12.10.2009

el capitan, i salute you...

...last stop...yosemite national park...and i was lucky enough to have a morning of sunshine before the clouds rolled in to make the light flat...
easiest view to get to so it almost feels like cheating. now i just need to come back and hike half dome and glacier point (both closed in the winter).bridalveil fall where i watched some ice chunks break off from the top, which sounded like a cannon shots echoing through the valley.mirror lake with what i call a t-rex skull stone. being alone and with the daylight quickly receding, this mirror lake loop hike was the only one i could feasibly do. although i was in mountain lion habitat, so luckily i had made some friends along the way...
now back to portland...

12.09.2009

running to stand still...

...joshua tree national park...not too sound cheesy but someplace i have always wanted to visit...(p.s. i'm squinting into the sun...not trying to hold a sneeze in or something worse)it was a balmy 40ish degrees, but at least the sun was out so i warmed up pretty quickly on my mini-hikes. i only had a short amount of time and, being by myself, didn't have time to do more intense hiking or bouldering. but it was absolutely stunning landscape and i found a lorax ;)
apparently you used to be able to swim here?! or maybe in the summer?
well swimming is out, but i wish i could go rock climbing...
now to book it to yosemite national park...

on the road again...

well harvest was intense...a lot of running up and down and left and right. so i figured i needed a vacation. i've been wanting to drive down california and see friends that i've just moved away from and friends that i've been meaning to visit.

it had been awhile, but it was great to get onto that open road with just me, my music, and a lot of chocolate covered raisins. my itinerary included stops in ukiah (brand new nunamaker-bailey baby), sebastopol (i've got to see my peeps at paul hobbs winery), sonoma (a grown-up dinner party at the early-myers'), petaluma (haircut and scalp massage...priceless), san francisco (suppenk├╝che, finally, as well as harris' steak tartare and tu lan). on my way down to santa barbara to visit alison at palmina winery, i decided to take the 1 through big sur and the like. beautiful coastline, of course...then i finally made it to los angeles to visit darling danielle. i hadn't been to the city of angels since right after the infamous riots, so it was nice to see that the scars had healed. i did see taye diggs at bouchon, but i did not (sadly) see lindsay lohan passed out in the corner of bar marmont or britney spears and the kids at toast. of course, the last thing i had to do was walk hollywood blvd and i wonder what they were setting up for...unfortunately, mother nature wasn't very willing to cooperate with me as it poured the last day i was in los angeles and while i was driving down to san diego amdist some gale-force winds. at the cactus garden in balboa park, i could clearly picture what the scene might have been like with all that rain...
so san diego was my southernmost stop and i finally got to visit jenn instead of the other way around. beautiful beaches...maybe made even more beautiful with the partly cloudy weather and high surf. but i thought san diego was supposed to be warm and sunny...i guess i'll have to come back when i can actually lay out at the beach!more to come...

10.04.2009

you call this hard?! i call this FUN!!

because it's that time again...time to harvest!!! if you've read any of my earlier posts, then you know what harvest is like. if you haven't, well, it's harvest and i don't have the time to explain (if that can give you a slight hint as to the madness of harvest) so you'll have to read my earlier posts. so my view from my office/lab at paul hobbs winery in sebastopol was beautiful, but can it compare to the view from the penner-ash wine cellars patio where we eat lunch everyday?!? check out for yourself below. you can't see it, but off to the left is an amazing garden. i haven't had to buy produce once since august...amazing!!

the winery has a very nice gravity flow set-up where the grapes are crushed above and fall down to the tanks waiting below on the fermentation deck, which you can see below. after which, the tanks will be emptied down to the last level where the press is located.
i guess catered harvest lunches is a big deal in oregon's willamette valley, so jon and i were very honored to cook lunch this past saturday. well jon cooked obviously and i just made mousse au chocolat for dessert. it was an amazing meal where most of the vegetables came from the winery or people's gardens. grilled lamb that had been marinated in parsley, mint, and garlic and topped with a heirloom tomato, basil, kalamata olive sauce. frittata with zucchini, potatoes, braised swiss chard, mushrooms, and cheese. warm bread salad with feta, cashews, and asian pears. mmm...
i found a way to enjoy tomatoes...bake them in a tart with zucchini and basil (all fresh from the winery garden). throw in some mozzarella and that's what i call amore :)

7.22.2009

monterey bay aquarium

this posting comes a couple of weeks late, but it's been hectic...

last fourth of july weekend, i willingly faced holiday traffic and drove down to monterey to meet up with becky george in order to finally explore the monterey aquarium. despite the high price of admission and screaming kids, it was worth the experience for the photos i took below. the sea otters and penguins were adorable. the giant fish and sharks were impressively sized. the stingrays that you could pet were scared and annoyed with all the kids' hands reaching into their tank.

i especially enjoyed watching this yellow fish which seemed to just sit there and mouth "hello". mmm...sashimi...i'm just kidding!but the main reason that i wanted to go was to see the jellyfish and i wasn't disappointed. luckily, i could tune out everyone else and it just seemed like the jellyfish were noiselessly floating in space. it was very elegant and ballet-like. my favorite is this one below...the stinging sea nettle jellyfish. this is just one of what seemed like hundreds floating in the one tank together...almost in unison.the purple striped jellyfish seemed more acrobatic, but maybe that was because it's tail was a lot longer and it seemed like it was doing backbends and cartwheels.the moon jelly, which seemed like a ufo because it had no long tail with which to entrap its prey.next stop...portland, oregon!

6.11.2009

bee kind

i know what you're thinking, "holy crap! 3 posts in 2 weeks?!? what is she on!?!". don't worry, i'm not taking blogging speed. interesting (well at least to me) things have been jumping into my lap lately!

so yesterday during lunch at the picnic tables at the winery, i heard roberto (our cellarmaster) give a faint yelp. i looked over and saw a swarm of insects. as our jaws dropped, the buzzing noise became very apparent. and in front of our eyes, what appeared to be a brown oval shape began forming in one of the trees on the treeline. as the swarm steadily decreased in size, we realized that there must be a new queen and the bees were swarming to protect her and to start building a new hive for her. this was amazing to me purely because i'd never witnessed anything like in my life...the start of a new beehive. after maybe 5 or 10 minutes, the swarm was gone and was nestled in the tree as you can see below... apparently there are beekeepers you can call in sonoma when you have a new swarm of bees. they will come and safely transport the swarm so as to start the new hive in a safe environment. interestingly enough, bill wiebalk (our director of sales) is one of these beekeepers, so he drove over in full beekeeper gear (that he apparently keeps in his car) to scoop the swarm up as you can see below...so there you have it, that's how a beehive gets started. now i wonder how the new queen gets nominated...

6.10.2009

indulgence weekend

i haven't had one in a bit and it's a longshot from an actual vacation, but i'll take what i can get right now!

our 1st indulgence was to hike the dipsea trail (starting near downtown mill valley) and the sun trail to the german tourist club, which you can see below.the dipsea trail was quite a workout for my glutes and quads, but with every step, i reminded myself that there was beer at the end. the german tourist club overlooks muir woods and is open to the public on weekend afternoons (for the most part). we were rewarded with amazing views (a camera phone doesn't do justice to the views so i didn't even try) and awesome german beer (is there any other kind? don't worry belgium, my beer heart lies with you as well). you can bring your own food, so we made ourselves some fresh kielbasa sandwiches with mustard and cheese.

it was great to get in touch with my outdoorsy side again and hopefully i will be getting my fill of the wilderness in oregon.

the following day was our 2nd indulgence but of a very different kind. jon and i treated ourselves to sunday brunch at the top of the mark restaurant in san francisco. it's standard fare for sunday brunch and maybe only slightly better quality than any other sunday brunch, but the views...360 degree view of san francisco on an actually sunny sunday morning! but wait, there's more, part of the all-you-can-eat brunch is a caviar station. so as you can see from the photo below, we topped our blinis with a heavy-handed serving of caviar! ah, life...