My 60th birthday gift from John and some very special friends was an extravagant Christmas and New Years celebration in California with family and friends. After a rather frustrating delayed departure from Florida six of us arrived to spend seven days at Sea Ranch. Three hours north of San Francisco, Sea Ranch is an amazing utopian community stretching 10 miles along the rocky scenic coastline. Friends from Los Altos joined us and my sister and her son Hank were able to make it for a short visit.
La Boussole, the house we rented, did not disappoint. It has an exceptional view of the Pacific, was reasonably well stocked for cooking and offered a comfortable living and dining area plus great beds! It was perfect for gathering, puzzling, dining, wining, soaking in the hot tub, reading and celebrating Christmas! Over our week there we worked hard to try as many wines as possible. Not surprising, there were just too many wonderful ones for my 60 years to recollect but I want to remember a bottle of Coattails opened by our guests Richard and Kathryn which was truly special.
Sonoma is but a short distance east of Sea Ranch as the crow flies, however, despite it’s seemingly close proximity, is accessible only by the windiest mountain logging roads or a twisty turning river road making a day trip to the vineyards less than a comfortable trip for anyone but the driver. We did venture out one day for lunch in Mendocino with a return drive through a portion of the Anderson Valley. We dined at The Moosse Cafe on incredible burgers, mussels and their special mac n’ cheese that is so luscious the customers won’t let them take off the menu.
In the Anderson Valley we stopped at Roederer Estate to start our tasting and followed it with visits to Goldeneye and Breggo. Goldeneye was the highlight. Their tasting is quite special. It is a relaxed, sit-down affair offered with a small pairing of nuts, crackers and fruit. They provide a separate glass for each wine you taste and, to make it exceptionally easy to keep track of what you are trying, the wine labels are used as coasters.
Roederer has a more typical large commercial tasting room similar to many in Napa and Sonoma. What sets it apart from others is its extensive outdoor gathering area and outstanding gardens that, in warmer weather, would be appealing to stroll or picnic in. Breggo has a very small tasting room that was the least comfortable of the three but their Pinot Noir from the Savoy Vineyard was delicious.
We departed Sea Ranch after making a great effort to deplete the local market of some of their best wines and leaving the garbage/recycle guys quite a load to haul off.
We were heading for a surprise destination but had an important stop on the way at the Santa Rosa Airport to say good bye to our daughter Allie who was off to Australia.
Leaving Santa Rosa and heading south confirmed my suspicions that our surprise destination might be San Francisco. Indeed it was and best of all at the San Francisco Four Seasons!!!!! We were treated to a gorgeous suite on the 16th floor and wined and dined for two nights in the loveliest of fashion!
The first evening we dined at Gitane and had an unusual delicious starter of Bacon Bon Bons and absolutely delicious meals with sparkling wines and a bottle of a wine from the Canary Islands – a 2009 Gran Canaria that was a great match with the spicy entrees. We ate the second night at Michael Mina’s RN74 which was amazing! The herb roasted marrow bones, foie gras and sea urchin were truly incredible standouts.
Dinner was followed by a trip to Club Fugazi in the North Beach District to see Beach Blanket Babylon. It was our first time seeing this musical revue that has been running since 1974! It was hilarious!
This trip we made it to the Ferry Building Market for breakfast and to stock up on goodies to take with us to our next destination. Sara will tell you the wait in line for a cup of coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee Co. is worth every minute. I didn’t have her patience but I did get to try their coffee at Boulettes Larder where we all had an incredible breakfast prepared from foods sourced from local farms and artisian producers.
For New Years we headed to Los Altos as guests of Richard Partridge, Kathryn Green and Walter II. We descended on them Friday so our friends Jay and Jon could help with preparations for a gala New Years dinner and the rest of us could work at staying out of the way. We dined our first evening at Tamarine in Palo Alto. The shrimp cupcakes and green papaya salad along with the Lemongrass Drop cocktails were especially memorable. We lunched the next day in Palo Alto at a restaurant on University Avenue called Crepevine. We chose it because at 2pm it was still extremely busy. The food was wonderful and the portions large and easily enough to split.
New Years eve was Richard and Kathryn’s dinner and celebration to welcome in 2012. The dinner for 30+ was spectacular with homemade pizzas for starters followed by a beef entree Richard will have to post the name of it as it was incredible! Richard offered an extensive array of great wines for the evening that we certainly appreciated.
Sunday ended this absolutely spectacular celebration trip with a flight back to Tampa for us. I won’t ever forget the fun and decadence!!!!
Many, many thanks to my friends and family for eleven days of pure fun!
Debbe, Princess Debbe and friends!!!