Sunday, January 21, 2007

Back from vacation

Ok, first let me say I am just starting this whole blog thing. I have been enjoying reading other people's blogs and I thought it might be nice to start my own.
Jason and I just got back yesterday from sunny San Diego, just in time to receive another 5 inches of inches of snow (and that's on top of the 3 we already had). I guess its nice to finally have winter. Our trip was great. I was at the Plant and Animal Genome conference for 5 days (Sat-Wed) and Jason came Wednesday evening. We rented a car. It was pretty humorous that we requested an economy car and the car Jason showed up with was a Volkswagen beetle convertible. At least it was silver and not some crazy green or sky blue! The trunk was SO small, it barely fit a small suitcase. And the backseat was tiny. We took Steve and Anna along on some of our excursions and I felt bad making them crawl into the back seat.
Thursday morning we went to Mission Beach for breakfast with Anil, Steve, and Anna. We didn't stay long but we did get to enjoy the views.

We spent Thursday afternoon at the wild animal park northeast of San Diego. I highly recommend the park. The zoo is awesome, but the park is even better. We have tons of pictures. We took the monorail first around almost the entire park. We saw two monkeys having sex (I think we have a picture) Then we walked around a bit. We went into a tropical bird area where we took some nice pictures. My favorite is the cock-of-the-rock (it is the orange one in the pics).

I saw this on my trip to Guyana South America during college. It is a beautiful bird but it kept flying at my head so we had to move on. There was also a hyacinth Macaw, and a tree with really cool red flowers.

Then we met a friend of Jason's from college who works at the park. She took us behind the scenes, after we had our picture taken with an alligator. When we were in the holding areas, we saw a cheetah, which they house with a dog, a porcupine, another Macaw that they are training to be around people and many more animals. Then we made our way around the Kilimanjaro trail. The highligts were the Asian elephants (there was a 4 month old baby) and the lion exhibit which included 3 cubs.

We had dinner at at the Old Town Mexican Cafe, I had chicken mole... amazing. We had dinner with Moises, Bill, Steve and Anna.
The next day Jason and I took a road trip to the wine country of Temecula. We enjoy wine from time to time, and thought it would be a cool trip to make. It was a good time but the weather was dreary. We visited two wineries for tastings... something I had never done before and was relatively nervous about. There were so many things that I was worried I would do wrong... but Jason had taken a wine tasting class in college so I figured I would have him to guide me a little if and when I needed it.
We looked for the best deal for our money so we went to 2 sister vineyards and paid $12 per person for 5 tastes per person at BOTH places AND a complimentary glass from each winery.

Our tasting lists follow:
Maurice Carrie winery
1. 2005 chardonnay
2. Heather's Mist
3. White Zinfandel
4. Pinot Noir
5. Syrah
6. (they gave us a freebie) sweet christa's

Jason says his favorite was the Syrah which is surprising to me since he doesn't usually drink reds. He didn't care for the Heather's Mist. I thought they were all ok (we shared tastes of course)

1. Pineapple champagne
2. Savignon blanc
3. Cody's crush (this was a mix of 4 wines.. 3 reds and a white and was served chilled.. smelled like grape juice)
4. Cabernet savignon
5. Merlot
6. Cream Sherry

The cabernet was probably my favorite. I didn't care for the Cody's crush. The pineapple champagne was interesting.. good but it didn't taste as much like pineapple as I thought. The cream sherry was really good but the 'taste' I was given was almost a whole shot so I was really warm afterwards.

La Cereza winery

1. La Cereza girlfriends blend - The pourer at the first winery suggested that Jason get this. Although he was leery about ordering anything with the name girlfriends, he liked it. It was pretty sweet for my taste but I could see it being really good on a hot day.
2. 2005 Chardonnay... this one is aged in oak so its a typical Chardonnay
3. Chardonnay 'A Biore'.. I think this was the one aged in stainless.. it doesn't have any oaky flavor but it was good
4. 2005 Viagnier
5. White Zinfandel

Jason says the 2005 Chardonnay was his favorite. I honestly don't remember much about these... the cream sherry had taken its toll.

1. Peach Champagne - this was amazing, they use whole peaches... it smelled like peaches and tasted even better. I would have bought a bottle of this one if I knew that we had enough space to carry it on the plane.
2. Garnacha La Cereza
3. Shiraz
4. Cabernet Savignon
5. Zinfandel

I don't know that I had a favorite after the peach champagne but I do know that I did not like the Zinfandel.

We headed to the next winery on our list. South Coast wineries. We were disappointed to find a resort and spa. Although it looked like a very nice area, the first two wineries had been very quaint.. almost like we were in the homes of the winemakers and they were showing off their wonderful wines. This place was quite the opposite.. lots of employees and very commercialized. We ended up only having lunch in a very expensive restaurant and not tasting ANY wine there. The wine tasting room was busy, and I noticed that there were alot of barefoot contessa things in the giftshop. I don't know how many of you watch the food network but she is a caterer from the Hamptons, this place seemed like it would cater to people that could afford the Hamptons. The food wasn't even that good (for the price). Jason had a steak sandwich and I had a grilled eggplant sandwich.

Friday night we went to eat at a place called The Yard house. They have 100 kinds of beer, including my favorite, Fat Tire. The food was really good there too.. I had a crab cake hoagie. I also ordered a creme brulee which was interesting since there was chocolate on the bottom and bananas on top. It was amazing.
After dinner we headed to a piano bar called Shout. Fun place but I was so tired, we left at about 11 since we had an early flight.

The trip back was great for traveling all day. No delays, and we ended up with all of our luggage in the end :)
We spent today relaxing, enjoying the snow, and preparing ourselves to head back to work tomorrow:(

1 comment:

Ken said...

Sounds like our vacations...characterized by lots of eating and drinking! I wouldn't be me if I didn't point out that Merlot is spelled with a "t"