Monday, December 30, 2013

Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Legion of Honor

December 2013

A great day up in the city with Kahn since the Golden Gate Bridge is a must do in San Francisco.  The only trouble is you don't really know what the weather is going to be and it changes so quickly.  At least half the times I go to see the bridge it is in fog either at the start or the end-oh well, you get what you get!

This time it was totally foggy when we arrived


Which made for some interesting foggy views.


But we just kept walking on the bridge for another 15 minutes and sure enough, it started to clear
Until we had perfectly clear views-yeah!

As long as you are on the north side of the bridge, you might as well go to Sausalito for lunch, right?

We found a Fish, which specializes in sustainable seafood right on the waterfront-yeah!  It is a little back the main road but it was packed and the food was perfect, so I'm not surprised.  Yeah, I maybe forgot to take pictures until it was almost too late ;)

The fish tacos have lots of crunchy veg and homemade sauces

It is Dungeness crab season 
so we had to get the crab roll

and the whole crab-holy cow these were good.  I am so slow at crab...but when someone does all the work and you eat a crab roll?  Decadence!

And then because it had a quince compote we ate the cheesecake.  I am usually not a cheesecake fan, but this was not too sweet or creamy, more cake like, but not...excellent at any rate.

Then a stop at the Legion of Honor
We specifically wanted to see the Matisse that is on loan from SFMOMA but as the museum is not too big we checked out the other exhibits too.  They are restoring one of their rooms and have the restorers on view, which is pretty neat to see.  But I was particularly taken with a weird portion of the porcelain exhibit.  Clearly you want your soup tureen to look like a melon, your platters and teapots to look like lettuce and a covered bowl to look like asparagus.  







And at the end of the day I enjoyed this tree in the Presidio-oh! ah! wow!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Out at the lake

May 2013

We got to join a group of friends out at the lake for a special birthday celebration.  It was a complete surprise-as he came around the lake on the end of a water ski run we were all on the dock waving and hollering.  We had a fantastic bbq dinner followed by dancing, cake, chatting.  We ended the night by floating candles onto the lake under the full moon.

Gorgeous!


On the left is a water skier.

My house is too dry for amphibians, but out at the lake they were all around.

This was the first time taking the tent out for the summer-the weather was perfect for it.

Without water skiers the lake is flat flat flat.

Big thanks to Kevin turning 40 and Jen for pulling off a great surprise!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Calistoga mud baths, 2013

I love the mud bath!  
 My favorite is at Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga (I wrote about it before, but didn't have any pictures).  

While the mud bath is the highlight, the rest of the resort, all of Calistoga actually, are simply delightful.  In 2013 I have been fortunate enough to go three times!  In January with DelicateFlower, in June with DelicateFlower, her mom and the new baby (got to check out Dr. Wilkinson's pools and rooms-retro!), and in October with K.

I always have to go to the pool



Here is the steam from the hot mineral springs water that feeds the pool.  It is cozy no matter the outside temp.  

They have to clean/replace the pipes every 6 months because of the crazy mineral buildup. 


And they keep a nice fire going in the winter or cool evenings.



The ground level rooms have a private waterfall in the courtyard in case you need to relax outside your room instead of in the room, at the pool or in the mud bath.  The whole place has a water theme (since people have been 'taking the waters' here since pretty much forever).
One of the many water fountains on the property.

There is a meditation labyrinth just outside the resort that I finally walked.  I was probably not meditative enough, but it was kind of fun.


The cucumber/lemon water here is the best.  I think I would drink more water at home if I could learn how they make it.

The Mud Bath
The mud is super thick so you basically lie on top of a bed of mud while they glop extra on top.  Next a shower and a soak in a tub while cleaning the last of the mud from under your nails.  Onto the incredibly hot steam room-use the ice cold washcloth on your face and head to last longer than 30 seconds.  Then finally you lie flat, wrapped in a towel with cucumber slices (for real!) on your eyes.


And after the mud bath experience you can wander the private section of the resort which has (more) water features and (more) places to relax. 

Oh mud bath I love you so!

Calistoga

There is some amazing food in Calistoga.  For the meat eater a must is Buster's BBQ .   The bikers stop here on the weekend and parking can be trouble so if possible walk over from your hotel.  I love getting a nice dinner at JoLe.  The food is farm-to-table, save room for dessert which is something special and definitely get a cocktail-their bartenders are as top notch as the chefs.  

I have never eaten a bad meal at any of the other cafes in town, but if you want to snack-meal, definitely hit the Cal-Mart grocery store.  They pack in an incredible variety of items catering to anyone and everyones taste.

And the whole town participates in communal note leaving on the olive trees.  They have unique themes, like gratitude or past loves and you leave a note with your experience.  They are fun too read-most often pointing out universal themes with a specific voice.

On the way home this last time, K and I stopped at Castello di Amorosa.  Basically this guy wanted to have a Tuscan castle in Napa Valley, so he built it.  We are saving the actual tour for another day, but you can see the outside for free.


Yup, it is a full on castle, turrets, a moat and the crest.

They keep quite an assortment of animals on the grounds.
Sheep

Baby goats

Big goats


Emu and many other fowl, fancy chickens, geese and ducks.

And of course I never miss a chance to stop off at Mumm.

 

The vineyards are beautiful this time of year.


Beautiful presentation of the fall produce.  The bottom ones remind me of geese...like in that book Play With Your Food by Joost Elfers.