Welcome to my blog!

This is blog is about me dabbling with a little bit of everything, and not being particularly good at anything. And about the places I've been either on vacation or SAG:ing my husbands bicycle trips.

You can click on the pictures to make them bigger and/or click on the links to open another window for more info.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Up the West Coast - Day 4 - 8/26/12 - San Francisco to Napa, CA

For breakfast Jeff went and picked up Starbucks which was just across the street. We ate on the balcony, it was a bit cool, but still nice and sunny. We wanted to have Dim Sum in the Chinatown before we left so after breakfast we headed that way. Luckily the hotel was just a short walk to there. They had something special going on, they had closed Grant Avenue and when we arrived there the end of a parade was going by. They also had table tennis tournaments towards the other end of the street. After wandering around for awhile and checking out different places we found Peninsula Seafood Restaurant. It is on Jackson Street between Grant and Kearny. We had to wait for a bit (the place was packed), but was seated pretty fast, we also noticed that we were the only non-Chinese in there. We usually take that as a good sign, if the locals like the place it must be good. And they didn't disappoint us this time either. This was a Hong Kong style Dim Sum, and if I've understood correctly, that is where it originated. They had waiters/waitresses bring trays of different things from shu mais to dumplings to noodle rolls to chicken feet, (we didn't try the chicken feet), and everything in between. It was really good and will recommend that place to anybody who wants to have Dim Sum in San Francisco.

Breakfast from Starbucks at the hotel balcony

Some light reading and a cup of coffee after breakfast

End of a parade in Chinatown, San Francisco

Chinese gate at Bush and Grant

Table tennis tournaments

Lovely music along the way

Dim Sum

Dim Sum Menu, or part of it

Dim Sum

After lunch we got our car and headed out towards Napa. We took the Golden Gate Bridge, but it might not have been the fastest way. We wanted to stop at the look-out on the other side of the bridge, but there were so many cars in there that even if waited in the line to get off we might not have found a parking space. So we just drove to Napa. We had a hotel reservation so we didn't have to worry about finding a hotel. We went to the downtown and found the Welcome Center were they were very helpful and sent us to a winery which was still open for tours at that "late" hour. We would have been late for most of the other tours, not that the hour was late, just mid afternoon. So we headed out to the Hess Collection Winery near Napa. We had their tasting, which was good, while we waited for the tour to start. Most of the tours seem to be pretty much the same, but I did find it interesting that some of their vines are over 90 years old.

View of San Francisco 

View of San Francisco, lot of sailboats for the America's Cup

Downtown Napa River area

Hess Collection Winery

Don't know what these are at the  Hess Collection Winery

Hess Collection Winery

90 year old vines at the  Hess Collection Winery

The cellar at the  Hess Collection Winery

Hess Collection Winery

Hess Collection Winery

After the winery tour we headed to our hotel, Marriott, which also had a happy hour and free wine tasting. We had some of their wines and checked out our e-mails etc. Neither of us were too hungry and since Jeff still hadn't had a chance to have his In-N-Out burger, we went there for dinner. I know, it's Napa and it's full of nice restaurants, but we had a burger instead (we are going to have lunch tomorrow at the CIA, which will make up for it too). I don't know about Jeff, but I don't think In-N-Out is as good as Five Guys. I remembered them being better. We also stopped at a store and got some  wine and cheese and crackers. The cheese was Brie, but it was the stinkiest Brie ever. I think the room smelled really bad after we left, feel sorry for the maid.

Up the West Coast - Day 3 - 8/25/12 - Sunnyvale & San Francisco, CA

After checking out off the hotel a quick breakfast at McDonald's we drove around Sunnyvale just to see how much it had changed. There also seemed to be a centennial festival, but we didn't go for that one either. Instead we went to visit with our friends the Serrone's. We have known Mike and Sue also since we moved to Sunnyvale 16 years ago. Their daughter Krystine doesn't live at home anymore but Anna does. I would not have recognized her anymore. She has grown up to be a beautiful young woman. We had a nice little chat with Mike and Sue and had lunch with them at the Country Gourmet.

Mike, Sue and Jeff
 After that we headed back to San Francisco. We took our rental car there also, since we had a hotel in the city for the night. And with our usual fashion we hit a big traffic jam again. Randy and Terri met us at the hotel and then took us to Pier 39 and the Fisherman's Wharf. There seemed to be a lot of stuff happening, some more weird than others. Also America's Cup was going on that weekend and we did see several of he boat that took part on it. And the day before there were regattas going on all over the Bay area. We would have liked to go to the Alcatraz, but the tickets for that have been sold out months ago. We had some more Peppermint Schnapps Hot Chocolate at the Buena Vista and after that went to Boudin's Bakery and had clam chowder in a sour dough bread. Boudin's is world famous for that. They also had a nice small museum attached to it, which we were able to look through while waiting to be seated. After we left the restaurant we barely made it to Randy's car before the meter maid came. He/she was just couple cars behind us and our meter had run out of money an hour earlier. We were told that you could park for free after a certain hour on Saturdays  but I guess that was not the case. After arriving back to our hotel we said good byes to Terri and Randy. Jeff will see Randy again in about three weeks when he bicycles through San Francisco and has a rest day here. They are supposed to go golfing then.

One of the boats in the America's Cup

Pier 39

Pier 39

Fisherman's Wharf

Sea Lions at Pier 39

Magician at Pier 39

An Artist's spray painting

A guy dressed as a dog doing an act with his dog.

Don't really know what she was doing.

This just looked funny

Breads in the Boudin Bakery Museum

Boudin Bakery

Boudin Bakery

Boudin Bakery

Story about the Boudin Sourdough Bread Mother Dough.

Boudin's Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl

We stayed in the Le Meridien in downtown San Francisco. It is probably one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed. We had lovely room with a balcony and views of the San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge. Here are some pictures of and from the hotel room.
Our balcony

View straight down

View of the Bary and the Bay Bridge

Sitting area

View down the other way