I’m back from California, and man do I feel more sophisticated … but don’t worry, I’ll snap back into my normal self soon enough! It was a phenomenal trip – one that I highly recommend. I’ll give ya some highlights, because … well, because that’s the kind of guy I am.
* Alcatraz … if you are going to San Francisco for the first time, this HAS to be on your to-do list. What a fantastic tour! The history surrounding this “rock” is amazing. Scenically, it is breath-taking, and you can get some great pictures of the city, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge.
* Chinatown – This one puts Philly’s Chinatown to shame. Great restaurants, fantastic shops, and really great photo-opportunities.
* Fisherman’s Wharf – I was actually a little disappointed in this area. It was WAY too commercial. It’s nice to see, I guess, but don’t spend too much time there.
* Japanese Tea Gardens – Much smaller than I expected, and NO friggin’ Koi – even though the brochure said so.
* At the Cathedral Hill Hotel bar, we met some semi-famous people, including a former foreign correspondent for Australia named Warrick Blood, and the director for that HBO show Cathouse … I forget her name, but I think it was either Jill or Julie.
* Everybody in San Fran is under the Barry Bonds spell – you can’t say anything bad about the guy without people jumping to his defense.
* Sour-dough bread – My god, this was fantastic. I couldn’t get enough of it. We need a good one of these stores in Philly!
* Sterling Winery – This is in Calestoga, the far north part of Napa. You take a gondola ride to the top, and the views are ridiculous. I highly suggest taking the ride to this one.
* Robert Modavi winery – Very classy winery. I recommend paying the $25 for the tour – I learned a lot.
* Gloria Fererra – They produce champagne here, and some really good and strong stuff. I think I drank to flutes of champagne in the 1.5 hours I was there, and I felt buzzed. Maybe it was the air, or the fact that I hadn’t eaten in about 7 hours – who knows, but this was some really good champagne.
* Brick’s – This isn’t a winery, but a restaurant. We sat outside. The view was awesome. The food was really good, and they had a great selection of wines to go along with it. The waiters were very helpful in choosing a good wine to go along with any of the entrees.
* Mumm’s - This was another “champagnery,” and was delightful as well. As with most of the winery’s, the view was great.
* Sutter Home – Yeah, we went there too, just because I’ve actually had this wine before (translation – very inexpensive). Outside of that, not much to talk about.
* So, I’ve gotten better with wine. I’ve learned that I like the white’s a lot better, however, I can handle some of the reds. I have also learned how to properly examine a wine, sniff the bouquet, and taste the wine. Still, I’m a bigger fan of beer, but at least I’ve gained an appreciation for wine.