A Visit to Santa Rosa

Normally I’m excited for any chance I have to head north to Santa Rosa, my old stomping grounds. The beautiful landscaping, the cute downtown, the proximity to wine…

Unfortunately, this trip is business, not pleasure. Business that involves lawyers, visits to Courtroom 15 at the Main Adult Detention Facility and a cheap and, somewhat dirty, stay at a Comfort Inn less than mile from the Sheriff’s Department.

Perhaps the most annoying part of this whole deal is I can’t really say what’s going on. Not until tomorrow once everything is settled, though, those of you who have paid close attention to my Twitter account have a pretty good idea of what is going on.

On the upside, tomorrow I get to spend some quality time with Kayla, enjoy some wine and hopefully get this current situation fixed up.

So the photo of the day, right at the top, illustrates the half-bakedness of this hotel. Everything is just a bit short of decent. That other light isn’t turned off, by the way, it’s just broken.

Wine, Sushi and the Photo of the Day

Today was another busy day here in the city. Editing video, working on a few press releases, searching for an open seat at a coffee shop… Such is the life I live now in San Francisco. Not too shabby really.

Tonight I had the pleasure of hanging out with my friend Marris, aka @Marris_Returns. We shared some wine at my place before heading out for sushi at Warakubune. I realized tonight that I haven’t hung out with anyone else since arriving to San Francisco besides Ryan. I guess several months apart and all you really want to do is be together.

All that changes tomorrow, I drive up to Santa Rosa, deal with some legal issues I can’t really write about just yet, and then get to hang out with my bestie, Kayla. Crossing my fingers there will be some wine involved, which is a pretty safe bet!

The photo today was taken from the roof of my apartment building looking out towards one of the smaller buildings next door. I loved how the light from a few bedrooms lit up the entire scene highlighting a tree still in its autumnal transition.

The follow photo I’ll go ahead and include. Both of these photos were taken handheld for as long as 30 seconds. So, apologies that they aren’t as sharp as you normally see from me. Apparently I’ve hidden the shoe for my tripod in one of the remaining moving boxes. So, there’s that and there’s also lots of perfectly straight, vertical strips of light. We’ll pretend that was done on purpose, ‘aight?

Cruising the Wine Valley

My best girl, Kayla, planned a sensational day in the wine valley for the two of us when I was in California back in September. We hit up six (?) wineries for tastings and were driven from one vineyard to the next in a limousine. How fancy huh? Thanks to Kayla for setting that up, it was an amazing trip through the valley. Every time she sets one of these things up she totally eclipses her previous efforts.

These are the wineries we went to and that I still remember. We had quite a wine between the two of us so my memory of the trip is a bit fuzzy… ūüėõ

I went on this day trip intending to purchase a bottle or two, at most. I ended up buying nearly a case and a half. Add this to the wine I bought at the wine tasting in San Francisco‚Ķ It wasn’t long before I was swimming in wine!

Our first winery was Seghesio, where Kayla works. I love visiting this place. If you have never been, you must put it at the top of your To Do list. The vineyard has been family owned since 1895 and it shows. Their wines are carefully crafted into some of the best Zins in the state. Their food and wine pairing are legendary and the parties they host are the envy of just about every winery. At least, that’s what I was told from just about every other winery we visited that found out Kayla worked at Seghesio.

Our next stop was Moshin Vineyards where a charming Scotswoman gave us a taste of some of their wines. There we enjoyed some Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and some fun Zins.

Amista and Preston Vineyards were both awesome. Amista’s wines tasted perfect. It felt like they had an equation for each of their wines, mechanically perfect. It was there that I had the first Chardonnay that I really loved. Of all the wines I’ve had, I’ve never had a Chardonnay good enough that I felt compelled to buy it. Of course I also haven’t had that many Chardonnays

Preston’s wines are organic, clean, crisp and pleasing. The winery is also an organic farm with fresh produce, organically raised hens and sheep. Their extra virgin olive oil is awesome and I’ve hear they have equally as tasty cheeses? Next time!

Kayla’s boyfriend Matt gave us a tour through some of their wines prior to our wandering of the grounds. I don’t think I got out of there with less than five bottles of their wine haha. Almost all were whites, seems I was in a mood for white wine that day.

Next up was a surprise. Jordan Vineyards, easily the most beautiful winery we visited this trip. There Kayla and I joined a few others in a wine and food pairing. Once again, great wine and a wonderful guide through the tasting and history of the winery.

The tasting ended with a taste of a dessert wine that was pretty damn awesome. It was a bit out of my price range but seemed like a bargain at around $50.

Every winery Kayla chose was awesome. Not a single hiccup or disappointing wine. The entire trip through the valley was just about perfect.

Well, that is until we took on the task of kicking out the squatter living in my house out in Forestville. That is an entirely different blog post though.

We capped off the night with a fabulous dinner at Barndiva with Kayla and Matt and a killer (in more ways than one) cocktail at Willies Seafood and Raw Bar.

The drive back to San Francisco gave me time to contemplate the day’s events. I thought about my friendship with Kayla. I thought of the early morning drives into Santa Rosa to open Starbucks or go to class. I thought about the house Seth and I lived in with the creaky wood floors and obnoxiously fertile fig tree in the back yard. I remembered the parties, the coffee shops, the podcast with Callie and how much I missed all of that.

It became clear to me on that long drive south into San Francisco that a change soon needed to be made.

Santa Rosa + Sushi + Friends – Place to Stay = Memories

We made it to San Francisco a couple of hours late, something to do with excessive traffic on the runway at SFO.¬† So that kinda sucked but I got some work done with the extra time so I guess it wasn’t so bad.

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Oh, but there is a problem. The car rental place closes at 6pm.¬† Our plane landed at 4:15, we got our luggage at 4:45, we got on the Bart at 5:00 and we have a 50 minute ride to our stop and then a seven block, up hill walk to Avis with a 50lb suitecase and two carryons.¬† If we don’t make it, we are screwed.

We make it.  (meh, not in the mood to create rising action, straight to the dénouement)

Get the GPS, not dealing with getting lost at this point, not matter how well I know the city.¬† Head to Santa Rosa.¬† We meet up with Kayla and Jeana for some awesome Sushi.¬† Awesome sushi.¬† Of course, why wouldn’t it be awesome?¬† It’s California sushi.

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After dinner I give Ryan a tour of Santa Rosa.  Where I worked, where I went to school, where I lived, where I hung out, it was way too exciting for me.  The house where Seth and I lived was totally renovated and looks amazing.

So then we are off to the river house, where I lived when I first moved to California and where I ended my stint in California and where I will likely pick back up, my life in California.¬† It was late, we were tired…¬† I go to the door, insert my key, pull the handle, it opens.

Then, without hesitation, it slams itself closed.

I try again.  It closes again.

We hear a voice speaking through the crack in the door, “Hello?¬† Who is this?”.¬† I reply, he opens the door a crack, tells us he needs to get dressed and asks if we can go through the back.

Get dressed?¬† Ok?¬† Back door, sure.¬† We have what I can only guess was a rabid Australian Cattle Dog mixed-up-mutt threatening our lives with his backing, snarling and dripping canines.¬† Vincent, the man who answered the door, the owner of the dog and the contractor on the house, insists the creature is harmless, and frantically lets us into the house.¬† He shows us all the work he has done… blah blah, we certainly can’t stay there.¬† I guess Vincent has taken to living there.¬† Hmmm.

We make some calls, no one has a place for us and we end back, after touring through Healdsburg, back in Santa Rosa and we sleep in our car.

Thanks Home Depot parking lot.¬† Meh, it wasn’t so bad, we woke up early, got some breakfast, met up with Callie and my old Starbucks customers and friends.¬† And then it’s off to San Francisco.

Drop off the car, unload our luggage at the hotel, and then I go to lunch with my cousin Patrick at this great little place called Mario’s Cigar Shop.¬† Fantastic paninis.

Despite sleeping in a rental car our first night in California, we had a blast.

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