. The good thing about the tasting room is that it is located in the Sonoma Cornerstone complex. I had hoped to visit the gardens, so this was a great 2-in-1 stop. The gardens were fun and very contemporary, way more conceptual than a traditional garden. I really loved the chicken wire clouds with crystal rain drops floating above cacti, better known as the White Cloud. The other garden I really enjoyed was the one with the hanging aluminum pieces. It was great to not only see the garden, but hear the garden. The other nice thing about our date: we got to play bocce just because we felt like it, though personally I prefer pétanque.
We had lunch at Angele in the heart of Napa. I didn’t want to take my camera out, I wanted to enjoy an intimate meal with my hubby. Sorry, the pics are from their site, the food was good, but best to make a reservation a head of time.
Our last stop before heading home was at the Oxbow Public Market, a mecca for gourmet foods. It was like going to Dean and Delucca on steroids, with an artisanal touch. So much to see, so much to taste, I could have easily spent a whole day there. They have everything from gourmet ice cream, to cheese, to oysters, to spices and coffee, plus there are tables for sitting down and enjoying all these foods. While at the Oxbow, I saw a super cute father and son pair and just had to snap a pic. I loved the little boy’s faux hawk!
As we headed back to the car, we came across Charlie’s Dim Sum. I would have tried it, had it been open. Who doesn’t want to eat dim sum from a cool Airstream? So, I have it on my list of things to do when we go back next. BTW- We drove around, but if you want a leisurely pace you can always try the Napa Wine Train, that way you are certain to avoid drinking and driving.
But my favorite part of our date? Just spending time together and being able to have a conversation without being interrupted. Priceless.
Already looking forward to our next date…