Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Beautiful Sonoma Wedding

I drank a lot of wine and had a lot of fun in Sonoma, but the real reason I was there was for my friend Emily’s wedding.

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The festivities started with an adorable school bus ride to the venue. Caitlin and I remarked that we seemed to have gotten a bit taller since the last time we were on one of those.

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L-R: Alexis, Sarah, Caitlin, Liz, Emily, me and Julia

It took us to Cornerstone, which is a gorgeous venue with lots of cool art/architecture installations, across the street from Gloria Ferrer, and one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been to for a wedding. (Although, I am from NJ. The bar is not very high here.)

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The format of this wedding/venue was actually really similar to Anne’s wedding: outdoor ceremony in the grass, dinner in a tent and dancing in a barn. Even the chupah was similar to Anne’s wedding tent.

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At one point, the rabbi mentioned something about being present in the moment. When you are staring out at a vineyard in Sonoma, it’s pretty hard not to be.

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[photo via Caitlin]

I am SUCH a wedding sap and apparently didn’t take any pictures during the ceremony because I was crying too hard to operate a camera or phone, but it was a beautiful ceremony and Emily and Justin literally radiated so much happiness and love. At one point, the rabbi asked us all to take our sunglasses off so that the happy couple could look at each of us in the eyes and see our happiness and blessings for them. Or, um, my makeup dripping down my face. Either one.

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Dinner was in a beautiful tent with lanterns strung across the ceiling.

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For dinner, I had the chicken with asparagus and some sort of potato pancake-y thing. I don’t remember a damn thing about how this was prepared, other than deliciously.

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Wedding sunglasses at attention.

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More wedding sunglasses.

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Hava Nagila! (True story: there’s some Italian song my Italian mom likes to hum to Bailey and she sometimes ends up humming Hava Nagila instead…)

They had an awesome playlist, and I danced my face off.

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The next morning, the farewell brunch was hosted at the Macarthur Hotel on the veranda, and it was gorgeous.

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[photo also via Caitlin]

The brunch was AMAZING. (Again, I haven’t been to many post-wedding brunches, so the bar is fairly low here, although Lindsay’s post-wedding brunch in Maine had lobster, so that is a definite contender.)

Do you see that guacamole and pico de gallo goodness in the foreground of the plate? BREAKFAST ENCHILADA, ladies and gentlemen, BREAKFAST ENCHILADA. I relish in any opportunity to have guacamole before noon. The bacon was also among the best bacon I’ve ever had, and that one does have a pretty high bar.

It was a beautiful, happy weekend and I’m so happy for Emily and Justin and happy to have been able to witness their happy day.

Married people: favorite part of your wedding or thing you’d do over again? Non-married people: anything a part of your dream wedding? After this wedding, I’d say that naming the specialty cocktail after my dog like they did (SO FREAKING CUTE) may be on my someday list. Also, a brunch with breakfast guacamole.

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Sonoma Through (All The) Food and Wine

I just got back from Sonoma for a friend’s wedding, and if you are what you eat, I am most certainly a grape right now.

I got busy/distracted and never adequately recapped my trip to Puerto Rico, so I’ll try to do some justice to Sonoma–partially for myself, partially for if you’re going there and want some recommendations.

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We took a 6am flight from NYC to SFO. We had breakfast before the flight, but once we landed it was time for second breakfast. Wandering around the square, we found Sunflower Caffe, a wine and espresso bar.

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I got the South of the Border omelet: it had chicken, jalapeno, tomatoes, onions, black beans, cheese and was topped with cilantro lime cream and avocado. Since that’s obviously a TON of food, I balanced it out a little bit by having the berries instead of potatoes. TOTO, I WAS NOT IN NEW YORK ANY MORE. These berries were so freaking juicy. I vaguely remember hearing at some point that the San Francisco area is known for its sourdough, so I went for that. (And did any other time it was an option on this trip!)

By the time we finished lunch, it was clearly time for some wine. I mean, we’d been on the ground for nearly four hours and hadn’t yet had any. I guess I didn’t take any pictures, but we stopped at the Hawkes tasting room, where I realized there are some Chardonnays that don’t suck. I’ve never really had a Chardonnay I really liked before, but I really liked their Gravel Bar Chardonnay.

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Next up: the Gloria Ferrer vineyard. IT IS A SPARKLING VINEYARD. I REPEAT, IT IS A SPARKLING VINEYARD.

We met Emily and Justin (the happy couple) and their families and some more friends here, and sat outside and drank champagne flights.

Champagne flights. Friends. Sunshine. Warm Sonoma sunshine on our shoulders. There was literally nothing wrong with life that afternoon. My favorite wines here, which I bought, were the Blanc de Noirs (a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and the Royal Cuvee (also a blend of Pinor Noir and Chardonnay, but with a bit more Chardonnay than the Blanc de Noirs.)

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The grounds are gorgeous, and the wine is tasty. If you go to Sonoma, go here.

Somehow I didn’t take any pictures at the rehearsal dinner? But it was gorgeous and the Depot ff’s garden outside, which was around a beautiful pool.

I woke up the next morning itching to run and explore some more on foot.

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I covered about three miles and ran from our hotel through the square to the bike path (just by the Depot Hotel) and then through some residential areas when the path ended and turned around at about 1.5 miles. After all the travel, food and wine, it felt more like a shuffle but it was still nice to get some fresh air and see a bit more of Sonoma. It was in the 40s and super foggy when I ran, but…as I guess it does in the SF area…it warmed up quickly as the day went on.

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For breakfast, we found a place on Yelp called Community Cafe. The girls were sold on grilled cheese breakfast sandwiches in the reviews; I was sold on the eggs because I knew that much cheese in the sandwich would make my jerk of a stomach angry. The eggs, sweet potato fries and sourdough toast were amazing, though. (I should have gotten bacon instead of turkey sausage though.)

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We wandered back to downtown Sonoma and found ourselves with a few hours to kill before the wedding…so we decided to do a tasting.

WHEN IN ROME.

We’d heard Sigh was great (hi, bubbles?) so we headed down this cute little alley to find it…but it didn’t open till 12, so we ended up at Bryter, across the way. It’s a family winery started by a couple named Bryan and Terin, and they specialize in small-lot wines. Our favorite, a rose, had a run of 125 cases, and that was a lot for them! The woman working the tasting room was really cool too – she’d lived in Australia her entire life, but she and her husband frequented Sonoma, dreamed about moving there…and then finally did.

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She poured us a cabernet that was still a bit cool, so Emily warmed it up for us. (We all split tastings here since we knew we had a full day ahead of us.)

I’ll write about the wedding festivities in a different post, but suffice to say here, it was a beautiful wedding, and I need to find a better waterproof mascara.

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Our last stop before heading back to San Francisco for our flight was the Artesa Winery in Napa. As you can see, it was really ugly.

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I mean, the views were just terrible.

Most of Emily and Justin’s friends that were still around met back up here yesterday afternoon before their flights or leaving to spend a little time in other areas of the region. I accidentally made my flight, which I’m really disappointed in myself for.

It was fun spending time with the very happy and relaxed just-married couple the day after the wedding before we all left, and we sat outside in the sun with our tastings. This tasting room/area was a huge building (where I’m sure they also have lots of events) with a big deck outside. The views were the best from here, but these were my least favorite wines. (Probably because I didn’t get any bubbly.)

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We drove back to San Francisco, walked around downtown by the Embarcadero and Ferry Building a bit to kill some time before our late flight…

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…had some In-N-Out…

…did a little time-travel overnight flying…and now I’m back in NYC with memories of a friend’s beautiful wedding and a fun trip with friends.

A few recommendations I didn’t get to take: Cline Cellars, Jacuzzi Wines, The Girl and the Fig, Bottega

Favorite wines/wineries? If you could go anywhere on a wine-cation, where would you go? Maybe I’ve mentioned I’m dying to go to New Zealand?

Also, someone please pass me a vegetable.

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