Thursday, June 25, 2009

Winery Bike Tour.........Again!

After our previously successful winery bike tour, we ventured out our front door for a little more exploration of the local tasting rooms down the street. After about 300 yards, we made our first stop..........
Twomey (two-me), the sister winery to Silver Oaks Winery down in Oakville, has been on our list for a long time. One of our first acquaintances in the valley was actually the IT guy for Twomey, so we had to stop in for a visit. After 10 months, his office had moved and actually had been remodeled into an exercise room overlooking the valley. Cheers to corporate wellness plans! None of the wines really knocked our socks off so off to the next winery we went.Instead of taking a right at the stopsign to go to Cuvaison, take a left to head towards Calistoga on Silverado Trail. There you will find August Briggs Winery. Known more for their budget wines, and their free tastings, they actually produce some really nice wines. Even NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon orders a 1000 cases a year for his private collection. Not a bad connection to have since Infineon Raceway is just a 45 minute drive over to Sonoma Valley.
Nothing like a peaceful Saturday afternoon in the valley. Here we are at the walking bridge overlooking Dry Creek in Calistoga. Now where can we find an ice cream cone in this town...........................

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Got Bouchon.............Bakery That Is!

Welcome to a nice little benefit I get from working at Bouchon. Actually, the benefit comes from Bouchon Bakery. Due to their commitment to excellence, they never serve day old bread. These two loaves, walnut and currant bread, are actually the breads used for the cheese plates at The French Laundry. I guess if we can't ever afford to eat at The French Laundry, we will try to eat a little bit at a time along the way.
Not since my days of carrying baguettes home from the Boulangerie's of Toulouse have I enjoyed as much fresh bread after a long training ride on the velo. Merci Beaucoup Bouchon Bakery.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Restaurant Review: Udupi Palace!

Udupi Palace located in downtown Berkeley, California. During our recent visit to Berkeley, my Sri Lankan friend and his wife took us to a very authentic South Indian Vegetarian Cusisine restaurant. Many courses and many delightful sensorial experiences ensued!For a quick appetizer, Vegetable Samosa's. Crispy and flakey crust stuffed with potatoes and peas served with cilantro yogurt dip and tamarind dip.
Ummmmmmm! Poori. Deep fried puffed whole wheat bread. Hollow on the inside like a beignet with a crispy outer layer. Great for dipping and moving food on your plate.

Special Vegetable Curry. Udupi style-vegetables with herbs and spices. Exotic vegetables with a spicy kick that can only be tamed by the light, fluffy white rice.

Paneer Tikka Masala. Home made grilled cheese, marinated in a blend of exotic spices cooked with tangy sauce. Paneer is basically a ricotta-like cheese that is made from adding acid to hot milk to separate the curds from the whey. The curds are then drained and pressed and their is your easy cheese.

Uthappam. Indian style pancake, made from ground rice and lentils. Served with coconut chutney and sambar (a spicy lentil vegetable soup with a touch of tamarind). We ordered the Uthappam with Pineapple as the Mrs. is fond of her Hawaiian-style pizza.

Spinach & Mushroom Dosai. Rice crepe stuffed with spinach & mushrooms. By far my favorite. I don't know if it's my past France experiences with the crepe, but they do a pretty good one in South India as well!
No leftovers for this group...................................and all for $65! Divide that by two couples and we ate for the same price as a trip to Applebee's. Once again, the joy of food and fellowship always leads to a state of conviviality.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Marble Whacker World Championships!

On our recent day trip to Berkeley, CA, my friend Indi and I got tired of shopping with the Mrs.'s, so we decided to go exploring on our own.After stumbling into a local children's toy store, we found this Marble Whacker table top game set up for display. After waiting patiently for two 4-year-olds to finish their match, Indi and I carefully, and painfully squatted down to sit on the mini-size bar stools. The 1st ever Marble Whacker World Championships were held this day between sportsman representing Sri Lanka and the United States of America.
Apparently, Indi had grown playing the game in his native country and even held the ranking of Grand Master Marbler, an honor bestowed upon him by the Sri Lankan Minister of Sports and Public Recreation. I used to play a lot of pinball, air hockey, and foosball back in the day so I thought I was well trained for the competition. Notice the beads of sweat that are accumulating on my forehead.
Indi provides a smirk as he blasts another goal through my wickets. Final results, Sri Lanka 8, USA 3. Let it be noted that Marble Whacker is not a timed game, and the game isn't over after so many points are scored...............................but rather when the Mrs.'s tell you to get up and quit acting like children.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Mrs. Gotta Eat!

So, I have been getting slammed pretty regularly at Bouchon and totaling more hours in the week than I even thought there were hours in the week. Since Monday night is Old Married Man Church League Softball, Wednesday night is Growth Group, Thursday and Friday night is the p.m. shift at work, the Mrs. has need a little bit of counsel for making dinner for herself. Thanks to the Mrs.-in-law, I was able to utilize our handy dandy decorative chalkboard to write some notes of inspiration.
The "Best Husband of the Year" awards are coming up and I am pretty sure I am the frontrunner for "Most Considerate" in the food category. Bon Appetit Mrs. Walnofer!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Field Trip: Golden Gate Bridge!

It was time to once again be a tourist since the Mrs. and I had some family in town. Off to the Golden Gate Bridge we went to see this modern marvel. Here it is in all of its Orange................I mean Golden splendor. Stetching from San Fran across the bay to Sausalito.
The Mrs. and I couldn't resist the 8,981 feet so off we went from the Golden Gate Bridge Park.
The Mrs. and Mrs.-in-Law took one last photo to prove that they were going to walk across the bridge. No Turning Back! Ouch! That's okay from the daughter, but I am going to stay out of this one!

When it was all said and done, the view was breathtaking! The moral of the story, no matter where you live, be a tourist everyonce in awhile. Next up, Alcatraz!